Education Not Segregation

Yeovil Labour campaigning on Education issues
Yeovil Labour campaigning on Education issues

The Yeovil Labour Party braved the wet weather on Saturday 1st October to campaign for “Education not Segregation”. Throughout the morning 16 Labour Party members handed out over 500 leaflets and talked to passers-by in Middle Street, Yeovil.

In Yeovil we already have problems with our education system brought about by the changes made by the coalition. We spoke to several teachers, and former teachers, who told of difficulties that they have to deal with daily due to funding limits and a general lack of qualified teachers. Many teachers talked of the pressures of workload and spoke of the many who have either gone abroad or have left the profession. We did not find one teacher who supported a return to selective education.

There are also specific issues in Yeovil. We have three secondary schools that teach to age 16. There is now a requirement that all young people must be in education, training or work until the age of 18. Additionally, students that don’t achieve grade C in GCSE English and Maths have to retake, or pass a Functional Skills assessment.

In the last year more than 300 learners had to attend Yeovil College to retake assessments; there is no additional funding for this which must stretch college resources. Many of our post-16 students travel to Street, Sherborne, Bridgwater and Taunton, and of course those who attend Yeovil College but live outside the town also have to travel.

Post-16 students needing transport have to pay for a County Bus Pass which costs £675 and provides for transport only during the academic year to/from the college being used for study. They also have to be able to provide their own stationary and other materials required for their courses. These costs which used to be mitigated by the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) are effectively a tax on compulsory education. EMA was scrapped by the Coalition.

As the town expands and we discuss the issues about the delayed building of primary schools to serve Wyndham Park, Brimsmore and Lufton Heights, there is no mention of the additional requirements for secondary schooling let alone post-16 education.

Whilst the Government calls for a return to selective education the parents of Yeovil should be asking how their children, aged 11 upwards will be educated, and for those aged 16 where will they go, and how much will it cost? A focus on bringing back grammar schools won’t answer these questions.

Please contact us via to join the Labour Party and help shape the future of politics to deliver a fairer Britain for the next generation in which no-one and no community is left behind.

For further information please contact:

Gail Freeman-Bell, Yeovil CLP Press Officer. Tel. 07838 117774    ­­­­­­­­­­­

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