I am absolutely in favour of grammar schools and I fully support academic selection. I do believe children should be taught by ability rather than any other factor such as age.
I also think that the tests should remain secret to give everyone a fairer chance but would fully support an alternative to the current tests which can be incredibly unfair - as someone who is not a fan of exams in general, I do believe they should be replaced with something less unpleasant.
To quote John Prescott; We can't make any more good schools, parents will want their kids to go there and the bad schools will get closed down!
In an ideal world, we wouldnt have grammer schools, as they are socially divisive and put too much pressure on kids.
In reality, they are the only way of preventing privately educated, detatched individuals from dominating the highest areas of society. Andrew Neil put this very strongly in a documentary he made.
The truth is most people who get into grammar schools nowadays are affluent, since they pay large amounts of money for there children to be tutored on how to do the 11+ exam. And I agree children at the age of 11 should never be put in that position, most really would not care.
I'm an advocate of grammars...I can't help but feel (from some of the comps I've worked in as a SEN assistant over the years), that a good atmosphere for learning is lacking. this is reinforced by friends of mine who went to comprehensive schools, who felt they had to 'hide' the fact that they were intelligent at school, and really struggled to find their self-confidence once they got to uni. If you are clever, and you're at school in an environment where you are challenged to answer, and success is valued and encouraged (not just by the teachers, but by the whole ethos and atmosphere of the school), then you will succeed.
Thought needs to be given however - we can't return to a system where, if you don't get into the grammar you are bundled off to the secondary modern and written off at 11 years old. certainly the age should be raised to 13 - this is how it works in the boys' public school system with common entrance and seems to be a little more representative of ability.
at the moment, i think the system seems to be failing everyone...bright kids don't live up to their potential, and the self-esteem and ambitions of less-able pupils doesn't seem to have been raised by a not being classed automatically as 'less bright' through 11+. although, judging by some of the reports from the new Academies, some success would appear to be being achieved within a comprehensive system. If it could be done, i would fully support comprehensive education; but in it's current state, it's failing children.
Margaret Thatcher saw the unfairness in Grammar schools.
That's why she was responsible for closing more down than any other politician.
There's no need to divide pupils at such an early age into different schools, with all the impact that has on their development and life chances. Comprehensive schools operating a flexible setting system would enable children to learn at a suitable pace with pupils of similar ability, without segregating them into entirely different institutions. Proponents of grammar schools always make the argument about mixed classes holding the brightest pupils back, whilst ignoring this alternative.
kids who are smart deserve the chance to go to a grammar school and it shouldn't purely be based on mammys and daddys income
Remove them, remove private schools, implement extensive streaming in comprehensive schools. Good times.
I think Grammar Schools are amazing. (I went to one, so am biased, yes.)
In the comprehensive schools nearby, it seems that a LOT of people don't want to be there, and instead of learning, just **** around until they can legally leave school. This is very disruptive to those who are willing to learn, and as teachers have to maintain order amongst these disruptive pupils, they end up doing very little teaching. This results in overall worse grades.
Put all the people who want to learn together, and they will benefit from competing amongst each other.
I do, however, strongly disagree with the PRESSURE of getting past the 11+. In my ideal world, there would be more grammar schools, and so less pressure on this test. I would not make it easy, far from it, I think the test serves a valuable purpose of separating those who WANT to learn, from those who don't.