Baroness Blower

Labour Peer Christine Blower has a second reading of the School (Reform of Pupil Selection) Bill in the House of Lords on December 2nd. This Private Members’ Bill asks that all secondary schools in England adopt the ‘comprehensive principle’ and draw up plans to phase out admission tests which seek to measure a pupil’s ‘ability’ or attainment.

We are hoping for as many speakers as possible in the debate, so please encourage any peers who you know are supportive to put their names down to speak. We are very grateful to all those who have already signed up to support the Bill.

Comprehensive Future’s Chair, Dr Nuala Burgess, said, “We are very grateful to our Patron, Baroness Blower, for presenting this Bill in the Lords and look forward to it being debated. We believe the debate will show the extent of cross-party support for the idea that academic selection is unnecessary and must go.”

“The Bill, if enacted into law, offers a workable and carefully phased plan to bring admission policies for England’s remaining 163 grammar schools into line with every other state-funded secondary school. Key to the plan will be a process of consultation with affected schools and Local Authorities’ cooperation to bring an end to 11-plus testing and implement a fully comprehensive system. Areas burdened with an education system designed for the 1940s will finally be brought up to date.”

Former General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Baroness Blower said, “I am happy to show my support for Comprehensive Future’s work by presenting this Bill. It shows how straightforward it would be to change all remaining grammar schools and reform the many partially selective ones. The Bill promotes the advantage of a fully comprehensive system. It would end all discriminatory tests which allow schools to select whom they will educate. Children should always be welcome at their local school without the barrier of flawed entrance tests. A truly comprehensive education system for England is long overdue.”

Dr Burgess said, “The sooner we can find agreement on how to phase out grammar schools, the better it will be for all our children. Those who argue for more grammar schools should be made to justify their belief in state-funded schools which reject the majority of children who apply to them. In spite of all the rhetoric about social mobility and levelling up, it is the case the England’s grammar schools still only admit a tiny proportion of disadvantaged children. By ending the use of admission tests we will be on the way to creating a much fairer and more equal school system.”

The Bill can be read in full HERE.