Talk does not stop iniquities

9th April 2004 at 01:00
If the equivalent of 46 new grammars have opened, the equivalent of 138 secondary modern schools have also opened.

Despite the wealth of evidence in this country and other European countries that selective systems of education simply do not work, the Labour Government, despite protestations of equal opportunities, has done nothing to bring an end to the iniquities of the 11-plus.

Schools minister David Miliband can rest easy. If he lived in a selective local education authority he would never get to cast a vote as the petition and ballot regulations are unworkable. Moreover, should parents ever get to vote in selective LEAs the process and consequences of the 11-plus procedure tend to be mired in secrecy resulting in parents remaining ill-informed of the cost and consequences (especially for the "un-selected").

In Kent, we have just seen the scenes of triumph and despair played out in primary schools as the 11-plus results are known. Children's sense of self-worth dashed or promoted; their sense of their own ability crushed or enhanced. Year in year out the Government lets this continue and appears to be presiding over the expansion of such a nightmare system.

Rebecca Matthews Chair, Kent STEP (Stop The Eleven Plus) 123 Tonbridge Road Maidstone, Kent

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