Tories plan new grammar school scam

THE TORIES unveiled plans
to hand selective grammar
schools £50 million last
week—while slashing funding
for state schools.
The news has infuriated
teachers, parents and education
campaigners.
Jess is a teacher and
member of the national executive
committee of the NEU
union (NUT section) for inner
London.
“At a time when the government
is making the worst
cuts to education, they are
finding the money for this?”
she told Socialist Worker.
“All those with an interest
in education must unite
to put up the biggest opposition
possible to this disgusting
new Tory policy.”
Theresa May was forced to
abandon plans for new grammar
schools after the Tories
flopped in last year’s general
election.
They know selective education
is unpopular—so
they are trying to repackage
grammars as good for
disadvantaged children.
But the figures show the
reality. Just 2.6 percent
of grammar school pupils
received free school meals in
March last year, compared to
14.1 percent across all school
types.
Jess said, “The notion that
the expansion of grammar
schools can do anything to
improve the life chances of
working class children is a lie.
“Grammar schools have
always been a stain on our
education system. Selective
schools paint children as successes
or failures at age 11.
“Many who failed the 11+
under the old system still
bear the emotional scars.
“Selection has no part
to play in any decent
education system based on
ideals of social justice.”
Rob, who took his 11+ in
1966, told Socialist Worker,
“I remember the humiliation
of eleven-plus failure.
“And although some of
us overcame it, many of
my mates reacted with contempt
at the thought of academic
study and had a lack of
self-belief.”
Division
Grammars aren’t about
improving social mobility—
instead they entrench social
division.
Nicola passed the 11+
under the old system and
went to a grammar school.
“I attended from 1971 to
1978—a time of many high
points in workers’ struggle,”
she told Socialist Worker.
“We were kept completely
ignorant.
“We were taught to disdain
strikes as disruptive,
laugh at peace protesters,
and sneer at men with long
hair and feminists.
“We were told Thatcher
was good because she was
Christian. Anyone with an
Irish accent was suspected
of being a terrorist and homophobia
was the norm.”
There are just 163 grammar
schools in England, giving
each an average of just over
£300,000 of the new Tory
windfall.
Meanwhile government
funding cuts have snatched
£2.8 billion from school
budgets since 2015.
Schools are likely to suffer
a real terms cut of around
6.5 percent between 2010-11
and 2019-20—the biggest
real terms cut for 30 years.
And the poorest schools are
being hardest hit.
Grammars aren’t about
improving education for
the majority or giving more
opportunities to disadvantaged
children.
Instead they promote the
idea that children should
receive different kinds of
education based on their
background.
Nicola said, “When I went
to grammar school, we lived
in a town with a relatively
large African-Caribbean and
Asian population.
“But the whole time I was
there I remember about six
BME students.
“Grammar schools are
designed for division”

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