Grammars aren't upwardly mobile

10th July 2009 at 01:00

At last, a serious debunking of the grammar school myth in Gerard Kelly's excellent editorial last week. Those with nostalgic memories of their grammar school days forget that they were a small minority of hand picked pupils. The vast majority went to largely under funded and understaffed secondary moderns where most pupils left at 15 without sitting any exams.

Gerard Kelly provided ample statistical evidence to discredit the fallacy that grammar schools were a major route to propel bright working-class children up the social ladder. A fallacy also recognised by "two brains" David Willetts MP when, as Conservative education spokesman, he said that the idea that selection transforms the life chances of bright poor kids "is a widespread belief but we just have to recognise that there is overwhelming evidence that such academic selection entrenches advantage; it does not spread it".

Paul Holmes MP, Vice-chair of Comprehensive Future, Lib Dem member of Commons select committee on schools.

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