Like many people, the Tories sudden interest in resurrecting Grammar schools baffled me. At first I thought that it was just one of many ‘dead cats’ that the Tories would be throwing into the room to try and distract from how calamitously ill-prepared and ill-equipped they were for a Leave victory in the EU referendum. As their plans for returning Education to the 1800s, I began to think that regurgitating the Grammar brand was all part of the Tories regressive ideology and wistful return to Empire as a means of shoring up their precipitous vote.
The first rule of Tory Club is … privatisation.
It’s so simple really. Whenever the Tories propose anything, ask yourself how it could lead to a transfer of wealth from tax payers to privateers.
I attended the Caroline Benn lecture last year, which was addressed by Danny Dorling, and he made an interesting point. Grammar schools were the goal of middle class parents for their children because they knew that Education resources were focused on Grammar schools, while the rest of schooling was permitted to play a very lowly second fiddle to them. Middle class families feared the education that their child might suffer from if they failed the 11+ and/or missed out on a coveted place at the local Grammar school, not to mention dreaded mixing with the ruffian plebs, so those families would stretch their expenditure to include enrolling their child at the local private school.
If the Tories are permitted to roll out plans for ‘grammar’ schools we will see them focus the same resources on making them a ‘success’ as we have seen the Tories focusing resources on making ‘free’ schools and their program of academisation a ‘success’; with the inevitable same results and exposure to fraud that have plagued Education since 2010. But what they will also do is bolster the market for private schools, many of which have suffered since 1997 and have taken £millions since 2010 to convert to ‘academies’ and ‘free’ schools. It is probably safe to say that many, if not all, of the private schools that have taken £millions of taxpayers money to convert to academies and free schools will revert back to private schools if the Tory plans to reverse progress in Education and reintroduce mass Grammar schools goes ahead. £millions have already been allocated by the Tories for the Grammar program, I wonder how much of those £millions have already been earmarked for advisor fees.
So, yes, Grammar schools are an inadequate means by which to address education for all; we already have a system for that and it’s called comprehensive education, but they are also intended as yet another means by which the Tories will hold the British public up by their ankles and shake out every penny they have. The Tories would like a return to the 1800s because it’s a time when Britain worked best for THEM.