A coalition made up of the likes of Teach First, the University of Oxford and King’s College London, has warned that the government’s controversial grammar school plans would leave too many children with a "second rate" education.
The Fair Education Alliance (FEA), a group made up of 70 members, is calling on the public to sign a petition because it believes the government’s move to reintroduce selection is "the wrong policy".
In her first major domestic speech, prime minister Theresa May this morning spelled out her plans to bring in new grammar schools, to allow comprehensive schools to select and to expand existing grammars.
Ms May said the move to scrap the law against opening new grammars would improve social mobility to help the "hidden" hardworking families that were "just getting by".
'Right ambition, wrong policy'
But the FEA, which also includes one the most successful academy chains in the country Ark Schools, warned that the government needed to come up with "alternative way" to improve social mobility.
"We share the government’s ambition and passion for social mobility but experts are unanimous that an expansion of grammar schools would lead to worse outcomes for the majority of children, especially the poorest," the petition states. "This is the right ambition, but the wrong policy.
"Grammar schools select only a tiny proportion of children for the best education, leaving others with a second-rate choice. Even with quotas, poorer children will have a harder job of getting into these schools. And for the overwhelming majority of children who don’t get in, the evidence is clear that they get worse grades and a worse education."
Earlier today, Ms May said the proposals would not mean a return to a "binary" education system of grammar schools and secondary moderns but would build on the "diverse" system in place today.
"It is not a proposal to go back to the 1950s, but to look to the future, and that future I believe is an exciting one," she said. "It is a future in which every child should have access to a good school place. And a future in which Britain's education system shifts decisively to support ordinary working-class families."
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