Justine Greening's speech smacks of desperation

13 April 2017

Commenting on Education Secretary Justine Greening’s speech today about the government’s plans to increase the number of selective schools in England, Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said:

The Secretary of State’s attempt to justify the expansion of selection on the premise that it will benefit ‘ordinary working families’ smacks of desperation. Tinkering with admissions codes will not alter the fact that these schools will be able to benefit only a minority of young people. 

The evidence we have seen does not support the premise that the further expansion of selection will improve education for the majority of young people. The evidence indicates that it will have a damaging impact on the life chances of the majority who do not attend a selective school.

The government’s obsession with selection is a dangerous distraction. Ministers need to deal with the real issue which is the funding crisis that is affecting schools of every type and in every part of the country. The best way to deliver a good school place for every child is to ensure existing schools and colleges have sufficient funding and access to a ready supply of high-quality teachers and leaders. 

ASCL wants all young people to succeed in order to realise their full potential and to create a workforce with the capacity and skills to enable the UK to thrive in a global economy.