Well, yes, it should be. However, RBWM are seeking to create a grammar school in Maidenhead. In most local education authorities (including RBWM), grammar schools were abolished decades ago, mainly because it was found that they didn’t improve social mobility, so pupils from less well-off families were less likely to get into a grammar school. Pupils who didn’t pass the 11+, and who therefore didn’t get into a grammar school, went to “Secondary Moderns”. As these schools didn’t get the top achieving pupils, their results didn’t always meet expectations and so began a downward spiral – lower results, lower expectations, harder to recruit the best teachers…
No-one wants that for Maidenhead. Do they?
RBWM has earmarked £200,000 for a Bucks grammar school to undertake a feasibility study into opening a new school in Maidenhead. £200,000 of RBWM taxpayers’ money. That seems like quite a lot, doesn’t it? If the Bucks grammar school wants to expand then surely the costs of that should be borne by that school, and/or by Bucks County Council.
In 2015, only 106 parents even expressed an interest in sending a child to a grammar school. Maidenhead’s population is 67,000. That is 0.16% of the local population and just 15% of the relevant school year group.
RBWM are suggesting that a new grammar school will enhance parental choice in Maidenhead. But it’s not parental choice that will get a child into grammar school – it is passing the 11+.
At present, there is an enviable range of parental choice in the borough – parents who want their children to attend grammar school are able to put them forward for the 11+ and, if they don’t succeed, then they still have the choice of six great comprehensive schools. Imagine, in future, if that choice becomes simply grammar or Secondary Modern?
RBWM says that pupils have to travel long distances to grammar school, but that isn’t quite true. Children in north Maidenhead could be allocated a place at a comprehensive school that is further to travel to than the main grammar site in Bucks.
All of our children are exceptional, we know that. But not all of them can be in the top 12% of Maidenhead children who will get into a grammar school. How can you be sure that yours is one of the ‘lucky’ 12% (fewer than 4 pupils per class) and not one of the 88% for whom Secondary Modern will be the ONLY option under these proposals?
Excellent Education for Everyone is a group of local residents within RBWM who want to ensure that parents, carers and other residents have the fullest information possible about the impact of RBWM’s proposals – information, statistics, facts and opinions will be shared and discussed on here to help inform the debate.
We are urging residents to make their voices heard, either direct to your Councillors or by participating in the public consultation and stating clearly that we demand educational excellence for all children.
Join the debate –
Facebook – Excellent Education for Everyone
Twitter – @ee4eRBWM