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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Education in the media: 30 January 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Attainment gap, Equalities, Exams and qualifications, GCSE results

Today’s news review examines positive coverage of how disadvantaged grammar school pupils perform in their GCSEs, and new guidance for companies around the incoming gender pay gap regulations.

Grammar performance

On Sunday, 29 January, the Sunday Express reported on figures showing the vast majority of disadvantaged pupils achieve good grades if they go to a grammar school.

The figures show that in each of the last three years more than 90 percent of pupils on free school meals – the traditional measure of disadvantage - secured five A* - Cs at GCSE.

By contrast, pupils who have free school meals in non-selective schools did not perform as well. Fewer than 40 percent achieved five A* - Cs in the same timeframe.

These figures illustrate that grammar schools have a track record of closing the attainment gap between children on free school meals and their better off classmates.

This is one of the reasons why we  want to scrap the ban on new grammar schools. At the same time, we will ensure we improve the educational outcomes for those that do not attend selective schools.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

We want to build a country that works for everybody, regardless of their background, and education lies at the heart of that.


Grammar schools do an outstanding job in bringing out the best in their pupils, including the most disadvantaged, and these figures provide yet more evidence of this.


We want to see more young people experiencing these benefits, which is why we are looking to harness the expertise of grammar schools in our drive to create more good school places in more parts of the country.

Gender pay gap guidance

On Saturday, 28 January, Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and the GEO (Government Equalities Office) published joint guidance for employers on incoming gender pay regulations.

This was picked up by BBC Online, Capital FM and featured on BBC Breakfast.

The guidance will help businesses with more than 250 employees navigate new gender pay gap regulations that come into force this April.

The new law will mean large companies have to provide details on the gender pay gap within their workforce. This will affect more than 11 million employees across the UK.

The guidance also outlines how best to promote family-friendly working so women can balance work and parental responsibilities, especially for senior roles. It also encourages men to use flexible working so they share the responsibility of balancing work and a family life.

Minister for Women, Equalities and Early Years, Caroline Dinenage said:

No one should ever be held back just because of their gender. We now have the lowest gender pay gap on record, but we still have to push further.


Shining a light on the gaps is absolutely key to achieving equality in the workplace, which is why we are introducing requirements on all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus data from April.


I encourage all employers to use this guidance, which will be an important and helpful tool for tackling the gender pay gap and promoting workplace equality.

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