To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the June 2019 Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission report Elitist Britain 2019: the educational backgrounds of Britain's leading people, what steps he is taking to tackle social segregation in schools; and whether he plans to introduce contextual recruitment and admissions practices for entry to the UK's top universities.
4 July 2019
The gap between state-funded schools and independent schools has never been smaller. 85% of state-funded schools are now rated good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010. This has been driven by a range of reforms focusing on levelling the playing field and strengthening education from the bottom up.
Phonics is helping early literacy. More pupils leave primary school meeting the expected standards in maths and English. Our reformed GCSEs make sure 16-year-olds have the knowledge parents expect. The department is also encouraging good independent schools to provide means-tested bursaries, which broadens their intake to include pupils that would not otherwise be able to attend. Furthermore, the department is seeking to increase the number of partnerships between state-funded schools and good independent schools.
Universities are independent, autonomous bodies. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. We are aware that many of them already adopt contextual admissions practices, to encourage increased numbers of applications from disadvantaged students with the potential to succeed at university and we support such initiatives.