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Agenda item

Notice of Motion given by Councillor Colin Ross

That this Council:-

 

(a)       notes with great concern that the current government is considering bringing back grammar schools and allowing Free Schools to introduce academic selection;

 

(b)       believes that there is no such thing as an ‘inclusive grammar school’ and this policy is an unwelcome step backwards to a more unequal, divided society;

 

(c)        notes that the re-introduction of grammar schools necessitates the re-introduction of secondary moderns;

 

(d)       believes that the Government’s plan to lift restrictions on faith schools, allowing schools to select 100% of their pupils based on faith, will lead to further division within communities;

 

(e)       notes that increasing academic selection in schools was not in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto and believes the unelected Prime Minister has no mandate to put this policy into force;

 

(f)        notes the comments of the former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron, “I think it is delusional to think that a policy of expanding a number of grammar schools is either a good idea, a sellable idea or even the right idea.”;

 

(g)       notes the efforts of the previous Government to close the gap in inequality in education through targeted investment towards poorer pupils, such as the pupil premium, free early years education and free school dinners;

 

(h)       regrets that since 2015, schools have seen a real term cut in their budgets, undermining efforts of the previous Government;

 

(i)         believes that young people have varied and complex aptitudes and abilities and believes that our young people’s potential can be best achieved in good comprehensive schools where they are allowed to flourish at their own pace and mix with peers from all walks of life; and

 

(j)         therefore calls on the Administration to write to the Secretary of State for Education calling for the Government to abandon these plans.

Minutes:

 

Academic Selection and Grammar Schools

 

 

17.1

It was formally moved by Councillor Colin Ross, and formally seconded by Councillor Steve Ayris, that this Council:-

 

 

 

 

 

(a)       notes with great concern that the current government is considering bringing back grammar schools and allowing Free Schools to introduce academic selection;

 

(b)       believes that there is no such thing as an ‘inclusive grammar school’ and this policy is an unwelcome step backwards to a more unequal, divided society;

 

(c)        notes that the re-introduction of grammar schools necessitates the re-introduction of secondary moderns;

 

(d)       believes that the Government’s plan to lift restrictions on faith schools, allowing schools to select 100% of their pupils based on faith, will lead to further division within communities;

 

(e)       notes that increasing academic selection in schools was not in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto and believes the unelected Prime Minister has no mandate to put this policy into force;

 

(f)        notes the comments of the former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron, “I think it is delusional to think that a policy of expanding a number of grammar schools is either a good idea, a sellable idea or even the right idea.”;

 

(g)       notes the efforts of the previous Government to close the gap in inequality in education through targeted investment towards poorer pupils, such as the pupil premium, free early years education and free school dinners;

 

(h)       regrets that since 2015, schools have seen a real term cut in their budgets, undermining efforts of the previous Government;

 

(i)         believes that young people have varied and complex aptitudes and abilities and believes that our young people’s potential can be best achieved in good comprehensive schools where they are allowed to flourish at their own pace and mix with peers from all walks of life; and

 

(j)         therefore calls on the Administration to write to the Secretary of State for Education calling for the Government to abandon these plans.

 

 

 

 

17.2

Whereupon, it was formally moved by Councillor Jackie Drayton, and formally seconded by Councillor Olivia Blake, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraphs (g) to (j) and the addition of new paragraphs (g) to (j) as follows:-

 

 

 

 

 

(g)       believes that bringing back grammar schools is a backward step, that there are good reasons why the grammar school system was abolished around 50 years ago, and that at a time when we have been making progress with our results in Sheffield, this is the last thing we want to see;

 

(h)       believes that the grammar school system doesn’t promote social mobility, it keeps people down, and over its five years the coalition government systematically downgraded the value of vocational study, downgrading vocational qualifications and work experience, making our system even more elitist, which flies in the face of the needs of our local economy, where employers need young people with both vocational and academic qualifications;

 

(i)         wants a society that gives every child and young person the opportunity to succeed, whatever route they choose to go down, and believes these Government proposals will be bad for our education system, bad for our children and bad for society; and

 

(j)         welcomes the cross party opposition to grammar schools and notes that the move has been overwhelmingly opposed in the teaching profession and therefore sends a united message that new grammar schools are not wanted in Sheffield and believes the Government should listen to this clear local view.

 

 

 

 

17.3

On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried.

 

 

 

 

17.4

The original Motion, as amended, was then put as a Substantive Motion in the following form and carried:-

 

 

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

(a)       notes with great concern that the current government is considering bringing back grammar schools and allowing Free Schools to introduce academic selection;

 

(b)       believes that there is no such thing as an ‘inclusive grammar school’ and this policy is an unwelcome step backwards to a more unequal, divided society;

 

(c)        notes that the re-introduction of grammar schools necessitates the re-introduction of secondary moderns;

 

(d)       believes that the Government’s plan to lift restrictions on faith schools, allowing schools to select 100% of their pupils based on faith, will lead to further division within communities;

 

(e)       notes that increasing academic selection in schools was not in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto and believes the unelected Prime Minister has no mandate to put this policy into force;

 

(f)        notes the comments of the former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron, “I think it is delusional to think that a policy of expanding a number of grammar schools is either a good idea, a sellable idea or even the right idea.”;

 

(g)       believes that bringing back grammar schools is a backward step, that there are good reasons why the grammar school system was abolished around 50 years ago, and that at a time when we have been making progress with our results in Sheffield, this is the last thing we want to see;

 

(h)       believes that the grammar school system doesn’t promote social mobility, it keeps people down, and over its five years the coalition government systematically downgraded the value of vocational study, downgrading vocational qualifications and work experience, making our system even more elitist, which flies in the face of the needs of our local economy, where employers need young people with both vocational and academic qualifications;

 

(i)         wants a society that gives every child and young person the opportunity to succeed, whatever route they choose to go down, and believes these Government proposals will be bad for our education system, bad for our children and bad for society; and

 

(j)         welcomes the cross party opposition to grammar schools and notes that the move has been overwhelmingly opposed in the teaching profession and therefore sends a united message that new grammar schools are not wanted in Sheffield and believes the Government should listen to this clear local view.

 

 

 

 

 

17.4.1

(NOTE: Councillors Andy Nash, Bob Pullin, Richard Shaw, Adam Hanrahan, Joe Otten, Colin Ross, Martin Smith, Roger Davison, Shaffaq Mohammed, Paul Scriven, Sue Alston, Andrew Sangar, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Sue Auckland, Steve Ayris, Gail Smith, David Baker, Penny Baker and Vickie Priestley voted for paragraphs (a) to (g), (i) and (j), and voted against paragraph (h), of the Substantive Motion, and asked for this to be recorded.)