Jonny Roberts speaks to Labour conference 2017 re: Grammar Schools


thank you I’m Jonny Roberts from
Newbury CLP and it’s not my first time at conference but it’s the first time
I’ve had the honour to be on this hallowed stage so thank you. Friends I
speak here with a 19 year chip on my shoulder, I’m 30 and I’m talking about
the 11 plus. I still I still know the pain, I can still vividly remember the
day, walking out with a small envelope back onto the playground where our
parents are waiting for us knowing that inside that envelope was a letter that
said that I was a failure. I am NOT a failure and I’m here today to finally
put that right. One of the great things about our
fantastic election result was the fact that we managed to stop the tyranny of
new grammar schools opening up all over our country. How can the Tories try and
engage on the great things that Rebecca was talking about, the ‘fourth Industrial
Revolution’, by going so far backwards and saying that only a small group of our
pupils are worth anything and the rest can go and get jobs in the field. How can,
if you really want to talk about child mental health; and every politician talks
about child mental health, I know when Labour politicians speak about child
mental health it means something, it can’t mean something coming from the
Tories when they wanted to impose a test, taken at the age of 10, that divides
people between success and failure. That is not the way to improve child mental health. And some of you might be thinking, well
“we kind of won that battle on grammar schools they’re not going to try and
open more so why is he banging on about it”
the reason is because, and some of you might not know, but where I grew up in
Buckinghamshire and Kent and in Lincolnshire those counties still
essentially force every child to take that damn test. So friends I am asking you through
lobbying your National Policy Forum delegates, lobbying your Labour MPs
and anyone who’ll listen, so let’s change Labour’s policy going forward to say that: yes no more grammar schools but let’s end the 11-plus everywhere in
England thank you

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