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Green Party’s General Election candidate for Lichfield and Burntwood calls for end to free and faith schools

The Green Party’s candidate for the General Election in Lichfield and Burntwood says he would like to see all free and faith schools abolished.

Robert Pass

Robert Pass

Robert Pass was speaking alongside Conservative rival Michael Fabricant and Paul Ray from the Lib Dems at a hustings event in Lichfield.

Among the questions from the audience was one on the plans for new grammar schools.

But Mr Pass said such a move would “take the country back to the 1950s” and called for a return to a well-funded comprehensive education system.

“Education transforms lives,” he explained. “So I’m certainly against the return of grammar schools and the cruel system of testing children at 11 and then dividing them into the haves and have nots.

“My dad didn’t pass his 11-plus exam so he couldn’t study certain subjects. Do we really want this sort of situation to return? The best countries in the world in education terms don’t have this sort of system so why are we trying to introduce it?

“It’s been proven that comprehensive education gets the best out of all students by mixing them together.

“What I would rather see is proper funding for schools and an end to all these free and faith schools.”

Paul Ray

The Liberal Democrat candidate was also against proposals for a return to “a system designed to create an elite.

Mr Ray said: “As a party, we don’t support grammar schools. It is current government policy to see money for education diverted into vanity projects like grammar and free schools.

“Back in the 1950s, grammar schools saw youngsters left behind and scarred as a result. We musn’t go back.

“What we need to do is invest more in education – this is where the future of our country will be secured.”

Michael Fabricant

Conservative candidate Michael Fabricant said that he wasn’t necessarily a fan of returning to grammar schools, but said parents should have choice when it comes to the type of school they send their children to.

“I can’t agree with Robert Pass on his idea of abolishing faith schools,” he said. “There are some lovely Church of England and Roman Catholic schools in this area.

“I went to a C of E primary school and then a grammar and it did benefit me and gave me great opportunities in life.

“Choice is helping raise standards – look at John Taylor High School. The headmaster has told me that there are now better resources available and the kids are doing better since moving to an academy.

“Let there be choice for parents.”

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  1. Sj

    1st June, 2017 at 8:57 am

    The greens just got my vote

  2. Mat

    1st June, 2017 at 11:47 am

    The whole problem with choice is that it very often comes down to having the wealth to choose. Current statistics by the OECD show that the highest performing education systems are universal and not selective. We have far too many different types of schools in this country, which if we are to be honest, is fragmenting our society.
    Quite frankly to separate children at the age of 10( age they take the test) simply by what might be 1 point in a test is damaging to those left behind- who by the way are not low academically, they might just not perform well in tests, or be developing at a different rate, or not have had a tutor to coach them. So what of the 85%?
    As far as academies go- Our MP attempted last night to link accademisation with the success of John Taylor High School. Wrong. John Taylor has always had a great reputation in the area- certainly in the 30 years I’ve lived and taught here.
    Perhaps a proper informed debate is needed about education, where reliable data is shared!