Chris Philp – BBC News – New Funding for Grammar Schools

Chris Philp – BBC News – New Funding for Grammar Schools


Chris Philp is the Conservative MP for
Croydon South and joins me now from Westminster so when it comes to grammar
schools I think you went to a grammar school lots of people would say it’s
fine if you get in isn’t it but it’s for those who don’t pass that eleven plus
exam they feel like failures at 11 why have such a divisive system

Well yeah as you say I am a South London grammar school boy and I think grammar schools
give opportunity to you know children from ordinary or even poor backgrounds
the chance to fulfill their potential now grammar schools are definitely not
about you know casting aside excuse me casting aside children you don’t get in
the rest of the school system is incredibly important academy schools
free schools all of those schools are very important and they’re doing
very well there are more children now going to good and outstanding schools
than ever before but grammar schools are very popular with parents they’re
massively oversubscribed often 20 to 1 so letting these very popular schools
that parents really want to send their children to but sometimes struggle to
get in letting them provide some more places strikes me as common sense and
Croydon you know my constituency my borough is a good example there are some
grammar schools in Sutton to the West there’s one or two grammar schools in
Bromley to the East that’s where I went but there are no grammar schools in
Croydon so you have many of my constituents have to send their
children miles and miles travelling to a grammar school so expanding say a Sutton
grammar school into Croydon a satellite site would be a good idea it just
increases choice for parents and that is a good thing You talk there about
grammar schools near you and those ones in Sutton which you know I know people
who’ve been to those they are incredibly difficult to get into and it’s very rare
that a child can get into them without having an awfully large bit of tutoring
which costs money so you say you’re helping disadvantaged pupils really do you think
those schools are helping those from poor backgrounds? So there are two answers to your
question firstly if they’re really hard to get into creating more spaces will
alleviate that pressure creating more spaces will help that problem that
you’re describing but secondly on the admissions point some grammar
schools do a very good job at admitting children from much poorer backgrounds
and actually Wallington county boys one of those Sutton grammar schools does
a really good job they do outreach work some grammar schools do a free tuition
for the test the Edward VI grammar
schools in Birmingham even do scholarships for travel and for sports
equipment by doing those things the Edward VI grammar schools in
Birmingham and Wallington County boys in Sutton have got their free school
meals intake up over 20 percent which is higher than the local population so
other grammar schools can learn from that and when you get those things right
as those grammar schools have you do actually have very high proportions of
children from free school meals backgrounds going but the other grammar
schools do need to learn those lessons from Wallington and from Edward VI

What do you say to parents who are in schools where their head teachers
have even at times asked for donations to pay for textbooks money is pretty
scarce isn’t it is this really the right way to be spending that those precious
resources Well it’s first we put it into context
this is 50 million pounds for the year and the total education budget is in the
region I think of about roughly forty billion or forty two billion pounds so
represents what’s a very small fraction of the total schools budget
less than about 1% and secondly you know we do recognize there are funding
pressures and that’s why when she was education secretary last year Justine Greening announced an extra 1.3 billion pounds for schools that started to hit
in April of this year so look just just a few weeks ago it’ll hit the front
line and we are seeing now with that extra money real terms per pupil
increases this year in pupil funding so I think schools should find
those pressures this year and next year easing a little bit

Okay Chris Philp we
must leave it there thank you very much indeed Chris Philp for the Conservative MP
for Croydon South

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