Ex-Spalding Grammar pupil to share experiences of racism at school, NI grammars cancel test

A former student has been invited back to Spalding Grammar School to share his experience of racism as a pupil there while two more NI grammars abandon transfer test. 

Ex Spalding Grammar pupil to return to share experiences of racism at school

A former student has been invited back to Spalding Grammar School to share his experience of racism as a pupil there.

Record producer Tre Jean-Marie (27) wrote to the school following worldwide protests after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in America, Spalding Today reports.

Headmaster Steven Wilkinson says that the school does not tolerate racism and is now very different than it was when Tre was a student.  

“Those incidents took place over a decade ago. That is absolutely not to dismiss them; however, I am confident that this is now a very different school. When Mr Jean-Marie left us in 2009, just four percent of students came from backgrounds other than white; today that figure is 17 percent.”

Tre says his time at the grammar between 2005 and 2009 enabled him to forge a successful career, but also says he experienced racism on an almost daily basis.

“I was the only black student in my class – there was probably no more than five of us in the school – and while most of the racism was from other students I also experienced covert racism from teachers and parents.”

Tre, who has worked with stars such as Little Mix and Craig David, moved to south Lincolnshire from Hackney as his mum wanted him to attend a good school.

He said: “Naturally, derogatory comments lowered my confidence and by the time I left school I didn’t have that same spark as I did when I left Hackney.

“There was one teacher, David Morris, who was the reason I stayed at the school. Although he didn’t have the conversation with me about it I think he probably knew exactly what was going on.”

Two more NI grammar schools abandon transfer test for 2021

Two Catholic grammar schools in Enniskillen have become the latest to abandon the use of transfer tests to select pupils for 2021.

Mount Lourdes Grammar and St Michael’s College said they had taken the decision “in light of the current circumstances.”

Both schools, which are in the Diocese of Clogher, normally use results from the GL Assessment test.

It is run by the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) to admit pupils.

Five Catholic grammar schools in County Down had previously said they would not use the PPTC test this year.

Covid-19 may undo a decade’s progress on attainment gap.

School closures may have widened the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates by up to 75 per cent, according to research.

The analysis from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) research charity, uses existing evidence of the impact of school closures on disadvantaged pupils in circumstances such as summer holidays, adverse weather and natural disasters – as well as factors which may moderate the impact.

It says the gap could, at worst, almost double between March and September.

“A plausible bad scenario, based on this literature, would see the gap widening by 75 percent, compared to its current size,” the foundation said. “A plausible good scenario would see the gap widening by 11 percent.”

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