Leading headteacher: Michael Gove 'chickening out' on return of grammar schools

 

One of the country's leading headteachers is to accuse Education Secretary Michael Gove of “chickening out” of bringing back a return to grammar schools.

Dr Stephen Winkley, who will deliver his final prize day speech as head of leading independent school Rossall in Blackpool on Saturday, will suggest that political pressures - from both within his own party sand his coalition partners, the Lib Dems, have stopped him from reintroducing a selective education system.

Dr Winkley will argue that - if he had really wanted to improve the chances of students from poorer backgrounds - he had only one choice to make: bring back grammar schools which, he said, had been the pathway to university for generations of bright children from less affluent backgrounds.

Whilst preparing his speech, he added: “It's true that British independent schools are still viewed as the best in the world which is why so many people from countries such as China and South Korea choose to send their children here to gain a British education.

”But apart from independent schools and the small number of academies and free schools, where are our own children likely to get the best education, small class sizes and an opportunity for the brighter children from deprived areas to achieve their full potential?

“We had the answer for many years ... it was the grammar school system and it was dispensed with by politicians who suggested it was an elitist system that catered only for the brightest children to the detriment of those less gifted.

”Ironically, the politicians who decried grammar schools were probably educating their own children at grammar schools, as many still do.“

Dr Winkley, whose school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference - which represents 250 of the most elite public schools in the country,  also accused parents of being unworried that their children nowadays opted for ”venal footballers and publicity seeking nobodies from the latest dreadful reality TV offering“

”Unless those values change the only losers will be our children, who will be left behind in the global economy by those from nations who place greater emphasis on education and recognize that it's the oxygen of a vibrant and successful nation,“ he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Gove also came under fire from CBI Director General John Cridland last night over his clash with headteachers at the weekend when he was heckled by delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers conference.

Delivering the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust annual lecture, he said: ”It's clear the reform programme is not landing as effectively as it needs to with school leaders.

“we're not talking about union firebrands here, or of those wh wrongly oppose school accountability outright.  To deliver lasting change, the Secretary of State needs to carry these people with him.”

He added:  “It's clear, therefore, that while Whitehall may think it's playing the right music, too few people are hitting the dance floor.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all