IT IS VERY interesting that in the Street Survey feature in last week’s edition of this newspaper, all five of those asked about their views on the subject were supportive of the process of selection for secondary education at 11 years.
It may be that the choice of interviewees might not satisfy the rigorous criteria laid down by MORI or Gallup, but usually the Bucks Free polls present a wider spectrum of opinion than were seen on this occasion. This would seem to indicate that the majority of residents are broadly supportive of the current system of grammar schools and upper schools in Bucks.
I am a great believer in the message (if not the grammar) of the adage ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. We are lucky in our county that we have excellent schools of both types, each with different challenges and each doing a really good job. I believe I am perhaps in a position to judge better than some because two of my daughters attended a local grammar school and two a local upper school. I genuinely believe that all four of them did better at the school they attended than they would have done had they attended the other school.
The pressure that is allegedly put on children during the 11+ selection process is entirely attributable to the expectation and desires of others, whether that be parents who, entirely wrongly, think of non-selection for grammar school as a ‘failure’ of some kind, or some primary schools who are painfully aware how their perceived failure to squeeze children through to grammar schools will be seen by prospective parents.
Some might consider me a bad or perhaps unambitious parent, I suspect, because I wanted my girls to be educated in an environment that best suited them when they were at that age.
Streaming happens in every school all the time. All the Bucks system does is provide wider opportunities for managing that streaming.
I would take issue therefore with the publication of tables in this paper last week headed The 11 Plus Pass Rate, because the implication is inevitably that those who did not pass – failed.
And that is not the case. I don’t blame the Bucks Free because that is the way the majority think of the selection process, but perhaps in the future we could talk about The Secondary School Selection Process? Please?