Wayne Hemingway in warning over QEGS free status

CONCERNS From left, design guru Wayne Hemingway, Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and Coun Alan Cottam

CONCERNS From left, design guru Wayne Hemingway, Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and Coun Alan Cottam

First published in Blackburn

CELEBRITY QEGS pupil Wayne Hemingway has warned that his old grammar’s bid for free school status must not compromise standards.

The internationally famous designer backs the plan but it concerned about the effect of scrapping the current entrance exam.

He spoke out as East Lancashire’s oldest grammar school’s proposal to take advantage of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s new initiative to provide taxpayers’ cash to schools free of local council control produced a mixed reaction.

Mr Hemingway’s concerns were echoed by senior Blackburn with Darwen Tory councillor Alan Cottam.

Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones said QEGS, founded in 1509, should have joined the mainstream state system if it wanted to scrap its £10,000 a year fees. Mr Hemingway said: “QEGS was a splendid school to go to and made me what I am today. I passed my entrance exam and got a bursary that paid my fees.

“If this opens up the school to a wider range of children, that is a good thing. I am not sure about abolishing the entrance exam. It is important that QEGS keeps up the educational standards that make it the school that it is.”

Coun Cottam said: “This is a disappointment but I understand why they are doing it. If they keep up the standards it will be a good thing but I am concerned that they keep the current ethos and high standards of the current fee-paying grammar school. Blackburn and East Lancashire need a school like QEGS.”

Mr Jones, who passed the entrance exam for QEGS but refused to go, said: “I am in favour of a comprehensive education system open to all pupils. I would rather if QEGS wanted state money they had chosen the academy route or joined the local education authority system.”

Parent of two daughters at the school, heart charity activist Nick Hartshorne-Evans said: “Personally I am pleased it will save me thousands of pounds a year.

“It is a positive move to open up the school to children from all backgrounds.

“I am sure the staff will keep up its current high standards.”

President of the Old Blackburnians’ association and former QEGS pupil and teacher Barry Brown said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to open up the superb education at QEGS to wider group of young people in Blackburn and across East Lancashire.”

Comments (8)

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10:06am Wed 7 Nov 12

Jack Herer says...

Totally agree with Wayne Hemmingway. I'm all for the change, but is there absolutely no way to retain an entrance exam?

Can this not be done under this new proposed status?

If not, is there no other way that QEGS can change to open doors, but still retain a way to take in the brightest students?

The reality is that we need our best kids to be targeted. At that fundamental level there is no other way for us to compete with the rest of the world.
Totally agree with Wayne Hemmingway. I'm all for the change, but is there absolutely no way to retain an entrance exam? Can this not be done under this new proposed status? If not, is there no other way that QEGS can change to open doors, but still retain a way to take in the brightest students? The reality is that we need our best kids to be targeted. At that fundamental level there is no other way for us to compete with the rest of the world. Jack Herer
  • Score: 4

10:13am Wed 7 Nov 12

paperboy70 says...

I thought it said that QEGS would be looking at SATS results and recommendations from the primary schools - so it is being selective to some degree. If the pupils aren't achieving Level 5 at the end of Year 6 then they probably won't be considered for a place?
I thought it said that QEGS would be looking at SATS results and recommendations from the primary schools - so it is being selective to some degree. If the pupils aren't achieving Level 5 at the end of Year 6 then they probably won't be considered for a place? paperboy70
  • Score: 0

10:26am Wed 7 Nov 12

Anthony A Cooper says...

I would like to correct your statement that QEGS is the oldest Grammar School in East Lancashire. That honour belongs to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, which received its Royal Charter in 1554, 13 years before QEGS in 1567. CRGS was a Chantry School, from 1483, (compared with QEGS in 1509) and there is evidence from court records in York that there was a school in Clitheroe prior to 1283.
I would like to correct your statement that QEGS is the oldest Grammar School in East Lancashire. That honour belongs to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, which received its Royal Charter in 1554, 13 years before QEGS in 1567. CRGS was a Chantry School, from 1483, (compared with QEGS in 1509) and there is evidence from court records in York that there was a school in Clitheroe prior to 1283. Anthony A Cooper
  • Score: -6

10:46am Wed 7 Nov 12

Hilarion says...

If QEGS could have had selection, it would have had selection. The price for taxpayers' money is a comprehensive intake, so that's why many independents have to think long and hard before taking the plunge. It's a big, big change.
If QEGS could have had selection, it would have had selection. The price for taxpayers' money is a comprehensive intake, so that's why many independents have to think long and hard before taking the plunge. It's a big, big change. Hilarion
  • Score: 1

11:22am Wed 7 Nov 12

Hilarion says...

Very much enjoyed Mr Jones' little bio/pic ' passed the exam, but REFUSED to go'. I can see it all now. 'No mother and father, I refuse. I am opposed to the principle of selection by academic ability which is contrary to my socialist principles - even though I am only eleven'. Very touching and realistic. I like the little bit of vanity of 'passed the exam' (just in case we thought he was too thick to go!). Reminds me a bit of Alan Bennett's refusal to accept a knighthood - but he made sure everyone knew that one had been offered!
Very much enjoyed Mr Jones' little bio/pic ' passed the exam, but REFUSED to go'. I can see it all now. 'No mother and father, I refuse. I am opposed to the principle of selection by academic ability which is contrary to my socialist principles - even though I am only eleven'. Very touching and realistic. I like the little bit of vanity of 'passed the exam' (just in case we thought he was too thick to go!). Reminds me a bit of Alan Bennett's refusal to accept a knighthood - but he made sure everyone knew that one had been offered! Hilarion
  • Score: 6

5:13pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Pan-cake says...

Hilarion wrote:
Very much enjoyed Mr Jones' little bio/pic ' passed the exam, but REFUSED to go'. I can see it all now. 'No mother and father, I refuse. I am opposed to the principle of selection by academic ability which is contrary to my socialist principles - even though I am only eleven'. Very touching and realistic. I like the little bit of vanity of 'passed the exam' (just in case we thought he was too thick to go!). Reminds me a bit of Alan Bennett's refusal to accept a knighthood - but he made sure everyone knew that one had been offered!
And why only grandstand after passing the entrance exam rather than declining to take it in the first place?
Surely Mr Jones wasn't so politically attuned at 11 that he thought a pass and refusal would look good on a future political CV?
[quote][p][bold]Hilarion[/bold] wrote: Very much enjoyed Mr Jones' little bio/pic ' passed the exam, but REFUSED to go'. I can see it all now. 'No mother and father, I refuse. I am opposed to the principle of selection by academic ability which is contrary to my socialist principles - even though I am only eleven'. Very touching and realistic. I like the little bit of vanity of 'passed the exam' (just in case we thought he was too thick to go!). Reminds me a bit of Alan Bennett's refusal to accept a knighthood - but he made sure everyone knew that one had been offered![/p][/quote]And why only grandstand after passing the entrance exam rather than declining to take it in the first place? Surely Mr Jones wasn't so politically attuned at 11 that he thought a pass and refusal would look good on a future political CV? Pan-cake
  • Score: 2

10:09pm Wed 7 Nov 12

rogerthecabinboy says...

There are many people who look at Qeg's as the be and end all of teaching excellence - far from it! There are many pupils leaving the school that have not achieved 5 A-C GCSE's after parents have paid thousands over five years. Pupils can achieve at any school with good work ethics.
There are many people who look at Qeg's as the be and end all of teaching excellence - far from it! There are many pupils leaving the school that have not achieved 5 A-C GCSE's after parents have paid thousands over five years. Pupils can achieve at any school with good work ethics. rogerthecabinboy
  • Score: 1

12:16am Thu 8 Nov 12

Hilarion says...

rogerthecabinboy wrote:
There are many people who look at Qeg's as the be and end all of teaching excellence - far from it! There are many pupils leaving the school that have not achieved 5 A-C GCSE's after parents have paid thousands over five years. Pupils can achieve at any school with good work ethics.
Many pupils eh? You're a joker. Give us the statistics then - how many is 'many'?
[quote][p][bold]rogerthecabinboy[/bold] wrote: There are many people who look at Qeg's as the be and end all of teaching excellence - far from it! There are many pupils leaving the school that have not achieved 5 A-C GCSE's after parents have paid thousands over five years. Pupils can achieve at any school with good work ethics.[/p][/quote]Many pupils eh? You're a joker. Give us the statistics then - how many is 'many'? Hilarion
  • Score: 1

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