Skip to main content

Oxfordshire is first council to reject May's grammar school plan

Oxfordshire County Council rejects Theresa May's plans to re-introduce grammars to the area

News article image

Oxfordshire County Council rejects Theresa May's plans to re-introduce grammars to the area

Oxfordshire County Council has become the first local authority to publicly reject any attempt by the government to reintroduce grammar schools in the area.

Labour council members introduced a motion last Tuesday setting out their opposition to the plans to dramatically expand the number of selective schools in England.

The decision came just a day after education secretary Justine Greening unveiled a Green Paper, outlining the proposals that would abolish the 18-year ban against the opening of new grammars.

According to Labour councillors, the opposition to the proposals were prompted by comments made by the Conservatives’ cabinet member for education, Melinda Tilley, who told the Oxford Mail that Oxfordshire would “first in the queue” to open new grammars.

Councillor Liz Brighouse, leader of the council’s Labour group, said the comments made her and her colleagues “very mad”.

“Oxfordshire was one of the first authorities to get rid of grammar schools,” Cllr Brighouse said. “In fact, one of the last ones to go was Theresa May’s own schools Wheatley Park back in the beginning of the 1970s.

“We said in our motion that we didn’t want to go back to a system which had no evidence whatsoever that it helped social mobility.”

Just 14 out of 63 councillors voted in favour of bringing back grammar schools to the area, with 37 against. Nine councillors abstained.

Oxfordshire’s decision to oppose grammars came just a day after former prime minister David Cameron announced he would be stepping down as MP for the Oxfordshire seat of Witney.

It is understood Mr Cameron was opposed to the government’s plans to expand the number of grammars. 

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you