“Academic selection entrenches advantage, it does not spread it”

Here’s an interesting challenge to the DUP’s education policy. David Willets has just dropped the policy bombshell on his own party that they no longer support Grammar Schools, or indeed any schools based on academic selection…

Mr Willetts also distanced himself from the traditional Tory belief in academic selection, saying it was “fantasy” to say selection at the age of 11, which takes place in grammar schools, could be fair. He said the Tories could use legislation “left behind” by Tony Blair to push academies further than Gordon Brown, Mr Blair’s likely successor, “would ever dare to do”. Mr Willetts told the CBI: “We must break free from the belief that academic selection is any longer the way to transform the life chances of bright poor kids. “We just have to recognise that there is overwhelming evidence that such academic selection entrenches advantage, it does not spread it.”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty