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Conservatives set to abandon grammar schools policy


Conservatives

The government are set to scrap their plans to expand the grammar school system in England.

The Queen’s Speech said that the government will “look at all options” for increasing the number of schools across the country, but this will not involve removing the ban on selective admission.

There also seemed to be a U-turn on the proposed plan to stop free lunches for infants.

As a knock-on effect of this backtracking, it seems as though the largest source of school funding in the Conservative manifesto will be unavailable. Perhaps as a consequence of difficulties with funding, the government has announced no legislation as part of their plans for the next two years.

In their amended plans for education, the Conservatives call for “every child to go to a good or outstanding school”, with any changes being subject the party’s ability to “command a majority”.

A source for the Department for Education has said that the omission of the policy from the Queen’s Speech represented an irrevocable decision not to create new grammar schools.

For some time now there have been campaigns from schools and parents over budget shortages and two million families were recently sent letters warning of future cuts to school funding.

This issue seems set to continue to escalate due to the cancellation of government’s plan to save money by scrapping free meals for infants; this had been set to create an extra £650m which would have been part of a proposed £1bn a year increase in school funding.

A response was issued by a coalition of four teachers’ unions, saying that schools were “sending out begging letters to parents” and said that the government’s “lack of urgent action is deeply disappointing”.

Jules White, a key player in the funding campaign in 17 local authorities, said: “The government said that it had heard the message from the electorate.

“It’s high time they acted to put things right and fund schools in a way that every child deserves.”

The government says it will bring forward its proposals on school funding at a later date.

Despite complaints made by teachers and parents, the government has confirmed it will be continuing with its alterations to budgetary allocations, through use of a new National Funding Formula.

The formula is intended to fix perceived unfairness in funding given to individual schools.

The government have also made a commitment to improve the standard of vocational education, saying they want to train people for “high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future”.

Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, Layla Moran, said: “It is incredulous that the government have claimed they will deliver fair funding for every school in today’s Queen’s Speech.

“The reality is that pupils and teachers will still bear the brunt of billions of pounds of cuts under Conservative plans.”

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