On 11th July 2016 Theresa May took over as Prime minister, due to David Cameron’s resignation. Having been educated at a grammar school herself, May has expressed her desire to reintroduce grammar schools in the UK.
On 9th September, May announced her plans to reintroduce grammar schools and her view that schools should have the right to choose pupils based on ability. The prime minister suggested in her plan schools becoming much more selective and she thinks the ban has been in place far too long, causing a lot of controversy amongst the public. There would be £50m of new funding put towards this plan.
The chief inspector of Ofsted thinks May’s plans will `undo years of progress’ and the labour party thinks the changes will `entrench inequality’. One of the biggest worries is that poorer pupils are under-represented in grammar schools so May declared that new and expanding grammar schools will take quotas of poor pupils or grammar schools will help run other schools to help poorer students get the same opportunities.
The prime minster stated that we are `sacrificing children's potential because of dogma and ideology’ and argues that schools are already selected on house price and wealth. Additionally specialist disciplines such as music and sport can be the basis of selection so the same approach should be taken for those who are academically gifted. The plans will also include the ability for bright children to join grammar schools, not just at 11, but at 14 and 16 as well, so all age groups receive the same opportunities.
Most people assumed an Act of Parliament would be needed to end the current ban introduced by Labour in 1998, however, this is not necessary. To ensure the system is fair, a meeting will take place on how to make the tests more inclusive so it is not limited to families who can pay for tutoring in order to pass the test. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, said his party would block these proposals to end the ban and they believe it is ` dividing children on the basis of their perceived ability at the age of 11’.