Today’s news review looks at figures that illustrate how many parents do not have the option of sending their child to a selective school, and the gender pay gap.
The Daily Mail and the Sunday Times Magazine – as part of a wider interview with the Prime Minister – both ran stories about grammar schools. This was based on new analysis that reveals 12 key towns and cities in Britain have no grammar school within 30 miles – and five have none less than 50 miles away. This restricts educational opportunities for parents and children.
At grammar schools, a stretching education is provided for the most academically able, regardless of their background, and the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates is almost eliminated. We are currently consulting on scrapping the ban on new grammar schools as part of a drive to increase the number of good school places for all children.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
We want to build a country that works for everybody and that means an excellent education for every child.
We are concerned that there are still too many families whose local secondary schools are still not good enough. Allowing new grammar schools to be established in areas where parents want them will help to widen choice and improve opportunities for young people, irrespective of their background. But these figures show parents in many parts of the country are not even given the option of sending their child to a grammar school.
We are determined to change that, by creating more great school places and ensuring there is a level playing field so all children can go as far as their talents will take them.
The Government consultation, Schools That Work for Everyone, puts forward proposals to allow more grammar schools to open where parents want them, but only on the basis that they meet strict conditions to make sure they improve the education of pupils in every other part of the system.
This will mean parents can choose the right school for their child – one that gives them the best start in life, regardless of their background.
Gender Pay Gap
The Guardian, Independent, Express and PA have covered a report released by business advice group Korn Ferry Hay, which found men are still paid much more than women across many professions and regions. The report found that where men and women are doing the same job, they are usually paid almost the same. The real gap, however, is caused by the scarcity of women at the highest and best-paid levels of industries such as oil and gas, technology and life sciences. This was based on research into 500,000 UK workers.
The Hampton-Alexander review, a government backed, independent review, is launching a voluntary target for business in the FTSE 100 to get 33% female representation by 2020. The review is working with businesses to drive the agenda of getting women at the top of business recognised, promoted and rewarded.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
No woman should be held back just because of her gender. We now have the lowest gender pay gap on record, and we are working to get more women into the top jobs at our biggest companies. Not only will this inspire the next generation, it will also be a boost for businesses – bridging the UK gender gap in work could add £150 billion to our annual GDP in 2025.
But we know there’s more to do – that’s why we are requiring employers to publish their gender pay and gender bonus gap for the first time from April and we are giving working parents up to 30 hours of free childcare from next September, meaning women can go back to work and progress in their careers after having children if they choose to.
Have your say on our grammar schools consulation that ends on 20 December.