UK Education Secretary, Justine Greening, is currently selling ‘new lamps for old’ as she touts around the joys of grammar schools!
We are given to believe they will be accessible to the poorest levels of society. An e-mail comment from a member of the public which was read out on TV concerning this subject, inferred that the sender had holes in his shoes as a child, but made it to Grammar School – as if that feature was a saintly tautology of the other fact.
The truth was best expressed by a different email where someone related that they came from a limited background, (encapsulated term to facilitate the point herein), but made it to Grammar School. They were told of the low percentage for their area and circumstances being about 5% out of 100% but they were not pleased to consider that meant roughly 95% did not make it. They inferred that did not seem morally right to them, and it is not.
Even writing the words ‘Grammar School’, seem to command usage of capital letters rather than ‘grammar school’. As would eton or harrow, oxford and cambridge – like letters standing just in literary underwear (grin).
What is it about people who attended Grammar Schools which makes them impose such replications on others?
The Eleven-Plus Exam (back in the 1960s) was divisive and even today, pensioners relate how it felt when they failed. Some still cannot understand examples when they see references or question examples to this day.
Rubber stamping Failure or Rejection metaphorically on the forehead of a child who fails such a test, is both disgusting and discriminatory.
I know a few people who failed and they relate recalling that they felt as if they had let their parents down, yet in later life, a few of them studied after work for years and obtained Degrees and other certifications, but still join with those who cannot understand parts of the Eleven-Plus Exam now. The others who had failed the Eleven-Plus were successful in professional fields, some even moreso than their Grammar School equivalents.
Tutoring for an exam also disproves its whole point, surely, thus making the whole exercise redundant.
Then today, via the internet, students can buy submissions for tutorials, guaranteed passes at varying grades, and for a host of examinations. Perhaps there may be leaks regarding exam questions which will then become the equivalent of a visa to gain admittance to a Grammar School.
In the bad old days of the Eleven-Plus, many children suffered taunts (even from siblings) if one family member made it through the exam whilst another did not. It led to parents bragging about one child to friends, whilst apologising for the other, if they were even mentioned within the same conversation at all.
Exams for younger children are on the cards and/or presently being initiated. What is it with all these levels of segregation? It does not bode well, and inevitably engenders fodder for conspiracy theorists as to what is really going on in these matters.
How does one value children with comparison one to the other – akin to apples and pears. Why is this required?
Schools should be inclusive and within each school, classes smaller, thus enabling teachers, thereby, to have a responsibility (and opportunity), in ascertaining the gifts, talents or aptitudes of each child, and accommodate the same. Isn’t that the same supposed aim of the Grammar School concept, when it is in its ‘production line’ tin, which bears the flashy label that reads ‘Deckle Edged’ Education?
It would be interesting to do a study and discover how brain surgeons, airline pilots, etc, made their way to each vocation as some achieve such careers via circuitous routes, negating the whole remit or raison d’etre of the hallowed Grammar Schools. What is harder to determine is how many children could or would have been in vocations for which they had a talent or aptitude, if it had not been for the sabotage of a divisive exam.
How many parents will be opting for home schooling for their children soon I wonder? It certainly eliminates so many problems, including taking holidays when the family wants to enjoy them, limiting hours of schooling, negating bias within teaching, unwanted religious doctrines and assembly times, playground issues such as opportunities for bullying, potential opportunities to be approached by someone trying to introduce a child to drugs or porn, etc, etc.
Under the laws of discrimination, mental and emotional, not to mention psychological implications, it is incredulous why this fetish for Grammar Schools has not been challenged within a legal environment.
Surely the Labour Party can come together concerning this issue, as Grammar Schools have long since exceeded their sell-by date in the world of exclusivity for the privileged or token also-rans.
They are a product which remains bad for one’s health, and many think they are socially disgusting, and are no more than segregated educational centres where the teachers all wear metaphorical dickie bow ties – the precursor to the right club tie for future success!
Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine