Department for Education proposes to 'radically expand' number of good school places

The Department for Education (DfE) recently launched a consultation on proposals to ensure the education system works for everyone, not just the privileged few. The consultation emphasises that increasing access to good school places increases the opportunities afforded to children in later life.

The DfE addressed four main areas in their consultation:

Independent Schools

Given that fee-paying schools benefit from charitable status, the DfE proposes that independent schools:

  • Sponsor academies or create new free schools; or
  • Offer a specific proportion of places as fully funded bursaries to pupils unable to pay fees

Universities

The DfE proposes that in return for charging higher fees, universities should:

  • Establish a new school in the state system; or
  • Sponsor an academy in the state system

Selective Schools

The DfE wants to relax restrictions on selective schools, whilst ensuring they take a proportion of pupils from lower income households and support underperforming non-selective academies. The DfE proposes:

  • Allowing existing grammar schools to expand
  • Permitting the establishment of new selective schools
  • Permitting existing non-selective schools to become selective

Faith Schools

The DfE recognises that most faith schools perform better than mainstream schools. As such, the DfE proposes:

  • Allowing new faith free schools to choose up to 100% of pupils based on their faith, whilst ensuring pupils from different backgrounds are included

For more information, please see the DfE's consultation document.

The consultation closes on 12 December 2016.