A perpetual argument in education is that between comprehensive schools or the 11 plus and grammar schools. What this argument totally overlooks is the nature of the 11 plus exam itself.
The 11 plus is a narrowly focused exam restricted to English language and mathematics. It is a surprisingly easy exam for children of average intelligence to swot up on. I know of tutors who can testify this. There is also some evidence that it is an exam that works in favour of children with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism. It is an exam that excludes physical, creative, and people oriented subjects.
It is a mistake to assume that children who fail the 11 plus and end up at secondary schools are less intelligent or able than the children who pass the 11 plus and go to grammar schools. Any secondary school in counties that use the 11 plus will have many talented linguists, artists, historians, musicians, and sportsmen although children with high abilities in mathematics and science are rarer. Conversely, any grammar school in counties that use the 11 plus will have plenty of students who are poor at foreign languages, hopeless at sports, and cannot play a musical instrument.
Would it therefore be a more intelligent, or even fairer, to broaden the 11 plus by examining:
A foreign language
Possibly one of history, geography, or religious studies
The end result will be that the 11 plus will reward children who are good all rounders and work against swots or purely academic types who are monoglots, unmusical, or physically unco-ordinated. It will make it much harder to get into grammar schools than it is under the current 11 plus. If the broadened 11 plus is rolled out nationally then it's possible that something like 90% of all primary school children will fail in one way or another meaning that very few new grammar schools will need to be built for the 10% who manage to pass.
Do you think that there is more public support for a broadened 11 plus than there is for the traditional 11 plus based on English language and mathematics? Should grammar schools be for good all rounders rather than so called 'clever' kids?