11+ tourism

Labour’s former general election candidate in Chesham and Amersham, Ben Davies, today responded to questions from grammar school heads in the constituency. He asked specifically for them to publish figures that show just what proportion of their pupils were privately educated or privately tutored prior to passing the 11+.

During the election, Davies repeatedly criticised the social mix in Bucks grammar schools, arguing the system produced bias in favour of children from wealthier backgrounds.

Today he said: “It’s been brought to my attention that in one of my election leaflets there was an inadvertent error in the statistics about the proportion of students coming to our schools from out of the county. It was an honest mistake and I apologise if, as a result, anyone was misled.

“However, the error does not detract from the two fundamental concerns. First, that 11+ tourism affects the pass threshold and can deprive local children of places. Second, pupils from wealthy backgrounds have access to private coaching and independent schools, and too often this means bright children from lower income families living nearby end up at the back of the queue for grammar school places. It is time the statistics on how 11+ tourism and access to tutoring affects access to our excellent schools were published by our grammar schools because it appears the system currently locks in privilege and pushes away talent.”