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Thousands sign Labour petition against plans for more grammar schools within hours of launch at party conference

PUBLISHED: 17:32 27 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:32 27 September 2016

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson at the Labour Autumn Conference at the ACC Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson at the Labour Autumn Conference at the ACC Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The non-selective Meopham School has signalled its intention to become a grammar under Theresa May’s proposals

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks during the Labour Autumn Conference at the ACC Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA WireMayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks during the Labour Autumn Conference at the ACC Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. See PA story LABOUR Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Thousands of people have signed a petition against plans for more grammar schools - just hours after it was launched by the Labour Party.

At its conference in Liverpool, the party reiterated its opposition to Conservative prime minister Theresa May’s proposals to introduce a new wave of selective schools.

London mayor Sadiq Khan was among the senior Labour figures to take to the stage and condemn the plans.

Re-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Loved the passion of Labour Party members when [shadow education secretary] Angela Rayner launched our #NoNewGrammars petition.”

The petition reads: “The Tories’ plan for grammar schools will segregate our children, providing a privileged education for a few and a second class education for the rest.

“Sign this petition to join Labour in opposing the Tories’ divisive plan.”

Mrs May revealed earlier this month her intention to kickstart the biggest shake-up of education in England in decades by unveiling a comprehensive package of measures to radically increase the number of good school places – in order to ensure “that all children have the best possible start in life”.

That aim of social mobility, shared by Kent County Council, will be achieved, the prime minister says, by requiring new or expanding grammars to take a proportion of pupils from lower income households, so that selective education is not reserved for those with the means to move into a catchment area or pay for tuition to pass the test.

Alternatively, the measures would require such schools to establish a new, high quality, non-selective free school, set up or sponsor a primary feeder school in an area with a high density of lower income households or sponsor a currently underperforming non-selective academy.

The response to her plans in Kent was quick and emphatic, with the non-selective Meopham School signalling its intention to become a grammar under the proposals.

However, campaigners in the county last week warned the move to convert the school into a grammar would signal a “dystopian future”.

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