Grammar gaps

22nd June 2007 at 01:00
When the head of John Hampden school in Buckinghamshire says the grammar school debate is tired, it strikes me that what he is really saying is that he does not want any debate. It is time he, all the grammar schools and their supporters justified the shockingly low access to grammar schools by low-income families, as shown by Professor David Jesson (TES, June 15).

It would be fascinating to know why they think a main justification for grammar schools - to improve social mobility - is failing so miserably. The tired part of this debate is Brian Wills-Pope's idea of making more grammar school places available, as if this were a panacea. As chair of the National Grammar Schools Association, he knows that where there are spare grammar school places, such as here in Skipton, the less well-off still have no access, and with the complicity of the local authority and the town's grammar schools.

G J Hitchen Bradley (near Skipton), North Yorkshire

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