MPs cast doubt on government proposals for grammar schools
February 17, 2017
This week, the House of Commons Education Select Committee published a report of its ‘evidence check’, scrutinising the government’s proposals on selective (grammar) schools. The report is based on MPs’ questions last November to a panel of experts, minister for school standards Nick Gibb and senior civil servants.
The chair of the committee, Neil Carmichael MP, said: “The Government has yet to prove the case for opening a new wave of grammar schools… if the Government wants to push ahead with new grammar schools it must demonstrate how this aids social mobility and improves educational outcomes for all, most especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds”.
The report recognises that the proposals “differ significantly from the characteristics of grammar schools past and present” and puts forward a number of recommendations:
the government should demonstrate how its proposals will meet the economy’s need for a broadly skilled workforce
the government “must demonstrate how the creation of new grammar schools will help close the attainment gap within the wider school system, not just for individual pupils”
wider socio-economic issues should be taken in account when comparing pupils at selective and non-selective schools
admissions to grammar schools should not be based purely on selection tests
the government should publish a thorough assessment of the impact of its proposals e.g. consequences for school funding, teacher supply, and “the overall health of schools in England”
Writing in The Times, minister Nick Gibb MP appeared to reaffirm the government’s commitment to expanding the number of grammar school places in England, stating that “the demand is there” and that the Department for Education is “looking forward to setting out the next stage of our proposals”.