Labour MP and London Mayor hopeful David Lammy shocked many this week by publicly sharing his view that private and grammar schools have a rightful place in British education, in addition to state schools.
Just earlier this month the Daily Mail published an article claiming that Lammy had moved away from his Tottenham constituency to Crouch End, an affluent London suburb, in order that his children may receive a better education. Lammy denied these claims.
MP Lammy has said that, “There is obviously a role for highly selective schools for certain types of kids.” Which “types” of kids Lammy was referring to is unclear but surely to try and assign children to different categories, which supposedly determine whether they should get a more privileged and exclusive education, is a dangerous path anyway.
Following a recent visit to South London’s Dulwich College, a long-established private school, Lammy said that he believes every parent has the right to decide what type of schooling is best for their child – be they state or grammar schools.
Mr Lammy recently visited Dulwich College (above)
“Grammar schools aren’t a big part of the London ecology of schools. There are only a small number of grammar schools in London,” said Lammy, who also said that he would not want to see such high numbers of grammar schools in the capital city as exist in some of Britain’s Home Counties. Nonetheless, the mayoral candidate said that “there is a role for grammar schools.”
Lammy did add that private schools “could learn a lot from what […] state schools do,” giving the example of a state school he had visited where “[the staff] have a tremendous expertise in bringing the best out of a diverse range of pupils.”
In the past Lammy has spoken out against the inequality and elitism that exist within British education, previously arguing that “we need to ensure if you come from the poorest estate you can still make it to Cambridge and Oxford provided you have the talent and the skills to be there. But I am not sure we live in a society in which this is the case.” It is in light of this previous stance on education that Lammy has taken that make his latest remarks supporting private education all the more shocking and apparently self-contradictory.
Ahead of the 2016 elections for London’s Mayor, a position that Lammy is a Labour candidate for, the Tottenham MP’s remarks regarding private education may just backfire tremendously.