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CSJ - School selection can help our poorest now.

If you want to know how well a child will do at school, look at their parents' bank statement.

It's a brutal, cynical way to view the world but in this country, in 2017, it is the surest indicator of attainment.

The factors at play are of course far more complicated than money alone. But by almost any measure, the more disadvantaged your background, the worse the school you will attend, and the worse your outcomes will be.

This cannot be left to stand.

The political answer to this that has received most attention is grammar schools. They are by no means a silver bullet - they are a small part of a much bigger system - but the CSJ is pleased to see some action being taken to re-energise social mobility through education.

We have spoken out in favour of this policy even though it is not widely popular.

We accept the criticism that grammar schools have not historically served the most disadvantaged but that is why some schools now set quotas, a measure we would like to see spread, and one the Government is encouraging.

We also accept that what's right for Kent is not right for Carlisle. It is why we have advocated locally based solutions and why we're pleased to see the Government is touting opportunity areas and increasing local control.

But one thing we do not accept is the blanket refusal of so many to think innovatively in this area of policy.

The CSJ's education unit is considering long term, large scale reform around pupil referral units, early years, technical education, and life skills. These are hugely important for the future of our system.

But in the meantime, some basic changes to the ideas around selection could turn around thousands of young lives now, this year.

Our point is a simple one. Far too much airtime is being given in political circles to how much money everyone should get, be it schools, hospitals, job centres, or anything else.

What our poorest need is not 1% here or a bung there but genuinely innovative and brave thinking, so that the next generation of children will not be able to predict their GCSE results from a glance at their parents' bank account.

Well implemented selective policies can play their part in that.

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