Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/916/23542
From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2016
Fund smaller classes - not new grammars
Grammar schools are socially exclusive and disadvantage kids from poorer families, photo Teo Sze Lee (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
James Kerr, Socialist Party teachers organiser
Theresa May's vow to foster 'social mobility' through the creation of new grammar schools will have made the heads of teachers up and down the country spin.
Even Michael Wilshaw, former head of schools inspector Ofsted, described the plans as "tosh and nonsense". He reminded May, and Education Secretary Justine Greening, that for every grammar school created you get three secondary moderns.
He's right too. As soon as any element of selection is introduced it has a knock-on effect. Yes there are success stories from the grammar system, but there are plenty of examples of failure. And May ignores the leaps and strides in the quality of teaching within comprehensive schools.
It also flies in the face of the research and growth in understanding in the last few decades about how children develop and learn. Much of that research shows the elasticity of the brain allows for humans' understanding and intelligence to grow rapidly under the right conditions.
For example, London black cab drivers' brains physically get bigger when they take 'The Knowledge'. In other words, a child's intelligence or talent is not fixed, and shouldn't be measured at eleven as a guide for where they'll be in the future.
Instead all children should be exposed to a varied curriculum, surrounded by a broad cross-section of their peers to bounce ideas and skills off each other.
If you want to improve children's life chances, it's simple. Fund reduction in class sizes so children can receive the support they need, and create an exciting and varied educational environment for all young people where they're challenged and inspired on a daily basis.
The Tories seem to view the education unions as an obstacle they can overcome. We need to make sure that's not the case. Otherwise education will be dragged further back to a system of the haves and have-nots.
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In The Socialist 14 September 2016:
What we think
Labour party needs democratic structures and socialist policies
Socialist Party news and analysis
#KeepCorbyn: Fight workhouse conditions
NHS chiefs warn cuts mean rationing or charges
Fund smaller classes - not new grammars
Benefit cap could shut 67% of women's refuges
Them & Us
What We Saw
International socialist news and analysis
New 'strongman' president threatens martial law - while leaning on left parties for support
International news in brief
Socialist Party feature
Obesity crisis: government strategy offers no solution
Workplace news and analysis
Westbourne Park bus dispute continues
NSSN lobby of the TUC: an urgent time for our movement
Library workers defeat Tory cuts
Thousands of Post Office workers to strike against job losses
Southern Rail dispute update
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party youth and students
Why you should become a socialist student!
Students and workers unite to cut rents
Why I joined the Socialist Party
Join the Socialist Party - join the fightback
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Fighting fascism with motorbike stunts
The Socialist inbox
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Labour loses byelection but Corbyn isn't the problem
Protest against closure of vital heart unit
Socialist Party members join disability rights week of action
The Socialist 14 September 2016 |
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