This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Grammar Schools - Letter in Herald Express 280507

Published 28 May 2007 - written in a personal rather than Lib Dem capacity.

David Willetts, Conservative Education spokesman is right to declare that Grammar Schools 'entrench privilege' and do nothing to serve the needs of children from poorer communities.David Cameron is quoted in The Guardian as saying 'Parents fundamentally don't want their children divided into sheep and goats at the age of 11'. Right again.

Of course, this doesn't sit well with a Tory shadow cabinet for whom over half had the privilege of a public school education.

As for Marcus Wood, the announcement of Tory opposition to Grammar schools leaves him in a difficult spot. Does he defend the new party direction which many Conservatives will be aghast at, or does he speak out against his own party nationally and become more popular with local Tory opinion?

The Tory policy seems to be that Grammar Schools are bad, but not if your child attends one. As it is, under the guise of parental 'choice' the Tories support Labour's programme of Academy schools. Academies have so far a questionable record in terms of entry requirements, so we are far from the end of selection by ability in over-subscribed schools.

While the Tories continue to be obsessed with choice and selective school systems I'd contend what most parents seek is a good school in their own neighbourhood. Tory hypocrisy moves us no nearer to that goal.




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