Monday, May 28, 2007

Cameron challenged by front bencher on Grammar schools

The Times reports this morning:

David Cameron is facing a fresh challenge to his authority with a member of his frontbench team producing new evidence showing that grammar schools dramatically improve the exam results of a whole neighbourhood. Graham Brady, the Shadow Europe Minister and a former grammar school pupil, has passed data to The Times showing that GCSE results are significantly better in areas that have an element of selective education – with ethnic minority children benefiting most.

If Brady is Shadow Europe Minister, why on earth is he passing copious research to The Times which contradicts what his shadow cabinet colleague, David Willetts, is saying about education? The Times goes onto say:

In a further challenge, Mr Brady questioned whether free school meals – the measure of poverty used by Mr Willetts – was appropriate.

He passed a letter to The Times from the headmaster of Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, who says that the educational maintenance allowance, which has a higher cutoff, provides a “truer reflection” of the profile of the school.

Mr Brady said: “These facts appear to confirm my own experiences: that selection raises the standards for everyone in both grammar and high schools in selective areas."

If what The Times says is true, then Brady has clearly broken the normal rules of being in a shadow cabinet. He has got involved in a colleague's brief and contradicted his colleague spokesman. If true, it is obvious that he should be sacked. If he isn't sacked, then Cameron's authority will be gravely weakened and he will have chaos waiting for him down the road at every policy announcement.

It was only yesterday that Cameron declared in the Daily Mail that Grammargate was over. It is clear from Graham Brady's intervention this morning that Grammargate is far from over.

Hat-tip to Conservative Home

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