Grammar School Expansion Abandoned

Thursday, 29th June 2017

Plans to create a new stock of Grammar Schools have been shelved in recent government plans.

In the recent Queen’s Speech, it was stated that the Government will now begin to look at “all options” when opening new schools. However, this won’t include the removal of the current ban on expanding selection.

Plans to stop free lunches for all infants was not present, taking away the largest potential source of additional funding for schools set out in the Conservative manifesto. In fact, the Government is yet to announce any new legislation for education whilst setting out it’s plans for the next two years so far.

This would suggest a decision to not continue with their high profile education reform – the expansion of selective education in England.

The new plans have now called for every child to go to a good or outstanding school. This does however recognise that any changes that are to occur will rely upon being able to “command a majority”.

A source within the Department for Education (DfE) advised that the Queens Speech was an unambiguous decision not to proceed with the creation of more grammar schools.

The following would suggest there are major shortages within the budget:

  • No new grammar schools
  • Plans dropped to stop free lunches for all infants
  • No legislation announced for education
  • School funding plans to be put forward at a later date
  • Changes to how individual school budgets are allocated will go ahead
  • Technical education to be upgraded

Meanwhile, there has been a campaign ongoing by schools around budget shortages, including a letter being sent out in June to over two million families warning about funding cuts.

It would appear that the governments largest motion to provide extra funding, as announced in the Conservative manifesto has also been forgotten about.

By removing free meals for all infants, a saving of around £650m was expected – creating the bulk of an additional £1bn per year as a boost to school budgets.

This obviously creates a huge deficiency within the manifesto in relation to school funding.

Four teaching unions provided a combined response and advised that schools were going to the length of issuing letters ‘begging parents’ and stated that the lack of immediate action is disappointing.

Jules White, a head teacher from West Sussex has been involved in the coordination of a funding campaign acorss 17 local authorities.

She advised:

“The government said that it had heard the message from the electorate. It’s high time they acted to put things right and fund schools in a way that every child deserves.”

The government have advised that they will look to bring proposals forward on school funding at a later date.

Jo Yurky, who ran a parents’ campaign over school cuts, said the delay on funding had shown a “baffling disregard for the concerns of parents, teachers and school leaders”.

The government however insists that they are pressing on with amendments to policy on how budgets become allocated to schools through a new National Funding Formula.

The new thought formula is intended to stop unfairness and anomalies within funding allocations.

Alongside this, there is a commitment in place to improve vocational education & to improve the level of skill within the workforce – training more people for higher skills and higher paid jobs in the future.

The intention is for vocational exams to be given equal recognition to academic qualifications. There are plans in place for a new ‘T-Level’technical qualification.

Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, Layla Moran, said: “It is incredulous that the government have claimed they will deliver fair funding for every school in today’s Queen’s Speech.

“The reality is that pupils and teachers will still bear the brunt of billions of pounds of cuts under Conservative plans.”

If your school is affected by any budget cuts or you require a school improvement solution or support service, contact Castles Education today on 0161 914 9185.

Reference: BBC