Completely agree with you Automaton.
I think most people would agree that the current entrance exam process requiring months of practice and (more often than not) private tutors is completely unfair. But maybe it suits the grammars to maintain this style of testing? Using the rigour of a one-day test you need to practice for, perhaps
the schools are more likely
to fill their places with those from more prosperous and educated families who are more likely
to support their children’s ongoing education. The children in turn are more likely
to be hard-working and academically disciplined, having demonstrated they can put their minds to this level of sustained practice at the ages of 9 and 10.
Also, maybe the kids who can put in 5-6 hours a day during the summer holidays
are showing rigorous levels of determination, patience and powers of concentration, all of which I would have thought were suitable qualities for a grammar school pupil (?). I could barely get my DD to sit down for one ten minute test per day or every other through the holidays so I’m kind of full of an amazed admiration for that….
Whether we agree with the grammar school system or not, we have all bought into it for one reason or another. I admit to having had regrets about choosing to do it along the way, but it would be a much more strongly prinicpled person that me to reject the process for ethical reasons. We don’t seem to have the same level of competitiveness that exists in other boroughs but maybe it’s heading that way?