"New grammars will only benefit the wealthy" OECD Education Chief Andreas Schleicher warns

Article

21 September, 2016

Mr Schleicher criticised the new plans in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) annual report comparing education systems across the developed world.

The plans, published by education secretary Justine Greening, call for the opening of new grammar schools in England in a bid to improve standards. Since their inception, the plans have been subjected to widespread criticism, with many viewing them as a step back in time.

Grammar school plans were the subject of further criticism within Mr Schleicher's report. Based on international evidence, he did not consider that there was any link between selection and the improvement of schools. Mr Schleicher brought in to question the importance of a one off entrance exam, stating that "any kind of test is likely to favour social background over true academic potential."

The OECD education Chief said that the importance of grammars has been "dramatically overplayed", in that selection does not always equate to increasing the number of bright students. In comparing selective western European systems such as those within Switzerland and Germany with selective Asian systems, such as Hong Kong, the western European systems were not likely to yield high numbers of high achievers compared to their Asian counterparts. Mr Schleicher said of systems such as Hong Kong, and Singapore, that they "are very good at figuring out how good students really are".

The new proposals show that the new education secretary may be moving away from her predecessor's plans of national academisation. The previously funding of new academies will surely suffer if the plans for more grammar schools materialise. Most importantly, what does this mean for the future generations and our education system?

Is it a worthwhile exercise for the DfE to pursue the plans for new grammars across England, given how poorly received the plans have been so far?

Is this the beginning of the end for academisation?

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