‘How to win the argument against grammar schools’. Sam Freedman, former advisor to Michael Gove, gave an impassioned response at the ResearchEd conference:
‘For God’s sake do apply for the consultation… I know people think that the government never reads them but if 97 per cent of people who write in are against it, it will be hard for them to hide it.’
I’ve taken Sam’s advice to defeat what he called ‘this pile of garbage’. I've completed the consultation survey. It took about 20 to 30 minutes. But be warned: the questions, particularly those about selective schools, assume support for the proposals. For example, Question 19 asks:
‘How should we best support existing grammars to expand?’
This assumes expansion is a good thing. I took the opportunity to say the selective system doesn’t work for all children. Rather than expanding selection, a system which works for all children would have no selection at 11.
Question 20 asked, ‘What can we do to support the creation of either wholly or partially new selective schools’. I wrote that the creation of new wholly or partially selective schools was divisive and undesirable.
Question 21 said, ‘How can we support existing non-selective schools to become selective?’ Of all the daft questions in the Consultation, this is perhaps the daftest. The Government has given no thought to the possible consequences of allowing all schools to become selective. What if a majority of comprehensives or schools still designated as ‘modern’ wish to introduce selection? Where would pupils not selected be educated? If ‘selective’ is seen as the most desirable, what does it say about non-selective schools especially those near to a selective one?
The consultation document, misleadingly called 'Schools that work for everyone', is here.