Blimey. Had assumed that ‘76, in banning selection on grounds of ability, saw the end of the grammar school system, and what remained were entrance exams for particular, snobby schools (like mine).
Turns out it’s all a lot more complex than that, depending on where you live. And it’s got more complex as time has gone on.
“Estelle Morris has left us with independent schools, over 160 grammar schools, church and faith schools, specialist schools, advanced specialist schools, beacon schools, city academies, city technology colleges, ‘fresh start’ schools, ‘contract’ schools – in addition to ‘ordinary’ comprehensives and secondary moderns. No wonder many parents are confused!”
Clyde Chitty, “The right to a comprehensive education”, Second Caroline Benn memorial lecture, 16 November 2002.Chitty’s lecture is really interesting; an honest assessment of the pros and cons of the comprehensive system. Wikipedia also links to Michael Portillo’s counter-argument, in favour of grammar schools’ elitism.
Admissions policy is, of course, a major part of the newly unveiled Education Bill. "There will be no return to the 11-plus,’ said the White Paper. Oh yes?
I’ve muttered before that foundation schools seem very able to keep out the wrong sorts. Admissions policies suit the schools rather than the pupils. Imagine if, for example, hospitals decided only to treat the “right sort” of sickness, rather than the immediate needs of the surrounding community.
Oh, hang on, that’s what they’re doing.