Merton Grammar School Proposals Rejected By Councillors

Education issues debated at local council meeting

A motion calling for the introduction of grammar schools in Merton was rejected at a recent full council meeting.

The borough's three UKIP Councillors set up an online petition and submitted a motion on the proposal that was discussed and voted on at the meeting on November 20.

But the motion proposing exploring the options for neighbouring Grammar Academies in Kingston and Sutton to open a satellite school in Merton was rejected by councillors.

Lib Dem Councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes said afterwards: "Far from increasing social mobility as UKIP claimed, the evidence shows that fewer pupils on free school meals attend grammar schools than the average at other schools. Selection at 11 makes also makes little allowance for the time taken by different pupils to progress academically".

Meanwhile, Conservatives put forward the idea to set up a Merton Free Schools and Academies Commission, along the style of neighbouring Wandsworth, which would engage with and determine support for potential providers or sponsors of schools in the borough.

They claimed bringing free schools and academies into Merton would reduce the financial impact of school expansion on loca taxpayers as the Government would share the financing.

But this motion was amended by Labour and the Lib Dems, with the council instead calling on its cabinet to accelerate its Action Plan for finding more Secondary School places, and continuing to support the work of the Merton Education Partnership in developing links and pooling resources between the borough's schools.

Tory Councillor James Holmes said afterwards: "The response of Labour and the Lib Dems was typical of their unambitious approach. They are not listening to the wishes of families in Merton and will not even consider the opportunities that academies, free schools and potentially a satellite grammar school could provide for Merton’s young people."

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November 29, 2013