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TORY EDUCATION SPOKESMAN DEFENDS GRAMMAR SCHOOLS

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David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, responds to Roy Hattersley's call for the abolition of the country'...
David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, responds to Roy Hattersley's call for the abolition of the country's remaining grammar schools, in an article for The Independent (Review, p5).

He says the arguments given by the 'militants' for the abolition of Britain's 161 grammar schools can be convincingly refuted.

He writes: 'Abolishing grammar schools would at best bring only one or two academically gifted pupils into the average classroom in other schools. It is a lot to ask of this one pupil to inspire a general increase in performance by his or her classmates.

'Abolition of grammar schools would therefore result in the opposite of what these activists claim. Increased uniformity and lower standards would be inevitable.

'Some of the grammar schools might choose the private sector. Combined with the abolition of assisted places, this would have the effect of depriving children from less well-off families of one opportunity to enjoy high-qaulity academic education.'

He concludes that the campaign to end grammar schools 'should be seen for what it is: the politics of dogma'.

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