Speed-read: Nick Gibb’s ‘Grammar School’ response to MPs

The government response to the education committee’s grammar schools report is out – editor Laura McInerney gives it the speed-read treatment. 

Over the 2016/17 academic year, the schools community was subject to a consultation on bringing back new grammar schools. In response, the parliamentary education committee investigated and published a series of recommendations.

Today, the government – by way of schools minister Nick Gibb – has published its response to these recommendations.

Note: it still hasn’t published its response to the consultation, which is now almost a year late.

Here, in brief and with all the jargon taken out, is what it says along with my comments:

Recommendations 1 & 2: Show how grammar schools help the Industrial strategy and how they will close the attainment gap

Nick Gibb response: We expect everyone to teach the EBacc and also the education secretary will lay out the Industrial Strategy

My view: Seriously, this is what it says.


Recommendation 3: Government must be cautious when comparing between high- and mixed-ability pupils at selective and non-selective schools

Nick Gibb response: We agree and the head of statistics has put in place procedures to ensure this happens.

My view: Not surprising given they were told off by the Statistics Authority.


Recommendation 4:  Tests should not be the only basis for grammar school admission

Nick Gibb response: We expect selective schools to reduce the impact of tutoring for tests and create free of charge mock tests and familiarisation programmes for everyone, but particularly children from disadvantaged

My view: This translates into ‘No, we are not going to make any change to grammar admissions’.


Recommendation 5: The Government must publish a thorough assessment of the impact of introducing greater selection on the wider school system, outlining all of the options considered

Nick Gibb response: We are doing lots of things that are impacting the wider system such as reviewing teacher recruitment and bringing in the national funding formula.

My view: It’s amazing how the 300 word answer to this question never once mentions selection, selective schools or grammars WHICH IS WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT.

And that’s it! Maybe this is because the Department for Education is no longer spending any resource on looking into grammar school expansion. But one can never be too careful…

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