Sir Richard Sykes has slammed politicians for not having the ?guts? to promote grammar schools. Taken from an interview in the [Financial Times, Sir Richard has said that grammar schools should be reintroduced in order to stop Britain?s education system slipping further behind other industrialised countries, and claims that the closure of grammar schools has halted social mobility within the country.
Speaking on Imperial College?s student make up, he stated that forty years ago 90% of Imperial students came from grammar schools, whereas now only 6.2% of home students do so. Sir Richard believes that the closure of grammar schools has stopped poorer students from coming to the country's top universities. Oxford and Cambridge are struggling to meet their targets for state-school recruitment, claiming that there are simply not enough state school students of suitable quality applying.
Sir Richard, himself a grammar school student, has often been classed as outspoken in the press, but many may find it refreshing for such a senior academic to speak up so strongly in favour of grammar schools. With the current state of the education sector, grammar schools can be seen as way to give bright children who cannot afford extortionate school fees the chances that they deserve. Sykes has continually reiterated his belief that Imperial should select solely on the basis of ability and not how much their parents can afford to pay, even with the large fees charged to overseas students.