Grammar schools are not the answer

Theresa May’s plans for new grammar schools are a regressive move and a distraction from the real problems facing schools and education. 

Teacher retention and recruitment is at dangerously low levels, assessment is in disarray and insufficient school funding is impacting on the quality and range of educational experiences teachers can offer students. These are the issues that need addressing, not a return to an archaic idea that has been roundly rejected for decades.

Social mobility is a problem but as all the evidence shows it is one that will not be addressed by selective education. A Sutton Trust report showed that less than 3% of entrants to grammar schools are entitled to free school meals, while many grammar school heads were concerned that children from middle class families were coached to pass the entrance exam.

The Conservatives' experiment with education is not working. Parents and teachers have seen the consequences of choice in school provision. Figures out today show that two academies per week in England are facing formal interventions due to concerns about performance. Many free schools have been caught up in mismanagement and financial scandals.

Grammar schools are nothing more than window dressing. It is time for Governmnt to step back and take a long hard look at what is needed to ensure that all children are given the education they deserve.

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