The Government proposals to reintroduce Grammar schools promote divisive education which only benefits the few, say Lib Dems in East Sussex.
Far from helping social mobility, studies show Grammar Schools are far less likely to have students on free school meals or with special education 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 channeled 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.”
East Sussex County Council 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 in March, declaring it a damaging move that would hit educational attainment.
The amendment was defeated by Conservative and UKIP votes.
Cllr Rosaylyn 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.”
Commenting ahead of Justine Greening's speech on working families and the education system, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron, said:
"The government are fiddling the figures, pure and simple to make their case for a discredited grammar schools plan."
"This shows the Conservatives' true colours, while schools struggle to pay for books, cut teachers and buildings decay around them the government have found more cash to pay for Grammar Schools.
"What's worse than that pupils of working families are getting stuffed by this plan, yet again. Rather than making every state school excellent the government want to spend more cash on another ideological experiment.
"This speech is the political equivalent of a rose tinted view of the 1950’s where a few excel and millions of other young people are consigned to the scrapheap.