Grammar schools

Mark made the following contributions to a debate on grammar schools.

Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): Before my hon. Friend finishes his history lesson, which is timely—I congratulate him on obtaining this important debate—surely one problem in the post-war era and one reason for the hostility on one side of politics to the grammar school system was the failure of the plan to build up technical schools and colleges as part of the 1944 Butler Act settlement. Will he congratulate the Government on their tremendous work in the past 18 months in developing technical schools, which I hope will work in tandem with a strong and thriving grammar school system well into the future?

Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster, Conservative) We all know that the existence and indeed excellence and elitism of grammar schools have been a matter of dispute in our party. Does my hon. Friend agree—I hope the Minister will discuss this later—that if we can commit to making academies the grammar schools of the 21st century, places of great elitism and excellence, the culture war that has existed within the Conservative party can come to a close and we can look firmly to the future?

Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster, Conservative) My hon. Friend has missed out the black sheep of the family; Mr Smith was also an alumnus of Reading school. Despite the disadvantage of a grammar school education, he still managed to go to Oxford and become a Cabinet Minister, albeit in a Labour Government.