Local LibDems are opposing the government’s proposed reintroduction of Grammar schools. They are working with their Labour opponents to send a strong message to Theresa May.
Local LibDem Paul Ankers said, “Recent figures have been released that show only 2.6% of current grammar school pupils are from poorer backgrounds. Grammar schools supposedly help the few, but they actually hurt everybody. A good school like Hazel Grove High would suffer.”
This Council Meeting notes with great concern:
· That the current government is considering expanding grammar schools, including introducing new ones;
· That the government has confirmed that reforms are being considered which could allow Free Schools to introduce academic selection;
· That the government may first seek to expand grammar schools by the backdoor by exploiting loopholes in existing legislation; and
· That any proposal to reintroduce grammar schools would mark a return to the premature selection and division of young people according to a simplistic and one-off measure of academic ability.
This Council Meeting further notes:
· The strong performance of schools in Stockport with record A-Level and GCSE results during the 2015-16 academic year and Ofsted judging that 86.3% of pupils in our borough attend schools deemed good or better;
· That Stockport has no publicly funded grammar schools;
· That there is not a single mention of disability in the government’s consultation paper, that the Department for Education has failed to carry out an Equalities Impact Assessment and that inclusive education campaigners say expanding grammar schools will discriminate against disabled children, leading to more segregation in special schools;
· That the OECD’s Head of Education has said that grammar schools benefit wealthy families without raising overall educational attainment, with ‘a one-off test likely to favour social background over true academic potential’; and
· That the independent Education Policy Institute found no evidence that expanding the grammar school network would improve overall standards and warned that the government’s proposals could widen the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils.
This Council Meeting believes:
· That the best way to raise attainment, including for pupils with the best academic ability, is to provide a great education with a stretching curriculum for everyone;
· That allowing multi-year entry to grammar schools, for example at both ages 11 and 14, would still prevent many pupils from accessing the excellent education they have a right to;
· That young people have varied and complex aptitudes and abilities, and that they develop at different rates; and
· That grammar schools reinforce inequality and serve to boost the life chances of already high-achieving pupils whilst not improving overall levels of social mobility:
This Council Meeting resolves to oppose any development of grammar schools in Stockport.
This Council Meeting further resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Education, informing her that Stockport Council
· Opposes any expansion of grammar schools;
· Calls on the government to abandon selection by ability into different schools and any change to Free Schools to enable them select on the basis of academic ability; and
· Calls on the government to respect the spirit of existing legislation on grammar schools and not seek to create new grammar schools under the guise of expansion.
Moved by: Councillor Dean Fitzpatrick
Seconded by: Councillor Suzanne Wyatt