Independent schools offer to help government set up new grammars

Independent sector understands selection and teaching bright children, headteachers say

Julia Belgutay

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Headteachers from leading independent schools have offered to help the government set up new grammar schools in England’s most deprived areas, it has been reported.

Leaders of schools including Highgate School, Brighton College, University College School and King’s College School, Wimbledon are planning to hold talks with the government and ask it to identify up to 20 locations in deprived parts of the country, in which they say they could then help create the controversial new schools.

Speaking in The Sunday Times, Richard Cairns, headteacher at Brighton College, said that the government should “agree the 20 places in deprived parts of the country to set up grammar schools and we will help you with that”.

“We understand selection and teaching bright children to a high level, and preparing them for good universities. That is our DNA and we want to share it,” he added.

Andrew Halls, head of King’s College School, Wimbledon, said: “We are prepared to help the government open grammars in deprived areas. For many years the country has accepted selection at 16 in many state schools. There has been a passionate divide over whether 11 is too young but I think in principle the idea of teaching bright children in a particular way is what most private schools adhere to.”

Earlier this month, the government published its education Green Paper, which would require independent schools to contribute to the state sector or face losing the tax break that comes with their charitable status.

Depending on the size of the independent school, this could range from sponsoring academies or free schools and being responsible for the success of the schools they sponsor, to supporting teaching in minority subjects.

Potential locations for the new grammar schools are said to could include areas such as Knowsley and Derby. 

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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