Members of Eastbourne Labour Party took to Eastbourne town centre yesterday (1 October), as part of Jeremy Corbyn's national day of action for education.
As well as opposing Theresa May's plans to bring back selective grammar schools at 11+, the campaign is also calling for support for teachers and teaching assistants- both groups who have faced cuts and redundancies in Eastbourne recently; for action on childcare to ensure all children can access quality early years provision, and a return to the Education Maintenance Allowance to support sixth formers from poorer backgrounds.
Dave Brinson, vice-chair of Eastbourne Labour Party, and a teacher himself said, “Eastbourne has good comprehensive schools, which provide a great education for all local students- including stretching the most academically able. It is insulting to the heads and staff of those schools to suggest that we need a different school for some of those children based on a highly questionable test at 11 years old or younger.
"In the areas with the few remaining grammar schools in England, we have seen an explosion in the expensive private tuition industry for children sitting the tests, but very little in terms of social mobility. In ten of the 'top' grammar schools, out of 8,600 pupils, only 45 qualify for free school meals - fewer than the number who were previously educated at a fee-paying primary school.
"The government is throwing up a smokescreen to distract from the devastating effect of real-terms cuts to school budgets, especially sixth form funding. It has produced a Green Paper that seeks to extend social segregation: it is no surprise that it does not contain a single word about children with Special Educational Needs.
"We want to see a good, properly resourced and funded local school for every single child."