Grammars will cause nearby schools to suffer, Wilshaw warns

Ofsted Chief Inspector Michael Wilshaw has once again spoken out against proposals to open new grammar schools, warning they could potentially harm nearby schools.

Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Wilshaw said that other nearby schools would suffer if the ‘top 20 per cent’ are separated in grammar schools, as they help to lift up the rest of the school community.

Referencing his own experience as a head teacher at a successful comprehensive, the Ofsted Chief he wouldn’t have had the same success if there had been a nearby grammar: “If you have grammar schools, you take away the most able children from the all-ability comprehensive set-up. And I speak as an ex-head of a successful inner-city comprehensive school, an academy, in Hackney. I needed those top 20 per cent to lift everyone up.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it if those top, those most able youngsters went to the grammar school, because it was their ambition, their excellence that affected the rest of the school community.”

Wilshaw said that he would rate British schools as 6.5 out of 10 compared with education systems in South Korea and some European countries. He described the the UK schools system as ‘mediocre, but getting better’, but warned that progress would be set back if new grammars were allowed to open.

Read more