Liberal Democrats oppose Tory plans to reintroduce grammar schools

November 9, 2016 12:51 PM

Earlier this year I spent time with my nephew & family, including his bright & enquiring young daughter who was due to start secondary school in September. She'd applied to go to local grammar school, but didn't get in. Her father said she'd done well considering the number of children who'd applied for a place, but she said "No I failed". No child of 11 should believe they are a failure, says Cllr Wendy Taylor.

I took the 11plus. I was lucky. I passed & had a choice of schools. Others were condemned to the local secondary modern- a sink school with an appalling reputation. I took an exam that determined further opportunities for 11 year old children, that irrevocably decided success or failure. I believe the 11 plus is an exam that should be condemned to the dustbin of history. Yet children across the country are even now being tutored to pass this exam & being put under unnecessary stress. And our Government wants to bring this failed system back for all our children.

Those in favour of grammar schools talk of the benefits for the small percentage of children who attend, not the disadvantages for those who don't & end up at secondary moderns. My 2 children attended their local schools Cragside Primary & Heaton Manor & I'm a governor of both schools.

All children are encouraged to achieve their full potential. There is setting, but it's not irreversible & takes into account different rates of development. Our education system isn't perfect. Not all schools are good or excellent. But research has clearly shown that what makes the difference is excellent teaching, not tinkering with structures. With all the issues that need to be tackled in the UK, bringing back grammar schools should be at the bottom of the any agenda, but it's a Tory obsession.

Lets' make it clear to Teresa May that Newcastle doesn't want this divisive policy & that we will resist any attempt to foist this failed system on Newcastle children.

Newcastle City Council passed a motion to this effect without division at its meeting on 2nd November 2016