As your columnist says (“Selection is the wrong answer to question of improving our schools”), the last thing Sheffield needs is a grammar school , where those who can pass yet another test go, while those who fail don’t.
No 11-year-old should be branded a failure. Nor should even younger children, which is one reason why Green Party policy is to abolish SATs.
As a recent student from the school system, I’m all too aware of the way schools have been turned into exam factories, with creative subjects pushed aside and teachers forced into a rigid and narrow focus. There’s pressure to get test results for the school not the pupil.
I’ve seen how this is doing great damage to young people – undoubtedly a contributor to the explosion of mental ill health we’ve seen recently.
And there’s no evidence that grammars assist social mobility, indeed quite the reverse.
Sheffield needs a strong, local school for every pupil – where they can walk or cycle, which is in the hub of their community and which seeks, not to compete with other schools in the city, but to work with them to help every pupil emerge as a well-rounded, skilled, confident individual ready to find a secure place in the world.
Chair of the University of Sheffield Young Greens Society, ex-pupil at King Edward’s & Tapton