Social mobility Tsar casts doubt on revival of grammar school in England

Britain’s social mobility tsar has cast doubt on Liz Truss’s plans to revive grammar schools in England, arguing that they primarily benefit children whose families can train them to pass entrance exams. Huh.

Katharine Birbal Singh, Headmaster Nominated by Truss last year As chairman of the government’s Social Mobility Commission, said select schools educated some disadvantaged or working-class pupils as they struggled to win places.

“The problem with grammar schools these days is that, because there is such an industry as preparing children to enter grammar schools, if you do not have the resources or means to prepare your child for admission, You can be dropped,” Birbalsingh said in an interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari.

“You look at grammar schools and think, how many kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, how many working class kids? There aren’t that many, these days.

“It is not wrong to suggest that [past] Grammar schools will pursue some working-class children. I’m not sure they do that much nowadays.”

The Secretary of Education, Kit Malhouse, said this week that Truss wanted to “address the strong desire in a lot of parents to reflect the benefits derived from grammar schools in the wider education system. And so we’re certainly going to balk at that.” Let’s go, and see where we get to.”

Birbalsingh said he looked forward to hearing how Malthouse planned to address the selection problem, which he suggested “did not exist” in 1975. The building of new grammar schools is banned England since 1998, but are said to be eager to repeal the Truss ban.

Campaigners against the selection say the test favors those who are taught privately or who go to independent schools, leaving some room for children from poor backgrounds.

“The problem with exams is that they never test raw ability. They are often doing preparation tests for them, which is right and proper,” Birbalsingh said. “But if you haven’t prepared like that then how are you to compete with people who have? That’s the problem with grammar schools.”

Birbalsingh is the founder of the Michaela Community School in Wembley, north-west London, which is known for its firm discipline and high academic standards – which has led to him being called “Britain’s strictest headmaster”.

Read full story at the guardian.com

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