Much-reported proposals by the Welsh Conservatives to revive grammar schools in Wales have been attacked by the Liberal Democrats as “a rose-tinted Tory view of the past”.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, the Welsh Conservative party’s shadow education minister Angela Burns said pupils would be split into academic and vocational routes at 14.
However, she ruled out a return to the 11-plus test, admitting it would be divisive.
But despite their Westminster coalition and a working agreement in Cardiff, the Welsh Liberal Democrats went on the attack, accusing the Tories of “failing to operate in the here and now”.
Education spokesman Aled Roberts said the Tories were “throwing around” policy ideas without any idea of how they would implement them.
“Their current proposal would see children cast aside when they’re 14,” he added.
“Creating more grammar schools would merely extend the attainment gap that already exists between pupils from affluent and less affluent backgrounds.”
Wales has a comprehensive-based school system, like England, and the Labour-led Welsh government has ruled out the introduction of free schools and academies.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew Davies said the system “constrains” academic achievement and treats pupils as an “homogenised blob.”
Writing on Twitter, he said: “That's why we're looking at [grammar schools] because Wales deserves the best education system and we're competing in a global race.”
Wales’s education minister Huw Lewis said he “thought someone was pulling my leg” when he heard the proposals.
“Wales wants excellent schools for all, not encouraging a parental scramble for advantage,” he said.