Grammar schools are shit.

Off for my 3 monthly check up yesterday and despite all the adverse publicity about our beloved health service I was seem almost straight away. A new doctor, who was one of the slickest with the camera down the nose, gave me the all clear and now I’m up to 4 monthly check ups. I also slept soundly the night before, testament to Alan the acupuncturist.

Want to fail in life? Then boost your chances significantly by being a child of poorer parents in Buckinghamshire. I’ve written about it many times but coming across a fulsome study by Nuala Burgess comparing and contrasting the education systems in the neighbouring, tory run, counties of Buckinghamshire and Hampshire: Tale-of-Two-Counties confirms my belief of the absolute crapness of selective education and of the 11+ and grammar schools in particular. I very much doubt any perusers of the blog will read the whole study, I’ve yet to finish, but even I was shocked and extremely saddened by new information. Nuala nicely combines quantitative and qualitative stuff, some of the personal testimonies being really powerful. In the educational, social and cultural backwater of Buckinghamshire parents and their progeny are exposed to an indefensible system on all levels except that of preserving class and privilege. Passing the 11+ is almost entirely predicated by how wealthy parents are and being able to afford private tutors to get their children to pass the test. They even have a grading system for the tutors and guess what? The higher they’re rated the more expensive they are. Not only are children subjected to evening and weekend cramming they’re sent off to be crammed in the holidays as well.

And so after all this cramming and pressure what effects might one expect?

“She was so
upset when she opened the
envelope ….and then girls that
used to be her friends, who’d
passed, started to form their
own group in the playground.
They lost interest in her. It was
awful…there were two distinct
groups in the playground: the
kids who’d passed and the ones who’d
failed…. and only 20 out of the 60 children
who took the test passed it. ”

Brilliant for social cohesion eh? But all is well as dominic grieve, tt mp for Beaconsfield, who supports expanfuckingspansion of the grammar school system as it “allows every child to go to a good school”……………………………

“A child living in Beaconsfield,
a town in his own constituency,
who fails the 11+,
has no chance of going to a
school rated as ‘Good’. All
three secondary moderns in
Beaconsfield have been rated
‘requires improvement’. They
are all in his constituency, and
yet he is capable of saying
the expansion of grammar
schools is a good policy
because it allows very child to
go to a good school! ”

Can’t even put it down to cognitive dissonance, it’s pure, lying propaganda. And then they have the sheer affrontery to insist that the ‘secondary moderns’ that the failures of the 11+ go to are called ‘comprehensives’, really is worthy of newspeak.

And you slip over the border to Hampshire, a totally comprehensive state system (there’s still the crapulous private schools) and it’s like a different country. Eric MacFarlane was head of a grammar school in Basingstoke, he became head of a comprehensive school when the county converted, he saw the light:

“Some of the grammar schools in those
days were arid institutions, over-occupied
with exam results, competition,
grooming and elites … all the stuff that
makes us mad. ”

This is what still happens with grammar school systems in counties like Buckinghamshire and Kent.

Think I’ll go to the annual old boys dinner at my old grammar school, Maidstone in Kent. Dress code is jacket and tie, chuckle, chuckle.

Image result for anti grammar schools cartoon

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.



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