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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 October 2015

First new grammar school in 50 years bolsters elitism

Beth Sutcliffe, Former grammar school student

Labour attempted to ban new grammar schools in 1998. The Tories have allowed one in Kent - by labelling it an 'expansion' of an existing school.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan reassures the public it will be "one school, two sites". But they're nine miles apart?

The narrative of the grammar system is that it allows less-privileged but bright children to excel. But in reality, the '11-plus' entry exam often just tests who can afford a tutor and who can't.

I took the test when I was 11. There was a distinct impression that this was a way to sort children into a 'good' or 'bad' pile, with confidence-shattering consequences for those who didn't pass.

I ended up going to a girls' grammar school. Students were often reminded what a tiny minority we were because we passed the test, further instilling elitism.

Some fellow students had been to private primary schools. The system encourages the rich to condescend to state schools for their children's secondary education. Grammars tend to attract superior resources, both from councils and wealthy parents, at the expense of non-grammars.

Pressure

Unfortunately, the pressure schools are under to perform well at GCSE means surrounding comprehensives lose the highest-performing students. Lower attainment means more pressure on overworked teachers and support staff.

The new grammar in Kent has opened up the possibility of more elsewhere. But this is no opportunity for social mobility - only increased entrenchment of class divisions.

The Socialist Party fights for fully funded comprehensive education for all. Scrap the grammar and academy systems. Bring everyone the benefits of grammar school resources - without defining kids as successes or failures based on one test at 11.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 29 October 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite to fight divided Tories

'Momentum' must mobilise for real and lasting change

Hinkley deal - no point in nuclear

Sugar tax debate misses real causes of poor diet

First new grammar school in 50 years bolsters elitism

Them & Us

What we saw


International socialist news and analysis

Israeli government fans the flames of conflict

CWI news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

What are the lessons of the 2010 student movement?

South African student solidarity demo

Students march in Leeds for free education


Workplace news and analysis

Steel industry and the battle for jobs

For a fighting and democratic Unison general secretary, vote Roger Bannister

Morrisons workers deserve fair pay and conditions

Hull council in aggressive attack on union convenors

Kill the Bill!

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Film review: Suffragette

Teachers and 'growth mindset'

Townsend Productions presents two critically acclaimed pieces of socialist theatre


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fund the fight for socialism at home and internationally

TUSC councillor calls for local Labour to back Corbyn's anti-cuts stance

Housing crisis on the agenda for Socialist Party in Reading


 

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