Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO, Conservative MP Neil Carmichael said selective schools “do little to help social mobility” and do not necessarily lead to an improvement in academic performance.
But the politician was left flustered after Hartley-Brewer ripped into him over the schooling of his own children.
“So when a parent sends their child to a grammar school they’re actually undermining social mobility of other parents who don’t – can I ask you then Neil, as an MP and chair of the Education Select Committee, why do you send your three children to grammar school?”
Mr Carmichael said the “system” in Gloucestershire meant it was “appropriate” for his children.
Julia Hartley-Brewer launched a scathing attack on the MP
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You, yourself went to an independent boarding school – you’ve never sat in a comprehensive school surrounded by teachers and pupils who have no aspiration
The radio host, less than impressed with the response, fired: “Oh so it was OK for you to do it but not for other parents to be able to do it?”
The Stroud MP responded: “Well I’m not saying we should close existing grammar schools.”
Hartley-Brewer cut her guest off and continued: “Oh so if you’re lucky enough to live in an area that already has grammar schools, then it’s absolutely OK to game the system and sod all the children who don’t get in and schooling is damaged – which you seem to think is the case as the chair of the Education Select Committee.
“But as long as your kids are OK Neil that’s OK.”
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The Government has proposed lifting a ban on creating new grammar schools
She then launched another seething attack on Mr Carmichael for attending an independent boarding school as a child.
“I just find it extraordinary how many people in positions like you – you, yourself went to an independent boarding school – you’ve never sat in a comprehensive school surrounded by teachers and pupils who have no aspiration,” she said.
“No one’s teaching to A grade, no one can achieve from that. You’ve not sat in that circumstance, you had a very privileged upbringing… your children are now having a privileged education, which you and other members of your committee want to deny to other children. I find that astonishingly hypocritical.”
The car crash interview comes after the Government launched plans to remove the ban on opening new grammar schools in a bid to make more “good school places” available in more parts of the country.
But Mr Carmichael said: “What I want is all of our schools to be really good and the point I’m trying to make is, we shouldn’t really be just thinking about 10 per cent or 20 per cent, we need all of our children to go to really good schools.”
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