Peterborough education chief to consider grammar school re-introduction despite dislike of selection in schools

Peterborough's education chief said he will consider introducing grammar schools into the city despite being against the principle of selection.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 5:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:33 pm
Cllr John Holdich ENGEMN00120131211162123

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council and cabinet member for education, acknowledged that parents want to send their children to grammar schools.

The Government is currently looking to lift the ban on grammar school expansion, and Cllr Holdich admitted he was “open-minded” on whether they could be re-introduced into Peterborough.

He said: “I’m keeping an eye on the proposals. The Government has not really announced how it’s going to be.

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“I do know there’s some interest from the schools but we have to make certain that the whole thing is well planned.

“I think every child should have the same education, a top class education. But public opinion seems to find parents would like their kids to go grammar schools.

“So many apply to go to grammar schools around here.

“It’s something we will look at, but it’s too early to say if we will 100 per cent support it. We have church schools, free schools, academies - we have got a good mix and menu of schools.

“As a general rule I’m not [in favour of selection]. I believe our schools are in a position to teach all abilities. But I’m open-minded on it.”

Cllr Holdich said introducing grammars would require a big increase in the number of teachers who specialise in maths, English and the sciences.

He also warned that teachers would want to teach in what they see as “better schools,” adding: “That would further erode the quality of teachers at secondary moderns.”

Peterborough currently trains its own teachers through a programme called Teach East.

The council was rocked recently when the city finished rock bottom of national school league tables for primary school children.