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Last Updated: Monday, 8 October 2007, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Review of grammar abolition polls
Ripon Grammar School
Only one ballot has been held - and kept Ripon Grammar
The system by which parents can be balloted on the future of grammar schools is to be reviewed by ministers.

Since 1998, a ballot on the future of any of England's 164 remaining academically selective state schools can be held if 20% of parents want one.

It is reported the review will make it easier for a vote to be triggered, but the government has not confirmed this.

Schools Minister Jim Knight said he was still committed to giving parents the right to abolish selection.

It's absolutely right that we keep the parental ballot arrangements under review
Jim Knight
Schools Minister

Mr Knight said: "We oppose new grammar schools and any new selection - a view backed by all parties' front benches.

"There is no question of government making any decisions centrally over the future of grammar schools.

"We are firmly committed to giving local parents the right to vote to abolish selection at existing grammar schools.

"However it's absolutely right that we keep the parental ballot arrangements under review."

Mr Knight told a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in September that the government was looking to simplify the system.

A spokeswoman at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said ministers also wanted to look at whether the polls were value for money.

Ongoing debate

A Commons education committee report in 2005 suggested the ballots were so difficult to mount that they wasted public money.

Campaigners opposed to grammar schools say their selective nature can be detrimental to the education of the community as a whole.

This is because they tend to take the brighter pupils, leaving non-selective state schools with a higher proportion of slower pupils.

But supporters of grammar schools say they give bright, working class pupils a better chance to succeed.

The review comes months after the Conservative Party leader David Cameron faced pressure from his party over plans to abandon support for increasing the number of grammars.

Instead the party said it would focus on raising standards in the 3,000 other secondary schools across the country.

Cameron warning to grammar rebels
18 May 07 |  UK Politics
No more grammars, Tories pledge
09 Jan 06 |  Education
Anti-grammar campaigners fight on
11 Mar 00 |  Education
Grammar debate is a 'past agenda'
12 Mar 00 |  Education

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