Controversial faith, independent, and grammar school policies all expected to be absent from Queen's Speech

18th June 2017 at 10:45
But government signals that focus will remain on improving social mobility

Controversial plans to allow new faith schools to select all of their pupils on the basis of their faith have been abandoned and will be absent from Wednesday's Queen’s Speech, it has been reported today.

It will join a growing list of high-profile Conservative education policies that have become casualties Theresa May's disappointing general election result and loss of majority.

Any plans that require new legislation are vulnerable to a rebellion of as few as seven Tory backbenchers, even if the prime minister secures the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The plans to lift the faith cap were set out in the government’s Schools that Work for Everyone Green Paper, published in September 2016.

The document also set out proposals to force independent schools to do more to help underprivileged children, which the Mail on Sunday also reports will be ditched.

Plans to create new grammar schools, also set out in the Green Paper, and ending free school lunches for all infants, are expected to be the most high profile victims of the new parliamentary arithmetic.

As Tes has reported, the government is looking at “all the options” to increase school funding after real-terms cuts in per-pupil funding became a key issue during the election.

The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s agenda for the course of the next parliamentary session, was originally due to take place tomorrow, but was moved to Wednesday as the Conservatives continued negotiations with the DUP.

Yesterday, the government announced parliament will sit for two years, instead of the usual one, as it prepares for Brexit.

The announcement also said the government would address “deep-rooted inequalities in our society in order to give everyone the opportunities they deserve”.

This is likely to mean ministers will continue to put the focus social mobility, and the 12 opportunity areas announced by education secretary Justine Greening, which aim to encourage collaboration between schools, early years providers, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities to build young people’s knowledge and skills, and provide good careers advice and opportunities.

 

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