Labour’s Lucy Powell: we will fight any Tory revival of selective schools

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Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary
Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary

Shadow education secretary says pending decision in Kent could open floodgates, and accuses Tories of ‘complete lack of new thinking

The Conservatives will drag England’s schools into the past by reviving grammar schools, demoralising teachers and cutting resources, according to the new shadow education secretary.

Lucy Powell, who took over the education role last week following Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory, said Labour would fiercely contest any move by the government to allow the revival of selective schools. A decision on the proposed expansion of a Kent grammar school is expected soon.

“If the government agree to this one school, the legal precedent will open the floodgates to a massive expansion of selective education – something that is bad for social mobility and aspiration, for children, parents and the wider schools system,” Powell said.

“This shows the complete lack of new thinking on education policy from the Tories. We could have a situation where the legacy of David Cameron is the return of selective education in this country.”

Labour would back the legal challenges expected if the Department for Education approves an application by Weald of Kent grammar school in Tonbridge to build a new site in Sevenoaks, nine miles away, which opponents say amounts to opening a new school.

Angry about the 11+ ? Worried about unfair school admissions? Then please come to this important Comprehensive Future conference: Selection – the growing threat

Saturday 21st November 11.00 am – 3.30 pm Abbey Community Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU. (Further details here.)

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