Education Secretary, Justine Greening, has launched a consultation on new plans to expand selective education in Britain.
Under the new package of measures independent schools will be required to demonstrate more public benefit, universities would need to directly support schools in return for charging higher fees, selective schools would be allowed to expand and faith schools would have restrictions relaxed.
The Department for Education (DfE) proposes that, in order to continue to benefit from charitable status, independent schools will need to assist the state-funded system by offering more places. The majority of independent schools already work closely with the state sector through partnerships, but the Independent Schools Council (ISC) said they were “happy to continue this work.”
Expanding the grammar school system forms part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for social mobility, as the government pledges to create more good school places across the country. Under the proposals, new and expanded grammar schools would be required to ‘help children from all backgrounds’, including prioritising selection of those entitled to Pupil Premium.
UK universities now have the freedom to take on as many students as they wish, and charge a higher rate of fees. The DfE proposes that universities should offer their expertise to schools and even set up their own, in exchange for the ability to charge the higher fees. By raising standards in schools, the government believes this will widen access to university.
Schools with a religious character make up approximately one third of all state schools in England. The DfE proposes to remove the cap on faith-based admissions, to promote choice for parents and allow 100% faith-based admissions.
Take part in the consultation via the DfE website.