Nick Gibb summoned to grammar schools ‘evidence check’ hearing

The schools minister Nick Gibb and several leading academics have been summoned to an ‘evidence check’ hearing on the government’s proposals for new grammar schools.

The education select committee will grill Gibb and five other key witnesses at the session next Tuesday (November 8).

An announcement last month that the government wants to see an expansion of selection by ability across England has sparked a heated debate, with anecdotes of social mobility often pitted against evidence to the contrary.

MPs have now said they wanted to take a closer look at the stated pros and cons of the policy.

The air has been thick with the sound of claims and counter-claims

Becky Allen, director of Education Datalab, economics professor David Jesson from the University of York, Luke Sibieta from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and professor Anna Vignoles from the University of Cambridge’s education department, will also appear.

Also appearing alongside Gibb will be the Department for Education’s chief scientific adviser, Tim Leunig.

A public consultation on the plans set out by the government in its ‘schools that work for everyone’ green paper will close on December 12.

But Neil Carmichael, the Conservative chair of the committee and one of a growing number of grammar school sceptics inside Theresa May’s own party, said MPs wanted to get “underneath the rhetoric”.

Becky Allen
Becky Allen

“Since the Government announced its green paper proposing an extension to selective education, the air has been thick with the sound of claims and counter-claims on the benefits and disadvantages of grammar schools.

“As a committee, it’s important we try to get underneath the rhetoric and examine the evidence. This session gives us a valuable opportunity to hear the cases for and against grammar schools, and their effects on academic attainment, social mobility, and on the education system as a whole.”

The hearing will begin at 9.45am. Follow @SchoolsWeekLive on twitter for live updates.

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