Justine Greening attended a Conservative Voice event on Monday, and when asked for her views on new grammar schools she reportedly said, “It is fundamentally wrong to not have a system that stretches children.”
This comment suggests she wants to expand selective education because she thinks comprehensive schools do not stretch their brightest pupils. Does our own Education Secretary have no faith in our comprehensive system?
Comprehensive Future believe it is critical that our schools stretch pupils – but good comprehensives do this very well. The Education Policy Institute found pupils attending good comprehensive schools achieved results on a par with grammar schools. Progress for high achievers is good in most schools, just ask a school like King Solomon Academy. It’s rate of 93% of students achieving 5 A*-C grades is better than a few grammar schools we know. In this comprehensive school, and many more, high achieving pupils do get great results.
So Justine Greening said it is ‘fundamentally wrong’ not to stretch children in a discussion about grammar schools. Does she think comprehensive schools are failing our brightest children?
Her comment reveals the logic flaws of the new grammar schools plan.
If Justine Greening thinks comprehensive schools can educate pupils of all abilities, she must surely admit there is no need for grammar schools.
If Justine Greening believes that comprehensive schools do not work for all children then she should say so and fix this.
Parents need to know, and our Education Secretary should set to work on an effective policy to reach high achievers in every single school. Tim Dracup’s blog suggests many alternatives to grammar schools to meet these pupil’s needs.
Parents currently trust our comprehensive schools to educate their children, whatever their ability. For the education secretary to reveal a lack of faith in comprehensive education is deeply worrying.
It is clear that the current plan for a few new selective schools neither works as a policy to reach high achievers, nor as a policy to improve education in our country. Grammar schools produce worse results overall, and they clearly damage communities. They lead to parents paying for tutors, children demoralised by being told they are not smart enough, and a social divide at the school gates.
We want good schools that stretch all children, and we believe comprehensives schools are the best way to achieve this.
Does Justine Greening believe in comprehensive education? We’re not too sure.