Oxfordshire votes to reject grammar schools

(91 Posts)
noblegiraffe Mon 19-Sep-16 20:03:12

Oxfordshire County Council has voted to reject any plans for new grammar schools with only 14 out of 63 councillors in favour of their reintroduction.

Apparently a Conservative councillor had told the local paper that Oxfordshie would be first in the queue to apply for new grammars, prompting the vote.

www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/oxfordshire-first-council-reject-mays-grammar-school-plan

CruCru Mon 19-Sep-16 20:10:09

Ah, that is interesting. The other day I told someone that I would be very surprised if any schools become grammars in my borough (Islington, Labour council, MP is Emily Thornberry).

boys3 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:15:48

not surprised. Can't help thinking that the whole grammar announcement is a smokescreen for something else - no idea what mind you.

My view is that we need much more debate and investment in high quality pre-school education, by the time we get to secondary it really is far too late for many (and that is not in any way to denigrate the efforts of the legions of excellent secondary school teachers).

Link to actual OCC decision mycouncil.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=116&MId=4815&Ver=4

goodbyestranger Mon 19-Sep-16 20:17:29

Does that have legal standing?

boys3 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:23:11

no need for these pesky questions of detail goodbye grin

Seriously would depend on what the actual legislation, assuming it ever got passed, said. I really can't see it getting passed. If a true blue shire like Oxforshire is not going to support it then I can't see there being a united Tory front in parliament.

MumTryingHerBest Mon 19-Sep-16 20:24:15

boys3 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:15:48 not surprised. Can't help thinking that the whole grammar announcement is a smokescreen for something else - no idea what mind you.

Alternative way to fund education i.e. academisation/privatisation with fancy packaging

goodbyestranger Mon 19-Sep-16 20:28:34

Apologies boys. Must stop asking rhetorical questions....

boys3 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:32:47

grin grin

boys3 Mon 19-Sep-16 20:35:38

true blue shire like Oxfordshire

although having just checked on their website it is only marginally blue. Still what would an MN education thread be without at least one poorly informed comment?

A rhetorical question in case anyone was wondering smile

sandyholme Mon 19-Sep-16 20:38:24

But couldn't an Academy decide to become a grammar , regardless of what the council think !

BlueGazebo Mon 19-Sep-16 20:41:58

Good stuff. Why would anyone want their comprehensives turned into secondary moderns?

sandyholme Mon 19-Sep-16 20:50:16

Boys I was wondering that .

An interesting council to watch could be Cheshire East (George Osborne's local council) make up 51 Conservative 16 Labour 4 Lib Dems and 1 UKIP.

This is because it is a relatively new council (created after i left the area) surrounded by Trafford in the Knutsford/Wilmslow parts.

The also proposed dropping of the Tatton seat in creation of Altrincham and Tatton park means a fight between 'Grammar school activist' Graham Brady and George Osborne for the seat. Perhaps allowing for Knutsford to become part of the Trafford grammar school catchment.

sandyholme Mon 19-Sep-16 20:55:38

If Graham Brady was to become the MP at the cost to George Osborne.

Graham Brady could canvass on the principle of extending grammar schools to the Knutsford area. Currently many children go to the Altrincham Grammars from Knutsford but obviously out of 'area' at present.

fastdaytears Mon 19-Sep-16 20:56:59

Oxfordshire is not exactly a Tory heartland!

goodbyestranger Mon 19-Sep-16 21:30:23

sandy this isn't going to be down to local councillors.

Peregrina Mon 19-Sep-16 21:37:27

Oxfordshire was true blue for many years, but became a hung council for about 20 years, and then returned to the Tories. I would say West Oxfordshire which includes David Cameron's seat of Witney and South Oxfordshire, centred around Henley, are still true blue.

But since most of the Secondary Schools are academies, there is probably very little that the LA could do to stop the schools changing into grammars. The group of parents it would be extremely popular with are those parents stumping up for what might be called the second rank of Independent Schools - not Abingdon School, or Oxford High, who I think will still be able to fill their places, but some smaller ones.

IrenetheQuaint Mon 19-Sep-16 21:39:58

It's still illegal to set up new grammars, under New Labour legislation. So no one can change a school into a grammar or set up a new one, unless it's an extension of an existing grammar.

I guess May will try to get the legislation repealed; it will be interesting to see what happens then.

sendsummer Mon 19-Sep-16 21:51:09

Interesting how the ex grammar schools of Oxford have become very successful independent schools whilst continuing the grammar type tradition of education. IMO a new Oxford grammar school would be rather popular with quite a few Oxford academics.

fastdaytears Mon 19-Sep-16 21:53:17

Which were grammar schools?

I live in Oxford but didn't go to school here and don't know much about the schools. I went to a grammar school and loved but but feel very conflicted about it all.

sendsummer Mon 19-Sep-16 22:20:51

Oxford High and Magdalen College School.
I do think new Oxford grammar schools are extremely unlikely.

Peregrina Mon 19-Sep-16 22:38:17

Abingdon School and St Helen's in Abingdon were independent schools prior to the 1944 Act. They then became Direct Grant Grammar Schools, and once Oxfordshire went Comprehensive they reverted to being Independent.

Cherwell in North Oxford which is now considered by many to be the best (not by my Daughter in Law, who went there) started its life as a Secondary Modern, and takes a lot of children of Oxford academics. Milham Ford in Oxford was a Girls Grammar, went comprehensive but closed a good few years ago.

I think a Grammar would be popular with a few academics because they wouldn't have to pay the fees for Oxford High (termly fees £4,808.00), Magdalen College (£17,115 per annum), Abingdon School (£18,585 p.a) or St Helens (£4,915 per term), which is quite a lot of money to find because academic salaries haven't kept pace with rising school fees.

Peregrina Mon 19-Sep-16 22:56:19

Of the Oxford City schools, Cheney was a Grammar, which is now Comprehensive, but I don't know what its reputation is. What is now Oxford Academy has had an extremely chequered history, having been turned into a comprehensive by combining Littlemore Grammar and a couple of Sec Mods, into Peers School, which went rapidly downhill, until its rebirth as the Academy, and now appears to be on the up.

For Catholics there were the Salesian College for boys, which was run by the Salesians, but was basically an independent school being propped up by the scholarship boys (according to DH who went there) and Notre Dame for girls. Both joined up with the Sec Mod and became Edmund Campion comprehensive, (now something else).

Oxford High started its life as an Independent school, became Direct Grant and then went Independent once the comprehensives came in. I don't know Magdalen's history except that its been going for a few hundred years.

In a nutshell the ex-grammars which have become Independent have had a much longer history of being Independent than they ever had as grammar schools. The Local Authority Grammars have disappeared.

SocksRock Mon 19-Sep-16 23:06:56

Interesting! My children will probably go to Burford, which I'm pretty sure started life as a grammar. It's now an academy, but is also a state boarding school so I shall be following with interest... not sure I'm keen on the idea of more selection

SocksRock Mon 19-Sep-16 23:07:41

Cheney has a reasonable reputation locally, but as far as I'm aware Cherwell is better regarded.

HPFA Tue 20-Sep-16 10:41:54

Well, I'm delighted at this news
1) Only 14 councillors voted in favour - the Council has 31 Tory members. Maths that will not be lost on our local MPs or the PM.
2)People who have said that the council can't stop an Academy becoming a grammar are perfectly right BUT Justine Greening has also said that areas will not have grammars forced upon them. It will now be much harder to justify enforcing secondary moderns when we in Oxfordshire have expressed a clear desire through our elected representatives to remain comprehensive. I suspect this has made it much less likely that we will get an expansion through Bucks annexes for instance.
3)Cheney school gets good results considering its intake is less advantaged than Cherwell's - with Spires Academy on the rise we now have pretty good schools in the City

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