The Financial Times is reporting that the OECD’s top education expert has suggested that the UK government is “dramatically over-playing” the capacity for grammar schools to drive up academic standards and improve social mobility.
The comments from Andreas Schleicher, head of education assessment at the group of developed nations, come less than a week after Theresa May, UK prime minister, unveiled plans to open more grammar schools and promised £50m of new money to expand selective schooling in England.
But while Mrs May argues that grammars will boost opportunities for the most able children who cannot afford to live in the catchment area of the best schools, Mr Schleicher warned that introducing more academic selection was not the answer. Instead, he urged the UK to invest instead in high-quality teaching across the system.
“I can see the case for introducing more meritocracy in the UK school system. I think the brightest students don’t always get the opportunities they deserve,” he told reporters. “But if I wanted to address it, I would look at what happens inside [existing] schools.
“The fact that too many students fall through the cracks in too many schools is a far bigger problem than not having enough schools which are selective. The issue lies within schools, not between schools.”
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