As parents of primary school age children we would like to add our voices to the debate on secondary school provision in Stamford.
This situation is unacceptable and is highly stressful for parents and children alike.
The final ending of the county-funded scholarship scheme to the Stamford Endowed Schools leaves a big void in the provision of suitable education for the more academically able children in the town.
In making the decision to gradually end this scheme in 2006, the plan was that those scholarship children would go either to Queen Eleanor or to Bourne Grammar School.
This has not happened and this was acknowledged as such in the recent council interim review of secondary education in the town.
11-plus places at Bourne Grammar are very limited due to changing demographics.
Queen Eleanor School has its strengths, however for many parents the school is small, offers only a limited curriculum, has no sixthform and GCSE results that, while improving, are still some way behind comparative schools outside Stamford. Therefore many parents are deciding to send their children else- where.
In charting a way forward we say that this issue is not about state versus private schools.
It is about how we ensure that children of all ability levels can access an appropriate education.
Also, please let us use to best effect the current educational resources in the town.
We are aware that Stamford Endowed Schools have offered to negotiate on a scholarship scheme on the basis of no extra cost to the county over and above what is paid to any other county grammar school.
Why has this offer not been taken up?
Please let us put ideological/political stances to one side and put the needs of children first.
When Lincolnshire County Council made the decision to end the scholarship scheme in 2006 it is clear that it did not make proper alternative provision.
It needs to act now to fulfil its legal obligations to provide appropriate education for our children.
As Coun Hicks said in his letter (Mercury last week) that, until excellence is achieved at QE “the statutory rights of our more able children must be maintained through the scholarships to the endowed schools”.
We would encourage everyone to participate in this important debate on the future of our children and town. Please e-mail any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann and Geoff Knott
High Street St Martins, Stamford
Casterton Road, Stamford
Hambleton Road, Stamford
Roman Bank, Stamford