"Thanks to everyone for your comments. I’m certainly under no illusion how strongly people feel about grammar schools, and I must emphasise we are not launching an attack on those that still exist. It’s precisely because we care so much about unblocking stalled social mobility and giving kids from poorer backgrounds the educational opportunities they deserve that we’re backing a massive expansion in Academies, rather than proposing more grammar schools.
There is new evidence on grammar schools, which I present in detail in my speech today, that shows that what we might have believed for many years – that grammar schools would offer poor kids a ladder out of deprivation – is no longer true.
If we really care about helping poorer kids get on in life then the right thing to do is accelerate Tony Blair’s reforms in a more imaginative way than Gordon Brown could ever really deliver, and that’s exactly what I’m announcing today. The best way of opening up opportunities for poorer children is to make it easier to create good schools in the state sector, to raise standards and enable all pupils to benefit from the tried and tested teaching methods that have increasingly become the preserve of grammar schools and the independent sector.
This means setting and streaming in all schools – so that pupils can have the benefit of being taught at the level of ability that suits them; it means greater use of whole-class teaching; and it means a firm discipline policy, so that a small number of pupils cannot disrupt the learning of the majority.
I do urge you to read my speech and then comment on it, rather than going on headlines which don’t tell the full story. I think that every true Conservative will find the arguments persuasive."