Limiting new grammars to MATs would avoid 'dead-ends' at 11, says senior MP

If plans to expand selection go ahead then a multi-academy trust could allow students to move around

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Only multi-academy trusts (MATs) should be allowed to open new grammar schools, to avoid pupils reaching a “dead-end” aged 11, the chair of the education committee has said.

Senior Tory MP Neil Carmichael said, if more grammar schools are to open, they should only be launched by MATs, to ensure students can move around between schools in the chain.

The Stroud MP gave the example of a Finnish model in which students are directed to a particular academic or vocational route at high school – but they can move around later on.

Speaking at the annual conference of the National Association of Secondary Moderns (NASM) in London today, the Tory MP said: “Any future selective schools should be in a multi-academy trust so that the young people can actually move around.

“The system that impresses me most is in Finland where the vocational side and academic side is one big mix and young people can move around under the slogan ‘there is no dead-end’.

“Why should you at 11 find yourself at a dead-end? Absolutely not. So that no dead-end bit is absolutely critical so you have got to construct the fluidity within our school system to deliver that.”

Mr Carmichael, who is an opponent of plans to increase selection, said today: “Grammar schools do not really improve social mobility at all.”

He said that the government’s Green Paper on selection – which recommends ways in which existing independent and selective schools could improve social mobility - doesn’t go “far enough”

“The independent sector could certainly do better,” he added.

Speaking to the secondary modern heads today, Mr Carmichael also argued that too much time is spent looking at league tables – and he added that he would be calling for more funding.

 He said: “There is a strong case for increasing expenditure in education.” 

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