Reintroducing ‘selective’ education will kill social mobility, not nurture it – and Angela Rayner knows that very well.
Labour’s education spokeswoman has poured scorn on Tory claims that bringing back grammar schools with help all school pupils make the most of their talents.
She has pointed out that the most important selection criterion for the old grammars was the parental bank balance: “Children on free school meals or from poorer neighbourhoods are less likely to attend grammar school than better off classmates,” she tweeted.
“According to HoC library, 2% of children at grammar schools eligible for free school meals they are not from poorest backgrounds,” she added.
And she pointed out: “Just 0.3% of grammar school pupils with two A-levels are from skilled working class. A measly three children out of every thousand.”
Ms Rayner stated: “Grammar schools sow division, leave too many young children feeling second best, and put a cap on aspiration, ambition and opportunity.
“Memo to Tories: concentrate on providing the best possible school for every child. Stop obsessing about grammars. Education not ideology,” she concluded.
She added that the same people who are now applauding the plan to bring back grammar schools “scoffed” at her, early last month, for suggesting the Tories wanted to restore selection at Key Stage 2.
Here’s the relevant passage from Hansard.
Of course, with a majority in the House of Commons, there’s very little anybody can do to stop the Conservatives from restoring grammar schools and pupil selection to ensure that the richest kids get the best education.
They’ll do it if they think they can drag public opinion along with them – and that’s why the Torygraph has started trailing the idea in the summer, perhaps half a year before any such plan is enacted.
So just keep an eye on the propaganda that will be released on this subject – and let’s keep remind people of the facts.
Theresa May is planning to launch a new generation of grammar schools by scrapping the ban on them imposed almost 20 years ago, The Telegraph has learnt.
In a move that will be cheered by Tory grassroots, the Prime Minister intends to pave the way for a new wave of selective schools.
Mrs May is understood to see the reintroduction of grammar schools – banned by Tony Blair in 1998 – as a key part of her social cohesion agenda.
The historic shift in education policy is expected to be announced by the end of the year, possibly as early as the Conservatives’ annual party conference in October.
A government source said allowing new grammar schools was about “social mobility and making sure that people have the opportunity to capitalise on all of their talents”.
Campaigners hope the government will both allow new grammar schools to be created from scratch and let existing academies and free schools introduce selection.
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