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A Fair Chance for Every Child in Wiltshire

October 11, 2016 3:00 PM

At the meeting of Wiltshire Council on Tuesday 18th October councillors are being asked to reject increasing the number of grammar schools in the county.

A motion, being proposed by Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Hubbard (Melksham South), asks the council to reject the proposal by the Conservative Government to allow academy schools to introduce selection based on ability as this would limit the life chances of many young people in the county, and potentially saddle the local authority with considerable additional transport costs.

Cllr Hubbard commented: "The very concept of testing young people for a couple of hours at the age of 11, and then telling up to 80% of them that they are failures simply sickens me.

"We need to encourage, nurture and grow our young people - helping them discover their individual talents and abilities as they develop - not cast them as failures before they have barely started in life.

"Within the comprehensive system we have a system of streaming, which means that learners are placed with those at a similar academic level at each stage of their progression, ensuring they are educationally challenged to individually excel without being stigmatised as 'not being good enough' to attend a particular establishment.

"We need to have an educational system that gives every child in Wiltshire a fair chance in life, not just those lucky enough to pass an exam at the age of 11."

Cllr Hubbard was supported by the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Wiltshire Council Cllr Glenis Ansell who commented, "I fully support this motion and sincerely hope that the council will do so also when they meet.

"I hope that Wiltshire has the courage to follow the example of other local authorities, such as Oxford, Warwickshire and Milton Keynes, who have said 'No' to more grammar schools in their communities.

Our aim is to give every child a fair chance to have the best possible start in life.