Our MP, Tom Brake, is constantly trumpeting the quality of the secondary schools in the London Borough of Sutton – Wilsons, Wallington Girls, Sutton Grammar, Wallington Boys etc. But are they filled with the Borough’s children?
The answer is no – our education in the Borough runs at two speeds, something I became experienced with my two children. My daughter entered Highview Primary when it was committed to discipline, performance and preparation of the children for the selection exams – what I remember as the 11 plus. Under the Lib Dem education policy, when my son attended the same school, the selection process was no longer part of the school’s curriculum and in fact the headmaster had year 6 pupils doing Cycling Proficiency on the week of the selection exams.
Arriving for the tests, there were lots of uniforms from private school children and of course plenty of others whose parents could afford private tuition.
Thank goodness for Carshalton Sports College where the headmaster believed in discipline and personal excellence and where the platform was provided for my son to get to a great University and achieve what he has. But I don’t hear Tom Brake shouting about Carshalton Boys, Stanley Park and the rest – his “pride” is as fatuous as politicians in Slough celebrating the achievements of Eton.
It is right that we should applaud the excellence of our top schools but let them prove their mettle by educating the children of this Borough and lets properly prepare our kids.
Lib Dems – well apart from spending millions to build a new secondary school on the old Sutton Hospital site that the expert consultation papers say is inadequate, they are planning “improvements” by establishing one of a number of limited companies – Cognus Ltd – to run education services in the Borough. It is estimated that this new company will need a £500,000 loan from Sutton Council that they “hope” will be 50% repaid within 3 years but of course will need a Chief Executive and Operations Director to run.
The whole thing is a mess and the people who suffer – yes, it’s the kids – 13 years we spend at school, the stepping stones of life and we need to deliver the best and not play around with systems, budgets and management.