Privilege is alive and well in the Chilterns

Buckinghamshire council must be the only people “flabbergasted” by the Social Mobility Commission’s report on entrenched disadvantage (Social mobility in Chiltern towns amongst worst in England, 30 September).

It is 10 years since their cabinet member for schools pledged to “close the gap” between the haves and the have-nots, which even then was among the worst in the country. We are still waiting.

At the heart of this disadvantage is the discredited 11-plus exam, which consigns two-thirds of local children to failure at 11 and places them in underfunded secondary modern schools. Disadvantaged children and the majority of children of minority ethnic heritage don’t pass the selection test. Grammar school places are largely occupied by children from middle-class homes, out-of-county students and those who have attended independent primary schools.

Our local council has indeed checked its privilege – and made sure that it is truly alive and well in the hands of those who can pay for tutoring, have affluent homes and have more than their share of social capital.

So yes, it is a genuine problem and one that the Tory council continues to ignore. The Social Mobility Commission has uncovered an uncomfortable truth that needs to be addressed.
Dr Katy Simmons
Burnham, Buckinghamshire

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