Mon, 20
25 °C
Tue, 21
23 °C
Wed, 22
25 °C

Maidenhead education campaigner attacks 'barbaric' 11-plus at Labour Party Conference

‘Barbaric’ 11-plus exams and selective education should be banned, according to a Maidenhead education campaigner.

Jo Smith, of Belmont Crescent, used a speech at the Labour Party Conference, in Brighton, to launch a broadside against the government, which had been considering the creation of a new generation of grammar schools up until the last election.

Speaking on Tuesday, September 26, as a delegate of the Maidenhead Labour Party, she also had a message for her own party as it sought define it’s education policy – ‘don’t fudge it’.

“For me, it [the speech] was about making people realise that although proposals to introduce grammar schools have fallen through we still have three local authorities where they have the 11-plus,” she said.

“That’s why the anti-selection lobby is still going on about it.”

The mum-of-two stayed in a youth hostel during the conference, which is the first one she has attended in 26 years as a member of the Labour Party.

She also called for all schools to operate a ‘fair and transparent admissions criteria’.

Asked what she hoped Maidenhead MP and Prime Minister Theresa May would think of her speech, she added: “I would want Theresa May to take the message that this is a barbaric thing that we do to 10 and 11-year-olds.

“The person who spoke before me had done it and failed it and has to remind himself every day that he isn’t a failure.

“This is something we’re still doing, but it’s not tutor proof and it still discriminates – it’s a failed system.”

Mrs Smith, who works for the National Education Union, also spoke separately on the issue of social housing.

Pre-empting Mrs May’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference yesterday [Wednesday] which promised a ‘new generation of council housing’ she also called for social housing to be built in Maidenhead.

She said: “Our view is that more social housing needs to be built.

“We’re spending millions on housing benefit and we think there’s a more effective use for that money if it’s invested in proper housing stock.”


Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Recent

Most read

Top Ten Articles

AS IT HAPPENED: A-level results day 2018

AS IT HAPPENED: A-level results day 2018

Hundreds of students across East Berkshire and South Bucks collected their results on Thursday, August 16

Our reporting team spoke to students in Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead throughout the morning with the latest reaction, stories, photos and pass rates from schools across the area.