National Grammar Schools Association
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Ripon parents vote for choice

10th March 2000

'We are absolutely delighted' said chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, Brian Wills-Pope, on hearing that parents in Ripon had voted to retain their selective schools. 'This should give a clear message to the activists who wish to destroy successful schools that parental choice is still a force to be reckoned with.'

Parents in Ripon, North Yorkshire, have voted by 1493 to 747 -a two to one majority - to retain Ripon Grammar School, which selects its pupils by academic ability and Ripon College, which has recently achieved technology college status.

'It would have been a tragedy if the popular and successful schools in Ripon had been forced to close, then to suffer from an unnecessary, disruptive and expensive re-organisation', said NGSA vice-chairman John Harris.

The NGSA believes that the result of this first ballot against a grammar school will greatly encourage pro-choice parents in Barnet, Birmingham, Kent, Sutton and Trafford -all areas where activists are still trying to gather the 20 per cent of signatures required to trigger an anti-grammar school ballot under New Labour legislation.

However, the NGSA takes heart from research which shows that in Northern Ireland, which has retained its selective schools, overall exam results are more than 10 per cent better than in England, which is mainly comprehensive.

Recognising that the ballot has bitterly divided the normally close-knit community in Ripon, the NGSA has extended its congratulations to the parents of Ripon for all their hard work to defend their schools.

The successful campaign to retain Ripon Grammar School and Ripon College was organised by the Ripon Schools Partnership, an amalgamation of parents from both schools.

Further information or comment from:

Brian Wills-Pope, Tel. 01803 295315
John Harris, Tel. 01227 463567
Stan Danks, Tel. 0121 544 3809