Jackie Porter

Liberal Democrat Councillor and Prospective MP for Winchester and Chandler's Ford Learn more

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A Grammar school in the constituency would automatically downgrade all the others

by Jackie Porter on 31 May, 2017

Imagine the scenario:-

More homes, more children move into the area and we need another secondary school.

It cannot be a local authority school because the Conservatives say it has to be an academy or free school.

The new school gets paid a sum per pupil, so it wants to make sure it is full. It decides to be a Grammar School (the governors know they are always popular!)

The parents in the area are interested.

They have heard Mrs May say she wants to set up grammar schools, because she tells you that she thinks the children do well in them.But is she right? It’s not that simple.

The Sutton Trust, a respected educational research charity gives a different, evidence based view. Bright children do well anywhere, the less academically able do worse in the selective system, and have far less chance to shine unexpectedly, in practical terms or in one or more academic subjects.

Mrs May doesn’t tell you

  • that most children will have been tutored to get there and the best 20% or so will go, and this will vary from area to area. Poorer children are rarely tutored, so do not get in on merit
  • if a lesser standard were accepted, how would the grammar school defend its criteria?
  • that the quality of teaching is the best indicator of educational outcome, not the type of school in which the children are taught.
  • that by creaming off the top 20% or so of pupils, the other schools will find it harder to cover all the subjects that are necessary for a broad curriculum.
  • how dreadfully disappointed you and your child will feel if s/he doesn’t pass the selection exam, and that the sense of failure that may endure for the rest of life.

We have a comprehensive system where all the schools are good or outstanding in this constituency, and they are all popular. Introducing a grammar school will bring a new dimension (and cost of transport) into the issue.

I think there are so many advantages to comprehensive education– we want  your local school to be a good school.

Liberal Democrats are opposed to the introduction of new secondary schools.

If you agree, please go to www.winld.org.uk and let us know what you think.

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