These are the most recent submissions to the site.

Grammar school catchments prioritise white middle class people

January 10, 2023

I just found out that my postcode has been taken out of the catchment area for almost every local grammar school and that’s mad. I feel really bad for these kids to be honest. The 11+ should be for kids who don’t have mummy and daddy connections, not people who buy second homes in Kingston for an exam.

If your parents can’t afford to send you to private school without breaking themselves, and they can’t afford buying a second home, or moving into a grammar catchment area, and they can’t even afford 11+ tuition then they’re the families that need to be prioritised.

It’s actually sick how the system has been gamed over the last 10 years, and it’s so obviously a classist and racist attack. I know for a fact that so many white parents who sent their kids to grammar schools were shocked that their kids were the minority, they HATED it. They hate that these kids are coming from Hounslow and Croydon and mixing with their precious Tarquin, they hate that their special little boy is making friends with the “wrong sort” because the schools are full of kids who got in on smarts and aren’t white or middle class.

So what did the schools do? Well, first they stopped prioritising test scores, and sorted by catchment instead. Now, if you didn’t live in KT1-KT7, you had to be exceptional to get in, while local kids can be relatively mediocre and still make it. Then they tighten up their catchment area IMMENSELY

As in removed ~20 postcodes. Who can afford to live in KT1 to KT7? Which class and race of people tend to live there? Middle Britain has ruined grammar schools simply because they couldn’t stand poorer and browner kids doing well.

Now those kids who were exceptional, who might have still made it despite the odds being against them, just don’t get any chance. And I’m not really for grammar schools, but they exist and are a lifeline, so they should be used as such. I don’t think they’ll flourish as much as they have done in the past if they’re going to be filled with mediocre white kids rather than a huge range of kids from all sorts of backgrounds. It’s crazy that 4000 kids were fighting for about 100-200 spots, but this isn’t the solution

I’m just using Kingston because I’m familiar with it, but all the local grammars are doing the same thing. It’s very insidious that a system designed to help lesser privileged kids is now being manipulated to stay as a white middle class establishment. That’s just wrong.

Kingston parent

Thoughts of a Kent non-selective school head moving from the selective sector

January 8, 2023

When I trained as a teacher I initially took a job in a super-selective grammar school teaching economics. I stayed in that school for a decade, progressing into senior leadership during a time that the school secured an Outstanding grade. Here is what I learned…

Selective schools are lovely places to work. Committed and long-serving staff along with generally highly supportive parents. Teachers recognise their privilege and that their school is not representative of wider society. They do the very best to help and support students.

Despite people moaning about the grammar school sector, I think that it is often forgotten how poorly funded selective schools are. The difference in funding in a county like Kent between two schools of similar size (selective vs non-selective) can be huge. Embarrassingly so.

Recruitment is relatively easy. I’ve known situations where up to 20 applications were received for a role with tight shortlisting procedures applied. That contrasts starkly with non-selectives in the same area that might advertise for six months for a role with no interest. The knock-on implication of this in selective counties is that national challenges in teacher recruitment are magnified in non-selective schools meaning that those children most in need of good teachers often don’t get them. This issue has existed for decades.

Often, staff in grammar schools are exceptionally well qualified subject experts. When I joined my selective school, there were already 13 staff with PhDs. I ended up completing one myself, to support my leadership progression. This was not unusual, and and yes lots of work. Teachers in selective schools don’t have it completely easy. It is a challenging job in different ways to non-selective. The amount of marking can be immense as can be the level of extra-curricular involvement of staff.

Many teachers in selective schools know that they could be in leadership roles earning much more in other schools but instead choose to work in selective communities where they are highly supported and valued by all. I can’t help feeling that this is a loss of skill.

In selective counties, if you want to teach A Level in many facilitating subjects with good class sizes and outcomes, you must work in a grammar school. It comes with considerable pressure, however, to help students secure Russell Group and Oxbridge places. It’s hard work!

In grammar schools, there is a self assuredness. Often far less bureaucracy and naval gazing. No worry about being put in category. Almost guaranteed strong progress. Parents that tend to support come what may and children that arrive with a strong learning habits. So, the secret of success of selective schools is their very exclusivity, strong values, academic rigor, and confidence to ignore the viccistudes of the inspection system or teaching fashions. Tradition is their friend.

Does that mean I support grammar schools? As a father, yes, but as a headteacher of a non-selective, no. If I were creating a system from scratch, I think comprehensive education is ideal. Yet, if you want your child to do well, grammars can also offer huge opportunities.


11+ Refuser

December 15, 2022

This story, at first glance, makes me sound like a hypocrite. Why? Because my older child scraped a pass in the 11+ and went on to get a first in Maths from a very competitive entry university. Despite the fact that her village primary school consistently produces just 10-15% 11+ successes. (And that’s a high result for a primary in this county!)

However, my older daughter spent the next seven years driving herself to prove she was as good as her peers – which wasn’t good for her mental health. Her amazing Grades at GCSE and A level don’t tell the whole truth about her experience of selective education. She says she “hated” most of her school experience especially the sixth form, which she had hoped would be an improvement. All teachers were interested in, she believed, were high grades. Now 24, and into a career, she is still working out how to create a liveable work-life balance.

Another part of this story concerns my other child – the 11+ refuser. She told us, aged 9, that she wouldn’t be taking the test. She encouraged several of her friends to refuse also.

As we live near a county which is non-selective and her year had fewer students in it, she went to a comprehensive (not her catchment secondary modern). Like her sister, she worked hard, and got an excellent degree from a competitive entry university. However, she was surrounded at her university by people from selective schools, either private or state grammars. Her close friends refused to believe she had been to a comprehensive; but she didn’t tell most people because there were judgemental remarks about comprehensive schools.

Why didn’t I consider our local secondary modern school? Because the opportunities are much better at the comprehensive in the next door county – a better range of subjects, lower staff turnover, better extra-curricular offer, more consistent homework policy, and yes, better exam results. Everyone is at a true comprehensive: students aiming for Oxbridge and students aiming for apprenticeships. It’s not a perfect school by any means, but staff showed they cared about my younger daughter, no teacher ever set limits on her achievements and she had until she was 18 to prove herself (better than taking a test at age 10 – the true age of most 11+ takers)

I used to be a secondary school teacher, mostly in comprehensives, but more recently, supply teaching in secondaries and grammars in the selective county where I live. I taught English, a subject everyone takes. And this is the truth: there are bright, academically able students in every type of school and there are hard workers too. The biggest differences? Grammar school parents pay for more private tuition (GCSE and A level) and expectations are generally higher at grammars from staff, from parents and from students themselves. In other words, there is a lot of social manipulation and paying towards higher grades. If a child is perceived as “one of the brighter ones”, they’ll often achieve more on average. Then there are the more generous grammar school teacher assessments – included in coursework for various subjects at A level. Add the fact that grammars have a lower staff turnover and don’t forget that grammars are “pickier” about who gets to take certain A levels (skewing their statistics).

If I hadn’t learned all this from teaching, I could have simply observed it in my own daughters’ experiences.

The 11+ does damage even to many who pass it – because it leaves a legacy of handling any challenge through hyper-conscientiousness. It does damage to those who fail or who are too terrified to take it, because they carry with them a feeling of exclusion from an elite within their peer group.

Anxiety about the 11+ starts very early. 5 or 6 year olds hear parents say “Blue table children are seen as 11+ passes” etc

My younger daughter was never on “blue table” and she worried about that like hell. At the age of 5.

My daughters were relatively lucky but I’ve seen too many children in tears in this village and I’ve heard too many parents uphold the myth that grammars are “where they want to work hard”.

It’s a system that doesn’t select the most able children and doesn’t indicate achievement at 16,18 or beyond. It isn’t helping lower income families because too many grammar places go to children from private preps. It favours boys over girls because they score lower but there is an even number of places for boys and girls.

It’s damaging nonsense.

Parent and ex-Teacher, Bucks

The school is left with the ones that couldn't afford tutoring and the ones who have failed

December 15, 2022

I live in Totnes and the 11+ is BIG round here. My son is about to start the local comprehensive secondary school, as we decided not to tutor him for the test. Yet all of his friends did the test and passed. It’s hugely sad and disappointing that the local community of schooling from 11 years and upwards is split up like this here. The grammar school is a half hour bus ride out of Totnes, so it’s not even local. The local school is left with the ones that couldn’t afford tutoring and the ones who have failed. Very very sad.

Totnes parent

The eleven plus is a damaging and divisive process

December 12, 2022

John Prescott in his biography “Fighting Talk” outlines how failing the eleven-plus “gave him a great sense of failure”. Like John Prescott I also failed my eleven-plus. For many of us who did so that early judgement that we were not bright enough to have academic aspirations was immensely damaging. Self-expectations were lowered and self-esteem battered. Reading his biography it is very easy to empathise with the recurring theme that the “scarring experience” of being labelled an educational failure at eleven sticks with you for life. It certainly took me several decades to rid myself of the belief I was not bright enough to succeed in my chosen career. I could be in a room of fellow professionals and never feel I fully belonged. I had failed the selection criterion at eleven and therefore must have had a lesser intellect than others in the room.

I still remember from my school days those pupils in my class brighter than me whose parents could not afford to fund them in further education, as mine could. They did not have the second chance I had – they had to suffer the provision on offer as their only chance in education. That some fifty years on still strikes me as ability stifled by the flaws of selection.

I also recall that in the top set of my secondary modern the girls seemed so much brighter than the boys. Why was that? There were two single sex grammar schools in the area and it was rumoured to ensure balance of numbers that the pass mark for girls was set higher than the pass mark for boys. I cannot prove or disprove this, this was vey much the era of Jim Callaghan’s “educational secret garden.” However, my personal observations would suggest some credibility to this belief. If so how fair a system was it on those girls who had a secondary modern education even though their eleven plus marks might have been better than boys who were selected?

On the issue of social mobility I genuinely wonder just how much time those grammar school advocates have spent trying to seek the viewpoint of those who could offer a first-hand insight into the adverse impact of selection and a secondary modern education? Do they, even momentarily, reflect that maybe the reason they do not hear many counter arguments to their viewpoint might be because most of those who had a secondary modern education never had the remotest hope of moving in their social circles because of the selective system they so eagerly advocate?

Frankly the myth of grammar schools and selection being a tool for social mobility needs to be quashed at every opportunity. The demise of grammar schools in the 1960’s and 1970’s stemmed from a public sense that the process was damaging to too many young people. Educators who strive for greater fairness for all students now need to do everything within our collective power to remind people that these very same arguments still hold strong today.

Chair of Governors and retired headteacher

Failing the 11 Plus still hurts

December 12, 2022

I will never forget 55 years ago when I failed the 11 Plus. It was degrading and those that failed knew it was the end of their school life. Child abuse.

I made it. I worked and gained an Open University BA Degree. I taught for 40 Years, 4 years as Deputy Head and now in my second year as Head. My 46 year career finishes in Summer 2023. But failing the 11 Plus still hurts.


Psychological damage

December 10, 2022

It is no exaggeration to say that the aftermath of the 11 plus exam left me psychologically damaged, and set a chain of events in motion that led me to being diagnosed with depression in my late 20s.

Although I went to university and gained a degree in Computer Science from which I’ve managed to carve a decent career, I am now in my late 40s and this injustice is still one that hangs over me to some extent, even to this day.

My experience of the test and the grammar school system that went with it, was that it was divisive and came with a distasteful attitude of elitism. At the time, I took my failure to pass the test as a body blow, as I felt it was passing judgement on my entire primary school career. I very much felt that “the system” was out to “put me in my place”.

I do believe very much in excellent schools for all, and teaching to the ability of every child so that they can reach their maximum potential, however in my opinion the 11 plus and the grammar school system was never the way to achieve that, and in my lifetime I would like to see it scrapped.

Former pupil in grammar school system

Selection by economics

December 8, 2022

I live in a county with grammar schools and have children. It’s selection by economics. We have money for tutoring, which means doing well at the 11 plus and grammar school. Also there are a large amount of private primary schools which are geared towards sending children onto grammars after.


Failing 11 plus could have ruined my life

December 2, 2022

In 1953 or 4, without any warning my Junior school presented me with a test. I had no idea what it was for. Later that year my parents received a letter telling them I had failed the 11+ and would go to the local Secondary Modern. When I was 13 a teacher came into my class and told me that I was now able to change to one of the new Technical Schools. I was asked to decide there and then. Naturally I refused to move, what did I know.

There was no such thing as GSCEs for us thickos. At 15 we were on our own. If you didn’t want to work in a factory the services were the only real option. Fortunately the Royal Navy took me as an electrical mechanic. In those days the training in theory and practice was first class. I had signed up for 9 years but the time didn’t start till I was 18. Nearly twelve years later I left the Navy the year before the Open University started. Now just a few months from my 80th birthday I have an BA Hons in Maths and one in Philosophy from the OU. I have an MA with distinction in Philosophy and Society from Manchester University . I recently learned to play the clarinet and play in the local amateur orchestra. I have chaired and been on the boards of several charities. I have had a good and productive working life and was able to retire early at 58. But for chance it could have been so different.

The 11 plus is divisive and grossly unfair. The whole idea of enforced selection is demeaning and wastes talents for the country. Education is manifestly the key to the future prosperity of this country and to fulfilment in the potential of its people. Yet those people who drive the National Curriculum seem to have no idea what is required for a good all round and balanced education

Fortunately I now live in Scotland with no selective state schools.


11+ Failure 1950s

December 2, 2022

I was at an excellent private school in the 1950s. We were trained for the secondary school and also for the London area 11+. Because we lived in Middlesex I had to take their particular 11+ which was very different, and I only had about 3 sessions of private coaching. I passed the exam for the school but failed the 11+ so my parents had to pay the fees for this secondary school.

I lost all confidence in myself and only managed 4 O-levels in less important subjects i.e. not maths!

For countless years this early trauma affected my life so badly.

Grandparent from Kenton, Harrow, although my experience was in what is now Barnet, in the 1950s.

My 11+ 'failure' is thriving at comprehensive school

November 24, 2022

My son has just received three 9s, five 8s and two 6s (in English, his tricky subject) at GCSE, and has been to Oxford Uni for a look around . He could have applied to grammar school for sixth form but chose to stay at the comprehensive that has supported him so well. Here’s what I wrote six years ago just after he’d failed his 11+…

“I’m very much aware that my comfortable middle-class lifestyle owes much to the fact that my parents sat the 11+ in 1951 and passed. In 1979 and 1981 respectively, my brother and I followed suit. What we all had in common was that apart from Granny making Dad wear his best corduroy suit, nobody was prepped in any way for the exam — we just went and did it. Not everyone in our family passed though, and the difference in life outcomes for my aunts and uncles, and their children and grandchildren, was and is dramatic.

“My husband was educated comprehensively in his home country, and he has always wondered whether a grammar-style education would have given him that extra push. Not that he’s done badly, but you can’t help wondering, can you? That’s why I let him persuade me to enter our son for the 11+. One thing we did agree on though was that he wouldn’t be tutored. We felt it was too much pressure at his age, but it does seem to be very difficult to pass without it these days.

“Our son was put on the gifted and talented list (‘G&T’ as my step-mother calls it) for maths in year 1. He is passionate about maths and science and his ambition is to be an astrophysicist. He’s not so passionate about English though. Despite my protestations that people like Brian Cox need to be able present their ideas clearly and convincingly, he still struggles to see the point.

“That’s why it’s so difficult to choose the ‘right’ school for him. Do we send him to a grammar school where he’ll be able to pursue his passion for maths, but where English is always going to be a struggle? Or do we send him to a non-selective school where he’ll get the English support he needs but may not reach his full potential with the maths? (UPDATE: he did)

“Well last Friday, our dilemma was solved because we received his 11+ results. I refuse to use the ‘f’ word, so instead I’ll just say that he didn’t pass. His maths and non-verbal reasoning were good, but the verbal reasoning score was a full 30 points lower. There doesn’t seem any point in appealing — we do feel he’d struggle in a grammar school and we are lucky to have a good comprehensive just around the corner from us (we live in a non-selective authority which borders a selective one). He is a resilient child and we are confident he will do well.

“He is a great example, however, of the kind of child that could slip completely through the gaps in an all-or-nothing grammar / secondary modern system, like my cousin who was brilliant at maths but wasn’t even offered the chance to sit the ‘O’ level — the only option was the CSE.

“Every year, our local comprehensive sends a couple of pupils to Oxbridge, and a greater number to other Russell Group universities. We’re not happy that our son has had to face disappointment at such a young age, but we do feel relieved that the dazzling and confusing array of choices we faced has been narrowed down to one good school that will take him as far as he wants to go. Imagine if all families had a school like this on their doorsteps — children could go back to being children again, instead of spending their evenings and weekends being hot-housed for an exam that statistically, they’re more likely to fail than pass.”

Parent from Berkshire

Transfer test in NI

November 20, 2022

I witnessed somethings that were heartbreaking. I was waiting with all other parents for our kids to come out and one girls in floods tears came out first looking for her mum. It’s just awful.


The transfer test

November 20, 2022

My son did his GL last week. He was anxious but managed to go in and do it. A little girl that went in before him turned at the door and ran out to her parent crying. I was heartbroken for them.

NI mum

It's not alright for everyone

November 20, 2022

We rocked up to the exam hall, my son was anxious but smiling – it will be what it will be. As I walk back I meet a girl standing by her mother, half way up, totally paralysed with fear. I rub her shoulders to cheer her up. “She worked so hard for this,” said her mum. This is state-sponsored child abuse.

Ulster mum

International Child

November 18, 2022

My two children were top of their class in the US. Upon arriving in the UK, they were not able to get in to a grammar school. Every school in our area had a several year long wait list. General education schools also all had wait lists. The kids were placed in schools 45 minute drive from each other and a minimum of 25 minute drive from our house. Also, they were denied education for 4 weeks as we fought with every school to get a slot and were denied at every turn. English schools do not care about children. They care about their antiquated rules. We switched to private and had to take out of our retirement savings. I can see now how England is the worst performing country of the top 7.


Sophistry at it's worst

November 8, 2022

Like many people I was bought up to think 11+ was sign of intelligence and educational ability. I had ambitious parents that had been to grammar school and had high expectations of their children’s academic ability. It was a deep blow when I failed my 11+ in 1969 at a Kent primary school and pressured myself to get ‘A’ levels and enter higher education with the expectation and reality that I would get weak grades.

I recently found an online newspaper article discussing if adults would pass the 11+ and had a sample of 14 questions. I was dumbfounded that without much effort I was able to get 11 out of 14 correct, that’s 78.57% and missed one because I forgot to put the answer in. Looking at Kent’s pass mark (332/423 or 78.48%) I would have passed the test.

What struck about the test is what it was looking for was straight forward and probably within the reach of most 11 year olds. The main problem I had was trying to understand the question, I found them to be convoluted or awkward to understand. On closer inspection many of the questions had fundamental flaws. For example one question was aiming to disguise some simple factoring to help solve a multiplication problem but the poor choice of answers meant it could be solved easily by multiplying one of the numbers by a 100 (mathematical approximation).

The only reason I was able to pass the test in my sixties is because I have had a lifetime of dealing with idiots.

West Kent county pupil. Failed 11+ in 1969

How is it fair?

November 7, 2022

I remember doing my 11-plus – I’d never even seen an IQ test before which made it much harder. I remember the kids with rich parents had been tutored for months. These mistakes I won’t repeat with my children, but how is this fair on the children without these resources?


Getting 11+ results

November 2, 2022

I took my 11+ in a junior school in Canterbury (around 1975). Students who passed received their results in white envelopes with first class stamps. Students who failed received their results in a brown envelope with a second class stamp.

This has shaped my view of education and has been a driving force in my career which led me to be a Principal of a Sixth Form College and then CEO of a (small) Multi Academy Trust.

Recently retired CEO of a small Multi Academy Trust

Naturally intelligent isn't enough to pass 11 + for this flawed system

October 27, 2022

My child just sat its SET exam for Sutton 11 plus and failed by a mark in the common entrance test. We went to the grammar open mornings and the heads of the schools insisted that no tuition was required. We felt relieved and assumed there will be a way they will really find the difference between a well, methodically coached child and a spontaneously intelligent child, however with the results, we realized that it’s not the case.

It has changed the way my child looks at her and her confidence level has been severely knocked down. As a parent with two children, I found it extremely hard to spend so much money on tutoring to get in to grammar school. In my personal opinion, we should offer a equal education to everyone and it’s up to the children to make their way up than just segregating based on the tutored knowledge at the age of 10. This system is flawed and should be changed.

This has had a tremendous amount of pressure, grief and sense of failure in all of us and feel like its stripped our happiness for the year to come until the offer day.


Wasted years

October 26, 2022

When I was halfway through the first year at my infants’ school I already realized that I was not keeping up with my peer group. (At 35 years of age I discovered that I was dyslexic and had an IQ of 135 – 140. The BMJ gave a report into cognitive word blindness in 1897 What was my local LEA doing? )

When I was seven years of age I heard a radio programme where the speaker said that light bends when it passes massive objects: I was thinking about the cause of light waves being bent when I noticed :-

1. The apparent bent shape of a knife in a glass jug of water.

2. A smear of fat on a piece of grease proof paper.

3. An aircraft leaving vapour trails in the sky.

I wondered if a star could leave some sort of smear in the sky and light was being bent in the same way that the image of the knife in the jug was: not bad considering that as I have stated above I was only seven years of age.

When I was at my junior school I missed several weeks schooling due to pneumonia, when I got back to school a lady who I didn’t know ( I later found she was Mrs. Bradley from Wiltshire County Council Educational Support ) said open your pattern books and get on with your tests, as I didn’t have a clue as to what I was supposed to do I put my hand up seeking help, the Mrs. Bradley repeatedly told me to put my hand down and get on with the test. A few days later I was told that I had failed the test, at the age of eight I was told that .I had to leave that class immediately and make my way to the main school premises about two thirds of a mile away. I had only a vague idea where the main school buildings were and after an hour of knocking on house doors I was eventually spotted by a teacher.

The school had two remedial classes and I ended up in one of them: shortly afterwards the newly appointed headmaster changed the remedial classes into a B stream and made the remainder into an A stream; at the same time he stopped educational trips for the remedial classes and diverted educational support funds for the remedial classes into buying mock 11 Plus study books for the A stream

In the final year when we should be cramming for the 11 Plus:-

A. My class was visiting old age pensioners and putting on plays for their entertainment.

B. The headmaster told the boys in our class to come to school in dungarees or other old clothes, we expected something interesting, oh yes it was, he wanted us boys to shovel the best part of a ton and a half of coke down into the boiler room, we told him what he could do with his coke.

In due course I failed the 11 Plus, when the head master came into my class he said he would place his hand on the shoulder of the one boy or girl who had passed part 1 of the 11 Plus, he came up to each pupil, some more than once until he eventually placed his hand on the shoulder of the one pupil out of about 45 to pass part 1. ( for the record, my elder brother had earlier passed his 11 Plus and my twin sister sailed through her 11 Plus.)

Long after I failed the 11 Plus I discovered my headmaster should have informed my parents that they had the right of appeal over the result leading to a possible resit but with my class putting on plays for the old age pensioners we were on a hiding for nothing.

When I entered the local secondary modern, being separated from my brother and sister and school chums that I knew from the junior school I felt devastated, after some 64 years later the acute feeling of loss is still very apparent in my life.

At my secondary school I remember a physics book which stated that radio waves travelled through the ether at 186,000 miles per second, it then went on to say that the ether was an invisible colourless gas pervading all the universe and was the medium that light etc. was transmitted by; a theory discounted by Michelson & Morley et. al.

Another book on optics showed a Zeppelin caught in the beam of a searchlight; both books were printed before 1920 but we were using them post 1957.

My secondary modern had a school allotment, us boys used to double dig the clay soil & dig in fresh manure and grow vegetables which went into the school kitchen where they were used for school dinners, we still paid the same amount for our school dinners that Grammar School pupils paid and bearing in mind that we had helped grow the vegetables whereas the grammar school pupils did nothing to produce their meals. We often used herbicides and insecticides which were probably poisonous What else do you expect from Wiltshire County Council?

Another grievance was that in our school the cloak rooms were unlit, unheated outside with the boys’ urinals out in the open whereas the grammar school had warm lit indoor facilities.

My biggest grievance of all is that the parents of secondary modern school pupils were required by law to pay the same amount of progressive taxation compared to the parents of grammar school pupils, but the secondary modern capitation was on average less than half that of grammar school pupils, thus parents of Secondary Modern pupils are forced to subsidize the education of Grammar school pupils.

I think that it will be many more years before the damage caused by selective education will disappear from England & Wales; in Scotland it is so different, you are an old pupil of the local academy irrespective of whatever job or profession you eventually enter.

Several years ago I found my secondary modern school cap badge, I then picked up the cap badge and I had a deep feeling of revulsion and disgust , I threw it down in the dustbin, it for me was like a black person in post apartheid South Africa throwing away his hated pass card, and I became free!

Thank God for laptops, spell checkers and voice writers.

For twelve years I was a Governor at a local infants’ school where I took a deep interest in children who had learning difficulties.

Funding cuts in education are nothing new, there is a lot of talk about deprived inner city area and stupid TV programmes such as Escape To the County paint a rosy chocolate box image of the country and as soon as they arrive in the country they complain of farming sounds and smells. No if you are cutting from an initially high level that’s one thing but to start off with a grossly underfunded system that is another thing, I remember when we ran out of exercise books and we had to buy our own. Hot on the heels of the news about these spending cuts is the news that the government intends reintroducing grammar schools when many people, myself included thought that selective education was dead and buried. Selective education 11 Plus et al grew up out of the 1944 Education Act which introduced the 11 Plus Exam, Secondary Grammar, Secondary Technical and Secondary Modern Schools. The problem was that very few technical schools were created, no additional money was pumped into the school system and in the case of secondary Modern Schools the syllabus was more suited to the 1920s and not the 1940s heading into the 1950s, In not recognizing technological developments the drafters of the 1944 Education Act have caused an immense amount of damage still being felt today.

Former Pupil Wiltshire

Why not add your story?

This is an anonymous submission form.

This site is designed to give a voice to critics of the 11+ and selective school systems only. Supporters of the grammar school system have many other channels to share their views. Read more about our policy for publishing stories here, and our Privacy Policy here.