Calls to open a large number of grammar schools

The Telegraph is reporting calls from a private school head that grammar schools should be brought back en masse to ensure that they do not become the “preserve of the middle classes”…

Responding to news that Britain’s first new grammar in 50 years is likely to be approved next month, Andrew Halls, the headmaster of King’s College School in southwest London, said he was “indifferent” about the idea of opening a small number of grammar schools.

He said he would support the opening of a large number of grammars, alongside well-resourced secondary schools and technical colleges, fulfilling the “vision” of the 1944 Education Act.

However, he admitted that the reintroduction of the original legislation – drafted by Conservative politician Rab Butler – was “never going to happen” due to the lack of political support…

Mr Halls told The Daily Telegraph: “The problem with grammar schools is that they have become so rare, which means that they are now very much the preserve of the middle classes.

“If you look at the statistics, the average grammar school has fewer than three per cent of candidates on free school meals.

“They are fantastic schools and I would not wish them gone, but if they are going to come back, they ought to come back in vast numbers, not just in privileged boroughs.

“Grammar schools only make sense if you are also looking after less academic children well – that is what the Education Act was trying to create, although it is not what it created…”

More at: Calls to open a large number of grammar schools


Thoughts and reactions? It’s certainly hard to argue against the idea that the current system has filled grammar schools with a high proportion of middle class families who can afford to live in the right areas and pay for tutoring to help with with admissions…


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  1. Janet2

    Grammar schools don’t just exist in leafy boroughs.  They exist in towns such as Skegness in Lincolnshire, described as the most-deprived seaside town.  And does the grammar there give a leg-up to disadvantaged children?  Nope. Skegness Grammar has fewer FSM children than the Lincolnshire average while nearby Skegness Academy has far, far more.

    Lincolnshire grammar schools cream off the highest-ability children from non-selective schools.  Lincolnshire was so concerned their secondary moderns wouldn’t reach the higher GCSE benchmark that it recommended all their schools become academies.  But the sec mods exist because of Lincolnshire’s policy of selection!

    Selection has had a disastrous effect on the Lincolnshire town of Stamford, described as one of the best areas in England to live.  But there’s just one state secondary school in the town and it only attracted 39 first preference choices in 2013.  Why?  Because high-ability pupils are creamed off by nearby Bourne Grammar and there’s a ‘proper’ comprehensive school just over the border in Rutland.  Funny how comprehensive education is attractive when children fail the 11+.

  2. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove All current 2ndy schools are grammar schools. That is the problem. Start at 5 with #ReadWriteBuySellCookCleanFix

  3. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove From today; Calls to open a large number of Secondary Moderns. Haven’t heard that being quoted quite so readily.

  4. Britinfloridaus

    Of course more grammar schools would not lead to the closure of more private schools. Is that his real fear. Why not ask parents what they want? While grammar schools remain in just leafey suburb, is it no wonder that they are the preserve of the middle classes.

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