Leading headteacher: Michael Gove 'chickening out' on return of grammar schools
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 23 May 2013
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.”
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...