Grammar schools are back. Permission for the first new one in decades was given in Kent last week.

With a Conservative majority in Parliament likely to stretch for years it’s fair to say there’s a good chance a trickle might become a flood.

Few things are more controversial, nor more important, than how we educate our children.

Parents understandably want the best, an advantage, for their offspring. That is the reason fee-paying education exists for those who can afford it.

Elsewhere parents of primary school children worry themselves sick about what “big” school they can get their youngsters into. House prices in the catchment area of good ones soar ever upwards.

It is a natural instinct to want the best for your beloved but the dice are loaded towards the better off, the motivated. And thus a perpetual English class system of sorts emerges.

In my town there are two schools, the local comp which has had its, ahem, troubles over the years and a high-achieving Church of England school which of course is still funded by us all.

Uber parents everywhere talk of nothing else in the years leading up to “the move” other than their concerns over where their children will end up.

A ritual emerges as hundreds of the middle-aged, middle-class suddenly get religion to prove their children should be the chosen ones, for the faith school demands a show of faith before it drops the rope ladder.

Church pews are stuffed with the suddenly pious, most of whom disappear when Year One gets underway. Vicars risk expanding waistbands as they’re wined and dined in this charm offensive.

In many surrounding villages a summer back garden barbecue isn’t complete without the presence a man of the cloth gnawing on a drumstickTheir testimony will be crucial.

When I mentioned to people that both our sons would be going to the comp (I feared being struck by lightning had I attended Sunday Worship) I was afforded sympathy the level of which suggested I had actually told them my boys were being packed off to a leper colony.

Education is already diced and thriced in a bewildering smorgasbord of Faith, Academy, Free and God Knows What schools as successive governments tinker and botch the system.

As you get older you tend to jettison your youthful principles in the face of tired experience.

But shouldn’t the one that we all hang on to be that all our children deserve the same chance in life, the opportunity to rise up the ladder on merit, intelligence, aptitude and hard work alone?

Which brings me back to the re-emergence of the grammar school debate and here I must declare an interest.

I was educated in the backwoods of Kent. The dreaded 11 Plus exam was all parents fretted about. It separated the “bright sparks” for the grammars and the rest for the dead-end schools.

I was a bone-idle 11-year-old more interested in football than fractions. Predictably I failed and in my primary school an educational apartheid emerged.

The failures were immediately separated and taught at one desk and the successes at another. At 11 years old!

Take yourself back, if you can, to when you were 11. How fully formed were you?

My love of English and literature was inspired in me by a brilliant teacher at the age of 13 but there was no going back. A decision had been made at 11 that would stand forever.

You were already two paces behind.

The truth is at age 11 children are all at different stages of development. To make a decision on their potential that will stay perhaps for the rest of their lives at that ridiculously young age is not just bone-headed and cruel it also risks denying society the stars of the future.

Surely it is possible to have an education system that has only children as its focus not ideology, class, vicars and, heaven forbid, parents?

The Argus:

To the Amex on Tuesday night and another win for the high-flying Seagulls. I’m beginning to believe we could do it because the Championship is actually full of former great clubs who are distinctly average at the moment.

A team with the organisational strength Chris Hughton brings to the party with maybe a bit more flair sprinkled on top in January could just pull it off.

Bobby Zamora is a true sporting feelgood story who is genuinely idolised in a way that is fantastic to experience. God knows what it must have felt like to him as he walked off after scoring the winning goal on Tuesday.

And feelgood is what we need in Brighton at the moment I think. There’s plenty of gloomy stuff around and the news from the town hall is going to get worse. Keep knocking em in and kissing the badge Bobby. We need you more than you might think.