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HomeNewsSelective comprehensives – the cat is out of the bag

Selective comprehensives – the cat is out of the bag



For sale

Top quality state secondary schooling in London

Ofsted guaranteed

Officially rated ‘outstanding’

House included

No bursaries

No scholarships

No charitable support

And no time wasters from those in the lower income brackets including unemployed, working class or poor refugee/immigrant types


As a provider of state schooling we are committed to equality of opportunity regardless of gender-identity, race or background.

This advertisement has been placed by Schools for Excellence in England (SEE). We are a non-profit-making enterprise working for a more equal society and, in the cause of social justice, for the abolition of all grammar schools across England.

IF YOU think this advertisement is cynical make-believe, think again! Yes, I spiced it up a bit with SEE, but mostly it is true. The cat is well and truly out of the bag!

Once upon a time, we had the Left-leaning Sutton Trust reporting that 91 of our 100 most selective schools are comprehensives, not grammar schools, and now we have the data to back up the Trust’s findings (Daily Telegraph, 7 February 2019).

There is an extra housing cost of £100,000 for buying a property in the catchment area of a school rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The average price of such homes is £331,605, according to an analysis compiled by the web comparison site,

Here are the stats comparing Ofsted school ratings to average prices of property in the catchment area:

‘Outstanding’ £331,605 (London secondary – £635,949)

‘Good’ £292,933

‘Requires improvement’ £253,121

‘Inadequate’ £235,242

Whilst selection for grammar schools is attacked for being discriminatory, it is, at least, discriminatory on the basis of academic testing, however imperfect that process. What the comprehensive school system has brought us, in its place, is far more insidious: selection based on income and financial resources. Small wonder that, as David Cameron told the Conservative Party Conference a few years ago, we now have the worst rate of social mobility in the developed world. After 50 years, our fair-to-all comprehensive schooling has turned into an unfair-to-most nightmare.

The hypocrisy of our anti-grammar school fanatics is laid bare by this latest data. They will, of course, refuse to see the injustice of what they so fervently support.

So, who will act on this latest evidence of comprehensive school discrimination and unfairness? The answer may be sought in an adapted version of the children’s fable, The Little Red Hen.

‘Not I,’ said the politician. ‘It would mean clashing with the teacher unions.’

‘Not I,’ said the teacher union leader. ‘It would mean conceding ground to the government.’

‘Not I,’ said the teacher training boss. ‘It would mean we have been wrong all along.’

‘Not I,’ said the comprehensive school head teacher. ‘It would be an admission of guilt.’

‘Not us,’ said the all of the ‘Blob’ together. ‘We will not act on the evidence. It would make us all look stupid.’

‘But who will ensure that your own children get to an “outstanding” school all the same?’

‘I will,’ said the politician. ‘I can afford an expensive house.’

‘I will,’ said the teacher union leader, ‘because I’ve got plenty of money, too.’

‘I will,’ said the teacher training boss. ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!’

‘I will,’ said the comprehensive school head teacher. ‘Don’t you know what heads earn these days?’

‘We will,’ said all of the ‘Blob’ together. ‘We will all make sure that our own kids are OK, one way or another. We know how to play the system.’

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Chris McGovern
Chris McGovern
Chris McGovern is the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. A retired head teacher with 35 years’ teaching experience, Chris is a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street under two Prime Ministers.

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