Fenland councillor says he’ll move or pay privately rather than send son to ‘failing’ state school

A COUNTY councillor claimed today he would move home or pay for private education rather than send his son to his local state school.

Councillor Steve Tierney,43, who represents the Wisbech area ward of Roman Bank and Peckover on Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I live in the catchment area for Thomas Clarkson Community College. My son is five. I intend to move before he reaches high school age- or pay for a place at Wisbech Grammar School.

“Make of that what you will”.

Cllr Tierney, whose own regular on line blog has won several awards, posted the comments to a commercially run community based website.

The outspoken councillor claimed the present system of education had developed a “one size fits all” comprehensive approach.

“This is great if you luck into a good one and tragic if you get stuck in a sink school,” he said. In Wisbech the alternative is the grammar school (fees up to �10,250 a year) “which you can only go to if you’re wealthy. This is not great choice. What delivers great choice are a free market and the availability of funding.”

What’s needed says Cllr Tierney is allowing different schools to set up and provide support for poorer communities with larger grants for their children to help deliver “genuine choice and better outcomes.”

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Cllr Tierney added: “Sticking our heads in the sand and refusing to be honest when a school is systematically and repeatedly failing helps nobody. The second thing is to stop pretending everybody is the same and must follow the same regimented paths of education.

“We aren’t and we shouldn’t. All this thinking does is alienate and isolate young people with talents that don’t ‘fit the model’ as prescribed by academics in their ivory towers.

“Those alienated youths then end up outside the system and fall into the hands of darker influences.”

Cllr Tierney has been part of a local project group trying to open a new school in Wisbech which he says will follow the “exciting and radical” proposals outlined by Education Minister Michael Gove,

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