Headteachers tell Prime Minister to forget grammar schools idea

The letter was sent last wek as Prime Minister Theresa May met US President Donald Trump. Picture: S

The letter was sent last wek as Prime Minister Theresa May met US President Donald Trump. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Nine North Somerset schools and campuses have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to outline their concerns over planned changes to the education sector.

Gordano School at Portishead.

Gordano School at Portishead. - Credit: Archant

Headteachers fear that reintroducing selective education will cause significant problems within the system.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, they outline their belief that selective schools would be a ‘retrograde step and would undermine the rapid progress’ made in North Somerset.

Headteachers which have signed the letter include those at Backwell, Gordano and Nailsea schools. Churchill Academy and Sixth Form and the Inspirational Futures Trust – which includes St Katherine’s School in Pill – have also backed the letter.

Last year Mrs May outlined plans to potentially reintroduce grammar schools and it has been suggested that North Somerset could be an area to benefit.

Gordano School headteacher Gary Lewis

Gordano School headteacher Gary Lewis - Credit: Archant

However, the district’s headteachers do not agree.

Gordano School headteacher, Gary Lewis, said: “The expansion of selective education would reduce the opportunity for parents to choose the best school for their child, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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“By creating schools where the most gifted are concentrated the others become less academic, less prestigious and will have difficulty recruiting the best teachers.

“Comprehensives in North Somerset are thriving and, even with increasingly rigorous exams, their outcomes are increasing year on year.

“Of the 11 comprehensives in North Somerset, 10 are rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted and indeed five are deemed to be outstanding schools.

“It was notable in Sir Michael Wilshaw’s Annual Report that almost all high-performing regions are ones based on comprehensive education rather than selection.”