February 26, 2022 6.00 am

Council’s “Victorian” grammar school plan would ‘send education backwards’

It’s been accused of failing working class kids

By Local Democracy Reporter

The council has defended hopes to establish a grammar school in North East Lincolnshire after critics said it would send education backwards.

Leaders say it would keep children who are currently sent to Louth or Caistor in the North East Lincolnshire borough.

However, Labour councillors said schools should look forward, not backward to “Victorian” grammar schools.

They also accused them of failing working class children.

Grammar schools select their pupils using exams known as the 11-plus and have become controversial.

The aspiration to establish one in North East Lincolnshire was included in the council plan, which was passed at a full meeting on Thursday.

No concrete plans have been revealed.

Councillor Jackson said: “We will work with education providers to improve secondary attainment, supporting the development of alternative secondary provision where there are clear benefits.

“I would remind members, and some of the newer ones may be unaware, that it remains this council’s policy to support the establishment of a grammar school within the borough.

“A grammar school would help to attract and retain parents who are currently sending children out of the area to Louth and Caistor.

“That isn’t good for North East Lincolnshire, and it adds a lot of unnecessary travel which isn’t good for the environment.”

Grammar schools were once widespread across England but have lost support over the years.

There are currently around 160 left, including Caistor Grammar School and King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth.

Labour councillors slammed the proposal.

Councillor Rodwell responded: “There is nothing new and exciting in the council’s plan.

“We want to deliver a good education for all students, not just looking at a few.

“Bright pupils should have good opportunities for education [in the mainstream system].

“We need to be looking forwards – this takes us back to Victorian times.”

Councillor Green added: “Grammar schools fail working class people.

“We’ve all heard the stories about them sending children home for inappropriate clothing – it happens all the time.

“Working class people are being priced out and can’t afford to send their children there.”