Home Class Politics That Abolition Of The Grammar Schools Worked Well Then, Didn't It?

That Abolition Of The Grammar Schools Worked Well Then, Didn’t It?



The argument was that if we pulled down the grammar schools then there would be more social mobility. All educated together and in the same way and we’d do better:

The class composition of the senior ranks of the civil service has barely changed since 1967, research reveals, with civil servants from poorer backgrounds less likely to climb the “velvet drainpipe” to the top, and the vast majority of senior roles occupied by people from privileged backgrounds.

Oh, doesn’t seem to have worked all that well then:

The report used civil service workforce data and more than 100 interviews with officials to examine how representative the government was of wider society. It found that 18 per cent of senior civil servants were from working-class or low socio-economic backgrounds, compared with 19 per cent in 1967. The proportion from privileged backgrounds was even higher than it was 50 years ago, although the report said that direct comparisons were hard to draw because of shifting demographics and the shrinking working class.

That 1967 class of top civil servants would have been the produce of the school system from the 1920s onwards. That system of bog standards, grammars and public schools. The top civil servants of today will be the produce of the school system from around 1970 onwards, when those grammars had been largely – but not completely – excised from the system.

Yes, it’s entirely true that economies are complex places. One of the few things worse in its chaos is the English class system – chaotic because of the multifarious axes by which it can be and is measured – which does add to the complexity.

But it was insisted that the abolition of the grammars would increase social mobility. This hasn’t happened at least by this measure. At which point how many educationalists are going to start pondering whether the abolition of the grammars actually worked. And how many within that educational establishment are going to start screeching that we must plough on to reach that nirvana?



  1. “18 per cent of senior civil servants were from working-class or low socio-economic backgrounds, compared with 19 per cent in 1967”

    “shifting demographics and the shrinking working class”

    Keeping the ratio of working-class within the civil service roughly constant while the proportion of working-class in the overall population shrinks may well be considered a success in social mobility. Not sure the abolition of grammar schools had anything to do with it of course, but the information given above seems to support the argument, at least a little…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

Support Us

Recent posts

Expunct comes of age (sorta)

Today is the proper one year anniversary of the launch of expunct. It's been a rollercoaster but we wanted to create a site to...

We Can Help Salon Out Here Over Abortion And The Biden Administration

It's entirely true that abortion is one of those difficult questions. It's even true that the answers rather divide Americans. However, it's still possible...

Nick Dearden Really Is A Ghastly Oik

Dearden is from Global Justice Now - the usual bunch of Trots who never quite have left mother's basement. Their political views haven't advanced...

So Here’s The Actual Complaint About Amazon’s Diversity

It's possible that Amazon is simply packed full of thuggish racists who delight in keeping the poor folk down. Possible, even if perhaps a...

Government Health Care Causes Corruption

This isn't what Transparency International quite means to say here but it is indeed what they are saying. Government provided health care leads to...

Recent comments