Labour's selective inconsistency

2nd February 1996 at 00:00
The Labour party claims to be committed to offering parents choice and to raising educational standards. Yet it is also opposed to all selection by interview and examination. Further, it will allow local authorities to organise ballots in order to propose the ending of selection in local grammar schools.

There is an important inconsistency in this position. Parents want to be able to choose their child's school. Most would prefer to be able to choose from a range of successful, effective schools. Such choice is extended through a diversity of provision. Closing proven successful and popular schools does not help to raise standards - quite the reverse.

If the Labour party wishes to be consistent and to respond to popular opinion (as clearly demonstrated by the recent poll, in which 54 per cent of parents wanted more selection) it would allow local ballots not only on ending selection, but as to whether selection should be extended. If local opinion wanted this, it would happen.

I am not calling for a full-scale return to selection. But it makes no sense, and instead appears malevolent and hypocritical, to seek to close or change schools that are among the most successful in the country, when you are trying to raise standards. And it seems perverse to talks of extending parental choice when the actual effect of policy is to remove it.

ROGER HALE Headmaster Caistor Grammar School Caistor Lincoln

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