Surrey heads oppose plans for new grammars
Ministers' plans to allow more grammar schools to open are facing fresh opposition after a group of headteachers joined together to raise their concerns at the proposed expansion.
Secondary school leaders across Surrey have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May and Education Secretary Justine Greening to voice their ``deeply held, vehement opposition to the Government's proposals to create a selective, segregated, two-tier state-funded system of education.''
They are the latest group to oppose the expansion, which includes high-profile critics such as Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Announcing plans to allow grammar school expansion in September, the Prime Minister said selective schools can help the life chances of poor pupils, and argued that under the current system there is ''selection by stealth'' based on parents' wealth and ability to buy houses near the best schools.
In their letter, the 64 headteachers, who are represented by the Surrey Secondary Headteachers' Phase Council, said: ``The comprehensive schools in Surrey have delivered in the past 40 years an education system which genuinely is for everyone, with able pupils achieving highly, social mobility and the absence of the stigma of failure at the age of 11.
``We can see students who are steady late developers, so who would probably have failed the 11-plus, and yet have gone on to be 'high-fliers'.
``It is impossible to have grammar schools without secondary modern schools or their equivalent for those who are not selected, whether by 11 plus or some other test.
Around 95% of pupils in Surrey attend secondary schools that are rated as good or outstanding by inspectors, the letter said. It is understood the county does not have any grammar schools.
It went on to say: ``At its best, the Government's selective school proposals represent further confusion and fragmentation of England's education policy.
``At its worst, this policy is predicated on a nostalgic and unrealistic vision of society, the debate around which deflects attention from the real issues facing schools today: continuing funding cuts, an unassuaged and escalating recruitment crisis and the introduction of new GCSE qualifications with yet-to-be defined grade boundaries and, in many cases, ill-prepared specifications, to name but a few.''
One in four women in Sussex and Surrey are missing out on smear tests for cervical cancer.
A Brighton teenager has been jailed for scamming hundreds of festival-goers hoping to buy tickets for Bestival 2015.
Recently Played Tracks
Deposit £10 to get a £40 Welcome Bonus - That's £50 to play bingo, slots and more!*
Over 50 tracks to make you feel-good. New album out now...
Find your local four day weather report here.
What's happening on the roads where you are?
Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.
Find out more about some of the companies advertising on Heart 102.4 and 103.5
Get some great ideas on how to advertise your business on radio, online and on mobile.