DfE announcement on new school places
Stuart Gallimore, ADCS President, said:
“Creating more school places in areas of greatest need is helpful at a time when there is a national shortage of school places. Local authorities know their communities best and have a critically important role in identifying where new school places are needed and, crucially, where they are not. Local authorities have a clear duty to ensure there are enough school places available to local children and young people yet we have little control over the location of new free schools and are unable to propose or open new schools to meet local need. We know of free schools opening up miles away from where they are needed, placing further pressure on already stretched transport budgets, or subsequently closing costing millions to the public purse and disrupting education for pupils. At a time of austerity, this is not a good use of public money and does nothing to meet the needs of children, young people and their families.
“Our collective focus should be on helping all children reach their full potential – increasing selection will not do this. There is no evidence to suggest that selecting pupils on the basis of academic ability narrows the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils or that grammar schools improve social mobility. We must strive for an inclusive education system that enables all children, whatever their ability, background or faith to realise their ambitions, providing learners with greater opportunities to learn from, and relate to, their peers. The focus on individual schools, or types of schools, must not divert the government from the pressing challenges facing the school system, not least the funding shortages facing many of our schools which is having a clear impact on the educational experiences of our learners.”
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