11:18AM, Tuesday 14 March 2017
Councillor Natasha Airey, cabinet member for children’s services, is on record as suggesting that ‘any selective entry to schools in the borough would need proof of how their offer would help and proactively include those from a disadvantaged background’.
I presume therefore she supports the view of MPs on the Commons Education Select Committee that plans to re-introduce selective education is an ‘unnecessary distraction’.
The competition for entry to grammar schools in Slough and Buckinghamshire is fierce, with tens of thousands of pounds being spent by parents on tutoring, desperate to get their child through the 11-plus exam.
I have spoken to numerous parents from disadvantaged backgrounds who have spent their life savings to give their child a better start in life.
I am sure a grammar school may be able to close the gap, but it is the selection process which is widening the gap in the first place.
The argument goes that this will be alleviated by tutor-proof testing; this is a complete fantasy. Any education expert will tell you that the secret to exam success is not the knowledge of the subject but the ability to dissect the mechanics of the exam question, to understand how the question is structured and to give the perfect response, techniques which are easily tutored.
I urge Cllr Airey to avoid unnecessary distractions and focus on challenging the swingeing cuts to school budgets instigated by the Department for Education, ensuring that every young person in the borough receives the highest quality of education in all of our schools.
Richard Endacott MA
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