Christian Dustmann, Patrick Puhani, Uta Schӧnberg, 15 May 2017

Selective schooling (or ‘tracking’) seeks to improve efficiency in education by tailoring curricula to students’ needs, but opponents argue that it can lead to segregation and lifelong disadvantages. This column draws on evidence from Germany to argue for the importance of flexibilities in any new system of selective education, as with the UK’s proposed reintroduction of grammar schools. Substantial disadvantages in terms of teaching curriculum and peer exposure do not need to have long-term consequences, as long as the education system allows revising initial choices at later stages.