Monday, 23 May 2011

Ballot Grammer Schools In Reading

Reading has a lack of schools that is causing problems to patents. Children are traveling miles to schools outside the borough, though as money gets tighter this is being cut back.

Some like Maiden Erlegh in Wokingham have become academies so can set their own admission policies to benefit themselves not the local community. Currently their policy was set by the council, now they are independent we shall see if they change. (last sentence updated to clarify).

Many feel the two grammars, Kendrick and Reading School, are a luxury we can no longer afford. They are being described as state funded private schools.

Concerned Patents are forcing a ballot to decide if these schools can continue as they are.

1 They take 75% of pupils from outside the local authority (Reading) - the highest figure of any grammars in the country (source: Educ dept report 2008) while they took only 23 pupils (2% of 1,000+) in the past 5 years from the 7 primary schools within a mile of both grammars (source: the FoI figures); Alfred Sutton not included because it's 1.2 miles from Kendrick. Only one of these 7 - Redlands - actually qualifies as a “feeder school”.

2 Reading's school places crisis. Growing population with no extra provision after decades of Labour and one year of Tory LD coalition.

3 RBC challenging Wokingham's plan to exclude Park ward parents from local school.

4 In the much-touted “age of austerity”’ why waste public money buying a site then building a University Tech College solution when we've got two perfectly good schools on our doorstep? Two schools which cater for the people living within walking distance (a factor state schools are obliged to consider under the schools admissions code) would be a simple cheap, fair and progressive solution to the school places crisis and chime nicely with the drive to create a much more socially mobile society.

Much of this post comes from
a facebook group "No to Maiden Erlegh Catchment"


Ed said...


Can you clarify your position on this?

From your post I can't tell if you are in favour of scrapping the two selective grammar schools in Reading or if you are just publicising a campaign for this to happen.

Thanks, Ed

Adrian Windisch said...

Not scrapping, just getting them to take more local people. I tried to put the Green Party policy on grammer schools on here but it does not seem to have worked.

For Green Party policy see

Anonymous said...

Kendrick and Reading School are some of the best schools in the country. What they stand for is the love of learning and a willingness to expand their academic horizons - and to find students who share that passion, they need to be selective. A lot of people who are voting are parents whose children have failed to enter Kendrick and Reading School, and that's not the right reason for them to vote as it is extremely self-serving.

May I point out that Bulmershe right now is heinously under-subscribed? Bulmershe is a large school, capable of housing many more students per year, and their catchment covers almost the whole of the Reading Area. There is no reason for students to travel far to attend school every day. Other schools like Little Heath are also available.

I am glad Kendrick and Reading School are selective. If they weren't, then quite simply, their academic standard would go down by far. Is it worth ruining two perfect good schools that are functioning very well and producing a lot of successful, well-rounded people, for a few disgruntled parents of those who did not get pass the entrance exam? Those people should understand that if they want their children to receive a good education, and have a brighter future, they have to work hard.

After all, I worked very hard to get into Kendrick.

Adrian Windisch said...

So you dont care about Social mobility, I do. Poaching all the cleverest 11 year olds would make any school a top one. The challenge is to do that with local children who wont have hours of travel every day.

Ed said...

I personally care deeply about social mobility, which has dropped by any measure since Grammar Schools were
phased out across most of the country.

The fact that parents need to pay for private tuition (which obviously disadvantages poorer children whose parents cannot afford this) to get their children through the exam says more about poor schooling in general and a
lack of willingness at many state primaries to provide
the extra lessons required.

To throw the baby out with the bath water in Readinh would be a disasterous decision locally and nationally, as Kendrick and Reading are consistantly in the Top 20 schools across the whole of the UK.


Adrian Windisch said...

If grammer schools were phased out why are so mamy left. I suspect you meant not building more.

So you want the poorest must subsidise the wealthy? Not me.

I looked up the school table, they were around the 48th about 2007. I want all schools to be good not just a few. And all I said here was for them to take a few more local people.

It does seem crazy that children are criss crossing the country, mostly driven by parents. I want them to go to improved local schools. Cut down on journeys, congestion, emissions, and time and they would even get more sleep.

Daniel S Weeden said...

Honestly it surprises me that as somebody of a clear political agenda you are unaware that during the past twenty years the number of grammar schools in England has fallen. This is nothing to do with building new ones but with the conversion of former grammar schools into state schools. For example the grammar school my father attended is now a state comprehensive as are many others. In relation to the subject in question, there is no problem here, Reading currently has a surplus of school places and parents wishing to send their children to a good school must accept that sometimes those children are not intelligent enough to benefit from the grammar education. In such circumstances they should have no problem working hard at one of Reading's many under-subscribed schools. All of which are within easy access due to their various locations and the availability of public transport. Making these schools comprehensives would further increase the surplus of school placements in Reading and would deprive those children most able to benefit from education at a higher level of a chance to reach university and beyond into higher paying jobs which support our country for as long as they work in them.