Grammar school extension to 'open the floodgates' - Labour

Posted On: 
15th October 2015

Labour has predicted the Government’s decision to approve the expansion of a grammar school in Kent will “open the floodgates” for a new wave of selective education. 

Labour MP Lucy Powell on BBC Breakfast, 27/03/15

Nicky Morgan is expected later today to give the green light to an “annexe” in Sevenoaks, ten miles away from the site of the existing school in Tonbridge.

Lucy Powell, the Shadow Education Secretary, said the decision could trigger a rethink on Labour’s current policy of opposing new grammar schools, but not calling for existing ones to be shut.

She stressed there were “no plans” to review the party’s stance at the moment, but added that an increase in selective schools by 2020 could lead to a policy shift.

“What we now might be looking at in five years’ time is a whole new landscape where we have had a massive expansion in the selective and grammar school system and we have to look then at what that means at that point,” Ms Powell told the Today programme.

“Because let’s be absolutely clear: this decision today will open the floodgates. We will get schools... who will be applying to open up new schools ten miles away in other areas and we are going to see the massive expansion of selection at 11.”

She added that she was personally opposed in principle to the idea of selection at 11.

The decision has been welcomed by a senior Conservative MP.

Graham Brady said it was a "small but positive step", but added: "It would be better if it was a new school,”