Trafford MP defends grammar schools after chief inspector of English schools blasts them as 'full of middle class kids' (From Messenger Newspapers)
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Trafford MP defends grammar schools after chief inspector of English schools blasts them as 'full of middle class kids'
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.
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