BBC News are reporting that grammar schools are back on the agenda with a grassroots Conservative group about to launch a campaign for their return.
The first step would be the removal of the current ban on opening new grammar schools in England.
But there is also a requirement, created by David Cameron’s government, that all new state schools should be free schools, a type of academy set up by community groups or academy chains.
So the most likely route for new grammars would be as a form of free school. These are likely to expand anyway, as there are official forecasts showing an extra 570,000 more secondary places in England are needed within the decade.
But free schools are non-selective and are officially described as “‘all-ability’ schools, so can’t use the academic selection processes of grammar schools”. This would have to change to allow entrance tests for new grammar free schools.
Another way of expanding grammar numbers, without building any new schools, would be to allow private schools which were once grammars – such as the old direct grant grammars – to return to the state sector.
Are you keen to see the return of grammar schools, or anxious to prevent their interference in the new free school school system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Nellie
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