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weeks of controversy and parliamentary outcry, the Department for Education has pulled a surprising about-face and withdrawn their plans to forcibly turn all schools into academies, despite education secretary Nicky Morgan’s previous assertion that there would be “no reverse gear” on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.
In its latest budget the government has announced its plans to transform all schools into academies, aiming to bring all schools to academy status by 2022. There are currently 5,000 academies in England out of a total of 24,000 schools, with the majority of non-academy schools being primaries. While the government has always been clear on its plans to step up the academisation of schools, many are still surprised by the scale of the proposal and the sudden way in which academy status is to be imposed.
Nicky Morgan is facing mounting criticism over recent changes to Keystage 1 and 2 assessments, with the NUT considering strike action as teachers are beset by last-minute alterations, withheld information, unfeasible performance standards, and a hugely increased bureaucratic burden. The scheme includes new assessment criteria, new standards, increased testing and a host of other changes, yet teachers have found the guidelines vague and unhelpful.
Educational news in the past month has been dominated by the controversy over education secretary Nicky Morgan's introduction of new primary school testing and assessment guidelines, while the ongoing plans for grammar school expansion in Kent have seen pundits analysing the performance of state and grammar schools in the university admissions tables.