Earlier I followed a link from @comp_future, which can be found here, http://act.comprehensivefuture.org.uk/campaigns/nonewgrammarschools, and decided to adjust it from an East Sussex perspective. I would like to thank Hugh Hennebry for the paragraphs quoted.
Please accept my apologies for emailing you all together.
As a headteacher in East Sussex I wanted to raise the issues I have with this possible policy. We should not expand selective education. The many education experts who have criticized this proposal should be listened to. We need well funded schools and a commitment to high quality comprehensive education.
These are some of the problems with selective education:
– Grammar schools contain mostly pupils from wealthy backgrounds with low numbers of pupils from poorer backgrounds. The education of disadvantaged and SEN pupils should be our priority.
– There are three secondary modern schools created for each grammar school. Secondary modern schools are less likely to have top sets and a range of A levels, and they often find it harder to recruit teachers. We should offer high quality all-ability schools to all pupils.
– Grammar schools involve competition for school places which leads parents to waste money on expensive 11-plus tutoring. We should not expand the £25 million a year 11-plus tuition industry.
– The 11-plus test sends a discouraging message to children at the start of secondary school. We should not base school admission on a damaging test that suggests ‘innate ability’ is definable and matters more than hard work.
Finally, our sitting MP has already stated that he doesn’t see this as a funding issue, but
“the capital funding does affect our schools. There are many of our schools that are unfit for purpose. How many schools are riddled with asbestos, crittal windows, poor insulation, 1950s electrics (our main fuse was put in at the time Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and it is still there), iron pipes that rust as they lie under reinforced concrete slabs, flat rooves covered in bitumen / felt (this isn’t great for a domestic garage let alone a school for thousands of people) etc?
If they divert capital funds to enlarge grammar schools, it will take away money from much needed investment in world class education facilities and the sort of teaching and learning environment the children of Britain deserve.”
Comprehensive education works, especially here in East Sussex, where the schools serve the broad social mix of our communities fantastically well. One grammar school in any of the market towns would instantly turn all three others into secondary moderns. The most successful nations use all ability secondary schools, and areas that operate selective education show poor results, with worrying outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
I hope that you will oppose new grammar schools and protect comprehensive education.