Return to grammars will not boost social mobility

11th February 2011 at 00:00

With programmes like the BBC's Posh and Posher, the public is being fed the myth that a return to grammar schools will restart upward social mobility and is progressive.

Readers will appreciate that the official introduction of comprehensive schools from 1965 may have coincided with the apparent end of upward mobility, but it was not its cause.

The limited upward mobility after the Second World War was a result of a period of full employment. Since then, there has been only illusory social mobility as non-manual service employment has expanded at the expense of manual labour.

Bringing back grammar schools would only cement this situation, since the only mobility remaining for most people is downward.

Patrick Ainley, co-author of `Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education'.

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