A LONG way away in Kent, a new grammar school has been given the go-ahead. The school, which will provide 500 places, must be described as an ‘annexe’ of the Weald of Kent School, even though it’s ten miles away, in Sevenoaks, in order to circumvent the spiteful 1998 legislation banning the creation of new grammars.

You’d think the opportunity for 500 more children to receive a tip-top state education would be something to celebrate.

But not for the new shadow Education Secretary. Lucy Powell reckons it’s a ‘retrograde step’.

Not for the kids who’ll go there it won’t be. It’ll be their ticket to a better university, better job, better life. And it won’t be a disaster for all the other kids who will hopefully be able to attend schools like this, when grammars all over the UK decide to take the same course of action, which I very much hope they will.

The more grammars there are, the more they will stop becoming the preserve of the privately-tutored middle classes and get back to what they always were – the golden ticket out of poverty and a lifetime of servitude for the people who were fortunate enough to get into them.

Yes, there are lots of statistics claiming it ‘aint so. But it’s better to trust the evidence of your own eyes and know that grammars have been responsible for the greatest social mobility this country has ever seen.

How else would so many working class sons and daughters have managed to enter parliament, the civil service, and the upper echelons in the 1960s and 70s, before successive governments started doing away with these schools?

I know a bloke whose dad abandoned him as a nine-month-old baby. His poor mum was so strapped she actually had to give away her second child because she couldn’t afford to keep her. Their lives were so precarious that, at one point, this bloke can remember being on the street with their belongings packed inside two suitcases and no place to go.

He went to 10 schools before he was 11 but when it came to getting him into the next stage – a grammar - his mum strived and strained to ensure he could stay because she knew THAT was his opportunity for a better life. And it was. He went to university, got a fantastic job, bought his own home and enjoyed the great things of life that should be open to us all.

Best of all, he says, it means he has been able to ensure that his kids have never, ever had to live the way he did.

His kids – who are also my kids - have enjoyed a life of security and prosperity his mother could only have dreamed of. And it was all down to the life-chances afforded by a decent, grammar-school education.

So THAT’S why we need more grammar schools and far better secondary schools, so that ALL children get the chance to make the best of their lives.

What bit of that doesn’t Lucy Powell - and the small-minded people who support her views - understand?

Ignore the bigwigs and vote Out 

THE people who want you to vote Yes to staying in Europe include the former boss of drinks company Innocent, which sold out to the Coca-Cola behemoth, the TV ‘personality’ June Sarpong, a billionaire who lives in the Caribbean and Peter Mandelson. Apart from the blameless June Sarpong, what on earth might be in it for this lot, if the public decides to stay in, I don’t wonder?

I’ll be voting Out. It still doesn’t mean we’ll leave Europe but it’ll ensure France and Germany get round the negotiating table and then we might stand a chance of getting the concessions we need to become a modern, independent country, instead of a bunch of cowering Little Europeaners.

Too little, too late, Playboy 

POOR old Playboy magazine, so beaten and battered by the internet competition that it’s given up the ghost and decided to axe its celebrated nude photos. Apparently it’s the ‘right thing to do’.

Too little, too late. They lived by this stuff and now what they started has come round to give them a kick where it hurts most. In their shrivelling wallet. In the meantime, women continue to be sexually exploited all day every day, all over the world.

Time to get a job, Pippa?

MUCH speculation as to what Pippa Middleton will do, now she’s apparently split from her ‘long-term boyfriend’. May I suggest she tries something completely novel? And gets a full-time job?

Stephen Fry leaves but smug-fest continues 

STEPHEN Fry has quit QI. But it’s being taken over by Sandi Toksvig. So, yet another reason for continuing to never watch this weekly smug-fest, then.

Hammond's wise move 

IF IT’S true that Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has ‘abandoned his ambitions to become Tory leader’ after David Cameron steps down, it’s a wise move.

Because Hammond isn’t even a household name in his own household.

Please note: This piece by Faith is an opinion piece and not a news report. You can contact Faith by tweeting @HerFaithness