Friday October 7, 2016
In Brent, our comprehensive schools draw in pupils from one of the most diverse boroughs in the country. Their achievements are not the result of selective recruitment, or segregating pupils based on attainment. Pupils from different backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities work and socialise together, supporting and encouraging one another.
And it is because of that diversity, twinned with the passion and enthusiasm of dedicated staff, which makes our schools such exciting and dynamic places of learning. The idea that we should dismantle this recipe for success goes against everything we stand for as a council.
Grammar and secondary modern schools are a relic of education history. Their driving purpose is to separate, at a randomly determined and early age, those who are able to demonstrate a very particular set of learning skills.
What makes this idea so dangerous is the underlying sentiment that we, as a society, should not strive for the best possible education for every child. We rightly rejected this concept a long time ago. We understood that life chances should not be determined by your ability to pass a test at the age of eleven. Opportunity should not be a privilege reserved for the elite, but the basic right of every child in this country.
The answer to improving education and indeed society is not separation, but unity. To bring together communities and children from every walk of life, supporting and encouraging them to achieve to the best of their abilities.
Central to everything we do in Brent is a simple principle: no one should be left behind. That applies to all aspects of our work – in housing, in welfare and certainly in education. Brent doesn’t want grammar schools and, looking at the fantastic examination results this summer, we don’t need them.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council