Yesterday in the House of Commons Tory-Lib Dem Education Secretary Michael Gove stood up and maligned Lambeth’s children. He damned local children’s success in exams, claiming that no child in Lambeth had achieved three A-levels at grade A including maths and further maths. What Mr Gove said was not true, but it was shocking that he set out to malign the success that Lambeth’s children have achieved. Last year, 305 children in Lambeth got three or more A-levels at grade A last year. As a percentage, that’s better than the number achieved in Tory-run Croydon next door to Lambeth.
Over the past twelve years of Labour Government schools in Lambeth have achieved like never before. Lambeth’s exam results improved in every one of those twelve years. Back then Lambeth’s schools got results way below the national average. In 2009 we went ahead of the national average for the first time and then improved even further last year in 2010.
Here are the facts for Mr Gove and his Tory spin-doctors to consider: In 2010 73.7% of Lambeth children got five GCSEs graded A* to C. That’s better than the national average of 69.1%. At La Retraite School the figure achieving this standard was 97%, at Dunraven School it was 98% and at Norwood School it was 99%. In 2000 only 11% of children at Stockwell Park High School achieved five or more GCSEs at these grades; in 2010 it was 78%.
These dramatic improvements represents the hard work of children, teachers and parents, backed up by unprecedented investment in new and better schools right across Lambeth and the rest of the country. It is the result of a government and local communities working together to improve education. Today, the Tories and Lib Dems condemn this investment in our children’s future as ‘waste’. How wrong they are. How short-sighted. Nothing is more important than our children’s future.
Today, the Tories and Lib Dems are throwing those improvements into reverse gear. They are undermining young people’s hopes of going to university by raising the cap on tuition fees to £9000 a year, and they are undermining poorer children’s chances of staying on in education post-16 by scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance. The Tories and Lib Dems have scrapped 9 of the 11 projects to rebuild or refurbish schools in Lambeth that were due to go ahead under Labour.
The fact is, the Tories and Lib Dems in Government are decimating education and blighting our children’s chances. The sight of Mr Gove standing up in the House of Commons and undermining all that Lambeth’s children have achieved in recent years rubs salt into the wounds his Government is inflicting. He should apologise to the children who achievements he has maligned.