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Don't mess up success of our comprehensives

Brian Millin

Some parents, who may think their child could pass the test, will say yes they want a grammar school in their area for their children for choice. But how is it a choice when you only get in by selection following testing? It simply is not a choice and those who keep on with this argument are disingenuous.

I sat through a very positive RBWM cabinet meeting on the proposals to allocate £30m on expanding our secondary education across the borough.

The heads of the schools lined up to address cabinet to say how much they appreciated the funding to enable them to expand and improve their already successful schools.

A common thread for all heads who spoke, was their school's ability to cater for all students regardless of ability, from those that go on to Oxbridge – and many do – to those who opt for apprentice advancement when their secondary schooling ends.

We have great secondary comprehensive schools in RBWM staffed by dedicated teachers and truly outstanding heads. Why on earth are we even considering grammar schools?

Our current comprehensive system is delivering for all our students regardless of ability, regardless of whether on free school meals, regardless of whether they have physical disabilities – it caters for all.

The same can't be said for grammar schools – they control their admissions by testing.

The facts are in Bucks, which has grammar schools, students in non-grammar school secondary education do worse than students in RBWM. And remember those in non-grammar school education are the majority and therefore likely to be your children.

I defy anyone to be critical of RBWM secondary education; the heads who lead are truly inspirational – let's not mess up what is a success for RBWM.

Grammar Schools are not a choice for the majority. In neighbouring Bucks 77 per cent  of our state school children are told they can't go to a grammar school. The 'choice' argument just doesn't work. The facts are if we introduce a grammar school into RBWM we run the very real risk of standards falling in the comprehensives that will become secondary modern schools and this will impact the majority.

Brian Millin

Priors Way


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