Theresa May Confirms She Plans New Grammars And Rounds On Her Critics

The new grammars would also have to build deep links with their local community and have ‘feeder’ primary schools to ensure that the most deprived but most able children were given the best chance of entry.

The PM stressed at the 1922 Committee meeting that no schools would be imposed on any area that didn’t want them and they would be “inclusive and not exclusive”.

She is keen to ensure that parents and pupils choose schools rather than schools choosing pupils, and some allies suggest she could turn some ‘Free Schools’, outside council control, into the new grammars.

However, the Government’s social mobility tsar has given a stark warning of the dangers of a switch back to academic selection.

In an interview with The Guardian Alan Milburn said he will wait to hear the Government’s proposals but added: “Frankly, I still remain sceptical about the social mobility dividend.”

The former Labour cabinet minister said: “This is not selection educationally, it is selection socially. If (more of) that is what is being talked about, it will not provide a social mobility dividend, it will be a social mobility disaster.”

Milburn recommended a number of policies to address inequalities in education, including better pay and discounted housing for teachers who move to disadvantaged areas, having a Ucas-style system for pupils going down the vocational route, and improving parenting skills.

Lib Dem education spokesman John Pugh ridiculed the PM’s idea: “There is no such thing as inclusive grammar schools. By their very nature they exclude children who don’t pass a test aged 11.”

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “The prime minister talks about social inclusion while at the same time advocating social segregation through grammar school selection.”

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools watchdog Ofsted, this week said the idea that poor children would benefit from a return of grammar schools was “tosh” and “nonsense”.

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