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It will be politically more difficult for Cameron to defend Eton etc after he failed to defend grammar schools.

The more the Party moves to the left, and on some issues to the left of Labour, the more it frees the other parties to move even further to the left. We need to continue to present conservative arguements. The Cameronian fear of doing so is undermining sensible policy by whoever wins the next election.

Alan Johnson knows that he has Mr Cameron on the back foot. After his ostentatious denial of "privilege" being delivered through the Grammar Schools (or "grammars", as he so charmlessly put it), the Conservative party leader can hardly be seen coming to the aid of that last bastion of educational privilege, the Public School sector. Sorry, "publics".

Independent schools must resist these attempts to interfere in their freedom. If the charitable status goes so will the assisted places. I can see more independent schools moving abroard to escape the meddling of this government. Cameron must defend choice in education.

I think you're right Jennifer but I am comforted by the fact that this is not going down well in certain sections of the Labour party. It seems that Alan Johnson did not choose his words carefully and they are being interpreted by some as an attack on the competence of State School teachers.

Labour attacks faith schools..... then Tories deny the importance of grammars.... now Labour attack private schools.... WHO WILL STAND FOR EXCELLENCE NOW?

Johnson has to appeal to The Left that wants ticket-balancing with Brown on the Deputy election.

Suzi Leather has done well as a labour Party appointee to the FSA, HFEA, and now the Charities Commission.....she is almost as successful as the great Sue Slipman in careerist terms.

The Grammar Schools were always a fig-leaf to protect public schools...that's why they left a few. Tony Crosland (Highgate), Edward Boyle (Eton), Shirley Williams (St Paul's) with her daughter as Head Girl at St Paul's.

It was useful to have the lower middle class to feed to the Left....now it is open season.

I wonder when Muslim charities will be opened up to benefit "the public". I have never heard of a Muslim Charity ever sending aid to non-Muslims

Peter Oborne has a nice article in today's Mail

Tactical move by Johnson which I doubt he'll follow through. If it has backfired then he deserves everything he gets.

Shows how desperate he is for the deputy leader job though. Hodge then this.

Lord Earing left school at 15 I think but went back to study and get a degree before entering the Civil Service - lots of people took night school classes and improved their lot. Why didn't Alan Johnson ?

Why didn't he set out to improve himself rather than scre@ing over his members on the Postal Workers Union - ask your postman about Johnson and his Arthur Scargill like attention to No1 at the expense of members.

Johnson is a spiv and could not take those life chances he is so keen to moan about being denied......when in fact they were available as they always have been, for those who make the effort

Alan Johnson is of course articulating the dogmatic rote of the left, if it ain't in public hands then its wrong, it's elitist and it's unfair to others.
All the left can articulate about, is level playing fields, unless of course a union is involved, in which case lets distort the market or contract or employment law in our favour. Johnson has form in that regard.
DC was probably right in wanting no internal war on grammars, which only serves to give grist to the left and stir up fears amongst parents of the lower and middle classes.
Johnson and the rest of his ilk would prefer that public schools did not exist, as they only serve to highlight the abject failure, in part, of the the great experiment in comprehensives.
It will be interesting to see if Johnson will take the fight for comprehensives and statism to faith schools and demand that Muslim/Christian/Jewish schools adopt a secular policy.

Well as the Bishop of London pointed out in a letter to The Times a couple of days ago, admissions to Church of England schools are determined by the LEA and not the C of E

So, what would happen if a minister suggested that teachers in state schools carried out some compulsory extra curricula activity? We would hear the mass complaint from the teachers unions.

Is this why Alan Johnson is picking on the staff of private schools?

"David Cameron launched a Charter for Inner City Schools that floated the possibility of higher pay for inner city teachers to aid recruitment and retention."

This already happens. The leadership really need to start following events.

So Johnson stokes the fire on Question Time and gets lots of publicity, now he is wagging the finger at private schools. Whay all the sudden news?

I hope that people can see through all this Labour member stroking, publicity seeking rubbish in the run-up to the election for Deputy Leader

This is politics at its very worst. Pity he cannot dedicate some effort to doing his actual job. I am praying that the commentators are sharpening their pencils on this.

Do the people of Kingston upon Hull West really want to be represented by this prejudiced, envious, foolish man? His last great witch hunt was the 'hunting bill' - and that has not exactly been a towering success.

I see from his voting record that he is a huge supporter of student top-up fees. So why against private schools?? !!

He strongly supports equal rights for gay people - but not for people who want a good education for their children and so go privately, it seems.

And for a bigger picture he also strongly supports ID card and the Iraq war, believing that it should not be investigated.

His views on rubbish are not recorded!!

(data taken from www.Theyworkforyou.com)

Leadership has to crush this, but they must be tactile about it. Surely forcing a teacher from a private school to work in the local comprehensive would be against their contract anyway?

Once Grammar schools are attacked by Conservative leaders for 'not helping poor people' then the next logical step is to attack private schools.

TomTom at 10:42: Johnson did - he went to Ruskin College.

As for the Telegraph leader:

"independent schools already fork out more in free and subsidised places than they gain by their tax-exempt status"

Yes but how many of the scholarships are actually going to pupils from less welll off economic backgrounds, and how many have become status "prizes" sought by the middle and upper classes who can easily afford the full fees? In my brief time at a public school scholarships were certainly not treated far more as the latter, with the boys who'd won them elevated in some ways above others, and certainly not as a means for widening participation. What one could call the "13+" entrance exams arguably have as many flaws as the 11+ as a leveller.

Maybe the best answer is to shut down all the private schools - or as Crosland would have put it, "destroy every ****ing private school" - or alternatively pass a law that MPs must send their children to their nearest comprehensive, as all of them including Cameron are now so convinced that comprehensive schools are wonderful. There'll never be any beneficial change while these hypocrites can insulate themselves from the system they insist on imposing on everybody else.

Enough of these half-baked compromises! Let us get real about education. Now that both of the main parties are firmly committed to poor education and ignorance we can abandon any form of quaification for university entrance. Let anybody go who can face the debt they will leave with.

Nobody will need to try to get into a grammar school, the private schools will close down - an ideal solution for Labour.

Of course, one could save a lot of money for all sides by abolishing universities altogether since it is easier for young people from middle-class backgrounds to enter. That is manifestly unfair to those who are not good enough and who apparently all come from poorer homes. Then we could award everybody a degree of their choice. It might even solve the shortage of dentists.

Equality for All -Regardless of Merit, that will be the new rallying cry.

This would be a good idea - if it were not for the word "compel"! If the word were instead "encourage" I would be for it 100% - although it should work both ways! Each sector will have things that it could teach the other.

Middle Class Britians' nest is being raided again, this time by Magpie Johnston. Why is it those who work so hard to create choice and opportunity for themselves and their family in this country are pillaged day in day out? Just leave us alone.

A typical spiteful left-wing attack on those who dare to be successful and want the best for their children. The sooner these dinosaurs are out of power the better. I used to think Alan Johnson was ok but this just goes to show he's no better than the rest of then. One hopes Cameron will promise to reverse any attack on the private schools especially as he went to one.

Richard you say 'one hopes' I know I hope Mr Cameron will spell out just exactly what version of 'Conservative core values' he champions!

After this weeks 'Grammar School' stomach churner, is our leader going to smell the coffee?

Private schools entrench privilege!

In all seriousness, despite being a grammar school boy, I am firmly supportive of private schools and do not like Johnson one bit. Both private schools and grammar schools have contributed massively to this country and the Tory party should always shun leftist attacks on these institutions.

Surely forcing a teacher from a private school to work in the local comprehensive would be against their contract anyway?

Forcing ? The children from the State School come to the private school for their education - to use the sports facilities, labs, classrooms....the teachers do not leave the premises


Education: Sloane Grammar School, Chelsea.

Ruskin College, Oxford


Can you tell us how many Secretaries of State for Education since 1945 have been educated

a) in a Grammar School

b) in a Secondary Modern

c) in a Public School

d) in a Comprehensive

Globalist New Labour have decided that far too many people have had it far too good for far too long in this country.

Now we are going to be dumbed down even further, ground down economically, and oppressed by an all powerful state.

As the living standards of the Chinese and Indians improves, so ours will be reduced.

That is the fate in store for the majority of Britons who are still too busy borrowing money and spending it to realise that the party is soon about to end.

This is the list of Secretaries of State

Minister of Education

* Rab Butler (August 3, 1944 - May 25, 1945)
* Richard Law (May 25, 1945 - July 26, 1945)
* Ellen Wilkinson (August 3, 1945 - February 6, 1947) (Died in office)
* George Tomlinson (February 10, 1947 - October 26, 1951)
* Florence Horsbrugh (November 2, 1951 - October 18, 1954)
* David Eccles (October 18, 1954 - January 13, 1957)
* Viscount Hailsham (January 13, 1957 - September 17, 1957)
* Geoffrey Lloyd (September 17, 1957 - October 14, 1959)
* David Eccles (October 14, 1959 - July 13, 1962)
* Sir Edward Boyle (July 13, 1962 - April 1, 1964)

[edit] Secretary of State for Education and Science

* Quintin Hogg (formerly Viscount Hailsham) (April 1, 1964 - October 16, 1964)
* Michael Stewart, Baron Stewart of Fulham (October 18, 1964 - January 22, 1965)
* Anthony Crosland (January 22, 1965 - August 29, 1967)
* Patrick Gordon Walker (August 29, 1967 - April 6, 1968)
* Edward Short (April 6, 1968 - June 19, 1970)
* Margaret Thatcher (June 20, 1970 - March 4, 1974)
* Reginald Prentice (March 5, 1974 - June 10, 1975)
* Fred Mulley (June 10, 1975 - September 10, 1976)
* Shirley Williams (September 10, 1976 - May 4, 1979)
* Mark Carlisle (May 5, 1979 - September 14, 1981)
* Sir Keith Joseph, Bt. (September 14, 1981 - May 21, 1986)
* Kenneth Baker (May 21, 1986 - July 24, 1989)
* John MacGregor (July 24, 1989 - November 2, 1990)
* Kenneth Clarke (November 2, 1990 - April 10, 1992)

[edit] Secretary of State for Education

* John Patten (April 10, 1992 - July 20, 1994)
* Gillian Shepherd (July 20, 1994 - July 5, 1995)

[edit] Secretary of State for Education and Employment

* Gillian Shepherd (July 5, 1995 - May 2, 1997)
* David Blunkett (May 2, 1997 - June 8, 2001)

[edit] Secretary of State for Education and Skills

* Estelle Morris (8 June 2001 - 24 October 2002) (Resigned)
* Charles Clarke (24 October 2002 - 15 December 2004)
* Ruth Kelly (15 December 2004 - 5 May 2006)
* Alan Johnson (5 May 2006 - present)

Don't believe all that "cheeky chappie" spin about Alan Johnson. He is an extremely unpleasant, resentful, nasty piece of work with an almighty chip on his shoulder.

"Forcing ? The children from the State School come to the private school for their education - to use the sports facilities, labs, classrooms....the teachers do not leave the premises"
Sorry TomTom, I misinterpretted what these proposals would mean... and they are far worse than I thought. This is verging on nationalising private schools in all but name,

I count 29 Secretaries of State for Education since 1945 - three individuals twice (so I count each once)

I have one or two I need to research but it looks like

Grammar School approx 4
Public School 20
Elementary 1

I just heard the BBC (Radio 5 Live) describe Alan Johnson and the "Tories" as "Singing from the same hymn sheet on this one". No doubt that will bring a happy smile to the faces of all those, especially those at the BBC and the Guardian, who are so enjoying seeing the Conservative party being destroyed from within in the pursuit of one man's rampant personal ambition.


Forcing ? The children from the State School come to the private school for their education - to use the sports facilities, labs, classrooms....the teachers do not leave the premises

Which worries me even more. Having 2 young children in Private school (No Grammar School available) busting my gut 7 days a week to pay for it, now I am paying three times to educate my Children? Do you want my shirt aswell 'Mr Shoulder Chip?'

Last one to leave this once green and pleasent land turn the light off ...

I think it is 6 Grammar School educated Secretaries of State for Education since 1945

19 Public School educated

2 State school educated

1 Elementary State School educated

1 as yet undetermined

So not only has Britain since the passage of the 1944 Education Act had its Education Minister educated outside the very sector he was administering; but this extract from Hansard in June 1996 shows that no country in Europe has such a restrictive secondary education system as Britain


Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, perhaps I can bring a little rationality and lack of passion to this debate and point out the insularity of our discussion. In Germany there is a tripartite system and people do not feel a sense of failure. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, that there were problems up to the 1944 Act caused by the parsimony of the party with which I now stand and by the ideology of the parties opposite.

Everywhere in Europe--in Germany post-13 years of age, in France, the Netherlands, and Spain post-16 years of age, there has been diversity of choice without the passion and, dare I say it, the ideological nonsense which has bedevilled English education for the past 50 years. There was passion on both sides and I am merely trying rationality. We must look abroad.

Lord Skidelsky: My Lords, it is worth repeating the point made by my noble friend Lord Pilkington. The position taken up by the Opposition has been very parochial. The comprehensive system which we adopted in the 1960s onwards is almost unique in Europe. Throughout Europe, and not just in the countries mentioned by my noble friend, but in eastern Europe as well, there is much more diversity of provision than we have. They do not do it as inflexibly as we did under the old 11-plus system and they do not do it at the same age. But no one on this side of the House is proposing that that should happen. It is essential to emphasise that point.

Secondly, it is because of our comprehensive experiment that we have had the crisis in standards which the other side accepts as well. Why are we, uniquely in Europe, talking about our crisis in standards? There seems to be a direct connection between that and the sweeping away of the grammar schools in the 1960s and 1970s. This is part of the policy of improving standards. It will be understood by all other countries in Europe, none of which has followed us down the disastrous path which the Opposition parties now want to strengthen.

The argument that poor people did/do not go to grammar school is certainly not true of Hemel Hempstead in the early 60s, where I went to grammar school.

Hemel was a new town with a large factory estate nearby for the mostly London overspill. I went to the newly opened Cavendish Technical Grammar School (so they must have lowered the bar a bit for me) but even the older, well-established grammar schools in Hemel took working class children.

The nonsense being spouted by Willets and others implies that, if we are no longer to defend grammar schools, why keep those that remain?

Sorry, I have just returned to the blog after a bit of lubrication with dinner. The point I want to make (and it echoes the excellent point made by the first poster Jennifer Wells at 08:52) is that if we no longer feel that grammars are worth the candle, why keep Private Schools as well, for Grammar Schools were originally set up to be 'the poor man's private school'?

The vile Labour Party, in the guise of Alan Johnson, is now going to have a pop at Private Education. We have left the door wide open for just such an attack and possible policy development.

If this was at the back of the original anti-grammar school speech then blood will flow. If it wasn't, then I despair because the result is effectively the same!

TomTom... stop beating about the bush... thread after thread after thread, you are there, studiously undermining the party to the best of your ability. Put it down, here is your opportunity... list please, what is it you want?

Those with heavy eye lids, could I suggest you come back later?

Interesting letter in The Sunday Telegraph

Comprehensives are the worry, not grammars

The furore over the Tory policy on grammar schools seems overdone (Leading article, May 20). All the political parties pay lip service to the comprehensive ideal but their policies are in the doldrums and they hope that some sort of make-over - colleges, academies, call it what you like, or public/private partnership - will reform the unreformable.

Meanwhile more and more parents go private. David Willetts, who thinks that the middle classes gain unfair advantages by using private tutors for 11-plus entry, should be aware that very many parents of children at comprehensives use tutors, particularly at GCSE and A-level.

My experience as a tutor convinces me that the comprehensive schools are in a state of collapse. Parents should be encouraged to go private for a reasonable education. If the money that the state wastes on education were given back to them in the form of tax relief, perhaps we should make some real progress, for we can no longer rely upon the state to make it for us.

Nigel Probert, Porthmadog, Gwynedd

Now Oberon let us turn to your personal problem.

I went to the local state school where I did moderately well academically, but only excelled at middle-distance running.

That is your life. Mine was to excel academically and in athletics and sport and for my entire post-State primary education to be funded on scholarships....none of which exist any more.

I do not see why people like you - who satisfied themselves with moderately well academically should combine with public schoolboys fuelled by inherited wealth, to take away from people who have nothing but academic ability and motivation, and treat them like street urchins who disturb your complacent self-satisfaction.

Of course comprehensives are the worry, not grammars, just as back in the sixties it was secondary moderns which were the worry, not grammars.

A sensible government might have said: "We have a system which serves the top quartile very well, but which is nowhere near as good for the other three quartiles. We need to improve the education offered to those children who aren't suited for a grammar school education"

Instead we had Anthony Crosland vowing to destroy every ****ing grammar school in the country - destroying the part of the system which actually worked for purely ideological reasons.

In terms of cognitive ability as measured by IQ, in round numbers the top quartile is above 110, the second quartile is 100 - 110, the third is 90 - 100 and the fourth is below 90. To provide some perspective, in the US college graduates as a whole have an average IQ around 110 with few below 100, while the graduates of the top dozen universities have an average IQ of around 140.

The Sunday Telegraph editorial concerns itself with the bottom 5%. If that was just the bottom 5% in terms of IQ, they would have IQ's below 75, and would be classified as "very dull", while the rest of that bottom quartile running up to IQ of 90 would be just "dull".

Of course IQ is just one factor, but it's one which cannot realistically be ignored, just as the fact that something like half of the variation in IQ between children is hereditary also cannot realistically be ignored.

The response from the egalitarian left has been and still is vehement denial that IQ has any meaning. Even if variations in IQ do mean anything, they are entirely the result of nurture and not at all inherited. All children are the same, or could
be the same, and so they should all be treated the same.

I am a former grammar school pupil. I do not however have a chip on my shoulder about private schools. I believe that we should have the right to spend our wealth as we wish. If that means that people who have more money want to spend it on school fees, because they believe it will provide better education for their children, so be it. They are, after all, effectively paying twice - once through their taxes to support the state education sector, and additionally to educate their own kids outside of it.

BUT, why should these schools have charitable status? They are NOT charities. They are institutions that charge very high fees and are therefore only available to the rich. I suspect that most make a tidy profit.

I support them whole heartedly. But be fair, they are not charities, and should not be treated as such.

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