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Grammar school plan faces MPs challenge

Grammar school plan faces MPs challenge

No system is ideal but we now have selection by house price for our best schools, grammars break down this sort of cost barrier and admit those with the greatest academic potential regardless of background.

The Prime Minister told a private meeting of Conservative MPs on Wednesday evening that she wanted to create a "21st century education system" with an "element of selection".

Critics of grammar schools say they are divisive, with wealthier children more likely to receive a place because their parents can pay for tutoring.

As debate rages about Theresa May's plans for a new batch of grammar schools, we take a look at their history and see how exactly they work.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the government needed to "widen choice" for parents.

The reforms will also force universities which want to charge higher fees to either set up a new school or sponsor a poorly-performing one.

Proposals to be announced "very shortly" would offer parents and children across England "a proper choice of good schools" and not "a choice between passing the 11-plus and failing it and having to go off to a sink school of the kind that's let our children down so badly", he said.

He said he appreciated that many grammar schools did a "fine job", but added that their record of admitting children from non-middle class backgrounds was "pretty woeful".

But Ms Greening told MPs: "We have to acknowledge that we now have selection by house price already, for those who are able to buy a house in the catchment area of the best schools".

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However Mr Milburn warned against a return to grammars. Grammars are also seen as being bad for social mobility by selecting children at such a young age.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said plans were a "regressive move and a distraction from the real problems facing schools and education".

But her ideas for England's schools were attacked by educationalists including the Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, who accused her of trying to "put the clock back" in a way which would halt momentum towards better results in the state system.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: "Tory education policy can be summed up in one word - shambolic".

But Ms Rayner told the Education Secretary: "At a time when our schools are facing a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, with thousands taught in super-sized classes and schools facing real-terms cuts to their budget for the first time in almost two decades, pushing ahead with grammar schools shows a unsafe misunderstanding of the real issues facing our schools". "The priority for our education system should be investment to raise standards, not investment to create social exclusion".

PLANS to end a ban on opening new grammar schools could benefit generations of south Essex youngsters, senior Southend councillors have claimed.

Education Secretary Justine Greening insisted expanding selective schools could help improve pupil attainment as she set out proposals to MPs. By their very nature they exclude children who don't pass a test aged 11. This has not been achieved by selection by ability but by a ruthless commitment to helping every child reach their potential regardless of their starting point.

"These schools have become more and more divorced from normal life", May said in a speech in London.

In other words, opposition to the government's new drive for grammar schools is strong. They didn't talk about extending selection to free schools and so on, which seems to be now what they intend to do.


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