Grammar schools: shadow education secretary and talkRADIO presenter clash over "elitist" education

Grammar schools: 'It creates elitism, and doesn't deal with academic ability', says shadow education secretary

More grammar schools could be opening, under Tory plans to allow more selective schools

Monday, August 8, 2016

There was a spirited debate on Monday morning as talkRADIO presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner clashed over Theresa May's plans to lift the ban on opening new grammar schools across the country.

There are currently 163 grammar schools in England. In 1998 a law was passed that no more should be allowed to open.

Both women expressed strong views over the pluses-and-minuses of selective education, with the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne suggesting that opening more grammar schools means only the richest will receive the best education.

"It doesn't aid social mobility, there are bigger issues with our education system," she said. "We don't have the teachers we need, the funding's not there.

"It's not fair and it doesn't solve inequality. What it does is create elitism.

"It's not about ability, it's about ability to pay for extra tuition."

Julia Hartley-Brewer argued back, suggestion that more grammar schools would offer more opportunity, and raising the question of whether elite Olympic swimmers should be forced to train with average swimmers as part of the same principle.

Listen to the full interview above to find out more - and let us know what YOU think about grammar school education