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2nd February 2015

The Manchester Debating Union

This week the Manchester Debating Union will discuss the reintroduction of grammar schools in the UK

The Manchester Debating Union are running a public debate on Thursday at 17:00 in Theatre B, Roscoe Building at the University of Manchester.

This week the Manchester Debating Union asks: Should we reintroduce grammar schools?

Grammar schools, dominant in the UK until the 1960s, ran under a system of selective education. At age 11 all school students would be given a general intelligence exam.

If a student passed they would gain entrance to a more academically-based grammar school. If they failed they would be sent to a school focusing more on practical skills.

There’s an increasing minority within the political establishment who argue that grammar schools should be reintroduced, including the resurgent UK Independence Party, believing that it offers an opportunity for the brightest students to thrive regardless of socioeconomic background.

Critics argue that it creates segregation in our society, and only removes a few children from their troubled backgrounds rather than tacking the root causes of deprivation.

Speakers will include:

– Robert McCartney QC, Barrister and Former Leader of the UK Unionist Party and founder of the National Grammar Schools Association.
– Graham Brady MP, Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, former Shadow Secretary for Europe and Chairman of the 1992 Committee.

– Melissa Benn, journalist and author, founder of the Local Schools Network which campaigns in favour of a totally comprehensive schooling system.
– Professor Bernard Barker, Emeritus professor of educational leadership and management at the School of Education, University of Leicester, he was the first comprehensive school pupil to become a comprehensive school headteacher in the UK.

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