The Sixties secondary modern routinely denied opportunities taken for granted by today's children. For girls especially, dreams of advancement usually ended in the typing pool or on the shop-floor. Channel 4's attempt to recreate "modern" life in the days of the Fab Four (page 5) may pose pertinent questions about today's exam-obsessed system and a lack of suitable vocational education. But secondary moderns are best left where they are - in the dustbin of history.
Ask anyone who grew up in the 1960s and they will probably know someone whose aspirations were damaged by secondary moderns. While the "brightest" 20 per cent went to well-resourced grammars, the rest were consigned to secondary modern or technical schools. As 11-plus "failures", they typically were taught by less qualified staff, in inferior buildings and with fewer resources. Unsurprisingly, most left school with no qualifications.
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