1 March 2017
Commenting on the Sutton Trust report, Selective Comprehensives 2017, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teachers’ union said:
“The NUT does not share the Sutton Trust’s view that school quality can be judged solely by GCSE or Progress 8 scores. Most schools work extremely hard to provide pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum that includes a wide, interesting and challenging set of subjects, many of which are not included in these measures. Schools take seriously their pastoral role and their responsibility to support the development of young people who can meet the challenges of the 21st century, both in the workplace and in wider society.
“Nevertheless the Sutton Trust report does raise a number of disturbing issues. It notes that 80 per cent of all secondary schools are now their own admission authorities. As the report reveals, there is evidence of covert social selection taking place in many schools, with the 500 so-called ‘top performing’ schools having a proportion of children eligible for free school meals that is scarcely more than half the national average.
“This is not a situation that can be allowed to continue. Yet if the Government presses ahead with its stated aim of seeing all schools become academies by 2022, it is one that can only get worse with more schools becoming responsible for their own admission arrangements. The only solution is to return the role of admission authority for all schools in a local area to the local authority. That way parents can be assured that the system for admission to school is fair and transparent and not influenced by the social status of their family.”