Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
8 August 2016, 11:36
O'Brien On Why Grammar Schools Won't Work
If parents think grammar schools will give their children a better education, then they are deluded, says James O'Brien.
Parents who think grammar schools will give their children a better education are deluded, says James O'Brien.
Theresa May is considering overturning a ban on new grammar schools in a bid to boost social mobility.
A spokesperson for the new Prime Minister said they wanted to give all youngsters the chance of a good education, regardless of how wealthy their parents are.
But James O'Brien told his LBC listeners that any parents that think this is the answer will be disappointed.
He said: "It's a question of why people like grammar schools. If the answer to that is only because 'I think my kids will get a better education in them', then you are deluded.
"Exactly half of children are of average or below average intelligence. So let's say the top 10% get into the grammar schools, that's 90% of us whose children won't get in.
"Are we still in favour of them?
"So don't ask yourself if you're in favour of a return to grammar schools. Ask yourself this: are you in favour of a return to Secondary Moderns? Schools that exist solely and exclusively for failures. For children who have failed an exam at the age of 11 that will impact upon every single year of their future.
"Are you ready for the return of Secondary Moderns?
"By all means, queue up to tell me how wonderful grammar schools are, but then look me in the eye and tell me how you'd feel if your school went to a Secondary Modern.
"Judged at 11 years old to be a failure."