'Grammar schools rarely educate young people from low income backgrounds – just 3% of their pupils receive free school meals – so they exacerbate social divisions rather than easing them.’ [Image: Bloomberg/Getty Images.]

‘Grammar schools rarely educate young people from low income backgrounds – just 3% of their pupils receive free school meals – so they exacerbate social divisions rather than easing them.’ [Image: Bloomberg/Getty Images.]

Ex-MP Lynne Jones, who lives near This Writer, tweeted, “Maybe it’s good we’re having debate on grammars. If PM really believes in helping disadvantaged, she should abolish.”

Read the following, and agree.

Perhaps the biggest question right now is: Is this debate simply a smokescreen to distract attention from the infernal catastrophe that still calls itself, with increasing lack of meaning, Brexit?

Grammar schools are the education policy that will not die. The evidence that they harm poorer children’s life chances is clear, but the residual belief among many that somehow they promote social mobility remains stubbornly resistant to the facts.

It’s not difficult to understand why. Many people in politics and the media benefited from a grammar education themselves and feel it formed the basis of their success. They genuinely want to offer that opportunity to others whose parents can’t afford a private school or the expensive catchment area of a popular comprehensive. The problem is that for every success story there are far more hidden examples of lost potential.

The fact is that grammar schools rarely educate young people from low income backgrounds – just 3% of their pupils receive free school meals – so they exacerbate social divisions rather than easing them. Combined, Grammar schools educate just 9,000 low-income pupils. That’s fewer than the number of low-income pupils in Bradford. And this is why education experts are united in opposing them.

But even if a way could be found for more poor pupils to benefit from grammars they would still be a bad idea. The fundamental assumption behind selective schools is that only a small percentage of the population can truly benefit from an academic education.

Not only is this not true but it’s economically dangerous.

Source: Grammar schools are not just socially divisive – they’re deeply ineffective | Sam Freedman | Opinion | The Guardian

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