It’s become a familiar refrain in the British press over the last few years: the humanities are being dismantled, arts subjects are disappearing from schools, funding for everything outside Progress 8 is being cut.
Ever since Theresa May’s plans to expand the grammar school system were announced, the question of “fair” admissions policies has come up in almost every debate about the future of British schools. However, while grammar schools may have caught public interest and reignited old battles over social mobility and inequality, a much older conflict has been brewing in the background over a different type of selective education: faith schools.
After Theresa May’s January reshuffle saw Justine Greening removed as Education Secretary, there has been considerable speculation as to how the new secretary Damian Hinds would handle the issues he stands to inherit, and whether his priorities would align with those of his predecessor or with those of the Prime Minister.
The announcement of Theresa May’s plans for new grammar schools has revived a decades-old debate about selective schooling in the British educational system, and the last few months have seen the issue rise to the top of the parliamentary agenda. The proposal is facing resistance from both Labour MPs and Conservative backbenchers, and has also drawn criticism from teachers and members of the educational establishment.
Education news has been pushed to the sideline by the upcoming EU referendum, but schools and teachers are now stepping into the fray to warn that Brexit might negatively impact children's education, citing the difficulties it will create for Languages departments and the funding problems it will create at university level, particularly for students pursuing a career in sciences
After weeks of controversy and parliamentary outcry, the Department for Education has pulled a surprising about-face and withdrawn their plans to forcibly turn all schools into academies, despite education secretary Nicky Morgan’s previous assertion that there would be “no reverse gear” on the reforms.
News this month has been dominated by the recent government white paper outlining plans for the academisation of British schools, with increased press scrutiny on both the management and the nature of academies and academy trusts.