Grammars Are Best!
David Willetts, the Conservative Education spokesman, insists that the new, modernised Tories will not even look at the possibility of bringing back academic selection. The current 164 grammar schools are safe, but no more, he says. In this, he is on the same wavelength as the present government and the majority of received political wisdom.
For those of us who believe the grammar school is the best way of radically improving the English education system, then, the poll produced by the Centre for Policy Studies provides welcome support. It suggests that 73% of people think that a selective system is the best one available for academically able students, and would also help weaker children. The key thing about the grammar school system, of course, was that it provided the best opportunity for educational and social mobility, yet is now confined to a few middle class areas. It is odd that parties which claim to be looking for ways to improve opportunities for the most deprived youngsters in Britian should turn their backs on the one system that has a track record in thsi regard. Social engineering is ok it seems - and it lead to the comprehensive system - but not educational engineering.
The CPS Report can be found on their website here; the BBC report is here.