You may not have noticed but the flagship policy of the previous Prime Minister and Education Secretary was quietly and without ceremony finally laid to rest last week.
The white paper that proposed all schools should become academies was officially killed off by the new Education Secretary, Justine Greening. Instead, we face the prospect of yet another set of Education reforms in the new parliament next year, a consultation for which is already out. The main proposal in ‘Schools that work for Everyone’ is that new grammar schools will be created which will select students by ability. This means that children will sit an ’11 plus’ type exam and will be divided into two groups; putting this simply, winners and losers; those who pass and those who fail; those that get into grammar school and those that do not.
I have no problem with reforms in education that improve standards, and in over 20 years of teaching I have not found one teacher who doesn’t want standards to improve. However, the reforms that are proposed do not come with any evidence that grammar schools improve standards or promote the social mobility that the government thinks they will. Certainly, research from when grammar schools were widespread suggests this doesn’t happen. I also do not see the point of investing millions earmarked for the creation of these new schools when school budgets are being cut. In addition, this is yet another set of unwelcome distractions at a time when we have major reforms to curriculum, exams, OFSTED, the list goes on and on, all of which take time away from the most important job; providing great teaching and learning opportunities for your children. I urge you to complete the consultation and register your views as parents. In the meantime, we at Cowplain will continue to keep our focus on what is good for our students and continue working hard on making our school the best it can be despite the distractions we face.
Complete the consultation at https://consult.education.gov.uk/school-frameworks/schools-that-work-for-everyone