9 views

The best breakthroughs of 2018 thus far

spe27 - October 22, 2018
Johnny English Fails to Strike Again
Arts
27 views
27 views

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again

Alice Gledhill - October 18, 2018
Sexual assault in the US government
Comment
3 views
3 views

Sexual assault in the US government

Tess Michaels - October 17, 2018
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
65 views
65 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
101 views
101 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
138 views
138 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
118 views
118 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
144 views
144 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
222 views
222 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
146 views
146 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
295 views
295 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
240 views
240 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
237 views
237 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
267 views
267 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
637 Views

The Big Debate: Should grammar schools be abolished?

Yes

 

Should grammar schools be exterminated or expanded?

EXTERMINATE!

When I’m elected Prime Minister, on the biggest landslide result the nation has ever seen in the year 2040, the first policy me and my Education Secretary will pursue will be to abolish grammar schools.

Grammar schools are, currently, havens for the middle-classes, the majority of which are situated in the most prosperous region of the UK.

In the South East of England, grammar schools are thriving, but they are thriving in a climate of a broken education system inside a deeply unequal society.

They’re not thriving because they’re any real symbol of social mobility, not that they arguably ever were in reality. If anything, they’re very British symbols of privilege and inequality.

There is little wonder why, therefore, the government’s announcement to allow the expansion of grammar schools for the first time in fifty years was met by such cheers from the Conservative right, UKIP and the Mail on Sunday’s Peter Hitchens.

Kent might be all sunshine and lollipops, but at Teeside where the Redcar steel factory recently closed, things aren’t so sunny or sweet.  Grammar schools fail to work in a society in which children’s progress rests as much on the result of a postcode lottery and private tuition than talent and hard work.

The Conservative government’s right-to-buy programme has made us all homeowners, it has led to the owner of a bus company in Oxford considering the building of a dormitory because the city is too expensive for his workers to live in, and commuting is tough in a country with the highest public-transport fares in Europe.

Universities have now essentially been detached from the state, beholden to the charity of donors. Social mobility is well and truly off the menu, and expanding grammar schools would likely further exacerbate the startling divide between rich and poor.

Axing the esteemed 11+, which still enshrines grammar schools, would be an important step in removing parental influence upon the life choices of children who become young people who then become fully-grown adults, citizens and members of our working population. Kids, in the words of Fleetwood Mac, you need to ‘Go your own way’.

Alan Bennett, the famous playwright who’s bucked the trend of humans becoming more right wing as they get older, last year criticised selective schools despite the fact he and many of his generational brethren from working-class and lower middle-class backgrounds, like David Attenborough, Alan Johnson and John Lennon, benefited from being curious and clever when they passed the 11+ in the 1940s and 1950s.

When I’m Prime Minister, on the biggest landslide result the nation has ever seen in the year 2040, I would only abolish grammar schools as a short-term measure, and you might be surprised to learn that me and my Education Secretary would restore grammar schools, and revive a tripartite system of selection the Conservative politician R.A. Butler imagined in the 1944 Education Act.

Gone are the days the Tories could occasionally stand up for social mobility: in that act, Butler legislated for free school milk. Less than 30 years later, Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher snatched the milk away.

However, Labour’s radical 1945 government respected the act, allowing the flourishing of grammar schools well into the 1970s when a certain Shirley Williams started arguing for a mixed comprehensive school system for all.

But, we’ve learned so much from that change. First, the 11+ is – as The Specials sang – ‘Too Much, Too Young’. I believe 14 or 15 would be a more appropriate age for entrance exams for grammar and technical colleges.

Secondly, Britain never did build technical colleges to complete the tripartite system. As a result, Britain has to deal with the legacy of the much-maligned secondary-modern, the dumping ground for children who couldn’t quite pass the 11+, a test in the infancy of which questions were worded in the kind of language that would’ve made Barbara from The Good Life foam at the mouth.

If as Prime Minister (and yes, I know there might be many doubting Thomas’s among you, but rest assured, I might make them bold but I rarely make wrong predictions) I can create the conditions for a tripartite system to flourish, I would press ahead with grammar schools.

Germany has created a true economic powerhouse, a country with a versatile skills base, and with a higher birth rate would be leading the world like China. But Britain is not Germany, where so many rent and enjoy a social democracy, so I’m afraid, any right-minded politician would abolish grammar schools, immediately. Exterminate!

 

Paul Millar


No

 

In the post-war period we have, as a country, come to a general understanding about what we believe equality to be.

We want a system where people are allowed and encouraged to pursue their own interests and wealth, but where the family you are born into is not extensively prejudicial against your ability to do; we want to make society collectively richer, through pursuing the principle of equality of opportunity. Grammar schools are the best engine to drive this.

I was lucky enough to be born into a family with sufficient resources to send me to private school for my primary years, but when it came to secondary school I was adamant, and my parents agreed: I should go to the local grammar school.

After a lot of work, I passed the 11+ and arrived at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School in September 2004. The first term passed in a flash, and it was probably not until my second year that I noticed the demographic of the other boys in my year.

Whilst there were plenty of the middle-class children that the opponents of grammar schools love to gesticulate toward, as evidence that grammar schools somehow serve only the middle class, there were an equal number of students from much poorer backgrounds.

Many of my peers were from families poor enough that they received free school meals – and an even greater number were the first in their family to go to university, and I believe the strongest anecdotal evidence in favour of the grammar school system is in the universities they went to.

I am proud to be at Sussex – a top-20 university- but I’ve been outstripped by many from my school who, despite starting with a significant disadvantage, are now alumni of Oxford and Cambridge.

The opponents of the grammar school system are the usual whiners, who cut their nose off to spite their face, in demanding that the greatest tool of social mobility this country has seen is banned, simply because it is imperfect.

Yes, grammar schools fail a small number of students, but they reward a far greater number; the comprehensive system that has been implemented in place of grammar schools might ensure equality among poorer students – but only by failing them all equally.

Children born to rich parents needn’t worry – they can rely on an extensive network of private schools to maximise their potential, while their less fortunate – but often equally gifted – counterparts see their academic ability frittered away, in schools that fail to challenge them.

Grammar schools create environments in which gifted children from all backgrounds can be educated together, and they are the most realistic response to the obvious inequality perpetuated by private schools.

Doubtless my opposition in this debate will either state clearly – or secretly believe – that all private schools should be abolished, instead of new grammar schools created.

This is counterproductive, and fails to recognise that the point of a system that promotes equality and social justice should be to endeavour to make society collectively richer, rather than enforce uniform poverty.

Instead of kicking those at the top of the ladder down, we should be trying to pull those at the bottom up. By creating schools where the brightest children from the poorest background can receive an education on par with that available in the private sector, we can achieve this.

In our pursuit of equality, we must continually ask ourselves what purpose it serves; I believe it should be to allow every child to expect an outcome in life that matches their ability. A system devoid of grammar schools ensures that it is only the richest children who can expect this.

Disallowing a network of selective grammar schools is akin to lining all children up on the Brighton Pier, allowing the richest 7% to buy life rings, using concrete to clamp the feet of the other 93%, before throwing them all in the sea, and claiming you created equality because you used an equal amount of cement.

A society that does not allow the most gifted students from the poorest backgrounds to make the most of their potential is not equal, it is not fair, and it must end.

 

Will Saunders

Image: Brian Chadwick

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
9 views
Johnny English Fails to Strike Again
Arts
27 views
27 views

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again

Alice Gledhill - October 18, 2018
Sexual assault in the US government
Comment
3 views
3 views

Sexual assault in the US government

Tess Michaels - October 17, 2018
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
65 views
65 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
101 views
101 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
138 views
138 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
118 views
118 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
144 views
144 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
222 views
222 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
146 views
146 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
295 views
295 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
240 views
240 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
237 views
237 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
267 views
267 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
25 views
25 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018
BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
32 views
32 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Freshers 2018
9 views

The best breakthroughs of 2018 thus far

spe27 - October 22, 2018

As we begin a new school year, this is a great time for Sabrina Edwards, the new Science editor, to reflect on the best scientific breakthroughs of…

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground
Arts
76 views
Arts
76 views

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground

Hal Keelin - October 18, 2018

Upon my transfer to Sussex University, I found Robert Cowen’s Common Ground a particularly comforting read. After nearly a year out from academic study, I was finally…

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again
Arts
27 views
Arts
27 views

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again

Alice Gledhill - October 18, 2018

Striking up laughter in cinema screens once again, Rowan Atkinson may have given up playing lovable Mr. Bean, but he hasn’t retired as Johnny English just yet.…

Sexual assault in the US government
Comment
3 views
Comment
3 views

Sexual assault in the US government

Tess Michaels - October 17, 2018

“I believed he was going to rape me.” are the stand out words in Christine Ford’s final testimony at the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh as an…

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
65 views
Arts
65 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
101 views
Arts
101 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
87 views
Film & Theatre
87 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
124 views
Arts
124 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
113 views
Campus News
113 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
163 views
News
163 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
138 views
Arts
138 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
118 views
Interview
118 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
154 views
Lifestyle
154 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
144 views
Lifestyle
144 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
222 views
Arts
222 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
146 views
News
146 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
295 views
Arts
295 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
212 views
Film & Theatre
212 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
240 views
Sports
240 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
237 views
Arts
237 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
267 views
Arts
267 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1332 views1
Campus News
1332 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
25 views
News
25 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018

The new Lewes Road branch of ALDI has opened to the public. Its first customers received free fruit and vegetables and the store has proved popular since.…

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
32 views
Campus News
32 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018

Students are due to give a talk about the UK’s first black studies degree as part of Sussex University’s Black History Month events. The free event, which…

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus
Culture
124 views
Culture
124 views

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus

Ketan Jha - October 19, 2018

Classical music can be obtuse. It is easy, especially at free concerts occupied largely by octogenarians, to get lost between movements and melodies. This is especially true…

Bliss Signal Album Review
Music
57 views
Music
57 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

  CD/Vinyl/Download At first glance, the worlds of black metal and electronic dance music do not seem to have very much in common. The former is characterised…

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex
Campus News
34 views
Campus News
34 views

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex

Jessica Hubbard - October 18, 2018

A new Student Energy Project has started at Sussex. The project is run in collaboration with The Student Energy Project, the University Sustainability team and Sussex Students’…

Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
39 views
Campus News
39 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
58 views
News
58 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
69 views
News
69 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
43 views
News
43 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
41 views
Campus News
41 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
86 views
National News
86 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
65 views
National News
65 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
73 views
Music
73 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
78 views
Arts
78 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…