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Education policy: Of double standards and double speak

From grammar schools to the North-South divide, evidence and facts continue to be sidelined in key education policy debates, warns Dr Maggie Atkinson

I am struck by how Orwellian things seem. From London or Paris to Wigan Pier, 1984 or Animal Farm: similar dystopian views of equality and inequality play out in front of us now.

There are many examples. Let’s look at two. From a massive menu I choose grammar schools, and the much-discussed North-South divide.

I am a comprehensive-schooled Cambridge graduate. I had the choice to sit the 11-plus, pass, and travel four hours a day to and from an all-girls’ grammar in a uniform I hated. I said no, went to a mixed comprehensive half-an-hour away and a 6th form college. Then Newnham in Cambridge.

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