Councillor Derique Montaut shares his concerns:
I write in reference to the Swindon Academy’s decision to introduce a “Grammar Stream” in their school and the Conservative Party’s seeming support for the reintroduction of grammar school type provision in Swindon. The Conservative Party’s and Justin Tomlinson’s support for Grammar School provision is very concerning and I do wonder whether this could take us back 50 years in terms of our education and how all our children can be provided with the best education, not just those who achieve good exams at age 11.
I’m sure many Swindon Adver readers will remember this style of education system, when their futures were determined by an exam at the age of 11. This system cast-off millions of young people in to a second tier of education while the lucky few who passed the eleven-plus had a much better education through Grammar Schools. I was one of those people who moved in to the second tier of education, the secondary modern, and this led to a poverty of ambition while at school amongst me and my colleagues, with us accepting that we could not achieve as much as our grammar schooled peers.
This education system was abolished by popular demand in the 1970s because people recognised and saw the unfairness in this system and since then we have had a political consensus to not have our state schools select pupils based on exams at 11 years old. Now the Conservatives, including North Swindon’s MP, appear to be proposing the end to this political consensus by supporting this Grammar Stream.
I think the North Swindon MP, who after all is our town’s representative in parliament who sets laws on our education system, needs to make clear whether he wants to bring back a grammar school system to Swindon. If he does, then I think the majority of North Swindon residents will conclude that our MP is completely out of touch with what people want from our education system. They will also conclude, rather than focussing on improving education for all our young people, Mr Tomlinson wishes to promote the education of the privileged few who pass an exam at a young age, at the expense of the education for the majority of our young people.