Theresa May’s government still appear to be supporting selective education, with Damian Hinds apparently keen to expand grammar schools, saying, “when it is possible for them to expand, physically, I want them to be able to expand.” We believe that he is out of step with many in his party, and the following quotes from Conservative politicians prove that many MPs support comprehensive education.
“The grammar school policy is one of those toxic policies that swings people.”
“I don’t want to return to a system which failed a whole generation of people. Young people’s talents and abilities grow across a whole range of ages, and the comprehensive school system allows them to develop.”
“If too many of the brightest pupils are creamed off, it may make it more difficult to sustain a rigorous academic culture for the majority that remain. That in turn would be bad for social mobility.”
“All the evidence suggests that age 11 is too early to test aptitude and intellect, especially for boys.”
“A return to more selection risks undermining the progress that we have seen over the course of the last decade in our schools… Is every child in this country entitled to an excellent academic education? For me the answer is yes. And that’s why I think that return to selection is not the right move.”
“This is a real concern for me. Comprehensives have performed excellently both on a local and national level and I do not want that destabilised. I know people that had their life chances spoiled by secondary modern schools and I do not want to see that happen locally but you cannot have grammar schools without getting secondary modern ones.”
Claire Perry MP for Devizes and Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth
“I don’t see the need for grammar schools in this rural constituency.”
“How do we avoid creating a stigma for those who stay in the comprehensive system and do not go to the selective entry schools … What I really want to see is an excellent education system in which people from any background can achieve their potential. I went to a comprehensive school. My sister went to a comprehensive school, and she is now a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. This can be done within the comprehensive system. We must not create stigma—that is what I am really worried about.”
“I have to say that I have severe reservations about introducing more grammar schools.”
“There is no desire in my constituency for us to have selection.”
“A return to grammar schools is not something I’ll be banging the drum for … The problem with the old system was children who didn’t get in felt that they were marked down.”
“We just have to recognise that there is overwhelming evidence that such academic selection entrenches advantage, it does not spread it.”
“I think it is delusional to think that a policy of expanding a number of grammar schools is either a good idea, a sellable idea or even the right idea.”
We wish Theresa May would listen to evidence and the wishes of these MPs and abandon all plans to expand selective schools.