Ian Collins is Leading Britain's Conversation.
7 March 2017, 11:39
James O'Brien's Very Personal Response To Grammar School Row
Why does the debate around grammar schools make James O'Brien want to swear?
Theresa May will pave the way for a new generation of grammar schools tomorrow. It prompted this thought-provoking and very personal response from James.
James was conflicted on the grammar school debate, as he admitted himself at the opening of his show today.
"The parents who want to send their children to grammar are doing nothing wrong," he said. "You would have to be made of something close to Marxist purity to reject that.
"I want to live in a country where parents are encouraged to seek the absolute best for their children."
But James also admitted that while he would have thrived in a grammar school, his own kids might not be the same:
"My eldest starts secondary school next year," said James, "She's very different from me. We've just done entries...we've just applied to a bunch of schools.
"She's been alright. But some kids, it's awful at 11.
"I want to swear. I never want to swear at you, not on a subject as simple and as relatively innocuous as this. But some 11-year-olds in Britain have just been through what might be one of the most traumatic experiences in their lives.
"Lots of them, most of them, will have failed.
"I look at my baby girl and I don't see my 11-year-old self, all cocksure and strutting around the playground, boasting about his Latin results.
"I don't see me, I see her. I see a little girl who, really, I'm not sure, should've been primped and poked and pushed into these exams. And she only did two.
"I've got friends who did ten. At eleven!"