Trafford MP defends grammar schools after chief inspector of English schools blasts them as 'full of middle class kids'

Messenger Newspapers: Graham Brady MP Graham Brady MP

A TRAFFORD MP has staunchly defended grammar schools after the chief inspector of English schools claimed they are ‘stuffed full of middle class kids’.


Sir Michael Wilshaw made the comments in an article published in the Observer newspaper, after plans to extend grammar school provision in Kent were rejected.


He told the Observer: "Grammar schools are stuffed full of middle-class kids. A tiny percentage are on free school meals: three per cent. That is a nonsense.


"Anyone who thinks grammar schools are going to increase social mobility needs to look at those figures. I don't think they work."


However, Graham Brady, who gave up his position on the Conservative front bench in protest against David Cameron’s position on grammar schools, strongly disagreed.


The Altrincham and Sale West MP told Messenger: “I think it’s unfortunate that Sir Michael chose to criticise some of the best schools in the country rather than focus on the important task of raising standards where it’s badly needed.


“The grammar schools and high schools across Trafford taken together achieve probably the best results in the country.


“I was particularly annoyed that Sir Michael suggested that selective systems only benefit pupils in grammar schools – in Trafford exceptional results are achieved not just by grammar schools catering to the most academic children but by the very substantial work that goes on in high schools.


“If you look at Wellacre, Ashton on Mersey, Altrincham College of Arts and Blessed Thomas Holford, not only does Ofsted recognise them as outstanding schools, their results are better than very large numbers of schools in comprehensive system areas.”


Mr Brady, who last week appeared on BBC Radio Four’s ‘The World This Weekend’ programme to discuss grammar schools, also strongly disagreed with the Ofsted chief’s comments about social mobility.


“In Trafford, we have a variety of schools that achieve extremely high results, both grammar schools and high schools, which offer opportunities to people, regardless of their ability to pay for it, which is the surest way to social mobility.”


Mr Brady added that while the number of children on free school meals may be underrepresented in grammar schools, more needs to be done to increase attainment from children of all social backgrounds.
 

Comments (3)

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7:37pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Rozzer says...

Michael Wilshaw is right. The amount of money that is spent, on coaching the children to pass the Grammer School entrance exams is beyound parents, that have low incomes.
Michael Wilshaw is right. The amount of money that is spent, on coaching the children to pass the Grammer School entrance exams is beyound parents, that have low incomes. Rozzer

3:32am Mon 23 Dec 13

Diane Robison says...

Long may Trafford carry on being different and keeping up grammar schools. They give children from less affluent families the chance of a grammar school education. Now children being tutored to within an inch of their lives; well I think that is another matter altogether and one for parents' own consciouses. Living just in Trafford near the Warrington border our year 6 daughter will probably get a place at Lymm High when I want her to go to Wellington for social reasons and having an asd son at a Trafford school in Sale and at least three weeks of the school holidays are different in Trafford and Warrington. So children from affluent Lymm primaries will go to the Trafford grammars but doubt we will get a place at Wellington. My daughter didn't do the 11 plus as I fear her daydreaminess and lack of enthusiasm in maths would have let her down but if I thought she had a chance of passing without extra tuition, I would have put her in for the 11 plus test for Alty Grammar. Speaking as someone who grew up on a council estate with a lot of siblings who all went to Wellington bar one brother who went to Alty Boys. We have all turned out decent, honest and hardworking and still have a banter in jest with our brother who went to the grammar.
Long may Trafford carry on being different and keeping up grammar schools. They give children from less affluent families the chance of a grammar school education. Now children being tutored to within an inch of their lives; well I think that is another matter altogether and one for parents' own consciouses. Living just in Trafford near the Warrington border our year 6 daughter will probably get a place at Lymm High when I want her to go to Wellington for social reasons and having an asd son at a Trafford school in Sale and at least three weeks of the school holidays are different in Trafford and Warrington. So children from affluent Lymm primaries will go to the Trafford grammars but doubt we will get a place at Wellington. My daughter didn't do the 11 plus as I fear her daydreaminess and lack of enthusiasm in maths would have let her down but if I thought she had a chance of passing without extra tuition, I would have put her in for the 11 plus test for Alty Grammar. Speaking as someone who grew up on a council estate with a lot of siblings who all went to Wellington bar one brother who went to Alty Boys. We have all turned out decent, honest and hardworking and still have a banter in jest with our brother who went to the grammar. Diane Robison

3:42am Mon 23 Dec 13

Diane Robison says...

Need to go back to school; the "conscious" word is getting the better of me and looks weird!
Need to go back to school; the "conscious" word is getting the better of me and looks weird! Diane Robison

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