I don't want this to turn into a bad habit, but fellow writer Callum Gurr's recent contributions have struck a chord with me. His latest musings regarding his opposition to grammar schools I find not only contradictory, but also runs into conflict with his own liberal principles.
As a strong advocate of grammar schools (something of which I have written about before on Student Voices), I was pleased to hear that Callum "did enjoy [grammar] school…loved it even, and throughout school I improved year on year". Sounds great right?
Apparently not so.
What Callum articulates is that despite his own personal positive experience of grammar school education, he is against them basis the 'psychological' impact that every child must be going through if they have not passed the "Kent Test". Not only is this factually wrong that every child is subjected to this alleged traumatic put down, it is simply not cricket that you can tar all such children like that. Neither, is it a strong enough or accurate enough argument to be against grammar schools.
What is Callum's solution to the evil grammar school system? To convert all those grammar schools that remain into comprehensives.
The same comprehensives that he dispatches with disdain that his friends were unfortunate enough to attend. This is where I really get deeply confused by the Liberal Democrats and those that parade themselves as 'liberals'. The very principle of liberalism embodies choice, individualism and freedom. So why would Lib Dems such as Callum want to pigeon hole our nation's children into a one-size-fits-all system?! The same comprehensive system that we know does not work and is redundant. Why should we not have a choice as when it comes to our children's education? Not all children learn at the same speed so why should we stand in the way of excellence by shoehorning children into such an inhibitive system. It's not fair and more importantly it would be to the detriment of this country.
What is it exactly that those on the left have against aspiration? Why should parents feel guilty for wanting to send their children to the best schools?
Callum, if you had such a great experience at your grammar school why don't we build more of them. Then there will be more places for those less well off in society enjoying the same privileges and opportunities whilst leaving fewer behind. There is absolutely no acknowledgement from you that grammars are inclusive and ignore the class and background of child. It is an offensive and lazy slur to say that "midway children whose parents cannot afford a private tutor would not pass". You're looking at a working class lad from Kent who did not enjoy having his own tutor but succeeded into getting into his local grammar.
Grammars are not perfect but they are a far more successful model than your standard comprehensive with solid foundations providing the platform for a superior education formula. Let's not inhibit potential by curbing their influence. Let's embrace them and work towards a future where every child has the opportunity to enjoy what they can offer.
In the words of Michael Howard, "this grammar school boy is not going to take any lessons" from a Lib Dem "on children from less privileged backgrounds".
Jimmy Allen is a writer for Student Voices.
Actually, Grammar Schools Can be the Answer | Jimmy Allen Reviewed by Student Voices on 22:52 Rating: