MP backs grammars in se­lec­tion de­bate

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FRONT PAGE -

Ash­ford MP backs gram­mar schools af­ter crit­i­cism from se­nior Tory

ANTI-GRAM­MAR school cam­paign­ers re­newed their calls for Kent’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to be re­formed, af­ter the Con­ser­va­tive party dis­tanced it­self from school se­lec­tion.

Shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary David Wil­letts yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) an­nounced his op­po­si­tion to the 11-plus exam, ar­gu­ing that it failed chil­dren from poor back­grounds, al­though he stopped short of say­ing ex­ist­ing gram­mar schools should be scrapped.

But Ash­ford MP Damian Green, him­self once shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary for the Tories, pledged his con­tin­ued sup­port for gram­mar schools in the town.

He said: “I have al­ways sup­ported Ash­ford’s gram­mar schools, which do a good job for their pupils and the wider com­mu­nity, and work well with the high schools.”

Martin Frey from the cam­paign group Stop The 11 Plus (STEP), said: “We wel­come this recog­ni­tion of re­al­ity, al­though it’s not much more than the Con­ser­va­tive party has said be­fore.

“This should now be an op­por­tu­nity for Kent County Coun­cil to re­view its po­si­tion on se­lec­tion and recog­nise how lit­tle so­cial mo­bil­ity there is in Kent.

“As all main po­lit­i­cal par­ties now agree se­lec­tion is not the way for­ward, Kent has a chance to get a proper ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, at­tuned to the 21st cen­tury.”

The Con­ser­va­tives may be in op­po­si­tion na­tion­ally, but they are firmly in charge of KCC, which is re­spon­si­ble for ed­u­ca­tion in the county.

As the Ken­tish Ex­press went to press, KCC had not re­sponded to Mr Wil­letts’ com­ments, but Mr Green, now shadow min­is­ter for im­mi­gra­tion, con­firmed his stance on the is­sue.

He said: “Mr Wil­letts has made it clear that in Kent, where peo­ple sup­port the cur­rent sys­tem, gram­mar schools will be kept un­der a Tory gov­ern­ment.”

Martin Frey

David Wil­letts MP

Damian Green MP

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