The grammar school debate has taken a turn this week, following the release of official data disclosed for the first time.
New statistics show positives
Figures released earlier this week show that poor children at grammar schools are almost twice as likely to get a place at a top university as richer children who attend comprehensive schools.
When compared against other disadvantaged children at comprehensives, those at grammar schools are three times more likely to attend an elite university.
The data also goes on to show that children who were previously not high attainers made even more progress in grammar schools than their high performing classmates.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said that the figures supported grammar schools, giving the government ‘even more reason to make more of these good school places available in even more areas’.
Ms Greening went on to say: ‘We want to build a country that works for everybody and that means an excellent education for every child. These figures show grammar schools open up fantastic opportunities for their pupils, no matter what their background. Too many children are currently held back from fulfilling their potential purely because of where they live or how much their parents earn’.
Following the proposed scrapping of the ban on grammar schools issued by Tony Blair back in 1998, grammar schools would be expected to improve the education of pupils in other local schools in an effort to stop a return to the binary education system of the past.
Opposition to grammar schools
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to push ahead with the legislation shortly, and is likely to be opposed by Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs. This means that Mrs May will be dependent on the slim majority of the Conservative MPs in Parliament in order to push the plans through.
The Labour party remains highly critical of the planned changes to the education system. Lord Blunkett, who was Labour’s education secretary when the ban was first introduced, condemned the idea of allowing new grammars, stating: ‘It’s morally wrong, it’s philosophically wrong, it’s practically impossible to implement’. The Labour party argue that selective education increases class inequality.
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