Grammar plan is winning formula’ for votes, says Conservative MP

One of the Conservative’s fiercest grammar advocates has said the policy is not only the morally “right thing” to do but is also a “winning formula” for gaining voters.

Speaking at a fringe event on Monday at the Conservative party annual conference, MP Dominic Raab said that meritocratic principles would help restore the public’s belief that the government could be trusted with their “hopes and dreams”.

He added that ideas such as grammars were also a “winning formula for retail politics” – that is, a type of politics that appealed to a wide number of voters on the doorstep.

Grammars are there to be spread beyond the middle-class preserve

In 2014, Raab published the “Meritocrat’s Manifesto” in which he pushed for a wider reintroduction of grammar schools, but on Monday he said the first tranche ought to be placed within disadvantaged communities.

“Our message does need to go out that grammars are there to be spread beyond the middle-class preserve to the kids on the council estates or the rural backwater who want the chance their parents never dreamt of.”

But he admitted the plan was not a silver bullet and needed to work with other policies for meritocracy, including a “radical” idea for opening access to elite universities.

“Why not allow anyone to take an Oxford or Cambridge degree course if they are willing to be paid for it be marked, without having to go to university, pay the tuition fees let alone amass all the student debts?”

“I wonder how many people going through would actually get 2.1s or firsts? I think the results would shock people.”

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  1. Any grammars in disadvantaged communities would likely be colonised by more advantaged parents just as free schools in disadvantaged communities tend to be.
    The ‘working class’ isn’t stupid. They know for every one child deemed bright enough to enter these ‘centres of excellence’ there will be three who do not. The way to build a meritocracy is to have centres of excellence for all not just a few chosen by a couple of short tests at 11.

    • Mark Watson

      If you’re correct and people ‘see through’ the selection propaganda, then how come the polls show consistent support for grammar schools:
      38% want to create more grammar schools
      17% want to keep current grammar schools but not create more
      23% want to scrap all grammar schools
      22% don’t know
      It seems that the majority of people in the country support grammar schools.
      I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, just reporting the survey results.
      (BTW I certainly agree with the wish that all schools would become centres of excellence)

      • That’s right:
        38% want new grammars
        17% are happy to keep existing ones but do NOT want new grammars
        23& want to scrap all grammars (I think we can presume they’re not in favour of new ones)
        20% don’t know.

        23% against new ones + 17% against new ones = 40% against new ones.

        40% against new ones is more than 38% in favour of new ones. Support for NEW grammars, then, is lower than those against.