Launch of a campaign to change Labour policy on selection

 

Press conference – Jubilee Room, House of Commons (St Stephen’s Entrance) Monday 20th January 2003 11.30 am

 Speakers

  • Frank Dobson MP,
  • Andy Burnham MP 
  • Cllr.Clare Martens, Labour Education Spokesperson on Bucks CC

Chair

  • David Chaytor MP

A letter has been sent today to all Labour constituency parties in England calling on them to support a campaign within the party to end selection. The letter is signed by 150 party members from across the country and the party. Signatories include Labour MPs, Labour Peers, Trade Union General Secretaries Dave Prentis and John Edmonds, Graham Lane Labour Education Leader Local Government Association, the Socialist Education Association, Labour local council leaders and Labour group leaders, Labour Councillors, Professors of Education, and many party members.

These party members are deeply concerned that after 5 years of a Labour government more primary school children in England face being labelled as failures at the age of 11 when they move into secondary education. There are grammar schools in 36 English LEAs and roughly a third of these LEAs are fully selective. Partial selection is likely to increase as more and more schools specialise and children face ‘aptitude’ tests for admission.

The campaign is aimed at influencing Labour party discussions on education policy. The party’s Education and Skills Commission will shortly produce a draft document for consultation over the next 18 months. This policy making process will culminate in the National Policy Forum in July 2004 which will produce the document for decision at the party conference in Autumn 2004.