Lifting ban on grammar schools could make teacher recruitment crisis worse

Lifting the ban on new grammar schools in the UK should not be given the green light without considering the impact on the teacher recruitment crisis, a recruitment expert has warned.

In a blog post John Howson, an honorary research fellow at the University of Oxford, described grammar schools as ‘a product of the nineteenth century that lingered overlong into the twentieth and have no place in the modern world’ and said that to introduce new grammar schools without a comprehensive education plan would be ‘unbelievably short-sighted’.

While no plans have been officially announced, a Telegraph report suggested that Prime Minister Theresa May was planning to lift the 1998 ban on opening new grammar schools and Education Secretary Justine Greening has said the government should remain ‘open minded’ to the idea.

The educations sector is currently struggling to recruit a sufficient number of teachers, and Howson suggested that these grammar school plans could potentially compound the problem.

He wrote: “For existing secondary school teachers, the question is simple: if your school were to lose 30 per cent of its most able pupils, would you continue to teach here?

“For potential teachers the question is: would you be willing to teach in a school where 30 per cent of the age range didn’t attend?

“For primary school teachers, the question has to be whether they would prepare children for the selection process?

“Making a teacher supply crisis worse won’t help the education of those not selected form a grammar school place.”

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