The government has announced that grammar schools will be given the chance to make thousands of new places for pupils as part of a trimmed down expansion scheme.
Grammar schools are controversial since they select pupils based on there results of the 11-plus given to 10 and 11-year olds. This, rivals say allows them to “cream off ” the smartest pupils from neighbouring schools. This new scheme, part of a £50 million expansion fund, will “give parents greater choice” the education secretary Damian Hinds says.
However, teachers’ unions have criticised the plan. “The grammar school corpse has climbed out of its coffin once Faith & grammar schools get green light By Fahad Redha again,” Kevin Courtney, leader of the National Education Union, said, despite evidence of the damage that selective education causes.”
The Conservatives promised during the election to remove the cap on faith-based free schools to stop them allocating more than half of their places on the grounds of religion. But the government has abandoned this pledge choosing instead to provide funding for local authorities to create a new generation of “voluntaryaided” faith schools. These will be allowed to be completely selective on the basis of faith.
“The continued obsession with grammar schools will do nothing for the vast majority of children,” Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said, “and it is absurd for ministers to push ahead with plans to expand them when the evidence is clear that they do nothing to improve social mobility.
“If you spread grammar school places throughout the country and make them available to lots of disadvantaged children then you would give these disadvantaged children the same opportunity to get an academic education.”