Joint Letter to the Times on Grammar Schools

A copy of this letter was published in the Times on Tuesday 4 October, 2016

To the editor

Improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged children in our country should be one of the defining missions of any government that believes in a fairer society. As leaders of organisations committed to creating a fairer education system for all, we are deeply concerned that the current proposals to overturn the ban on new grammar schools will have a pernicious effect on the very children that we all want to help.

We believe that a bold agenda for improving social mobility, without creating more grammar schools, can transform millions of lives. This agenda includes, but is not limited to:

  • Investing in the quality of early years provision
  • Attracting talented teachers and leaders to the most challenging areas and prioritising high quality, evidence-based professional development in every school and college for all staff
  • Ensuring that children from low income families have high quality and impartial careers advice and guidance

We understand that tackling educational inequality is not a straightforward challenge – this effort will require a coalition of civil society. We hope that focus will shift towards interventions that have been proven to help rather than hinder the life chances of the most disadvantaged.


Sir Richard Lambert, Chair of the Fair Education Alliance
Dame Julia Cleverdon, Vice Chair of the Fair Education Alliance
Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers
Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO of Teach First
Sonia Blandford, CEO of Achievement for All
Nick Haisman-Smith, Chief Executive of Family Links
Andy Ratcliffe, Chief Executive Officer, Impetus-PEF
John Murphy, CEO of Oasis Community Learning
Carolyn Robson CBE, CEO and Executive Principal, Rushey Mead Educational Trust
Professor Becky Francis, Director of the UCL-Institute of Education
Professor Chris Husbands, Vice Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University
Julian Astle, Director of Education, RSA
Graeme Duncan, Chief Executive, Right to Succeed
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, National Children's Bureau
Virginia Isaac, Chief Executive Inspiring Futures
Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Sherry Coutu, Executive Chairman and Founder, Founders4Schools
Nick Bent, Co-Founder and Director, The Tutor Trust
Abigail Shapiro, Co-Founder and Director, The Tutor Trust
Tom Kibasi, Director, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
Ryan Shorthouse, Founder and Chief Executive, Bright Blue       
Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive, National Numeracy
Tom Sherrington, Headteacher of Highbury Grove School in Islington
Geoff Barton, Headteacher, King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds
David Weston, Founder and Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust
Joanne Bartley, Chair, Kent Education Network
Liz Bayram, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years
Michael Bluemink, acting Chief Executive, School-Home Support (SHS)
Loic Menzies, Director, LKMCo
Margaret McCabe, CEO, Debate Mate
Kevin Kibble, Chief Executive, The Nurture Group Network
Dr Dwain A. Neil, Chairman, Reach Society
Bruno Reddy, Maths Social Entrepreneur & former Head of Maths at King Solomon Academy
Ruth Owen OBE, Chief Executive, Whizz-Kidz
Jennie Butterworth, CEO, Envision
Liz Garton, Director, The Progression Trust
Cliff Stokes, Headteacher of Newington Community Primary
Simon Barber, Principal of Carshalton Boys Sports College
Dominic Baker, Founder and CEO, Future Frontiers
Stephen Kearney, CEO, Action to Regenerate Community Trust
Jasper Kain, Co-Director, Football Beyond Borders
Jack Reynolds: Co-Director, Football Beyond Borders
Emma Knights, Chief Executive, National Governors' Association
Martha Wright, Founder, Mindful Music
Aisling Kirwan, Director, The Grub Club
Kate Shelley, Founder, Tales Toolkit
Dr Chris Wilson, Co-CEO, The Brilliant Club
Asma Shah, CEO, You Make It
Julia Wright, National Director, Campaign for Learning
Matt Butler, Regional Academies Director, Oasis Community Learning
Melissa Lucien, Head of Programmes, The Brokerage
Anna Hennell-James, Headteacher of Halifax Primary School
Paul Gosling, head teacher, Exeter Road Community Primary School, Exmouth, Devin
Tony Draper, head teacher, Water Hall Primary school, Milton Keynes
Judy Shaw, head teacher, Tuel Lane Infant School and Chair of NAHT’s Early Years Sector Council
Kim Johnson, Principal of Bradfields Specialist SEN Academy in Chatham, Kent
Patrick Foley, head teacher, Southborough Primary School, Kent
Lewis Iwu, Director, Fair Education Alliance