At a time when our NHS is under unprecedented pressure and we have a housing crisis with no sign of sensible solution how does the Prime Minister spend her summer? Apparently in trying to re-invent Grammar Schools. She has no electoral mandate for this – it wasn’t a manifesto pledge – and it really needs to be stopped right now.
Grammar Schools provided no improvement in educational standards and only benefitted a group of children who would have thrived in any case in a good all ability comprehensive school. But their damaging effects were devastating to the vast majority of children. Much of primary school time was spent coaching children for the dreaded 11 plus exam which left 80% of children feeling like failures and doomed to a second rate education at secondary modern schools. Anyone who doubts that needs to look at the statistics for attainment through the 1950ss, 1960s and 1970s. I was a child of that era and knew from how we were organised and taught at age 7 who was expected to succeed and who was expected to fail. There was no place for an imaginative curriculum for curious and enthusiastic learners, just endless exam practice in maths and english.
In Hitchin, the town that I represent, some parental preferences for secondary school places are stillbased on perceived notions of grammar and secondary modern schools 40 years after the reforms that gave us all ability secondary schools.
As a local County Councillor it’s quite hard for me to effect or influence the decisions of MPs and ministers to resist this dreadful suggestion. But I do call upon Hertfordshire County Council – its Leader Rob Gordon, and Education Portfolio Holder David Williams – to make it clear at once that they will resist and reject any suggestion of a return to Grammar Schools in Hertfordshire and make it clear to the Prime Minister that there is no place for divisive, unimaginative and failure inducing education in any part of Hertfordshire.