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Tower Hamlets politicians react angrily to government’s grammar school policy

PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 October 2016

Activists campaigned against grammar schools across the borough over the weekend.

Activists campaigned against grammar schools across the borough over the weekend.

Archant

The council has said that it will openly oppose the government’s policy allowing new grammar schools to open.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, promised that the council would focus on expanding and improving the borough’s ‘excellent’ comprehensive schools.

“Our borough has some of the best state schools in the capital, we don’t want to jeopardise that progress by encouraging segregation in our education system,” said the Mayor.

“One of Tower Hamlets’ greatest strengths is our diversity and people of different backgrounds and talents working together.

“That is the total opposite of grammar schools who discriminate based on ability and try to hive off the highest achievers. That just segregates society further.

“I want to see every penny possible spent on improving schools that are open for everyone, that’s why whilst I am Mayor the council’s policy will be to oppose any new grammar schools opening in our borough.”

The Mayor’s pledge comes after activists were out campaigning across the borough last weekend against the government’s new grammar schools policy.

Elaine Bagshaw, Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner for Poplar & Limehouse, was more forthcoming in her assessment of the government’s plans.

“In this day and age, this is completely unacceptable. We have fantastic schools in our local area that provide a brilliant education without using selection,” said Elaine. “George Green’s School; Langdon Park and Wapping High School are all fantastic examples of how you can change people’s lives without using selection.

“The reality behind grammar schools is that they predominantly benefit the children of wealthier households. “Now, the Conservatives’ plans for grammar schools goes directly against what we did in government when we set out to raise the standards for all.

“Liberal Democrats will fight any attempt to change existing schools in Tower Hamlets to grammar schools and we will fight plans to introduce new schools here that are selective.”

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