Will grammar schools improve education in Britain?

No. Probably not and the BBC have asked experts lined up by the bucketload to explain why.

But the thing is – if you are reading this you have been sidetracked by the establishment. Again. Grammar schools are polemic and totemic yet they make gash all difference to the vast majority of the country – including those in education now or the next few years. It provides a rallying cry for the tory and labour troops and a gamut of front pages and op eds for newspapers which all gormlessly gather round when there is not just an elephant in the room, but an entire troop. In short, the dead cat has been successfully lobbed into the arena by May and her spin doctors and everyone has forgotten everything else about the education system.

The entire education system, from nurseries to universities is in that deep shit at the moment. Nurseries say that they cannot afford to provide the 30-hours of free care anymore. Their is a massive teacher shortage that has never been experienced by the British education system before with both recruitment and retention getting much, much worse. Pupil numbers, thanks to all the procreation during the great recession of 2008-9, have ballooned and are about to enter the creaking at the seams secondary school system which has neither the schools, the teachers or the classrooms to house them let alone educate them.Class sizes are increasing dramatically across the board and look likely in many areas to break legal limits on the number of kids in one room. The removal of ‘council bureaucracy’ and the creation of the free school system means that local authorities can’t now build new establishments to house these extra kids. Meanwhile, that very same flagship free school programme has done nothing to improve standards and –  the other recent reinvention of education – faith schools are increasingly being seen as dangerously divisive in towns and cities across the country. The NUT has held 11 day-long strikes in two years over increasing workloads and school funding. Colleges, the bastion of post GCSE education, are being torn to shreds as successive governments ignore their value. And universities, while now being able to charge some of the highest fees in the OECD, are still not being rigorously checked to see if their teaching is any good leading to a downgrade across the board on the ‘how good are your country’s universities compared to other country’s’ scale.

But you and the unions, and the government and the charities and the last bastions of opposition parties drum to the same tune of whether grammar schools are good or not. I just wonder when will anyone will ever learn?

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