13/11/2011 The Politics Show South West


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Welcome to the Baltic shore in the South West.


Few issues in education divide people as sharply as drum --


grammar schools. -- welcome to the Politics Show. Some people say they


brutally brand most children as failures by the age of 11. The


Conservative's party's previous pledge to build more grammar


schools has been replaced by a ban on building any at all. Mr Cameron


said it was an outdated mantra that poor no reality to real life. One


Conservative MP was calling for more of them.


Some politicians cannot resist boasting about him.


This grammar-school boy is not going to take any lessons from that


public school boy... Others loathe them.


The they are effectively private schools without the fees.


They still have fans in high places...


These are excellent schools. Though others would much rather


move on. It to a pointless debate, and I am not in politics to waste


time and. Was debates.


But it -- if there is one -- I am not in politics to waste time on


pointless debate. In the 1960s, the comprehensive


system arrived, and over the next few years there was great pressure


to scrap grammar schools. And they went in Cornwall, Somerset and West


Dorset, but there were pockets of resistance in parts of Devon that


succeeded. There are grammar-school sin


Plymouth, Torbay and East Devon. Seven in the county, 164 and the


country. -- there are grammar- school staff in Plymouth.


Education secretaries like David Banque -- David Blunkett had


aspirations to abolish them which came to nothing. David Cameron said


this. The policy idea that has been


knocking around for a long time is completely delusional. It is not


something the Conservatives did for 18 years in power. It is not


something we would do if elected. Yet, only this week there was a


debate on grammar schools in Parliament. Conservative MPs lined


up to sing their praises. provide a social mobility and


opportunity for thousands of children each year and are a hugely


popular with pupils and parents alike.


I hope the department can consider allowing academies that it did not


previously select on academic ability to do so.


There are no plans for more grammar schools, but the Government has


said existing grammar schools can expand because it has changed


admission chords to boost numbers are good schools. But what does


that mean in practice? Paul Evans is the head teacher at the scrum a


school in east Devon. It is one of the most successful schools in the


country, with 800 pupils drawn from the surrounding region Mike. --


head teacher at this grammar school in east Devon.


The intake is unlikely to rise despite changes to the admissions


policy. We would inevitably compromised


what we were doing. Occasionally we may ask independent panels to take


individual pupils on, but the consequences are that they are


sitting two to a desk or sharing a computer, that does not want in the


long term. The principle remains - grammar


schools could expand, and that is something that upholds those who


think they distort and disrupt the education system. -- that horrifies


those. This former teacher is strongly opposed to the idea and


dead set against anything that would allow grammar schools to get


bigger. I want to see children go to their


local school and mix with local strata so they learn to get on with


everybody, not just an elite from wealthy backgrounds who are highly


intelligent. But it is those academic success


levels which, for some, makes the idea of expanding grammars schools


an appealing prospect. A around 1050 grammar school pupils


were studying at Cambridge and Oxford in 2009. 98 % of pupils


achieved five or more GCSEs, including cheap -- English and


maths, compared to 57 % nationally. Most grammar schools are


oversubscribed, with the 11-plus exam used to select pupils,


something that can be too much for those who don't make it.


And think it is devastating. Imagine telling a child of 11 they


are a complete failure. It is socially divisive.


If but for those who get in, rewards can be extraordinary. Last


year, 20 of the school's student made it to Oxford or Cambridge.


Easy to see why some want more grammar schools.


I enjoyed by the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton.


You have grammar schools in your constituency and you're supportive,


and you would like to see more of them.


Yes, that is an excellent school, I supported 100%. I want to see


choice, and we have academy status now, and if some of those academies


would like to have a selective programme -- selective process I


think we should. Grammar schools can be complementary. I don't


believe they are divisive and I think they bring people up socially.


Many grammar-school boys have come from very poor backgrounds to go on


and do extremely well. It is a case of giving schools choice and making


sure we have technical schools that can link in with apprenticeship


schemes. The problem with the grammar school system was we did


not spend enough money on those he did not get to grammar school. I


did not get to grammar school, I went to an agricultural technical


school, but I do not consider myself a failure. I do not want to


force anyone, I would local academies to be able to make those


decisions. We talk about grammar schools, but


selection is the distinguishing factor, and you would like to see


the option of schools selecting. I think so, because if you can


concentrate those who are extremely academic together, it is not about


privilege, it is about intelligence and lifting people up. Then you can


also look at schools where people are more technically aware going


into practical type subjects, let's have some help for them, as well.


Let's not only considered one grammar schools, but I think where


there are academies who think they can be complementary to the


education system, let's give them the choice to be able to go and


select if they want to. Have you any idea how many


selective academies you would like to see?


No, I do not put down numbers, because what I don't want is to


force schools into grammar school status. But I do not want them to


not be able to go down that route if they choose to. For generations,


governments have been far too prescriptive about education, and I


thought the whole idea of a our education policy was to give local


governors more freedom in education. The reality at the moment, under


the law, parents can decide to close down a grammar school through


a ballot, but they cannot decide to create one. How do you feel about


the shift in Conservative policy since David Cameron took over?


that is what I believe is wrong. You cannot have a one way thought.


You cannot have a one way thought. I think you should be allowed,


parents and governors, they should be allowed to vote on whether they


would like to create a selective grammar school, as well. Then there


is equal status. Altogether, it is about local people having the


choice and looking at how a grammar school may fit into a given area.


The last thing I would want to do is forsworn on anyone, but why


should you only be able to force grammar schools to close down, but


in the areas where they would like to see another grammar school you


are not allowed that thought. David Cameron had some pretty


damning things to say about people, like you, who want grammar schools.


What do you think about that? What do you think about that?


What do you think about that? Myself, as a self-made man who led


Myself, as a self-made man who led to a secondary school to finish my


education, I think I am well placed to be able to say, if we want war


grammars schools, it is not a good privilege, it is about giving local


people a choice. -- if we want more grammar schools. Let's not be


dogmatic about it and make it for perhaps politically correct reasons.


Let's bring people up through a system which will pull them up


through their bootstraps from all You wear a Euro-rebel couple of


weeks ago, that is an issue for the Conservatives. How much is this


issue of grammar schools are running sore in the at Conservative


Party? It is not a running sore, I think


it is right we should have discussion, like a referendum on


Europe. The Conservative Party is quite an independent bunch, and I


think that is what our Prime Minister needs to realise.


Earlier this year, a Somerset was dubbed a philistine County Council


when the authority became the first to cut its programme for arts. It


says it is having to implement the cuts as the Government is reducing


funding. Six months after the cuts, have the curtains closed on the


Somerset arts? He hello, Mr council leader, give


me my money! I have not got any money, goalie!


For people involved in the arts, it is no punch and Judy joke. This


time last year they were fighting for funding.


Armed with a cake showing the money for arts as a slice of the


council's budget, dozens of protesters marched on a council


meeting to decide their fate. Famous faces were concerned for


their country's future. Somerset County Council is the


first council in the UK to do this. It is lunacy.


This is not a boat as as preposterous account -- actors


making pleas, it is about art for everyone.


Somerset's cuts meant all 10 arts organisations lost their grants


from April. Six months on, have they won their fight to survive?


At this theatre, they were worried about having all Grant taking no


way -- taken away? You is that funding and you have to


try and find a different future, and if they can't they want, and


you will see places closing next year, I am sure of it. If they can


adapt and find different uses for their buildings, then they will


survive. Adapting is the key for these


artists meeting in Taunton. They are all having to work for less


money -- with less money, but none have folded.


At some stage we need to arrive at the position of clarity on what the


direction for the future will be, and we will have to make decisions


on whether the programme develops in a more commercial sense. He for


some theatres, technology is the future.


This theatre has fewer actors on its stage and is beaming in


productions, instead. As we reduce the number of


companies to perform live on our stage, we may well increase the


number of companies we see on our cinema screen.


People in Somerset have been fantastic, the way they have


responded. I have heard of stories of fund-raising events, there is a


real spirit. There is a concern that spurred me flag at some point.


What does the poster boy of the anti- cuts campaign made of things


six months on? I am seeing-to month -- two things,


firstly a remarkable trench spirit is developing. Companies are


determined not to bore down and are exploring ways to save a leaky ship.


Artists will continue to produce great work, however much they


suffer, and perhaps it is a good idea to suffer, they will perhaps


produce greater work - again not buy that. There is a determination


to survive, come what may, but it cannot be on these terms, when all


people are doing is surviving. Gathering friends is the key to


survival for many of these groups. As long as that lasts, the curtains


will not come down on them for good. In a statement, Somerset County


Council told us it was committed to supporting organisations within the


creative industries sector. They have set up the Creative Industry


Development Fund which helped set up new opportunities in the arts


sector. The eyes of the world are focused


on the euro, with many questioning the wisdom of the currency in the


first place. In Cornwall, there are moves to create a much smaller


currency that we are accustomed to. Advocates say it would help keep


spending in Cornwall and help the local economy.


It may seem a long way from home, but global -- the global financial


crisis is prompting calls for radical thinking to protect


Cornwall's economy. Business seems brisk on a wet


November day in Truro, and some believe the money changing hands


here should be kept in the county by creating a Cornish currency.


We are at the beck and call of the smashed -- financial markets, and


we need a debate on how to make our communities more resilient. It is


about how to have a currency which can be linked to sterling which can


then keep wealth in Cornwall. But how would it work practically?


Ian James says the logistics needs some thought, but points to the


success of other complementary currency schemes abroad and at home,


including one in Devon. The Totnes pound has been in circulation since


2007, and concurrently be used in around 70 shops and businesses


around the town. This is one of the issuing points


when I can exchange sterling for Totnes pounds. Now I have one, I


can assure you how it works. I have come across the road for a


cup of tea, because my pound cannot believe Totnes. Like having a gift


voucher, you literally get like for like. The sterling behind the


Totnes pounds is used to offer short-term interest -- low-interest


loans to local businesses. Those involved say the �6,500


currently in circulation make up a small amount of the town's economy.


We wanted it to be the first step on an exploration of the


infrastructure we need to support our robust local economy, to try


and avoid the leaky bucket syndrome where money leaks out of the time.


Saw, could this small scheme like the one in Totnes be a success


across the county? I think it would be successful if


the local authorities agreed to take it as taxation payment.


But there is caution over the river. The man in charge of the economy


and regeneration in Cornwall council says the power is already


with the local communities. The plumber, electrician and


carpenter I employ all love local to me. The money I spend on them


they keep in Cornwall spending on services.


Is it not the nature of an economy that you have to look Edwards,


rather than inwards? Yes, and to do that you have to


encourage businesses to Cornwall and for existing businesses to grow


and trade outside Cornwall. It is not about a separate currency, it


is about bringing work into Cornwall.


It is claimed local complementary currencies Fife in times of


economic hardship, but when a leading economist thinks, beyond


the symbolism of a bank note, it is a non-starter.


He is no reason Cornwall could not have its own bank notes, like


Scotland has, but it is not viable for it to have its own central bank.


It will not have its own monetary policy, just like I presume it will


not have its own army. It has been tried before in


Cornwall - in the 1970s notes were issued by a pressure group, but


that did not work out and people intrude all seem divided on whether


it would work now. Cornwall could stand on its own, we


have mining, tourism, farming and fisheries. He bit in Cornwall and


get some proper border controls in place.


It is confusing enough now, it would confuse us even more, I think


it might give it at try, why not? E Ian Jones says she is trying to


raise the debate about the importance of supporting local


economy in the face of huge global challenges. His first challenge may


be getting the idea of a Cornish currency of the ground at all.


That is almost dead from the South West this week, but there is just


time to bring you an update on a story we covered a couple of weeks


ago. Cornwall councillors were due to make a decision on a plan to


close half the 20's toilets. The county has shelved the plans to


spend more time assessing the impact of potential changes.


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