Grammar schools should be allowed to expand, Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow argues

Sutton Guardian: Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow

Sutton’s grammar schools must be allowed to expand and should operate in a way that is fair to the local community, MP Paul Burstow has argued.

The MP for Sutton and Cheam has called for an expansion of grammar schools, alongside an increase in comprehensive schools, in anticipation of a secondary schools capacity crisis.

There is already huge competition to get into Sutton’s grammar schools and a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request, by this newspaper, revealed that out of the 801 children starting Sutton’s grammar schools this September a staggering 520 of them came from outside the borough.

Traditionally Lib-Dem policy has been opposed to grammar school expansion but Mr Burstow said: "There needs to be a balanced expansion of places across both our comprehensives and grammars.

"Sutton has been good at identifying the rise in primary places. Tom Brake MP and I lobbied the last Government for extra funding to build accommodation and because Sutton was one of the first to see this trend we will be amongst the first needing extra secondary school places too."

The FOI statistics 

Sutton Guardian:

In response to the FOI statistics Mr Burstow said: "I have long argued that our grammars should operate in a way that is fair to the local community.

“I think that they should adopt the approach used by Nonsuch and Wallington Girls in the past. They should offer guaranteed places to children who pass the test resident in the borough.

"We have some of the country’s best non-selective schools and I'm keen to make sure they have the finances to expand where that makes sense. I also think the borough is likely to need a new high school to meet the demand."

Sutton Guardian:

The statement has brought criticism from Paul Scully, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam.

He said: “Paul Burstow and Tom Brake actually voted to ban grammar schools in 2006. Paul Burstow was chief whip at the time and got 55 of his colleagues to do the same.

“I welcome grammar school expansion but we can’t play politics with it. We’ve got   to make sure our children get the best opportunity to get the best education they can.

“You don’t change your mind for party politics’ sake – and you can’t jump on the band wagon to protect yourself.”

Mr Burstow is now lobbying the Department for Education to allocate extra places in secondary schools.

Sutton has 14 secondary schools - two of which are Catholic and five of which are grammar schools.

Plans for a new secondary school were mooted at the end of last year when Sutton Council acknowledged a new secondary school may have to be built to cope with the rising demand.


TODAY'S TOP SUTTON STORIES

 

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:25pm Tue 24 Sep 13

labyrinth says...

YES! This is what parents want - local kids in local schools. It is a scandal that our grammar schools have so many out borough pupils. It never used to be like this - when I went to a grammar school, only a handful of pupils came from outside Sutton, and most of us were working class kids. Now, it's all heavily tutored kids from all over. This has problems beyond the school, such as increased traffic and lack of investment in the area.

Sutton's Grammar Schools for Sutton pupils!
YES! This is what parents want - local kids in local schools. It is a scandal that our grammar schools have so many out borough pupils. It never used to be like this - when I went to a grammar school, only a handful of pupils came from outside Sutton, and most of us were working class kids. Now, it's all heavily tutored kids from all over. This has problems beyond the school, such as increased traffic and lack of investment in the area. Sutton's Grammar Schools for Sutton pupils! labyrinth

6:01pm Tue 24 Sep 13

Paul Scully says...

Local selective schools should certainly do more to enable more Sutton children to make the most of the opportunity that these excellent schools offer. However it is rich to jump on a bandwagon that many parents have been on for the last couple of decades. Over that same period Paul Burstow and his colleagues have been quietly trying to undo the great work that our schools do, including as Chief Whip, getting his fellow Lib Dem MPs to vote with some rebel Labour MPs to abolish grammar schools entirely as recently as 2006.

We need to allow our outstanding schools to expand to a level that does not dilute the level of great teaching but we also need to start identifying sites where buildings can be reused as a free school or a new school can be built rather than waiting for the situation to catch up with us as happened with the shortage of primary school places.
Local selective schools should certainly do more to enable more Sutton children to make the most of the opportunity that these excellent schools offer. However it is rich to jump on a bandwagon that many parents have been on for the last couple of decades. Over that same period Paul Burstow and his colleagues have been quietly trying to undo the great work that our schools do, including as Chief Whip, getting his fellow Lib Dem MPs to vote with some rebel Labour MPs to abolish grammar schools entirely as recently as 2006. We need to allow our outstanding schools to expand to a level that does not dilute the level of great teaching but we also need to start identifying sites where buildings can be reused as a free school or a new school can be built rather than waiting for the situation to catch up with us as happened with the shortage of primary school places. Paul Scully

4:22am Wed 25 Sep 13

gbzgc says...

The hypocrisy is astounding. Paul Burstow not only disapproves of Grammar schools but has actively campaigned and voted to have them abolished. Has this man no shame.
All i can say is, you can tell an election is coming and Mr Burstow is very worried about the threat of losing his seat to Paul Scully.
Another thing, as an MP, has he never herad of the Greenwich judgement and if so, why make the comments he does?
Disgraceful.
The hypocrisy is astounding. Paul Burstow not only disapproves of Grammar schools but has actively campaigned and voted to have them abolished. Has this man no shame. All i can say is, you can tell an election is coming and Mr Burstow is very worried about the threat of losing his seat to Paul Scully. Another thing, as an MP, has he never herad of the Greenwich judgement and if so, why make the comments he does? Disgraceful. gbzgc

12:46pm Wed 25 Sep 13

jonjo79 says...

When will people stop with this local schools for local children nonsense. We all know by now the schools cannot legally guarantee places for Sutton children. If the grammars expanded and took in more Sutton children all that would happen is either the comprehensives would suffer or they would be taking in more non-Sutton children instead. Do not forget most of the grammars sit right on the very edges of the borough so why should Sutton children get a priority purely because of where some borough boundary line sits?

Sutton children do get a fair crack of the whip in that they take the same tests as all the others. A more useful FOI to understand the full picture would be publish how many Sutton children passed the tests but did not get places - maybe the Guradian could take that up?

The real injustice in the system is the grammar tests are not tutor proof, so the richest have a bigger advantage.

That being said, why people go on about the grammars is beyond me. Are they just blinded by the league tables? Grammars are at the top because they only take in the top 2-3% of ability and so will get more GCSE qualifications. Their teachers do not have to have the same range of teaching as in a comprehensive so it is wrong to suggest they have the best teaching too.

League tables should only report on the progress measures but unfortunately these don't get the headlines.
When will people stop with this local schools for local children nonsense. We all know by now the schools cannot legally guarantee places for Sutton children. If the grammars expanded and took in more Sutton children all that would happen is either the comprehensives would suffer or they would be taking in more non-Sutton children instead. Do not forget most of the grammars sit right on the very edges of the borough so why should Sutton children get a priority purely because of where some borough boundary line sits? Sutton children do get a fair crack of the whip in that they take the same tests as all the others. A more useful FOI to understand the full picture would be publish how many Sutton children passed the tests but did not get places - maybe the Guradian could take that up? The real injustice in the system is the grammar tests are not tutor proof, so the richest have a bigger advantage. That being said, why people go on about the grammars is beyond me. Are they just blinded by the league tables? Grammars are at the top because they only take in the top 2-3% of ability and so will get more GCSE qualifications. Their teachers do not have to have the same range of teaching as in a comprehensive so it is wrong to suggest they have the best teaching too. League tables should only report on the progress measures but unfortunately these don't get the headlines. jonjo79

2:22pm Wed 25 Sep 13

labyrinth says...

jonjo79 wrote:
When will people stop with this local schools for local children nonsense. We all know by now the schools cannot legally guarantee places for Sutton children. If the grammars expanded and took in more Sutton children all that would happen is either the comprehensives would suffer or they would be taking in more non-Sutton children instead. Do not forget most of the grammars sit right on the very edges of the borough so why should Sutton children get a priority purely because of where some borough boundary line sits?

Sutton children do get a fair crack of the whip in that they take the same tests as all the others. A more useful FOI to understand the full picture would be publish how many Sutton children passed the tests but did not get places - maybe the Guradian could take that up?

The real injustice in the system is the grammar tests are not tutor proof, so the richest have a bigger advantage.

That being said, why people go on about the grammars is beyond me. Are they just blinded by the league tables? Grammars are at the top because they only take in the top 2-3% of ability and so will get more GCSE qualifications. Their teachers do not have to have the same range of teaching as in a comprehensive so it is wrong to suggest they have the best teaching too.

League tables should only report on the progress measures but unfortunately these don't get the headlines.
Local schools for local children is not nonsense; it is the only sane way. The borough border is not the issue: no one would want a child living just across the Sutton border to be barred from a place. The issue is that these are now magnet schools, to which parents drive up to 40 miles a day - and to a class where there is not one local child!
[quote][p][bold]jonjo79[/bold] wrote: When will people stop with this local schools for local children nonsense. We all know by now the schools cannot legally guarantee places for Sutton children. If the grammars expanded and took in more Sutton children all that would happen is either the comprehensives would suffer or they would be taking in more non-Sutton children instead. Do not forget most of the grammars sit right on the very edges of the borough so why should Sutton children get a priority purely because of where some borough boundary line sits? Sutton children do get a fair crack of the whip in that they take the same tests as all the others. A more useful FOI to understand the full picture would be publish how many Sutton children passed the tests but did not get places - maybe the Guradian could take that up? The real injustice in the system is the grammar tests are not tutor proof, so the richest have a bigger advantage. That being said, why people go on about the grammars is beyond me. Are they just blinded by the league tables? Grammars are at the top because they only take in the top 2-3% of ability and so will get more GCSE qualifications. Their teachers do not have to have the same range of teaching as in a comprehensive so it is wrong to suggest they have the best teaching too. League tables should only report on the progress measures but unfortunately these don't get the headlines.[/p][/quote]Local schools for local children is not nonsense; it is the only sane way. The borough border is not the issue: no one would want a child living just across the Sutton border to be barred from a place. The issue is that these are now magnet schools, to which parents drive up to 40 miles a day - and to a class where there is not one local child! labyrinth

6:44pm Wed 25 Sep 13

jonjo79 says...

labyrinth wrote:
jonjo79 wrote:
When will people stop with this local schools for local children nonsense. We all know by now the schools cannot legally guarantee places for Sutton children. If the grammars expanded and took in more Sutton children all that would happen is either the comprehensives would suffer or they would be taking in more non-Sutton children instead. Do not forget most of the grammars sit right on the very edges of the borough so why should Sutton children get a priority purely because of where some borough boundary line sits?

Sutton children do get a fair crack of the whip in that they take the same tests as all the others. A more useful FOI to understand the full picture would be publish how many Sutton children passed the tests but did not get places - maybe the Guradian could take that up?

The real injustice in the system is the grammar tests are not tutor proof, so the richest have a bigger advantage.

That being said, why people go on about the grammars is beyond me. Are they just blinded by the league tables? Grammars are at the top because they only take in the top 2-3% of ability and so will get more GCSE qualifications. Their teachers do not have to have the same range of teaching as in a comprehensive so it is wrong to suggest they have the best teaching too.

League tables should only report on the progress measures but unfortunately these don't get the headlines.
Local schools for local children is not nonsense; it is the only sane way. The borough border is not the issue: no one would want a child living just across the Sutton border to be barred from a place. The issue is that these are now magnet schools, to which parents drive up to 40 miles a day - and to a class where there is not one local child!
40 miles? is the same urban myth about children attending all the schools from Brighton? If you have data to support that then please supply it to back up your story.

What about those whose train journey from a further distance is a shorter time than those driving or bussing within the borough? It can take an hour to move through Worcester Park at peak times, but 20 minutes to Sutton grammar on a train from Clapham - is that not valid?

What about the catholic schools which equally take children from long distances.

The reality of the situation is that despite your views there are enough school places overall at the moment and that is the most crucial issue for parents surely? If the grammars were allowed to restrict to or prioritise for Sutton or local people then the other school standards would suffer as a result as their top ability children would no longer attend there.

Then the most sensible thing to achieve that would be to turn them into comprehensives with lawful distance admission policies. Then all the local schools would get a fair share of the Sutton children attending the grammar schools currently and all the schools would benefit.
[quote][p][bold]labyrinth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jonjo79[/bold] wrote: When will people stop with this local schools for local children nonsense. We all know by now the schools cannot legally guarantee places for Sutton children. If the grammars expanded and took in more Sutton children all that would happen is either the comprehensives would suffer or they would be taking in more non-Sutton children instead. Do not forget most of the grammars sit right on the very edges of the borough so why should Sutton children get a priority purely because of where some borough boundary line sits? Sutton children do get a fair crack of the whip in that they take the same tests as all the others. A more useful FOI to understand the full picture would be publish how many Sutton children passed the tests but did not get places - maybe the Guradian could take that up? The real injustice in the system is the grammar tests are not tutor proof, so the richest have a bigger advantage. That being said, why people go on about the grammars is beyond me. Are they just blinded by the league tables? Grammars are at the top because they only take in the top 2-3% of ability and so will get more GCSE qualifications. Their teachers do not have to have the same range of teaching as in a comprehensive so it is wrong to suggest they have the best teaching too. League tables should only report on the progress measures but unfortunately these don't get the headlines.[/p][/quote]Local schools for local children is not nonsense; it is the only sane way. The borough border is not the issue: no one would want a child living just across the Sutton border to be barred from a place. The issue is that these are now magnet schools, to which parents drive up to 40 miles a day - and to a class where there is not one local child![/p][/quote]40 miles? is the same urban myth about children attending all the schools from Brighton? If you have data to support that then please supply it to back up your story. What about those whose train journey from a further distance is a shorter time than those driving or bussing within the borough? It can take an hour to move through Worcester Park at peak times, but 20 minutes to Sutton grammar on a train from Clapham - is that not valid? What about the catholic schools which equally take children from long distances. The reality of the situation is that despite your views there are enough school places overall at the moment and that is the most crucial issue for parents surely? If the grammars were allowed to restrict to or prioritise for Sutton or local people then the other school standards would suffer as a result as their top ability children would no longer attend there. Then the most sensible thing to achieve that would be to turn them into comprehensives with lawful distance admission policies. Then all the local schools would get a fair share of the Sutton children attending the grammar schools currently and all the schools would benefit. jonjo79

1:40pm Thu 26 Sep 13

LiberalsOut says...

Must be desperate to keep the Council in next year and his own job in 2015
Must be desperate to keep the Council in next year and his own job in 2015 LiberalsOut

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree