With the dawn of a DUP-Conservative government imminent, there is much to concede for Theresa May and her cabinet who will be in no position to impose controversial plans such as building new grammar schools, an article from TES proclaims.
According to a report from The Guardian, the ‘formidable’ leader of the DUP in Northern Ireland Arlene Foster is out to give May a hard time whilst they negotiate terms for a coalition, thus leaving education reform a likely candidate to be pushed back for the fourth time in 20 years.
A source close to Number 10 has made a brazen assessment of Teresa May’s plans for new grammar schools in an interview with TES stating:
“Yup, they’re f**ked.”
Although the DUP is heavily disposed towards grammar schools, they will have to weigh up the benefits of rescinding the Blairite think tank’s 20 year old policy of banning any new grammar schools from being founded.
The prospective bill outlining the construction of 100 new free schools each year – including grammar schools – is heavily contested by 15 members of the Conservative Party who particularly oppose new grammar schools being formed. Such a bill only needs 7 votes against it to be rescinded.
Justine Greening, who will retain her position as Education Secretary is not an avid supporter of creating new grammar schools either.
Director of the New Schools Network Toby Young believes that despite the weak position that the Conservative Party holds on this matter, the new free schools program would push forward, citing it as the answer to rising inflation and the ever increasing number of students. In an interview with the Independent he said:
“It remains to be seen what impact the election result will have on individual education policies, but I expect the free schools programme to continue.
“Free schools are more popular with parents than council-run schools, more likely to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted and get better results. They also remain the most cost effective way of providing much-needed new school places.”
This opinion has received widespread criticism because it would neglect schools which need proper funding to rebuild themselves, requiring immense sums to start up new institutions. Acting Executive Director of Programmes at Teach First Sam Freedman tweeted his jubilation at the prospect of the blow to free school expansion.
“There ain’t going to be any new grammar schools :-)”
TES reports that the situation will be very similar for plans to implement the new National Funding Formula, stating that proposals will be “heading very brutally for the Department for Education’s recycling bin”.
Whilst, for the time being, the new National Funding Formula would not affect the DUP’s base in Northern Ireland – and neither Scotland nor Wales – it could potentially be implemented there in the future which would open them up to threats of heavy budget cuts, the likes of which have been driving schools in Birmingham into despondency.
Very little is known of what to expect in the coming months regarding education policies, but if the Tories’ budget is brought to schools, foreshadowing the butchering of school funding, strikes are on the horizon as the National Union of Teachers has warned.