Britain, The Great Meritocracy

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A message from the Prime Minister:

When I stood in Downing Street as Prime Minister for the first time, I set out my mission to build a country that works for everyone. And this morning I began to lay out my vision for a truly meritocratic Britain that puts the interests of ordinary, working class people first. And that starts with education.

Whilst we can be proud of the steps that we have taken to improve our education system, a good school remains out of reach for too many children.

We need a good school place for every child, one that caters to their individual needs and abilities. That’s why:

  • We will require universities that want to charge higher fees to establish a new school or sponsor an existing underperforming school.
  • We will remove the obstacles that stop more good faith schools, especially new Catholic schools, from opening, particularly those with a proven record of success.
  • We will ensure that our independent schools play a greater role by creating more good school places in the state sector for children from ordinary working class families and ensuring that they succeed.

And I also want us to be unashamed in our desire to expand and facilitate the creation of more selective schools. There is nothing meritocratic about standing in the way of giving our most academically gifted children the specialist and tailored support that can enable them to fulfil their potential. We know that grammar schools are hugely popular with parents. We know they are good for the pupils that attend them. And we know that they want to expand.

That’s why we will ensure that grammar schools contribute meaningfully to raising outcomes for all pupils in every part of the system. That could mean taking a proportion of pupils from lower income households, so that selective education is not reserved for those with the means to move into a catchment area or pay for tuition to pass the test. Or, as a condition of opening a new selective school, they could be asked to establish a good, new non-selective school. Others may establish a primary feeder school in an area with a high density of lower income households to widen access. They might even partner with an existing non-selective school within a multi-academy trust or sponsor a currently underperforming non-selective academy.

And to those who say that this will lead to the return of a binary system, there will be no return to secondary moderns. From free schools sponsored by universities and independent schools, to faith schools and selective schools, the diversity of high quality school provision means we will be able to cater properly for the different needs of all pupils and give parents real control over the kind of school they want for their children.

And over the coming months and years, that is the better Britain that we are determined to build: Britain, the Great Meritocracy.

Cllr Steve Tierney
District Councillor at Fenland District Council
I am the District Councillor for the Wisbech Medworth Ward. I live in Alexandra Road with my wife Marie, my 10 year old Son Joe and three crazy Jack Russells.