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Bright Blue responds to three elements of Theresa May’s education speech: grammar schools, the role of universities and private schools.

Commenting on Grammar schools, Director of Bright Blue, Ryan Shorthouse said:

“The Government is wasting precious political capital on re-introducing grammar schools. The evidence shows that the best way to improve the educational attainment of children from less advantaged homes is by ensuring they can access high-quality pre-school education and receive high-quality teaching in schools. The most excellent and equitable education systems from around the world do not rely on selective education.

“The biggest problem in education in the UK is the long tail of underachievement, where roughly a third of school leavers do not get the expected minimum in their GCSEs. Selective education will not help these people; in fact, evidence shows it is likely to make it worse for them.

“To justify grammar schools, the Government is using dated data on social mobility. The truth is that, over the past few decades, we don’t know what’s been happening to social mobility. But what evidence does exist shows that the UK might be more socially mobile now than in the past.”

Commenting on the roles of universities, Ryan Shorthouse, Director of Bright Blue said:

“The Government is right to demand universities charging higher tuition fees establish or sponsor academies. The evidence demonstrates that the best way to increases the chances of children from less advantaged backgrounds getting to university is to improve their prior educational attainment.

“Actually, the best way to boost the educational attainment of disadvantaged children is by improving their cognitive abilities in infancy. The Government should also encourage universities to establish and sponsor high-quality pre-school settings as part of its new plan.”

Commenting on private schools, Ryan Shorthouse, Director of Bright Blue, said:

“The Government is right to demand private schools do more to justify their charitable status. As part of this, they should have to publish their Value Added Scores. This will show how well pupils progress on average between the ages of 11 and 16. This will allow parents to make a more informed decision about whether an expensive private education really represents value for money.”


Notes to editors:

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