Comment: Bucks’ education numbers just don’t add up

Education
Education

We have been puzzled for some time about a figure quoted by Bucks County Council’s Cabinet member for Education.

He said 81% of pupils in Bucks go to a good or excellent school and he was very pleased about this. We have now had time to look into this figure and, as usual, BCC is glossing over very real problems at the heart of Bucks educational system.

To begin with this figure of 81% includes pupils at nursery and primary pupils.

We are delighted that a very high percentage of these schools have been assessed as good or excellent. We continue to welcome the very real improvements made in nurseries and primary schools for all the children, including disadvantaged children.

However the picture at secondary level is not so good.

Only 75% of pupils in Bucks go to a good or excellent secondary school.

That means that a quarter of pupils go to a less than good school.

But that’s not the end of the story as this figure includes pupils going to private schools – and any private school, charging thousands of pounds a year, would not survive if it was assessed as less than good.

This figure also includes grammar schools – all of which are good or excellent and which attract many pupils from outside Bucks.

Nearly 30% of grammar school places went to pupils from outside Bucks last year.

Surely BCC should be excluding pupils in private schools and from outside Bucks from its figures? And this would provide an even less rosy picture.

We have asked the simple question – what is the chance of my children going to a good or excellent school if they are at a state primary school in Bucks?

And the answer depends on whether the children pass the 11+. If children pass the 11+, they will go to a good or excellent school. If children do not pass the 11+, they will have a choice of a non-selective school, 55% of which are less than good.

Remember, 75% of children in Bucks do not pass the 11+.

This is the scandal of education in Bucks. BCC is happy to condemn children in Bucks who do not pass the 11+, the vast majority, to a 1 in 2 chance – that is every other child - of going to a secondary school which requires improvement or is inadequate.

It is clear that BCC does not want to acknowledge this, does not want to discuss the problem and is not prepared to take any proper steps to solve it it.

Instead BCC tries to disguise the scandal by massaging the figures. As Disraeli once said ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics’.

>>> David Williams stood as Labour candidate in Wycombe at the 2015 general election