Of Grammar Schools and Assisted Places


My Guardian column this month slays the assumption that grammar schools and assisted places are the ‘only’ or best way of improving social mobility.

The piece was tough to write for two reasons. One, it’s hard to make arguments clear and water-tight when you only have 700 words. And two, talking about grammars/assisted places is notoriously perilous because of the nostalgia, jealousy, gratefulness, resentments, evoked among people who had their own schooling impacted by academic selection.

Still, I wanted to write about it because it’s a debate that turns up regularly, and when we do have those debates, they need to be honest. I’m aware that people have differing views, and that I won’t have considered these, and therefore I can’t just claim what I think as ‘honesty’.  Hence, over the next few days, I will be pondering the views people give about the piece. Already last night people were asking questions, making good points on Twitter (special mention to @ZannaTweets for her knowledge about the Indian system), writing in the comments on the Guardian. Even if I’m not responding to individual comments, I am reading everything, and though I’m unlikely to change my views entirely over the next week,  my plan is to write a “what we learned” post summing up the useful insights from both sides.

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