Lib Dems pledge to block new grammar schools

The Liberal Democrats will work to block any attempts to create new grammar schools, leader Tim Farron has said.

Farron’s comments come amid speculation that Theresa May’s government may look to repeal the law blocking the opening of new grammar schools introduced under the Labour government in 1998.

A number of prominent Conservative MPs on Theresa May’s Cabinet, including Liam Fox and David Davis, have been vocal proponents of grammar schools, and Education Secretary Justine Greening has said that the government should be ‘open minded’ to the idea of new grammar schools as the education landscape has changed over the last few years.

Farron told the Guardian that grammar schools are ‘not the drivers of social mobility’. He said: “The Liberal Democrats are the party of education, and that means we believe in an excellent education for all, so any plans to bring in more divisive grammar schools will be utterly opposed by my party.

“Those who hold up grammar schools as the gold standard are less keen to talk about what happens to those children who, at the age of 11, are told they are not good enough. What does that do to a young person’s confidence and self esteem?

“This rose-tinted view of grammar schools might play well for a nostalgic few on the right of the Tory party but make no mistake about it – they are not the drivers of social mobility they would like to claim.”

While the Liberal Democrats only occupy 8 seats in the House of Commons, Farron said that he was confident that the party’s 106 peers would have enough Labour and crossbench support in the House of Lords to oppose an attempt to repeal the 1998 law.

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