Liberal Democrat Manifesto: Grammar schools
“The Conservatives want to take us back 50 years, to an outdated system of grammar schools and secondary moderns, ignoring all the research and expert advice that show it will damage the life chances of so many children.”
- The number of grammar schools in England and Wales peaked in 1964, at almost 1,300. Today there are 163.
- The advantage for pupils who attend modern grammar schools is outweighed by the disadvantage for those who don’t, research shows.
- Experts such as Sir Michael Wilshaw, then Chief Inspector of schools have also weighed in. He said: “The notion that the poor stand to benefit from the return of grammar schools strikes me as quite palpable tosh and nonsense – and is very clearly refuted by the London experience.”
- The Conservatives argue that “people get lost in the argument about whether the grammar schools of the 1950s and 60s improved social mobility or not” (they didn’t) and promise that “there will be no return to secondary moderns”. Grammars would only be one type of school among many in a diverse system, with changes made to the system to ensure more disadvantaged children attend them.