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The real grammar school debate is about selection by ability, not education quality – Dr Adam Boddison

Adam BoddisonDr Adam Boddison is the Director of the Centre for Professional Education at The University of Warwick. Responding to news today that a ‘new’ grammar school has been approved in Kent, he said:

“The age old question of whether grammar schools are a good or a bad thing for society remains unanswered with fierce arguments in both directions.

“There are those who argue that grammar schools are a vehicle for social mobility and others who argue exactly the opposite point. Those who attend grammar schools generally receive a good education and achieve better than average outcomes, but I would argue that the real debate is not about the quality of education at grammar schools, but about selection by ability.

“Our school leaders talk about inclusive education and that means providing appropriate levels of challenge and support for all students, including our most able children. In 2013, Oftsed’s Chief HMI, Sir Michael Wilshaw, reported that our most able students are underperforming and not reaching their full potential in non-selective state secondary schools, so something needs to be done.

“We have an issue in this country in that we think catering for our most able students is considered to be elitist, when the reality is that it is about inclusion. Yes, we need to ensure that all of our schools deliver a high quality education, but there is a role for grammar schools in our society and with demand outstripping supply, it is clear that more strategically placed grammar schools are needed to nurture our most able young people.”

Notes to Editors:

Dr Adam Boddison is available for interviews. Contact Lee Page, Communications Manager, Press and Policy Office, The University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255, Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221. Email:


Lee Page, Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255.

Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221.