With her first major speech since standing on the steps of No. 10, Theresa May has set out plans to radically reform the education system. Introduced by new Education Secretary Justine Greening, May outlined overhauls to the grammar school system, offering expansion to existing ones and giving state schools the opportunity to select. Her policy ambitions also touched on allowing faith schools to be filled entirely on grounds of religion. And she wants to make private schools justify their charitable status. But how revolutionary are these plans? And are selective schools really the way to go? On today's edition of the Coffee House shots podcast, Fraser Nelson is joined by James Forsyth who says:
'Following the reforms of the last few years, you can now make the argument that some of the best schools in the country are within the state system, but also some of the worst are within the state system. That is the challenge. I have no issue with selection in schools, but I would also say this: the most pressing problem for the government to deal with in education is the fact that there are too many areas of the country where parents have no good schools to choose from.'
They are also joined by Spectator contributor Cindy Yu who attended a grammar school prior to Oxford University and told the podcast that:
'What got me into my top university was definitely my help at grammar school. I had previously gone to a state comprehensive school, so I'm very clear on the differences, on the teachers and on the different aspirations of the students there... in my comprehensive school in my year, there was only one girl who got into Oxford in the end, and she only got in because she was an absolute genius.'