Selection does not serve every child well

12th October 2012 at 01:00

Graham Brady's assertion, in arguing in favour of bringing back the selective grammar school system, that "children who go to a good high school simply do not feel that they have failed", is wrong ("Selective education can serve all pupils", Comment, 5 October).

I know of several former pupils who failed the 11-plus and have still not come to terms with that failure despite going on to have successful careers, not to mention pupils who failed the test after their siblings passed. He also seems to assume that anyone who failed would automatically have the chance to go to a good secondary school, which we all know is nonsense.

His apparent lack of understanding of the private sector shows through in his surprise that "even in sport and art" independent school pupils outshine state school students. The reason is simple: private schools advocate a broad curriculum with the central aim being to allow pupils to become well-rounded individuals.

In order to increase opportunities for pupils, we should be opening the private sector to everyone. We should be giving educational allowances to poor families that they can top up with bursaries, rather than cherry-picking pupils based on the question of who academics think are worthy of a good education. The real answer to this question: every single child.

David Hanson, Chief executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools.

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