Michaela Community School | Aien Aristeuein – Changing my mind on grammar schools
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Aien Aristeuein – Changing my mind on grammar schools

21 Apr 2017, Posted by admin in Michaela's Blog

Changing my mind on grammar schools

When I was 16, after having completed my GCSE examinations, myself and a few friends travelled to London for a few days of sightseeing. We visited the Palace of Westminster on our last day and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted our local MP. As any group of precocious and politically aware grammar school boys would, some of us decided to go over and greet our Member of Parliament.

  At the time, our MP was Graham Brady, who had just resigned from his position as Shadow Spokesperson for Europe in light of David Cameron’s pronounced objection to any further expansion of grammar schools in England. Myself, and one other friend of mine congratulated him on his principled stand. My constituency at the time was in the heart of Trafford – one of fifteen selective local education authorities still left in England. Our school was one of the remaining 164 grammar schools in England after the Crosland scythe in the 1970s (As he so eloquently put it:“If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every f****** grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland”). At the time, we thought Brady was absolutely right to defend grammar schools, particularly as our school and many others in Trafford were so oversubscribed and successful in the national league tables. Our school was also a Catholic grammar, which meant that it selected on religious grounds, as well as academic. This made it somewhat more interesting, as catchment selection was much further down the pecking order than most grammar schools where they are often stuffed full of middle class kids whose parents didn’t want to stump up the private school subs but were willing to move into the school’s catchment area – selection by stealth, and wealth if you will. As a result, our kids had a real mix of middle class and less affluent pupils, many of whom went on to Russell Group and ancient universities.

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