Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Government to pump £50 million into grammar schools in England

Government to pump £50 million into grammar schools in England

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "In the face of such overwhelming evidence, it therefore beggars belief that the government has announced it will plough £50m to expand the number of places at existing selective grammar schools".

Funding of £50 million has been found for existing grammars to build new classrooms, extensions or annexes.

In return for a share of the funding, grammars will to submit a "fair access and partnership plan", setting out the action they will take to increase the admission of disadvantaged pupils.

The Conservatives were forced to abandon last year's manifesto pledge to open a new generation of grammar schools because they did not have enough MPs to change the law.

It is a unusual twist of fate that today's grammar school announcement better reflects the priorities of the education secretary who was sacked rather than those of the prime minister who sacked her.

School leaders, unions and the Labour Party have lined up to slam the decision to resurrect "the grammar school corpse" with "scarce" new money, claiming the model stoked inequality.

If the £50 million pot was shared equally by the 163 grammar schools in England, each would receive just over £300,000.

"There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that increasing grammar school places improves progressive educational outcomes", said Eyre, a governor of Coombe Road primary school in Brighton.

Grammar School Heads' Association chief executive, Jim Skinner, said: "We are very pleased that, like other good and outstanding schools, selective schools now have access to a fund to allow them to expand their premises".

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Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The Government can not point to a single piece of evidence that shows strong educational benefit of this misguided policy".

The stated aim was to improve social mobility, but this was actually a weakness rather than a strength of the grammar school system as it stood.

Those against grammar schools argue that they have an adverse effect on late developers who are denied the chance to reach their full potential because of failing in an exam at the age of 11.

Under current legislation, no new grammar schools are allowed to open, but in 2016 the Department for Education gave the green light to the Weald of Kent to open on a separate site under the same name.

Instead, the cap will remain but funds will be provided for local authorities to create faith schools that will be able to be fully selective on the grounds of religion.

"This is important at any time but particularly so when funding is very tight as a result of government under-investment in the education system".

Just 2.6 per cent of pupils on FSM are taught in grammar schools, compared with 14.1 per cent in all schools.

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The Government can not point to a single piece of evidence that shows strong educational benefit of this misguided policy".

"Our research finds that, as the number of grammar places increases, a penalty emerges for all pupils who live nearby but don't get in and this penalty is larger for disadvantaged pupils than non-disadvantaged pupils", Perera said.

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