Cllr Ware-Lane makes some points in a recent blog post that I feel must be answered:
The incoming children from Essex to our grammar schools do not take places from our children – all Southend children who achieve the basic pass mark in the 11plus get a place.
I don’t want to bore you with the statutory limitations that are put on admissions policies, but you can’t just say only Southend pupils can go to Southend schools. However we do ensure, quite rightly, that local children, from Southend and the local area receive priority and do not get sent to schools outside of the borough, so a pupil from miles away can attend one of our schools.
We are lucky enough to have been saved from the Labour cull of grammar schools, and in Southend we have four. Southend does not have enough children, at this time, passing the 11plus to take all of the places. We provide these places to those pupils outside of Southend (and don’t worry, it isn’t Southend Council Tax that is used, the money is per pupil direct from central government).
Our grammar schools assist us with improving other local secondary schools, they teach teachers to teach as well as making other contributions to the local community.
Similar policies are in place for faith and other non-local authority schools.
If we did not allow Essex children to attend our schools, we would have a significant number of spaces going unfilled. This would mean job losses for teachers. So actually, in response to Julian Ware-Lane’s recent knocking of Southend’s education, what we are doing is providing the jewel to all of our children and those from Essex as well. In doing so we are delivering a first class standard of education to our children, children from the local area AND creating teaching jobs which are more often than not filled by local residents.
Does he seriously suggest we should be making teachers redundant?