Re: Kevigs â€˜Debateâ€™ (Louth Leader, 4 May 2010) & Admissions Policy Decision (Louth Leader, 11 May 2010)
Mr. Lascelles, headteacher of King Edward VI Grammar School, his sixth formers and those from Lincoln Minster should hang their heads in shame. Their debate was little more than a publicity stunt to detract from Kevigs wanting to change its admissions policy to attract bright pupils from affluent families from further afield. Itâ€™s not the abolition of Grammar Schools that needs debating, but rather, the abolition of the 11+. Every year children who havenâ€™t reached the required score are made to feel like failures. This can have profound, long-term effects on their self-confidence and aspirations. Able and talented youngsters are given the message that they should lower their sights and expect less of themselves. For them, transfer to secondary school does not start with excitement and optimism but with demoralisation. This should not happen in a society which values its children and wants all to achieve their best.
Furthermore, selection damages schools which donâ€™t select. Neighboring schools which take in children of all abilities and admit significant numbers of pupils who learn easily are well-placed to encourage high standards and aspirations for all. Selection distorts the intake of non-selective schools and makes their educational task much more difficult, particularly where children have lost confidence after failing the 11+.
Selection at 11 does not take developmental milestones into account, favours early bloomers and children whose parents can afford coaching. Grammar Schools have become little more than free independent schools for the middle-classes. In any other context their selection methods would amount to little more than child abuse.