Kent education system 'benefits' from grammars

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The part that grammar schools play in the education system of Kent has been championed by two MPs from the county.

Gareth Johnson, Conservative MP for Dartford, said comprehensives only "is a one size fits all system".

Laura Sandys, Thanet South Conservative MP, believes grammars are "a route into higher education at the first generation level".

The Kent-based campaign group Stop the Eleven Plus says grammars negatively impact on nearby non-selective schools.

In a special Commons debate, Mr Johnson, a former pupil of Dartford Boys Grammar School, said: "In Dartford we have first rate non-selective academies, one of which is the most over-subscribed school in Kent.

"They form just as much of a crucial part of the educational system as the grammar schools and actually benefit from the existence of the grammar schools."

Both Mr Johnson and Ms Sandys joined their party colleagues in calling for the expansion of grammar schools across the country.

First generation

Ms Sandys said: "One of my schools, Chatham House, did a survey, 80% of those children were going to be the first generation going to further education or university.

"That was, for me, a very stark understanding that we are talking about a route into higher education at the first generation level."

Becky Matthews from Stop the Eleven Plus disagrees with the MPs' comments.

Ms Matthews said: "Children in non-selective areas, whether they are the most able or the less able, do better, you get into a virtuous circle when schools are mixed ability.

"In Kent, you get into an unvirtuous circle, and you concentrate lots of difficult to teach young people in one building and that is depressing."

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