Leaked document confirms government’s grammar plans

A document detailing government plans to consider opening new grammar schools has been captured by a photographer on the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street.

Photographer Steve Back posted the image of the document, which appears to be written by Department for Education (DfE) permanent secretary Jonathan Slater, on his Political Pictures twitter account.

It reads: “The con doc [consultation document] says we will open new grammars, albeit that they would have to follow various conditions.

“The SoS’s [Secretary of State’s] clear position is that this should be presented in the con doc as an option, and only to be pursued once we have worked with existing grammars to show how they can be expanded and reformed in ways which avoid disadvantaging those who don’t get in.

“I simply don’t know what the PM thinks of this, but it sounds reasonable to me, and I simply can’t see any way of persuading the Lords to vote for selection on any other basis.”

Rumours that the government is looking to scrap the law banning new grammar schools have been going around for weeks, but no official announcements have been made and this leak is the first official communication the media has seen that discusses grammar schools, despite it brevity.

The memo appears to acknowledge that any attempt to open new grammars would likely face stiff opposition in the House of Lords and seemingly advises that existing grammar schools should be allowed to expand, as the Weald of Kent grammar was allowed to do last year, to highlight how they can work effectively in today’s education landscape.

It remains to be seen if/when an official announcement regarding grammar schools will be made, but this leak suggests it is on the DfE’s agenda.

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