Wycombe Labour today asks for a serious debate about selective secondary education in Bucks which would be based on the evidence and calls for a referendum amongst all Bucks parents to see what they want.
Rachel Knight, Wycombe Labour’s spokesperson on education, said “I am saddened, but not surprised, to hear that Cllr Zahir Mohammed of BCC has opted to turn an important debate about the education of children across Bucks into an opportunity to make personal attacks on those offering alternative views.
Following a number of recent reports which have starkly demonstrated the divisive and detrimental effects of the selective grammar school system in the county, there are now a growing number of calls for the introduction of a comprehensive system which offers excellent education to all. This comes from a whole host of professionals, parents and activists.
The school that these people have been to themselves, or indeed where they choose to send their children, does nothing to detract from the very important central argument - that the broader selective education system in Bucks is doing more harm than good to children at a crucial stage in their educational development.
As an 'education chief' would it not be more fitting for him to comment on recent reports which have revealed declining pass rates for Bucks state school pupils, the large gap between the average pass rates of the poorer and wealthier areas of Bucks, the significantly lower pass rates for children on Free School Meals or the much higher pass rates for children at private schools?
As a senior decision and policy maker in Bucks County Council, can the public have a comment from him as to whether he honestly feels that a selective education system serves the interests of the majority of children in Bucks? Is he happy with a system which evidence suggests is seeking to reinforce existing privilege for the few?
If BCC is confident that Bucks parents prefer selection, they should carry out a referendum among all Bucks parents to see if it is true. “
Rosie, one of our younger, newer members who has grown up with special educational needs and wants her voice heard, added,
“It's absurd to call someone a hypocrite for something they did at 11 years old. That implies that 11 year old children have a full understanding of the implications of a two-tier system, and full control over the school they attend - neither of which are realistic expectations no matter how bright the child."