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High Peak Labour Party present MP with grammar schools petition
Wednesday 30th November 2016 @ 11:53 by Adam Higgins
Glossop Chronicle News

The High Peak Labour Party presented a petition with hundreds of signatures, opposing the re-introduction of grammar schools, to Andrew Bingham last weekend.

Representatives from each branch of the party within the borough handed over the petition, which was signed by over 600 local people within two hours, to the High Peak’s MP at his Hayfield surgery last Saturday.

It was expressing opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed re-introduction of the grammar schools system, as they continue their ‘Education not Segregation’ campaign.

Becki Woods, the Labour Party’s High Peak Campaign Co-ordinator, said: “We call on our MP, Andrew Bingham, to say NO to bringing back Grammar Schools – all school children should be given the opportunity to flourish and be the best they can, not just a chosen few.

“The campaign ‘Education not Segregation in the High Peak’ highlights the division that reintroducing grammar schools would create amongst our children, and the potential impact on their daily lives – not just today, but for their lifetimes.

“Many High Peak residents remember well the old system of selection and rejection at 11 years old, how it felt to ‘fail’ the 11 plus.”

Some commented on their experiences as the campaign took to the streets of The High Peak.

Ruth George, from Whaley Bridge branch, added: “If people thought about what happens to the other children, who do not get in to the Grammar Schools, they would realise we are also facing the return of Secondary Modern Schools.

“Why go back to the past when there is not one argument produced by the government to explain the benefits? What our children need is for every school to be the best it can for all children.”

The Labour Party is not alone in opposing this move – Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools and head of Ofsted, has also made his feelings clear.

He said: “…more grammar schools will reduce standards for the great majority of children, undo much of the progress of recent years, and be socially divisive.”

He adds that, if academically bright children are taken away from the comprehensive system, secondary modern schools are automatically created and, once this process starts, grammar schools will get more money and resources, will pay higher salaries and be able to recruit the best teachers.

Campaigners in favour of the petition believe that local children will suffer from this policy, will probably have further to travel to school, and that the already cash-starved local secondary schools would carry an even greater burden of government imposed cuts.

In response to the points raised, Mr Bingham said that he has an open mind on this topic and can see the arguments on both sides.

Campaigners urge High Peak residents who feel strongly about this issue to contact Mr Bingham and make their views known.