Grammar School 30th March 2017
The Coastal Towns need a grammar school.
It remains the ridiculous situation that literally hundreds of young people from Herne Bay, Whitstable and the surrounding villages have to travel daily to Canterbury, to Faversham or to Thanet to enjoy the selective education for which they have qualified. With the housing growth planned for the coastal strip the demand will become more pressing still and it is beyond high time that the relevant authorities addressed this issue.
We need to be clear: this is not, as has been claimed by some, an attempt to `cream off the best pupils` from High Schools. It is a case for simply making adequate provision for those who live on the coast, have passed the Kent Test and are entitled to a grammar school education and the strident demands of those who are wedded to the concept of Comprehensive schools should not be allowed to prevent the development of appropriate provision.
David Cameron and David Willetts` opposition to increased Grammar School provision, which I contested under the coalition administration, has been replaced with a policy that, under Justine Greening, will permit both selective Free Schools and new Grammar Schools to be built. While we missed an opportunity when the then Governors of Barton Court School decided, at that time, that a transfer to the Herne Bay the Golf Course site was not affordable, the will is still there within that Federation to create the facility that is needed to serve the needs of tomorrow`s selective students on the Coast. The political will, from my own Party`s County Council candidates and most certainly from myself, is there also. Given that County Hall also, once committed to David Blunkett`s education policies, now accepts, at least in principle, that new Grammar Schools can and should be built in Kent the time has surely come to turn this aspiration into a reality. We owe future generations no less.