The TES is reporting that academics today told the Commons education selection committee that they were sceptical about whether the government’s plans to increase the number of grammar schools will increase social mobility.
Nick Gibb, minister for school standards, admitted that the evidence about existing grammar schools is “mixed”, but stressed that the latest proposals are for a new type of system, which will force selective schools to support non-selective schools.
Here are six highlights from the committee’s “evidence check” on the plans, which are currently under consultation.
1. Social mobility
They referred to statistics showing that, currently, an average of 2.5 per cent of pupils at grammar schools are entitled to free school meals, compared with an average of 9 per cent of the school population in the same areas.
Mr Gibb said there would be strict conditions on new or expanded grammar schools to ensure they take in enough disadvantaged children, or supported local non-selective schools.
2. Selection at 11?
Dr Allen said selection at 14 would be better than at 11 – if only because it would delay the damage she said selection causes. But she warned that selection could actually put children from a disadvantaged background at a further disadvantage.
3. ‘Tutor-proof’ tests
There was significant scepticism about whether it was possible to create a tutor-proof test, which could remove the advantage for children from better-off families who can afford private tutoring.
Asked whether it was possible to produce a tutor-proof test, Mr Gibb said: “That would be the holy grail, and grammar schools are trying to do that.”
To read all six highlights visit: Nick Gibb responds to academic criticism of grammar schools
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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