Schools are going to be the key to our society’s long-term success if we want kids in 20 years and beyond to be able to compete on the global market,” said Dr. Michael Grover, Deputy President of New England University and former chair of public policy at Harvard. This inspiring story of education reform is one that you’ve probably heard before in headlines but could easily have missed amongst the sea of news articles. A return of grammar schools is a topic recently covered by numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has been given renewed energy thanks to Brexit.
As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, a grammar school is a type of secondary school. It’s associated with a selective university entrance based on academic achievement. Grammar schools are traditionally single-sex schools and only admit students who have performed well in an exam known as the eleven plus; this determines whether they can be accepted into the grammar school or if they have instead to attend a secondary modern, which is based on the ability. Grammar schools were historically seen as entry points for prospective employees of the local companies, but their purpose has shifted towards more of a focus on performance-based education.
There are no longer any grammar schools, and there are currently around 100 private grammar schools, which is where the demand for them to return is coming from. The initial theory behind the decline of grammar schools was that it was due to their lack of diversity in terms of pupils and their lack of social mobility, but supporters have long contested this. “Those who thought more socially suitable brawling and rolling on the playground did not work had a look at their children.”
The return of grammar schools would be a positive step towards school reform. It would better support education inequalities while producing more diverse and talented people within our society. With the necessary measures in place, this could be a successful project and lead toward a more open and democratic society.
Schools in England are currently undergoing an extreme form of selective education, leaving only a few students deemed to be ‘able’ with the potential to succeed. This leaves little room for those who aren’t ‘able’ or can’t fit into this mold to have an equal chance of success.
The return of grammar schools would provide more significant opportunities for most students and benefit those on the outskirts of society. Through the recent inclusion of School Tennis at the top level of competition, we have seen increased diversity among sports players.
In conclusion, the return of grammar schools would be a positive step towards increasing school diversity and will ensure all children are given the necessary support to succeed.
Grammar schools are needed now more than ever in order for our future generations to prosper and flourish, which will, in return, benefit not just our economy but also our general well-being.