‘Return to the grammars’ as head bows out

Dr Stephen Winkley
Dr Stephen Winkley
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A retiring headteacher has called for a major shake-up of the country’s education system, claiming recent changes have left children in danger of losing out.

Rossall School headteacher Dr Stephen Winkley, the former chairman of the Boarding School’s Association, believes successive education secretaries have tinkered with education too much.

Now, as he prepares a speech for his final Prize Day ceremony at the Broadway school ahead of his retirement at the end of the summer term, he is calling for a return to the grammar school system, which he says will give youngsters their best opportunity at a good start in life.

He said: “Britain’s education has become a culture obsessed with measurement and that, rather than the needs of children, has dictated policy.”

He has suggested that if education secretary Michael Gove really wants to improve the chances of students from poorer backgrounds then he must bring back the grammar school system.

Dr Winkley, who came out of his first retirement in 2008 to lead the school and has been a long-standing critic of what he calls the “one size fits all” approach to education, said: “Apart from Independent schools and the small number of academies and free schools, where are our own children likely to get the best education, small class sizes and an opportunity for the brighter children from deprived
areas to achieve their full
potential?

“We had the answer for many years... it was the grammar school system and it was dispensed with by politicians who suggested it was an elitist system.”

He added: “They were probably educating their own children at independent schools, as many still do.”