On the 1st October, the York Central MP, and Shadow Secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rachael Maskell, spoke at a protest in St Helen’s Square, against the government’s plan to open new grammar schools. The protest was part of a national campaign day, entitled “Education not Segregation”.
Rachel Maskell has previously released statements protesting against this proposal, and more generally has a long history of campaigning for fair and free educational for all British schoolchildren. She said at the protest today:
“The Tories’ education policies are failing our children and their parents. While they obsess about school structures, testing and bringing back selective education, budgets are being cut, even though we are one of the poorest education authorities in the country. There is also a chronic teacher shortage and not enough good school places.
I have received many contacts in my mail bag over these proposals from constituents, who feel that they were let down the first time round under this system and do not want to see a return to the days when children were labelled and written off at 11 years old.
York has the seventh lowest level of funding of any education authority in the country and schools are having to cut back on teaching and support staff, while the Government waste money on their free school experiment. A good education should never be a privilege, it is every child’s right. Labour will be fighting to ensure that all children receive the high-quality education they deserve.”
Under current government proposals, in a return to a system used decades ago, children will be tested at the age of 11 and, if they are judged to be academically inclined, sent to a grammar school, and if not, sent to a comprehensive, which will focus more on technical education.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), school spending is also expected to drop by at least 7% in real terms between 2015–16 and 2019–20, which if it occurred would consist of the largest real-terms fall over any period since at least the late 1970s. This figure has been another point of contention between the government and the opposition.