Shadow Education Secretary and MP for Ashton, Droylsden & Failsworth has told the Tories to “Stop your silly class war.” as she rounded on the plans revealed in the House of Commons by the new Education Secretary Justine Greening for a new generation of Grammar Schools.
While Greening told MPs that expanding grammar schools would help families who could not afford to buy houses in the catchment areas of good schools and create a “truly meritocratic” system, Rayner responded by saying that the new mantra of the Conservative party should be “segregation, segregation, segregation” and asked the education secretary to explain who would decide which non-selective schools should be able to convert to become selective.
Meanwhile Manchester Central MP and former shadow education spokesperson Lucy Powell said the school system should be based on examples, such as London, which had many successful schools without selection.
A report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies concludes that grammars can“stretch the brightest pupils, but seem likely to come at the cost of increasing inequality”. The think-tank study argues that grammars do well for those who get places, but those who do not get in are likely to do “worse than they would have done in a comprehensive system”.
The plans for the reintroduction of Grammar Schools are part of a package that will see existinggrammar schools in England to be allowed to expand, backed by £50m of new funding and all state schools in England will be allowed to select pupils by academic ability “in the right circumstances” and where there is demand.
All selective schools will have to meet access conditions, such as taking a share of pupils from low-income backgrounds, setting up a new non-selective secondary or primary school or backing an underperforming academy while Universities will be expected to sponsor a state school or set up a new free school as a condition of their ability to charge higher tuition fees and Independent schools will have to play a bigger part in supporting state schools or sponsoring free schools, in return for maintaining their charitable status.