Labour leader John Kent slams plans for grammar schools in Thurrock

THE former leader of Thurrock Council has told YT he has grave reservations with Tory okays to bring grammar schools to Thurrock.

Cllr John Kent (Lab) said: "Over the past few years as council leader and education portfolio holder I believed it was imperative the council and all the borough’s schools – of whatever type – worked together to provide the best possible education for all Thurrock’s young people.

I had concerns about the increasing abilities of schools to pick and choose which pupils they wanted, but overall all of our schools collaborated and worked together well for the benefit of all our young people.

The suggestion of bringing grammar schools back in order to increase competition between schools is deeply flawed. Thurrock schools have improved greatly over the past few years, in part at least, because of their strong collaboration.

This is a return to 1950’s style them and us politics where a child’s future can be determined at the age of 11 – and make no mistake, the reintroduction of grammar schools and selection at 11 also means the reintroduction of secondary moderns too.

Fifty years on we are still fighting to get more children from working class families into the top universities, strangely everybody agrees this is a good thing.

Yet if we harvest the top ten or 15 per cent of children who are on top form on one day when they are 11 years old, what happens to the remaining 90 per cent? What hope do they have?

I understand Mrs May went to a grammar and she thinks everyone should have the same education as she did, but that’s not the way it works. On one particular day you have to not only be on top form, but be good at exams as well, its not like a driving test, fail once and that’s it.

If Mrs May really means what she says, then rather than giving a few selected pupils the best education, she should be investing in all our schools so every child in Britain has the best possible learning experience. Invest in better school buildings, better schools, better teachers, and better support; that’s the way forward.

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