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I think this just goes to show that Cameron isn't thinking of the public when he makes these decisions, he's thinking of the Guardian and other media who are opposed to Grammar schools.

Far from being some Tory middle Englander from Kent, I am from a working class background in the North West and I want children to have the opportunity that I was denied. Mine was the first year to be denied the chance of Grammar school education in my area.

This does not show voters want Grammars at all.

Well, well, what a shock.

The survey shows that support for grammar schools falls as you rise through the social classes.

I guess that's why a massive 80% of people questioned in the social class DE Ie those who need social mobility most) support a grammar in every town, but the Tory Toff doesn't.

A more accurate headline for this poll would be - 'One in five voters want grammar schools'.....

Am I the only one who has noticed that no one asked C1 (lower middle class) and C2 (Skilled working class) workers these questions, thus cutting out 50% of the UK population according to the latest NRS figures...

I'd be far more willing to accept this evidence if it was at all representative...

"This does not show voters want Grammars at all."

Yes it does. By itself the response to this question doesn't give any insight into how strongly they feel about it, but insofar as they have a view they're in favour:

"Some people have said they would like to see at least one state grammar school in every town. Do you agree or disagree?"

66% of all voters agree, 30% disagree
72% of Tory voters agree, 25% disagree
70% of Labour voters agree, 26% disagree
63% of social class AB agree, 33% disagree
80% of social class DE agree, 19% disagree

That's two out of three, Alex, not "one in five".

C1 and C2 are of course included in "all voters".

Save your breath Denis.

Only if a political party's goal is just to win power rather than deliver the changes the public wants could you spin the results in the way Alex has.

I think the headline ought to read "Voters don't much care about grammar schools". If only 32% say it would affect their vote, you can hardly say that 'the voters' are in favour of grammar schools.

Quite a flawed poll if it misses out the C1's and C2'S entirely. As a result, it only reaches the conclusions that one wishes to make from it.

This poll is completely meaningless because of the way the questions were asked.

How meaningless?

The same voters who "want grammars but don't care" apparently think that *Labour* has the best policies on education!

They think that Labour who restrict choice and will allow new bog standard comps with no disciplinary bite and experimental subjects and methods have better policies than the Tories, by a big margin!

So voters in this poll are a) in favour of a grammar school in every town and b) in favour of no new grammars and plenty of comprehensives!

This is straw clutching to the nth degree. Unspun vote intention questions are the only reliable guide.

"Quite a flawed poll if it misses out the C1's and C2'S entirely"

But of course it doesn't.

"Some people have said they would like to see at least one state grammar school in every town. Do you agree or disagree?"

66% of all voters agree, 30% disagree

Last I heard, C1's and C2's were allowed to vote.

"A more accurate headline for this poll would be - 'One in five voters want grammar schools'....."

Actually it shows 66% of voters do.

Tory T,
Nice observations. This poll was clearly commissioned with a conclusion in mind.

ICM have to publish the dataset online as they are members of the BPC. It will be interesting to see if C1s and C2s were asked, and their answers were just not included in the published figures.

Spot on again, Tory T!

Editor, surely it's time for a moratorium on articles about grammar schools now?

No amount of flogging is going to bring this dead horse back to life.

We could try another route. Ask people if private schools should have charitable status and VAT-exemption if they are selective on the basis of a) parental income or b) academic ability by public examination

Sorry DanielVA but it is not that simple.

Conservative policy is it appears to restrict children to their neighbourhood non-selective school and let the postcode lottery decide their fate

This is to reinforce the distortion of house-price selection and income-based access to selective education

If this is Conservative Policy it is devastating and highly destructive

Interesting (and quite revealing) comments about the possible flaws in this poll.

But maybe the Daily Mail only had the C1's and C2's excluded from the results AFTER it became apparent that (unlike the other socioeconomic classes) they were dead against having a grammar school in every town?

"63% of social class AB agree, 33% disagree" - "Fair enough, keep 'em in."

"80% of social class DE agree, 19% disagree" - "Even better, we want those."

"But social classes C1 and C2 gave completely the wrong answers - 0% agree, 100% disagree." - "Oh my God, we'll have to take those out of the poll."

Which is why it's now a poll of only 502 adults, when it's more usual to have a sample size of 1000 or more ... yes, it all fits together! :-)

Maybe what voters want is actually a decent and reliable universal education system that is not continuously subjected to Government targets and spin with regards to its performance. I also think that they want teachers to be able to get on with teaching and not form filling and box ticking and that they hope that when our young people leave school that their academic ability will be sufficient to ensure that this country is able to compete in a global economy and maintain the standard of living that we have become accustomed to.

PS. Many parents are all for selective education.....until their offspring fail the selection test.;)

Based on the figures given in this CH story, it is spinning the results to suggest 'Voters want grammar schools' but entirely accurate (give or take 1 % point) to report 'One in five voters want grammar schools'. The full poll does reveal more interesting results, as Tory T has commented, but I was merely suggesting the story here does not quite add up.

Yeah, great, but as Paul Kennedy alludes to at 17.50, not all voters can get their children into grammar schools. I'd want a grammar school in my back yard if I were sure that my child would get in. But that's not a certainty, and I definately wouldn't want my child to go to a bog-standard second-modern-type comprehensive.

Dennis Cooper,

Thanks for the sample size info, which I missed.

Absolutely anybody with the slightest familiarity with polls knows that a sample of 500 is pretty worthless.

Two out of three voters agree that there should be at least one state grammar school in every town. Many of them don't feel strongly enough for it to change
the way they would vote, but that's true of most single issues. The fact is that Davids Willetts and Cameron are out of step with public opinion on this.

Are ICM and YouGov both misleading when they say that voters want grammar schools or are today's Cameroon loyalists trying to fool themselves?

I'm with ICM and YouGov.

David Eccles, Conservative Education Minister 1954-57


Umbrella Man,
I'm perfectly willing to accept the argument that voters want grammar schools, however that is conditional on the polling data actually being representative of the voting population. I hope no one can deny that the removal of the C1 and C2 figures is at the very least suspect.

Tory T's post at 16:20 also highlights a significant flaw. How can you be supportive of a grammar school in every town and yet think that Labours education plans are the best?

You guys are clutching at straws. By 2 to 1 voters approve of grammar schools and by 2 to 1 a much smaller proportion say that they are more likely to vote Tory if we promised more grammar schools. YouGov found similar results. You are only fooling yourselves here and certainly not me.

The decision by the Conservative Party to support City Academies over grammar schools has proved to be the last straw for a local Tory councillor.

Cllr David Pickles, who sits on Sutton Council, has announced his decision to join the UK Independence Party, saying he was "sickened" by the direction his old party had taken.

"UKIP are now the only party left with the common sense to not only call for a wider proliferation of grammar schools, but are the only party in the UK to call for a halt to unlimited immigration." said Cllr Pickles.

"As a local councillor I object to seeing areas of the borough concreted over for multiple blocks of flats and public services put under ever-increasing pressure."

"The decision not to support grammar schools, which are the best way for children from poor backgrounds to do well, is frankly astonishing. What right do a group of former public school boys have to halt social mobility in this way, and instead support the City Academies which are nothing more than a vanity toy for rich men?"

Another grammar schools thread??

(insert yawn here)

Daniel VA: Editor, surely it's time for a moratorium on articles about grammar schools now?"

Unless there are big new developments, there'll be no more grammar school posts for a while. I do not apologise for the prominence I've given this story but enough has probably now been said. It is time to move on.

If we just renamed grammar schools as the 'A-List schools' aimed at promoting the 'brighest and the best' then surely even the delusional Cameroons here would have difficulty opposing them.

Surely John Moss (Conservativehome23/05/07) had it right. "...it should be no business of Government to tell schools how to choose their pupils."
Better to scrap the "Surpus Places" rule, gradually expand the supply side of educational providers and then give ALL parents the wherewithall to seek out the school that best suits their child. Only then will standards in general rise and those with aspirations for their children be satisfied. If there is parental demand for Grammar-type schools, the market will provide. If not..... Let parents decide.

That is exactly what a real modernising policy would be Tony, but Labour/Tories oppose it.

With the money following the kids, bad schools would just have to close down and grammars would succeed where they are wanted free.

It is time for real modernisers to highlight that Cameron's education policy is anything but modernising.

He just wants to tinker with the existing selection limits, not remove them. Talk about lack of imagination and vision.

What nonsense. I am feeling increasingly dismissive of the intellectually lazy right. They default to type, and defaulting to the easy position on every key issue, then defending to the hilt, that isn’t politics, it’s a cult.

They ignore the political reality, they ignore the state of Britain today, they refuse to budge, they see 10 years of their failure as someone else’s fault. GO TO AMERICA.

In Britain you are not representative of the British public and are certainly not serious politicians.

Just been listening to Politics UK on BBC World Service....who is Nick Gibb ? He was surreal, truly surreal....even the interviewer seemed stunned. It was a time-machine with a trip back to the distant past pre-WW1

But Oberon on this particular issue what you call "the right" is in fact MORE representative of the British public, than those who are dogmatically and even hysterically opposed to state schools being allowed to select their pupils on
the basis of academic ability and/or aptitude. Of course it's possible that the
two out of three voters who agree with "the right" are also "intellectually lazy".
More probably their practical experience of the comprehensive system has coloured their views. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and after four decades it's clear that the comprehensive system is not everything it was cracked up to be back in the sixties, and it's doubtful that it's even as good
as the tripartite system it replaced.

Why is Cameron so very ashamed of being a Conservative on this?

The truth is that as a Party, the Conservatives should be fighting to create more opportunities like Grammar Schools;opportunities which will contribute to providing the wide range and diversity of educational opportunities for all our children so that they can realise their true potential without interference, should they so desire.

It is not elitist to support such schools, it is simply recognising the fact that the provision of real equality of opportunity will come about by giving everyone the chance to shine brightly in their very own way and not be held back by the socialist derived 'level playing field mentality'.

If someone is ready for the challenges of a Grammar style education, let them have it and encourage them and their families to take it too.

Can we please get back to being proud to be Conservatives again and not to have to spend our time looking over our shoulders to see which part of the lib/lab luvvy lobby our leader is playing up to next?

Uh oh - I was only joking about 'a list' schools but now the Tories want to copy the candidate approach for schools and introduce 'positive' discrimination selection by race...

Surely what matters is what PARENTS want, not "the public".

This poll totally vindicates the principled stand taken by the Editor and by the best and most principled figures in and around today's Conservative Party.

So identical are the Pavlov's Dog reactions of the 'Usual Suspects' that a number of suspicions are instantly aroused...

Sorry, how many of those polled would like their children to go to secondary moderns? How many? Oh I see, the Mail didn't want to ask that question.

Sorry, how many of those polled would like their children to go to secondary moderns?

I wouldn't know, although my wife had a good education at a Secondary Modern which sent her on to earn a degree at one of our best universities.

However, since so many people are convinced that comprehensive schools are a great thing (and would presumably want to send their children there) there's no problem. The choice would be between grammar schools and comprehensives.

So many of Dave's ardent supporters (along with all the other socialists) would be gagging to send their children to the comprehensives there should be plenty of space at the grammar schools for all comers.

Regarding Kenneth Baker's comment which is Education related, why not either abolish the distinction between Primary Schools and Secondary Schools and have children go to college from 12 or 14, so having colleges as the places where exams get done - people in their teens would then be mixing with adults prior to going to University or on to the world of work, or leave it to separate schools what age ranges they took and not have a formal age split?

What is so wrong about Secondary Modern ? There were Technical Schools too. Now they are gone and people go to "University" full-time to do Technical College courses and come out with debt when in the past their employer paid the fees.

The difference between getting a Classical Education in Latin and Greek at Grammar School and a Modern Secondary education are clear. Once you sweep the academic groups out of the school you can start to cater for people who have no interest in Mathematics, Physics, Latin, Greek or Modern Languages.....instead we have people dropping History and Languages at 14 but forced to stay at school until 18.

This is potty. Someone who wants to join his father's plumbing business or electricians must first get a degree so the government can boast about graduates?

Edward Short used to boast he wanted M&S shop assistants with University degrees......and no doubt wallowing in debt. Let's have university graduates at 10 a penny and drive their salaries below that of non-graduates.

After all if you earn below £14400 you get free school meals; if you earn above £15000 you repay student loans !

Oh and if you earn <£10.000 pa you don't pay back your student loans and your children get free school meals

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