(Original post by myself)
It may not be right to have a fully selective education system, but the small number of remaining free Grammar Schools do a bloody fine job of increasing social mobility and providing those who cannot afford private education the opportunity of an atmospheric, wholesome and enriching educational environment.
Well, I'm sure a lot of them do but certainly not all of them.
The one I went to was full of people who had happily enough passed the 11+, but whose parents had planned for them to go to one of the local private schools if they failed! In my area, there's a very obvious divide between those at the grammar and those at the secondary modern (and I should know, having been a student at both).
When I went to the secondary modern, the stereotype was that the grammar school girls (both were girls schools) were posh, snobby and looked down on secondary modern girls. When I moved to the grammar, people told me they were surprised that I was so nice and was doing so well because they had assumed I would be a chavvy thug with low grades having come from the secondary modern! Neither stereotype was true (well, except the one about grammar girls looking down on secondary modern ones, because that did happen a bit) but the fact that we were all divided did nothing to stop the perpetuation of them.
In the case of my area I think that most people would benefit from a comprehensive system. However, this is because in my area the standards at the secondary modern and grammar were pretty much exactly the same - the teaching, facilities, extra-curriculars and so on weren't any better but understandably expectations were higher at the grammar. I think that if we were all taught together, we'd benefit from becoming more integrated and stopping such ridiculous divisions, plus the secondary modern girls would be pushed harder to get better grades (whilst I was there, I was definitely cruising as I knew it'd be easy to do well by their standards).
In other areas where there's a huge difference between the standards of regular comps and grammars, well I can't see that they're doing any harm.