Some months back, I seconded a motion to oppose the Government’s plan to expand and re-introduce Grammar Schools. At first, this motion could not be debated at Full Council because there needed to be further work carried out. That work has now been undertaken, and it is now back for a decision by the full membership of Cornwall Council.
We have a comprehensive schools system in Cornwall; it is a family of schools. When schools in Cornwall had the ability of having some form of selection when the Academies Bill became law, schools rejected it because head teachers believed in a comprehensive system.
Our education system should not be selective. Where if you do not pass an exam you are excluded from a form of education. Having an exam based entry you reinforce the notion of you are some of failure and you are not good enough if you do not pass an entrance test. Is really what we want to teach our children?
The Government’s Green Paper on Grammar Schools has so many flaws to it. For example, schools are encouraged and are working in partnership with each other to share that good practice. That will stop because there will be open competition between the Grammar Schools and the rest. The Grammar Schools trying to cream off all the top students. There are just too many flaws to the plan, it gives you the notion that this plan was not really thought through before being published.
Grammar School will not increase standards in schools. The outgoing head of Ofsted has said it will not increase standards. Even in the Govian world of education, Grammar Schools were not part of his plan; or in the mind of the previous Education Secretary, Nikki Morgan.
Every child deserves the very best education, a comprehensive system aims to do that where all abilities are catered for. I am therefore very pleased the motion for Cornwall Council to oppose the Government’s plan for Grammar Schools was massively supported by Councillors from across all parties. Only about four Councillors opposed the motion and these were not from one party either.