If social mobility relied on grammars, it would be at a standstill

17th July 2009 at 01:00
Letter to the editor

It is unfortunate that Stephen Pollard is so unfamiliar with the mass of research from the 1950s onwards that so undermines his argument that grammar schools represent the last hope for working-class pupils. The Crowther Report (1959) found that fewer than 10 per cent of the poorest quarter of the population - the equivalent of today's working class - attended grammar schools, and most left early. If he agrees that secondary modern schools failed, does he not recognise that parents simply would not tolerate their wholesale re-imposition? He also makes the elementary error, common to most right-wing commentators, of confusing comprehensive schools and mixed-ability teaching. I taught in, led and inspected comprehensive schools across England. Setting was the norm in all of them and school inspectors have confirmed this to be the case nationally.

Adrian Elliott, York.

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