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July 26, 2009


David Galea

Why can't Michael Gove's new schools policy include grammar schools in the mix? Let parents decide locally what's best for their children. End this hypocrisy where parents are pushed into faking religious belief so that they can do the best for their children. Who could blame Cameron for the return of grammar schools where it has been decided locally as the best method of giving working class children a good education?

I don't see why the Conservatives can't pick up extra votes by offering working class and middle class people a better chance for their children's future. The only reason grammar schools aren't Conservative policy is to avoid controversy, not because they are wrong. Such a tragedy.


Why is ConservativeHome providing a link to this segment? It's stuffed to the rafters with social progressives and hooray liberals, who support David Cameron's line on education and the his policy on grammar schools. I don't think Peter Hitchens would be particularly impressed with a Marxist supporting outfit using his arguments (which they usually sneer at or just don't publicise at all) to embarrass an idiot who is part of an another Marxist outfit they are usually in full agreement with.

Any conservative who agrees with Peter Hitchens on such an important issue as the education and future of a child should not support David Cameron's Conservative Party. How on earth can you on the one hand applaud this man's effortless dismantling of the Marxist line on education on this radio show, and then go out and vote for it at election time?

Victor, NW Kent

The very words " grammar schools" are enough to make every trade unionist, LibDem, social worker, Green and journalist [apart from about 4] froth at the mouth.

Perhaps we need a new style of Academy - with 3 streams - academic, science and technical. Then all can go to the same schools without stigma. If you had 2 sub - streams within each [4 in the Technical]then the ideal Academy with 30 in the academic and science classes, 25 in each of the technical classes - 220 per year to age 16 , then about 60 in 6th form.

Schools would be of manageable size, less stigma, more directional, more focussed.

We would have, in effect, grammar schools back in every industrial town - a great boon to the bright kids from poorer backgrounds.

jacqui williams

I think we should have a super academy where we have primary and middle school until aged 13 then children take a 13 plus which will determine an academic or vocational study those that are academic go to the grammer or high school those who are vocational then study for jobs such as carpenters plumbers electricians hairdressers bussiness studies office jobs catering etc and I believe children should start these types of studies from 14 years we have too many children going to university that really should not be there they would be better off learning a trade and getting qualifications for that trade. It might be that Labour have got rid of too many grammars and it has gone too far to get it back but maybe we should look at the alternative of a so called super academy it does not have to be in one large building either.

David Sergeant

I wonder what all those people cheering Hitchens were doing during the 18 years when continuous attempts to encourage new grammar schools lead to nothing happening. The problem with grammar schools is what you do with the 75% who don't go there.

David Galea

"The problem with grammar schools is what you do with the 75% who don't go there."

The serious problem now is what to do with the 99% who don't go there!


I wish that the party would back a new grammar school program. Why do we pander to left nutters, most people in this country want more Grammar schools, the grass roots want grammar schools, the people who don't are wrong and we shouldn't compound the error by surrendering to their views.


The mistake with the grammar school system was that there was a revolution rather than reform. Social democratic ideology and middle-class snobbery triumphed over actual practical considerations of what was best for the kids.

Getting into the professions, which are inevitably full of "soft-skills" and use a language that is alien for many Britons in a strict way, requires considerable help if you're coming from a working-class background. Grammar schools offered specialised education that reduced the cultural and linguistic problems to something that most dedicated working-class pupils could overcome.

Had secondary moderns been (a) well-funded, (b) able to give meaningful and relevant qualifications, (c) generally been turned into vocational and technical colleges, while (d) adult education of both a secondary modern and grammar school kind be made as available as it is in countries like Sweden so that we can continually raise the skill-level of the workforce to increase long-term productivity.

Then the only challenge would be (e) overcoming the luddite anti-practical culture we have in this country, in which lawyers, politicians and scholars are esteemed above engineers, businessmen and scientists.

(a)-(d) are government problems. (e) is a problem outside of the scope of the state and one that we as a society will have to meet if we're ever going to match the industrial prowess of other advanced nations.




Jim Knight: "Parents should look for a school suitable for the talents of their children."

How out of touch can a man be?! Maybe that's an option if you're a middle-to-upper class parent living in a city. If you're a working class person and/or in the countryside and/or who can't afford private education, then it's utterly meaningless.

If there was a voucher system that enabled the above catergories of parents to send their kids to private school, then school choice would be a relevant question for most people in the country.


It doesn't matter really. Education absorbs £85 billion currently and is a mass-consumer good, there is no money to build proper Science labs and facilities in schools which is why the subjects have been blended and made non-practical.

The fact that most people studying Chemistry, Physics went to independent schools is simply because they do invest in labs and can provide for the few people taking the subject which mass-consumer schooling cannot.

You cannot run comprehensives as mass-consumer facilities and cater for a minority requiring expensive labs and highly-qualified teaching. That is why mixed-ability classes are more cost-efficient.

A nation borrowing 14% GDP equivalent to Education + NHS on credit cannot entertain delusions of grandeur. Education will continue much as before with low standards and high costs. Britain is not going to be a leader in any field and Education is going to be more valued in Asia where it is seen as an Investment Good not a consumer Good as in the West.

Western Europe and North America have turned Education into a social experiment and rested on their laurels feeling the superiority of The West is pre-ordained and guarantees high living standards in perpetuity; there is no desire to Invest merely to Consume.

Variants on Comprehensive Schools such as Academies are simply socialist rhetoric to change environment in the form of buildings or labels, but have no other effect than to change letterheads. The British are anti-academic, anti-knowledge, and were renowned for hostility towards innovation and intellectual capability. It is time to recognise the national characteristics that make it impossible to recreate the Grammar School which survived from Elizabethan England of the 16th Century to be destroyed in the Elizabethan England of the 20th Century by Edward Boyle as Conservative Education Minister under Macmillan.

Coach Tote Bags

What a pity I miss seeing all those gorgeous knits! Thanks for sharing the photos.

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