Opinionomics | 11 April 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. Featuring HST, and H5N1.

1. High-Speed Trading Is Progress, not Piracy (Bloomberg View)

Bernard S. Donefer writes in (muted) support of high-speed trading. Reading between the lines, he appears still to be damning with faint praise; "it doesn't cause crashes!" is hardly enthusiastic.

2. Argentina, Elliott, and the pari passu war (Reuters)

The dust appears to have settled after the Greek haircuts and debt-swaps; but as Felix Salmon reminds us, these things take a while to actually clear up. Argentina is still in court today, fighting the last of its creditors.

3. Technology: The risks of research (Financial Times)

Andrew Jack writes the FT's lead analysis piece today, on the risks and rewards of experimentation with the deadliest pathogens.

4. Peter Singer and Tyler Cowen in conversation (Jeff Kaufman)

Three years ago, economist Tyler Cowen interviewed ethicist Peter Singer about "morality, giving, and how we can most improve the world"; last week, Jeff Kaufman went to the effort of putting together a transcript of the conversation.

5. Is austerity self-defeating? Of course it is (VoxEU)

Jonathan Portes, the director of NIESR, writes against austerity in Europe.

Ferrets are used in many flu tests, since they catch the same bug as us. (Getty)

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Children from "just managing" families most excluded from grammar schools

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said grammar schools "offer nothing to most kids".

Children from "just about managing" families are unlikely to benefit from an expansion of grammar schools because they don't get accepted in the first place, research from the Sutton Trust has found.

The educational charity also found that disadvantaged white British pupils were the least likely among a range of ethnic groups to get access to elite state school education. 

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “The Tories are failing our children. They should be delivering a country that works for everyone but all they have to offer is a plan to build an education system that only helps a handful of already privileged children.

"The evidence is clear - grammar schools reinforce advantage and offer nothing to most kids."

Theresa May launched her premiership with both a pledge to make Britain work for the "just managing" families (consequently termed Jams), and a promise to consider expanding grammar schools. 

The Sutton Trust researchers used the Income Deprivation Affecting Children index to compare access rates to those defined "just about managing" by the Resolution Foundation. 

They found that even non-disadvantaged pupils living in deprived neighbourhoods are barely more likely to attend grammar schools than those in the poorest. The report stated: "This is a strong indication that the ‘just managing’ families are not being catered for by the current grammar school system."

The Sutton Trust also found different ethnic groups benefited differently from grammar schools.

Disadvantaged Black pupils made up just 0.8 per cent of pupils in 2016, while disadvantaged white British pupils made up roughly 0.7 per cent, although disadvantaged white non-British children fared slightly better. Among disadvantaged groups, Asian pupils made up a substantial proportion of grammar school pupils. 

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said: “Today’s research raises concerns about the government’s plans to use new grammars as a vehicle for social mobility. We need to get existing grammars moving in the right direction before we consider expanding their number.”

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.