Liberal Democrats in East Sussex overwhelmingly reject Grammar Schools, after East Sussex County Council moved to introduce the practice into the county and Theresa May, Prime Minister, announced cash for Grammar Schools in tomorrow's budget.
The Liberal Democrats, who are the official opposition to the Conservatives on East Sussex County Council, put forward an amendment to Conservative proposals to embrace selective education to declare it a damaging move that would hit educational attainment.
The amendment was defeated by Conservative and UKIP votes.
Far from helping social mobility, studies show Grammar Schools are far less likely to have students on free school meals or with special eduation needs. This indicates that selective education favours affluent children and not those from disadvantaged families. Further to this, the Educational Policy Institute demonstrates exam results are on a par with comprehensive schools, showing no significant educational improvement from the scheme.
Kelly-Marie Blundell, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes who attended Highworth Grammar School in Kent, condemned proposals by the Government and East Sussex County Council;
“Grammar Schools sound like a great idea in principle. Put the brightest together and help them achieve more. However, the figures do not add up.
“Exam results show no significant improvement compared to comprehensive schools. Children are no more likely to achieve high exam results than at a comprehensive.
“Sadly, as we see in Kent, the result of funding being channelled into Grammar Schools means that children at comprehensive schools suffer from less investment in their education.
“Grammar schools are selective and divisive and benefit a small majority of affluent pupils, rather than investing in our schools as a whole, helping the majority of children.”
Cllr Rosalyn St Pierre, Liberal Democrat, commented;
“Children who 'fail' selective exams can be affected for life. Testing a child one day in their life to set them up in a different education scheme is unfair and can have disasterous consequences.
“There are many cases of children from the same family attending as many as three different secondary schools.
What we need is investment in our current schools, not an ever diminishing budget, and investment in comprehensive education, not just in the few.”
On 18th October 2017, ESCC Full Council voted on a motion on selective education;
East Sussex County Council:
· Supports its school improvement strategy: Excellence for All, which has contributed to a significant improvement in school performance and outcomes for children and young people in East Sussex.
· Believes that existing local arrangements for ensuring the supply of good educational places in the county are robust and effective in ensuring that local communities have access to good educational provision.
· Would like to consider the government’s amended proposals further following the end of the consultation period in December.
Amendment submitted by Cllr Kathryn Field, Liberal Democrats;
(insert) [Based on this County’s success and the positive outcomes achieved for young people in the County this Council strongly opposes the reintroduction of selective education and believes it to be detrimental to the wellbeing of children and will not contribute to the raising of educational attainment]
A recorded vote on the amendment was requested and taken. The amendment was LOST
Research on Grammar Schools:
Education Policy Institute Report on Grammar Schools