Let councils pick their grammar

31st March 2000 at 01:00
GRAMMAR schools by definition select pupils usually based on a flawed test taken by 10-year-olds. Most people who take the test are judged to have failed. No one would use a driving test in the same way ie writing people off who failed as being incapable of driving a car.

Supporters of grammars talk about how many pupils cannot cope with an academic curriculum. What that is supposed to mean is not clear but Shakespeare and Verdi did not write for a few: their works were enjoyed and understood by the masses.

The Government decided for tactical reasons to allow local parents to decide the future of grammar schools where they still exist. Ministers then allowed a complicated set of rules and regulations to be drawn p which makes it more difficult for local parents to achieve their aim of ending selection.

The Labour party - supported by many Conservatives and Liberal Democrats - needs to find a way of ending selection at secondary level. Otherwise standards will remain lower in those areas which practise it. One way would be to allow local government to decide this issue. That is how selection was ended in most of the country. Alternatively, the Government could introduce legislation itself.

The present situation is unacceptable to all educationists, most parents and above all for all the pupils who are deemed failures at 11.

Graham Lane

Local Government Association

10 Humberstone Road, London E13

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