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Motion to be debated:

“That this House notes recent proposals by the Government to expand the role of grammar and faith schools; and calls on the Government to conduct a full assessment of the evidence relating to the effect of grammar schools and faith schools on children’s learning.”

Grammar schools

In September 2016 the Government published a consultation, Schools that work for everyone, which included proposals to remove the existing ban on new grammar schools in England.  The proposals extend to allowing existing non-selective schools to become grammars, and include Government encouragement for multi-academy trusts to establish a ‘single centre’ (physical or virtual) for their most able pupils.  Schools would be required to undertake certain measures, such as taking a proportion of students from low-income households, in order to become selective.

These proposals have proved highly controversial, with debate focusing on the impact grammar schools have on social mobility.

Faith schools

The September 2016 consultation also proposed changes to faith school admissions.  New academies or free schools with a religious character are currently required to admit, as a minimum, 50% of their pupils without reference to faith where the school is oversubscribed.  The consultation proposed to remove this requirement, and allow oversubscribed schools to select the whole of their intake on the basis of faithd.

These proposals have also proved controversial.  Faith organisations have indicated that this change would encourage them to open new schools and provide new places, while concerns have been raised about the potentially divisive nature of schools with 100% faith-based admissions.

The Schools that work for everyone consultation is open until 12 December 2016.

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