Today’s news review looks at coverage of government plans to lift the ban on new grammar schools as the Schools That Work for Everyone consultation draws to a close, and the number of calls Childline received this year relating to gender.
The I newspaper today, Tuesday 13 December, covered Lord O’Shaughnessy’s comments that ‘super-selective’ schools that admit the brightest 1 - 2 % of pupils in the country should form the basis of the Government’s plans to expand grammar schools. Lord O’Shaughnessy wrote his proposals in response to our Schools That Work for Everyone consultation, which closed yesterday.
Separately, the Guardian reported on a group of Kent headteachers writing to the Secretary of State voicing their opposition to grammar schools. We want to build a country that works for everyone – and that means providing a good school place for every child, one that caters to their individual talents, abilities and needs.
Thanks to the hard work of teachers and the action we have taken over the past six years, there are 1.8 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.
But for too many children, the chance of getting the best education depends not on their talent or hard work but on where they live or how much money their parents have.
That’s why we will scrap the ban on new grammar schools and allow them to open where parents want them. At the same time, we will encourage more people, schools and institutions with something to offer to come forward and help deliver more good school places.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Our Schools that Work for Everyone consultation puts forward proposals to allow more grammar school places to be created where parents want them, but only on the basis that strict conditions are met which will ensure they contribute to the improvement of the wider schools system. Our proposals are about creating more choice, with more good school places in more parts of the country. We want to do this by lifting the ban on new grammars, and harnessing the resources and expertise of universities, faith schools and independent schools.
We welcome contributions to the consultation and will respond in due course.
Today The Times, Guardian, Daily Mail and Daily Express wrote about the NSPCC receiving a record number of calls from children seeking counselling about gender identity issues through Childline. This year Childline received an average of 8 calls a day from children and adolescents, more than double compared to last year. The NSPCC notes that young trans people frequently reported mental health issues which they have attributed to abuse, bullying and lack of support.
In September we announced a £4.4 million investment into nine innovative schemes to tackle bullying in schools. As a result, 120,000 students across 300 schools will be able to use these programmes to report incidents of bullying, cyber bullying or homophobic, transphobic or biphobic abuse.
A Government spokesperson said:
Children should be able to be themselves and all agencies have a role to play in supporting them as they discover who they are. That’s why the NHS is investing an extra £2.2 million in gender identity services for young people, alongside an additional £250m a year for children and young people’s mental health services – and we are investing £2.8 million to help tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
For more information about the Government’s plans to tackle bullying in schools please click here.