TORY PM May yesterday launched her new offensive attempting to restore ‘secondary moderns’ by allowing every school to become a selective grammar school, and to have an elite status for unlimited expansion.
Faith schools are to be particularly favoured, and allowed to expand to 100% membership of the same faith, whether Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or Jewish.
Teachers’ unions immediately condemned the plan with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) stating: ‘The NUT will be working with parents, politicians and other unions to oppose these plans which are simply not suited for the 21st century.’
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: ‘Friday’s announcement from Theresa May represents a return to the class-ridden Britain of the 1950s. Comprehensive state education, has for decades, provided a high quality education and to all children regardless of class, family income, religion or race.
‘This will be a devastating blow to those families’ children who won’t get a place in these elite selective schools – and as we know that these will be largely working class children since less than 3% of entrants to grammar schools are entitled to free school meals.
‘For every new grammar school created, three or four neighbouring schools are effectively turned into secondary modern schools. For every child selected, three or four are rejected. This clearly will set back social cohesion and social mobility for future generations.’
Courtney is referring to the Tripartite System, which was launched in 1945 and forced all children aged eleven to do a pass-or-fail ‘eleven-plus’ exam.
Those that passed were allowed a place at their local grammar school, the rest, the sons and daughters of the working class, were consigned to a secondary modern where they were drilled into a life of low pay or unemployment.
Courtney concluded: ‘These proposals are a distraction from the very real issues facing our schools – funding cuts, increasing class sizes and a loss of opportunities as arts, dance and drama are cut. This policy was not in the Conservative Party manifesto.’
So as the Labour shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said in parliament on Thursday, ‘the cat is finally out of the bag’. She said: ‘Expanding the selection of pupils was not in the manifesto on which the Conservative Party was elected, so the government has no mandate to do this.’
On this Rayner is correct, the Tory policy of grammar school expansion has no mandate, but then again neither does Theresa May. Not a not a single Tory MP voted for her to become Prime Minister. She was not elected, but selected and installed.
She is now trying to drive through what amounts to the destruction of the entire state education system, a move which is opposed by all three teachers unions, and opposed by the Labour Party, opposed by the Liberal party and even opposed by a fraction of the Tory party.
As this policy was not in the Tory Party manifesto, it stands to reason that to implement it must require a general election. However, since the Labour Party has refused to call one the trade unions must now take the lead.
It is the intense economic crisis of capitalism which is driving the ruling elite to do away with free state education for all. The truth is, they do not want the working class to be educated at all. They want a select few to be trained up through the grammar school system, or imported from abroad, to be the technical wizards of an automated tomorrow, while the rest of the working class is dumped into secondary moderns, before being cast out to the world of zero-hours contracts, and a poverty existence.
At next week’s TUC Congress, the return of the grammar school and the growing desperate attempts to smash the NHS and impose contracts onto the junior doctors must be the number one issue to be dealt with. The unelected May, and her personal policy to bring back secondary moderns, along with her personal decision to keep on Hunt and carry on with the imposition of junior doctors contracts, must be confronted.
The TUC must call a general strike to bring down the unelected May government and to bring in a workers government and socialism. This is the only way forward!