We held successful conference fringe meetings at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, and the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. The Socialist Educational Association were our partners for the Labour event which explored both private and selective schooling. A video of the event is available here. The Conservative Party Conference event was a very positive affair, with speakers talking up the benefits of comprehensive education, promoting a vision of secondary schools so good no one would want a selective education. Read more here.
Alexa Collins of Beaconsfield CLP put forward a conference motion calling on Labour to consider policy to end the 11-plus. This was supported by many delegates who spoke in favour of ending selection as part of the National Education Service. The motion passed and we hope the Labour Party will now consider establishing a fully comprehensive education system. The Labour leadership have discussed plans to phase out private schools, surely ending the inequality caused by grammar schools would fit their social justice mission?
A mistake with the Buckinghamshire 11-plus has led to eight questions on a paper being discounted, but parents are still not satisfied that this rectifies the problem. Questions in the exam were impossible to answer leading to children losing time or wasting time attempting to get them right. This situation has certainly highlighted the limited checks on this exam, and it’s raised awareness of the unfairness of the test. Lets hope Bucks parents start to notice this tests many flaws, not least the huge industry in test tuition which makes this test unfair every single year.
A book launch and seminar explores the history of comprehensive education on Thursday 24th October 2019 at the University of Birmingham. It involves two education academics speaking about their experiences. Bernard Barker was the first comprehensively educated student to become the head of a comprehensive school; and to become a Professor of Education. Jane Martin studied history with Bernard at a Hertfordshire comprehensive and has become a professor of education and former president of the History of Education Society. She is the official biographer of Caroline Benn, the great campaigner for comprehensive schools. This should prove to be an interesting seminar.
Ten grammar schools are in talks with officials in China to bring Chinese pupils to their sixth forms to recieve coaching for Oxbridge admission. The schools are proposing a fee of £2,000 per pupil for six months of education in the schools. This is another step towards the privatisation of education, it feels particularly wrong that state school facilities should be used in this way when these grammar schools refuse entry to local pupils based on test scores. Surely these schools should prioritise the education of local young people and not selling their services abroad?
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