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Grammar schools let pupils shine, claims Royal Academy ex-student Hoey

By Rebecca Black

Grammar schools are an "engine for social mobility", a Labour MP who grew up in Northern Ireland has insisted.

Kate Hoey, who attended Belfast Royal Academy, insisted that selective grammars give "young people the chance to shine according to their abilities, not their family background or social status".

And she has lashed out against opponents of academic selection in her own party, asking: "Why frown on academically talented youngsters being able to thrive in a grammar school?"

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Ms Hoey described herself as a "proud product" of a selective grammar school, and called for that sector to be "restored to their rightful place in England's mixed educational system".

Prime Minister Theresa May announced last week that she wanted to see more selective grammar schools opened in England.

The move has sparked controversy, with a number of Conservative politicians and most Labour MPs cautioning against the move.

And last week, Stormont Education Minister Peter Weir announced that primary schools here are now free to prepare pupils for unregulated transfer tests.

"I am saddened that my own party should be pathetically predictable in its response to the reforms - dusting down the same tired old, uninformed arguments as to why one-size-fits-all education is somehow the only, socialist, Left-wing way," Ms Hoey wrote. Mediocrity isn't - and never was - what Labour should be offering to its supporters. Surely, we should champion what offers working people a chance to improve and change their lot.

"What makes the wrong-headed opposition of Labour's top team all the worse is their staggering hypocrisy.

"The advantages it gave them, that great extra push in life, the encouragement to widen horizons, was good enough for them but not apparently for young people now."

Belfast Telegraph


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