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'LEFT GOES TO WAR ON GRAMMAR SCHOOLS'

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Left-wing campaigners are planning their first major assault on the remaining grammar schools in September, accordi...
Left-wing campaigners are planning their first major assault on the remaining grammar schools in September, according to The Mail on Sunday (p2).

Using as ammunition the unexpected attack on the grammars by Tony Blair at a conference of head teachers last week, groups will be rallying parents in Kent, Barnet, Trafford and Ripon in North Yorkshire.

Privately educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh, the prime minister said selection at 11 had 'devastated' too many lives. This, says the newspaper, will bolster the campaign to abolish the 166 grammar schhols. Until now he has avoided encouraging activists, saying

the schools' futures would be decided by parents.

A new law enabling parents to vote on the future of grammar schools in their areas was passed this year. But campaign groups, without enough time to organise the necessary support by the end of this school year, are said to have decided on an autumn offensive. To trigger a full ballot, they must gather signatures of 20% of eligible parents. In areas where more than 25% of schools are selective, an 'area ballot' will be held in which parents of all children under 16 are eligible to vote. Where fewer than 25% of schools are selective, a'feeder ballot' will be held invoving parents of children at feeder primary schools.

In Kent, where there are 34 grammar schools, anti-selection campaigners need to collect almost 100,000 signatures. The local branch of Stop The Eleven Plus has recruited about 300 members. Its campaign will include a petition form in local newspapers.

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