The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, famously sent her son Joseph to the selective St Olave's Grammar School in Orpington. The school is heavily oversubscribed. But Conservative-run Bromley Council would like the excellent education provided to be available for the many – not just the Shadow Cabinet Minister few.
At a Council meeting last night the following motion was passed:
This Council notes that the Secretary of State for Education has indicated that existing selective schools may expand their provision by the creation of satellite campuses;
it further notes that parents in the neighbouring district of Sevenoaks, with the support of the local Member of Parliament, Michael Fallon and members of Kent County Council, are actively pursuing such an option;
further notes that demand for places by Bromley parents at the two selective schools within the borough and for places in neighbouring authorities far outweighs the number of available places;
resolves to support, in principle, any move by either of the two selective schools in the borough or by schools in neighbouring districts (including independent selective schools) to provide additional selective places in Bromley and particularly in those parts of the borough most distant from existing provision of selective places.
The Lib Dem councillors voted in favour while Labour voted against. The secondary schools in Bromley are overwhelmingly academies so the decisions are a matter for them. But the council is quite right in its view that a good school wishing to expand should not be prevented from doing so simply because it is selective.
Do you think Harriet, equality champion and niece of the Countess of Longford, would have voted with the three Labour councillors against the motion? Thus opposing any extension to others of the choice she was able to exercise? That would seem to be the Party line.