Tory former minister says colleges should be driven to improve ‘now not actually through deciding on the kids who are going to do best’
David Willetts stated a lot of the improvement in social mobility in the 50s and 60s turned into all the way down to increasing numbers of white collar jobs, not grammar schools.
David Willetts stated lots of the improvement in social mobility in the 50s and 60s changed into all the way down to increasing numbers of white collar jobs, no longer grammar faculties. Photo: Matt LLoyd/Rex

Peter Walker Political correspondent

Monday 12 September 2016 13.00 BST
Closing changed on Monday 12 September 2016 13.33 BST

The entire education machine should be reshaped to hire help social mobility in preference to a slender attention on instructional selection, the Conservative former minister David Willetts has warned beforehand of the authorities’s booklet of its plans for new grammar faculties.
The arguments for and against grammar schools each leave out the factor
David Willetts
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The training secretary, Justine Greening, is to introduce an inexperienced paper in the Commons on Monday afternoon which is expected to unveil a brand new era of grammar schools, in addition to different measures which includes extra network outreach by way of non-public schools.

Grammar row: education system should focus on social mobility, says Willetts
Grammar row: education system should focus on social mobility, says Willetts

But Lord Willetts, the former universities minister and a vocal critic of the plan to put off a ban on new grammars in England, argues that social mobility is a much greater complicated issue, and wishes a properly coherent response on the subject of education.

“We want a social mobility strategy that consists of all the levels of education, for the duration of our lives,” he writes in an article for the Guardian. “It has to include aggressive pressures on schools to improve their overall performance – and now not genuinely by way of selecting the kids who’re going to do best.”

Greening’s declaration is predicted to set out greater info of tutorial changes outlined Closing week in a speech by Theresa May as well. The prime minister said a flow to create extra grammar colleges heralded “a future wherein Britain’s training system shifts decisively to assist normal operating-class households”.

In his article Willetts notes research showing that lots of the social mobility visible during the generation of mass college selection within the 1950s and Sixties changed into due to a growth in white-collar jobs, as opposed to grammar colleges.

“However while those traits slowed down the underlying problem became revealed greater starkly,” Willetts argues. In the modern generation, he says, the interplay of the training system with changes within the job market “has now not been excellent for social mobility”.

He writes: “The decline of constant jobs in industry for college leavers and the expansion of better education as the pre-eminent route to properly-paid jobs has meant that the educational overall performance of your secondary faculty topics more than ever.

“The stunning gap in college standards may not have widened But it genuinely makes extra of a distinction for your existence chances once the faculty’s position will become to provide a route to university.

“It’s miles the urgent want to get your baby into the colleges that get them into the celebrated universities that has caused the parental hands race which finally feeds thru into better residence prices across the number one faculties that feed the secondary faculties that feed the colleges.”

Including to the trouble, Willetts argues, is the way the education device obliges kids to specialise from sixteen, with little in the manner of cohesive careers advice, at the same time as proper apprenticeships are scarce.

Some desirable examples exist, he argues, noting the speedy recent improvement in faculties in London. “This has been executed through putting colleges under relentless stress and now not just allowing Some to seem to do better with the aid of academic or social selection,” he writes.

Whilst the authorities is expected to announce measures to avoid new grammar faculties being disproportionately colonised by children from better-off backgrounds, as tends to show up with current examples, May also faces tremendous opposition to the plans.

In addition to Willetts, critics of the idea consist of Nicky Morgan, the previous training secretary, the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, and the authorities’s social mobility tsar, Alan Milburn.

The plans are also hostile through Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, which means Might also’s working Commons majority of 17 may be examined if greater Conservative MPs rise up. There also are movements to thwart the legislation in the residence of Lords where the authorities does no longer have a majority.