I have seen evidence of some very good comps in MK. Of those we visited, Walton High struck me as a fantastic school. Ofsted score was excellent (1) but that aside, we had a great impression from the HT, staff and pupils. The huge problem that MK suffers is that the very good schools are so over subscribed that they can't always accommodate catchment children, so there's little/no chance of anyone outside catchment being offered a place. Therefore, in order to obtain an education which would suit and challenge my DS, we were left in the rediculous situation of applying for a GS 16 miles away where we'd have a much greater chance of successfully acquiring a place than we would applying for a school just 4 miles down the road.
The range of standards across MK schools (in my humble opinion) is huge. Unfortunately we don't live within catchment of any of the better schools, and being the cynic that I am, I could see the council seeing the benefit of sending him to his local comp in order to raise their stats a little.
I believe children should be able to attend whichever school is best suited to their needs i.e. schools which specialise in special needs and which have a higher than average no of SENs on the role are surely likely to add greater value to the childrens' education than some other schools, as the teaching staff are better trained in this field. Equally with selective education, bright(er) children can be taught alongside equally able children, thus facilitating them to reach their true potential/add value.
As far as the stigma of failing the 11+, whether it's because we live in MK or not, but I see or hear nothing to suggest that one exists. Perhaps it's more of a throw-back from the days when 11+ was widespread - and heaven forbid in these PC days we should ever allow our children to be competitive or risk having to adapt if the dream is not quite attainable.
Or crikey don't get me started on all that... OK soap box has quickly been put away