Could plans for grammar school in Milton Keynes benefit children and traffic in Aylesbury Vale?
The first grammar school in 47 years could open its doors in nearby Milton Keynes '“ with potential repercussions in Aylesbury Vale.
Plans to create a city satellite for students who cannot afford to travel out of MK to a selective school will be progressed if the Conservatives overthrow their political rivals in May’s MK Council elections.
The satellite would have to be attached to an existing grammar school, presumably in the Vale – although this information has not yet been made public.
Every year parents in MK spend £1million shipping 1,200 children over the border to the four grammar schools in Aylesbury and Buckingham.
If the plans are realised, a potential benefit of a grammar school in Milton Keynes could be fewer cars and buses laden with children from the city coming into Aylesbury and Buckingham during morning rush-hour.
At Aylesbury Grammar School and Aylesbury High School the average home to school distances were 13km and 12km respectively for children in last year’s intake.
The plans could also potentially make more grammar school places available for children actually living in Aylesbury Vale – currently only 16% of youngsters from the district attend selective schools.
This week Conservative group leader Councillor Edith Bald pledged to give students “more opportunities” if her party takes full control of MK Council.
She said: “It’s incredibly important that parents and students have a range of choices in secondary education.
“Many families are struggling to afford the expensive travel costs to their grammar schools so it is vital that we address these issues and respond to parents’ wishes.”
The Radcliffe School in Wolverton was formerly a grammar school until it reverted in 1969.
Since then the creation of new grammar schools has been banned – although existing schools are allowed to expand if there is sufficient demand.
The current leader of the Labour-led council condemned the Conservatives’ controversial plans which have emerged just seven weeks before the local elections.
Councillor Pete Marland admitted the standard of education in MK schools ‘is not good enough’ – but said plans for a grammar school would be “at the expense of everyone”.
He said: “It is simply the wrong choice. We should be concentrating on improving all of our existing schools – not just the selective few.
“Every child deserves to go to a good school.”