BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Campaigners against grammars to quit
Ripon Grammar School
The only parental ballot has been in Ripon
Campaigners against grammar schools in Kent are to announce they are abandoning their bid to scrap the 11-plus test and introduce a comprehensive system.

The Stop the Eleven Plus campaign (STEP) is to announce on Tuesday that it is to suspend its gathering of names for a petition calling for the abolition of selection in schools in the county.

Mr Blunkett has turned the petition and ballot process into a bureaucratic nightmare, with the odds heavily stacked in favour of those who want to keep selection at the age of 11

Rebecca Matthews, STEP
And campaigners accuse the government of setting up a process for parental ballots on the future of grammar schools that is weighted against those seeking to end selection.

"We will not now organise a petition this year because Mr Blunkett has erected too many unfair and undemocratic hurdles for us to jump over," said Rebecca Matthews of STEP.

"Mr Blunkett has turned the petition and ballot process into a bureaucratic nightmare, with the odds heavily stacked in favour of those who want to keep selection at the age of 11."

Key battleground

Under the system set up by the government, parents wanting to end selection must first raise a petition - and if sufficient signatures are gathered, a ballot of parents is then held.

So far only one ballot has taken place - at Ripon Grammar School in North Yorkshire, where the anti-selection campaigners lost.

They say that the formula for working out how many signatures are needed to trigger a ballot works in favour of protecting selective schools.

There have also been complaints that the complex system which determines which parents can vote also works in favour of protecting grammar schools.

Kent is one of the few education authorities in England to have retained a fully selective secondary school system and has been seen as a key battleground between those for and against grammar schools.

"We tried in good faith last year to work with this process and now the promised review has failed us again," said Ms Matthews.

Political battleground

"I am giving Mr Blunkett notice that the manifesto commitment to give parents a say in areas like Kent can never be fulfilled with these regulations.

"I say to David Blunkett now: if you sincerely believe the 11+ is the wrong way - and there is a raft of educational research to prove you are correct and most of Kent's head teachers believe you are correct - then either take responsibility and do something about it, or establish an independent commission to present evidence to parents and then let parents vote."

The Shadow Education Secretary, Theresa May MP, said the suspension was "temporary relief" for Kent grammar schools.

"As long as a future ballot is an option grammar schools will be living under the constant pressure of an uncertain future.

"David Blunkett should lift the threat from the country's grammar schools by abolishing the ballot regulations immediately."

See also:

18 Apr 00 | Education
04 Oct 99 | Education
06 Oct 99 | Education
04 Nov 99 | Education
05 Jan 00 | Education
28 Jan 00 | Education
18 Feb 00 | Education
11 Mar 00 | Education
13 Jul 00 | Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes