Today’s news review looks at research into grammar school admissions and comments made by the former headteacher of Durand Academy.
Today, 18 October, the BBC ran a story across its channels after research analysed the admissions policies of all 163 grammar schools in England.
Its analysis suggests that less than half currently give any priority in admissions to pupils from lower income backgrounds.
This in fact strengthens our case for lifting the ban on grammar schools as we propose to place conditions on any new and existing selective schools; this would include conditions to prioritise the admission of disadvantaged pupils.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Every child, regardless of their background, should have access to an excellent education. Grammar schools provide opportunities for disadvantaged pupils, helping to all but eliminate the attainment gap between them and their better off classmates. However, thousands of children are missing out on a place at a grammar because of the current ban on allowing new selective schools, which means many families are not being given a true choice.
The government is currently consulting on scrapping the ban on new grammar schools, and allowing them to open where parents want them. Too often, the chance of getting the best education depends not on their talent or hard work but on where they live or how much money their parents have.
Our new approach is not about recreating the binary system of the past or maintaining the status quo. We want to look at how we can ensure new selective schools prioritise the admission of pupils from lower income households and support other local pupils in non-selective schools to help raise standards.
Let us know your views on grammar schools our Schools that Work for Everyone consultation.
Today, 18 October, BBC Radio 4 interviewed Sir Greg Martin, former head of Durand Academy, who criticised the Department for Education and Education Funding Agency after a letter was issued on Tuesday 11 October, informing the school of our intention to terminate their funding agreement.
The notice that was issued outlines its failure or refusal to comply with six of the eight requirements set out in the provisional notice of termination that was issued to the trust on 4 July 2016.
Academies Minister, Lord Nash, said:
Following much consideration we have advised Durand Academy Trust that we are planning to proceed with the termination of the Trust’s Funding Agreement.
A provisional notice of termination was issued to the trust on 4 July because of serious concerns about financial management and governance. That notice set out a number of requirements. The trust has failed or refused to comply with six of the eight requirements we set out to address our concerns.
This is not a decision we have taken lightly but it has been done to safeguard the future education of Durand’s pupils and to ensure public money and public assets intended for the education of children are managed effectively.