Many people have complained that it is unfair that they only get one chance at 11, but in my area where the 11+ still exists most people who fail the 11+, if they're bright enough they can usually transfer with good enough GCSE's at 6th Form.
I go to a grammar school now and I definitely think they're a good idea. The comps in my area are absolutely cr*p, and I know the argument is that kids do as well as they would do in a comprehensive anyway but I don't think this is true. The atmosphere at my school is really competitive and that's what gets better results imo - I need to be motivated and pushed to do work unfortunately. My grades would have been worse in a situation where it was down to me to do work outside the classroom. The problem here is the standard of comprehensives across the country.
About 40% of my school are from a working class background, so I think they do help with social mobility and providing better opportunities. In fact, it's many of these people who are going on to do Medicine and Dentistry at uni because they've had a better study environment arguably.
As for the 11+, I really didn't feel under that much pressure, but maybe that's down to my parents not being pushy and not making it seem like the be all and end all.
Something very interesting here is the number of people who say "I go to grammar school, the comps in my area are rubbish" and think that's an argument for the grammar schools. It's definitely an argument for going to one, but it is as well the argument that got them closed down in most places.
Arguing about whether grammar schools are a good thing is like arguing whether rich people are a good thing. Taken in isolation, everything seems great. In reality though, just as rich people only exist in comparison to poor people, the opportunities given to those at grammar schools only exist by denying those opportunities to those who didn't get in.
What we're really talking about is what would be better: a system where people are (pretty much arbitrarily) divided into the haves and have nots at a young age, or a system where everyone has the same opportunity to make something of themselves depending upon their ability and hard work.
It's not a solution to the problem, that there are a lot of comprehensives that don't give students a good working environment, but closing them down would only worsen the situation. This way bright kids from poorer backgrounds can still get a decent education. While it is wrong that the children who do better aged 11 are guaranteed a better education for the next 5 years than those who've only reached there full academic potential come 14, it's better than some people get this improved education than none at all.
well the gov could say that people who went to comprehensives instead of grammar schools would get x amount off tuition for uni or their bottom 50% of grades will be increased by 1 when being considered by uni's to mix smarter people into the comprehensives
I think they're a good idea. Wish I'd had the opportunity to go to one.
The reality of Grammar schools tends to be that they are for the upper middle class who can afford to tutor their children into them.
However, no system is perfect- at least the Grammar School system allowed for the opportunity of children from less advantaged backgrounds to be given the chance to flourish.
The real issue is that of state secondary and primary education- scrapping Grammar schools hasn't and will not work. By lowering everything to the lowest common denominator, the state merely gives an illusion of fairness- in reality this discourages social mobility.