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Why's May so enthusiastic about grammar schools?

What is it with Theresa May and grammar schools?
Labour's Angela Rayner claims the Prime Minister has an obsession with them - and it's hard to disagree with that.
In her teens, vicar's daughter Theresa Brazier won a place at Holton Park Girls' Grammar School, at Wheatley in Oxfordshire.But while she was there, a schools shake-up in Oxfordshire saw it become Wheatley Park Comprehensive School. These days it's an academy.The change in her school's status when she was a teenager in the early 1970s clearly left a big impression on the future Prime Minister.
Why's May so enthusiastic about grammar schools?

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Margaret Thatcher closed more grammar schools than any other minister
It happened, of course, when Margaret Thatcher was education secretary.Yes, the same Margaret Thatcher who closed more grammar schools - as opponents love to point out - than any other minister, Labour or Conservative.In fact, supporters of grammar schools like to blame Harold Wilson's Labour governments of the 1960s for introducing comprehensive schools.But the first comprehensives were actually opened by the Conservative governments of the 1950s and early 1960s.Since succeeding Old Etonian David Cameron - who was no fan of grammar schools - as Prime Minister, Mrs May has been determined to revive them.At first, she wanted more of them, promising a "new generation" of grammar schools; "a grammar school in every town", it was suggested.There are currently 163 of them, many of them in Tory-controlled counties like Buckinghamshire and Kent. In Labour strongholds, you'd be hard pressed to find any.But after the PM lost her Commons majority in last year's general election, she doesn't have the votes in the Commons for a widespread expansion of the grammar school system.So she's now attempting to boost the ones that are there already, with a €50m fund to create thousands of extra places, many for pupils from poorer backgrounds.She has found a willing accomplice in Damian Hinds, a grammar school boy from Altrincham in Manchester's leafier suburbs, who was promoted to Education Secretary in the January reshuffle.
Why's May so enthusiastic about grammar schools?

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Damian Hinds is a grammar school boy from Altrincham
His two predecessors in the job, Justine Greening and Nicky Morgan, both of whom were sacked by Mrs May, didn't care for grammar schools at all.Ms Greening, who last week urged employers to discriminate against applicants from Eton, is a steelworker's daughter from Rotherham who went to the town's Oakwood Comprehensive School.As the Lib Dem education spokeswoman Layla Moran put it, rather colourfully: "We now know what we suspected. Justine Greening was moved on to make way for a lap dog for Theresa May's pet projects."So why the PM's enthusiasm for grammars? She and other supporters claim they're good for social mobility. Opponents say they do the exact opposite.After all, a grammar school in every town suggests a secondary modern in every town too. But you won't find many Tory MPs who support grammar schools backing a return of secondary moderns for children who fail the 11-plus.Ah yes, Tory MPs! Looking at the politics of all this, surely a big motive for the PM in the Government's €50m handout to grammar schools is pleasing Conservative backbenchers. or at least those on the Tory Right.That's because Conservative MPs who love grammar schools are largely the same ones who hate the European Union.They're also the same MPs who are currently holding the PM to ransom on Brexit and threatening to topple her if she caves in to Remainers.
Why's May so enthusiastic about grammar schools?

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Theresa May says grammar schools are good for social mobility
So cynics will regard the latest boost for grammar schools as a sop to the Tory Right, a bone tossed in their direction in the increasingly bitter Brexit dogfight - even if the Prime Minister does indeed appear to have an obsession with grammar schools.According to political journalist Rosa Prince's biography of Theresa May, The Enigmatic Prime Minister, it was at school that she became interested in politics.By the time she was in the sixth form she was apparently confident enough to announce that she intended to become Britain's first woman Prime Minister.
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Rosa's biography also claims that when Margaret Thatcher beat her to Number 10 in 1979, young Theresa was seriously aggrieved.Nearly 40 years later, it would appear that the teenage Theresa was also seriously aggrieved when Mrs Thatcher ordered her beloved grammar school in Oxfordshire to become a comprehensive.
news.sky.com
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