The prime minister has tasked her education secretary, Kit Malthouse, with drawing up plans for new grammar schools. Malthouse said Liz Truss had “made clear during the leadership election that she wanted to see work on grammar schools, fundamentally, because there is a desire from parents in some parts of the country to have them. We’re about parental choice. Everybody needs to be able to make a choice for their kids. And so looking at that policy seriously and looking at areas that want to have it, or indeed, grammar schools that want to expand is something that she’s definitely asked us to do.”
Comprehensive Future’s Chair, Dr Nuala Burgess, said, “This is a dangerous time for all our children. Liz Truss is serious about returning England to a system of education that was rightly abandoned decades ago. Truss does not have a mandate for overturning the law which forbids the creation of new grammar schools but she seems hell bent on this idea and is going for it anyway.
In spite of claims made by our Prime Minister and other members of her government that this is what parents want, there appears to be little public appetite for an education system which involves the segregation of children at the age of 11 into different types of schools. What advocates of grammar schools conveniently omit to mention is that more grammar schools automatically means more secondary moderns. You cannot have one without the other. There is absolutely no need for more grammar schools and there are few parents who could possibly want to subject their child to more high stakes testing in the form of the 11-plus.
It is massively concerning that a new, untried government can choose to sweep aside all reason and the weight of evidence which shows the very limited value of grammar schools for a tiny minority of children. Ask any parent what they want for their child’s education and it certainly isn’t ‘more grammar schools’. Parents want well-funded, well resourced schools.
Far from being a universally popular idea, it will be parents in wealthy areas who are more likely to support Liz Truss’s plan for more grammar schools. The type of parents who can afford 11-plus tuition and who might also choose a grammar to save on private school fees.
With grammar school fan, Jonathan Gullis, as the new schools minister the signs are not good for our education system. Gullis is someone who appears to have no qualms about implementing an education policy based on his own unfounded beliefs rather than the evidence. All the research shows that few children who get into grammar schools are from disadvantaged backgrounds – that is how these schools preserve their ‘elite’ status. Grammar schools do not ‘raise standards’ nor do they ‘level up’ an area. Only well-funded, inclusive schools prepared to educate all children can do this.”