Comprehensive Future writes today to Jeremy Corbyn and Lucy Powell

Chair of Comprehensive Future Melissa Benn and Vice Chair Fiona Millar have today written to Jeremy Corbyn and Lucy Powell about the need for Labour to make clear plans to end selection at 11 and ensure fair school admissions.

Letter to Jeremy Corbyn MP, Labour Party Leader.

We are writing to you as Chair and Vice Chair of a campaigning group that, since 2003, has campaigned to phase out the 11 plus and develop a fairer admissions system.

Today, the Education and Adoption Bill moves to its report stage in the Commons, and includes an amendment signed by mainly Conservative MPs, to allow the creation of further grammar schools.

During the leadership campaign you reaffirmed your clear commitment to a non-selective, high quality, well funded schools system and the need for ‘ all grammars to become comprehensives and end the 11-plus where it still exists.. We need to be bolder about all children having an equal chance, proud of the idea of first-rate community comprehensive education and encourage a diverse mix of pupils in all our schools..’

Many people in this country do not realise that selection at 11 still exists in 36 local authorities, of which 15 are fully selective. So a significant proportion of English young people have their educational futures and opportunities decided through the use of the 11 plus, just as after the Second World War.

The facts are clear. Selection divides and discriminates. Not only does it send a clear message of rejection to those children who fail ‘the test’, often when they are as young as 10, but it clearly segregates communities along social and ethnic lines.

Most high performing countries, in Europe and around the world, do not divide their pupil populations before puberty in this brutal and unimaginative way.

Under your leadership, Labour can now show the way on this issue.

Comprehensive Future has developed a set of clear proposals regarding the best way to open excellent schools up to all children.. You can access greater detail on our plans here.

We have also called for a thorough going inquiry into our increasingly opaque and unfair school admissions system: see here for further details on the many problems that face parents, and what can be done about it. We hope that, with Lucy Powell, your newly appointed Shadow Education Secretary you will now start the process of amending Labour Party policy so we can establish a nationwide system of comprehensive education based on fair non-selective admissions criteria.

We look forward to meeting you at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this further.

 
Letter to Lucy Powell MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education

We are writing to you as Chair and Vice Chair of a campaigning group that, since 2003, has campaigned to phase out the 11 plus and develop a fairer admissions system.

Today, the Education and Adoption Bill moves to its report stage in the Commons, and includes an amendment signed by mainly Conservative MPs, to allow the creation of further grammar schools.

In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s new leader, has always expressed a clear commitment to a non-selective, high quality, well funded schools system.

During the leadership campaign, he argued that ‘we would want all grammars to become comprehensives and end the 11-plus where it still exists.. We need to be bolder about all children having an equal chance, proud of the idea of first-rate community comprehensive education and encourage a diverse mix of pupils in all our schools.’

Many people in this country do not realise that selection at 11 still exists in 36 local authorities, of which 15 are fully selective. So a significant proportion of English young people have their educational futures and opportunities decided through the use of the 11 plus, just as after the Second World War.

The facts are clear. Selection divides and discriminates. Not only does it send a clear message of rejection to those children who fail ‘the test’, often when they are as young as 10, but it clearly segregates communities along social and ethnic lines.

Most high performing countries, in Europe and around the world, do not divide their pupil populations before puberty in this brutal and unimaginative way.

Labour now needs to lead on this issue.

Comprehensive Future has developed a set of clear proposals regarding the best way to open excellent schools up to all children.. You can access greater detail on our plans here.

We have also called for a thorough going inquiry into our increasingly opaque and unfair school admissions system: see here for further details on the many problems that face parents, and what can be done about it.
As Labour’s chief spokesperson on education, we hope that, with Jeremy Corbyn, you will now start the process of amending Labour Party policy so we can establish a nationwide system of comprehensive education based on fair non-selective admissions criteria.

We look forward to meeting you at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this further.