YOUR LETTERS: School transport system is fair to all

CHRIS BREWIS ANL-150423-110705001
CHRIS BREWIS ANL-150423-110705001
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Let me state firmly at the outset that, as a member of the grammar school transport review task group at Lincolnshire County Council, I strongly supported no change.

A lot of misleading information has been peddled during this review, by people who ought to have known better, especially about what is, or is not, considered unfair.

Lincolnshire happens to have within its borders two systems of secondary education.

There are areas covered by comprehensive schools, which, not surprisingly perhaps, means that they are schools suitable for pupils of all abilities.

In those parts of the county, there is no selection system at, what many will recall, eleven plus.

The rest of the county, including our own area, is covered by a system of selective grammar schools and secondary schools, where a proportion of students, who take a selective examination in Year 6, then go to the grammar school, broadly based on academic ability.

Whether or not the non-grammar schools in those areas are known as schools, colleges or academies, they are all secondary schools in a selective education area, where those not securing a grammar school place usually attend.

The suggestion that transport to grammar schools from comprehensive school areas should be provided at public expense would be laughable, and would also be grossly unfair for several reasons.

Such a policy would reduce the opportunities available to young people already in a grammar school designated transport area (DTA), and would also adversely damage the same comprehensive schools.

What if, as a result, a number of students who had not passed their selective examination, or for other reasons, then asked for similar transport to a school in a comprehensive area?

There could be no argument against that, were we to listen to the present ‘noise in the system’.

Whether or not the idea of different systems within the same authority is appropriate (and Lincolnshire is not unique in this respect) is currently not the issue.

It is what Lincolnshire in its various parts inherited in 1974.

The ombudsman has ruled that the present system is legal. I believe it to be completely fair to all.

I am grateful to all those who gave their views to the task group.