Universities Won’t Be Allowed To Hike Fees Unless They Create New Schools, May Warns

Oxford University, which last week reported the highest level of state school students for decades, will spend more than £13m on outreach and scholarships.

Under the new arrangements, universities would be expected to use their educational expertise to do more to raise standards in schools.

No.10 says that this will “create a talent pipeline, through which pupils from all backgrounds will have a greater opportunity to get the grades and skills they need to go on to university, and help universities in their efforts to widen participation of lower income students”.

A number of top universities already have successful partnership arrangements with academies or free schools – and some such as King’s College, London, and Birmingham University – have already established new free schools or sponsored existing academies.

As for new or expanding grammars, they will only be allowed if they:

 – take a proportion of pupils from lower income households; or

– establish a new, high quality, non-selective free school; or

– set up or sponsor a primary feeder school in an area with a high density of lower income households; or

– sponsor a currently underperforming non-selective academy.

Plans for new grammars were leaked by accident when an Education Department chief was photographed taking his proposals into Downing Street this week.

But Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner lambasted the idea of going back to the ’11-plus’, and several senior Tory MPs expressed unease too.

With a slender working majority of just 17 in the Commons and an anti-Tory majority in the Lords, May faces a tough battle to get the plans – which were not in the 2015 Tory manifesto – through Parliament.

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