Grammar school conflict is a tale of class and classrooms

11th December 2009 at 00:00

Beth Cavendish's letter about Kent grammar schools in last week's issue (December 4) is easily dealt with.

1. The reference to the 1950s is necessary because the grammar school lobby consistently refers to it as the golden age, when all working-class children apparently passed the 11-plus and went to Oxbridge.

2. The grammar school system isn't actually as good as the letter's author supposes. Clever young people do better at A-level in Hampshire's all-comprehensive and sixth-form college system than in Kent's selective, hierarchical one.

3. Kent's system is so hierarchical, not all grammars attain 99 per cent five A-C at GCSE.

4. But most importantly, the price for such grammar school success is paid for by the children of the underprivileged, who are compelled to attend Kent secondary modern schools. Kent has had, for decades, a long tail of schools that consistently perform worse than the worst inner-city comprehensives.

Dr Christopher Storr, Tunbridge Wells.

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