GRAMMAR schools do not help social mobility and bringing them back ignores real problems facing schools, a York headteacher says.

John Tomsett, head at Huntington School, has criticised new government plans to lift a ban on new grammar schools, saying they do nothing to help poorer children, ignore the main problems school face, and would do nothing for the schools system in York.

Yesterday the Prime Minister explained her plans for new grammar schools, with permission for existing grammars to expand, for state schools to become selective, and for new selective free schools to be established.

Those plans have been critised by both Mr Tomsett and parent campaigners in York. who say they will be bad for social mobility, and are another policy upheaval for teachers and schools.

Jonny Crawshaw campaigned against academy conversions in York, and is now part of national parent campaign Rescue our Schools. He said Mrs May’s announcements are “just another policy change” which do not address the real problems facing schools of teacher shortages and a lack of money.

The policy ignores all evidence which shows that selection in schools helps the children of well-off families, not their disadvantaged peers, he added. Mr Tomsett said this focus on grammar schools showed Theresa May trying to recreate her own educational experience, in the same way David Cameron announced he wanted everyone to go to a school like his - Eton.

The biggest problem facing education at the moment is teacher recruitment, he added, and grammar schools will only worsen that for the non-selective schools left.

He added: “Structural changes do not make a difference to schools. What makes a difference is the quality of teaching.”

The policy also leaves schools leaders like him wondering what has happened to the academisation programme - and whether they will have to convert their schools by 2022 as the last Government White Paper insisted.