Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Grammar Schools: Good for All or a Class Apart? ; AS THE PRIME MINISTER OUTLINES HER BIG CHANGE IN EDUCATION POLICY, WE ASK: IS SELECTION THE WAY FORWARD?

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Grammar Schools: Good for All or a Class Apart? ; AS THE PRIME MINISTER OUTLINES HER BIG CHANGE IN EDUCATION POLICY, WE ASK: IS SELECTION THE WAY FORWARD?

Article excerpt

PLANS to lift the ban on new grammar schools have sparked a huge debate in Greater Manchester.

Theresa May yesterday spoke for the first time about her plans to build new schools which select pupils based on their academic potential.

In a speech today the PM confirmed she would back schools which test pupils on their ability, stating she wanted Britain to be 'the world's greatest meritocracy'.

Selective schools were widely abolished during the 70s and 80s.

Trafford is the only borough in Greater Manchester where the grammar school system is still in place - and schools such as Altrincham Grammar Schools for Girls and Altrincham Grammar School for Boys are seen as being the top schools in the country for results.

But those who oppose the system, say that grammar schools create a two-tier system and unfairly categorise children who do not pass the tests at the age of 11 as 'failures.' .

Here's what teachers in our region have got to say about it all.

Would grammar schools work in Greater Manchester? It is no secret that schools in our region face problems. Last year the country's chief inspector was blunt, saying secondary schools were not 'firing on all cylinders' when it came to pushing bright kids.

Supporters of the grammar school system say that children from poor backgrounds are helped to make the most of their potential.

But John Morgan, NUT branch secretary for Manchester, argues that it would leave most children behind: "The vast majority of children who take the 11 plus will fail it."

Would grammar schools raise standards? Trafford is home to seven of the country's 163 grammar schools - and the grammar system has been hailed as a huge success. And the borough's non-selective schools such as Ashton-on-Mersey School and Sale High School are also highly successful.

Timothy Gartside, head of Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, said there is no reason why areas cannot have both good grammar and comprehensive schools working side by side.

"If you look at the local authority league tables across the North West, Trafford is always at the top," he said. …

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