Grammar Schools are the fairest public education system


By Tim Bodey, Second Year History

Education should be provided for all in an inclusive way. Comprehensive schools are failing to do this and grammar schools are the answer.

Our problem arises from the classic assumption that people are the same and they should have the same end goal.

It is seldom heard in high school that people love working. However, the societal pressure to attend university means that 37 per cent of 18 year olds applied to begin higher education in the September just gone.

The University environment should be high pressure with intense academia being carried out. However, because of the mass of less academic attendees, the environment is much more relaxed.

If we have a broken university system, what went wrong?

It all begins at education.

Comprehensive schools, otherwise known as non-selective state schools, aim to include all and therefore tell people that they are all the same. This eliminates the difference which makes us thrive. In trying to make children uniform, comprehensive schools provide sloppy, mass-level education that is useless for one child and dull for another.

State comprehensives are a by-word for poor education.

In my area, according to the government post code school search tool, the bottom 20 schools - bar one private institute - are all state comprehensives. There are no grammar schools rated among the bottom 20, despite there being three in the top twenty, with mostly private schools for company.

The comprehensive system creates poor schools, and a solution is clearly to divide students between academic and vocational schools, based on their ability.

Surely it would be better to tailor the education to the child? Grammar schools provide this answer - a space for those who thrive from academic challenge to be provided with it.

The classical objection is that this could brand a child based on one exam, which has been the case previously. However, I would not advocate a single exam system. Rather, to best educate children for the world of work and academia, I would push for frequent tests that monitor a child’s progress, so that if they consistently demonstrate that they do not fit in at their school there could be a route to change.

New grammar schools and comprehensive schools should not be treated as good options and bad options, but two good schools that are targeted at different people. Both should have aspects of each other’s curriculum but with very different focuses.

We also must ensure that both school types provide solid paths to careers in whatever sector is appropriate. It cannot be an option of good education or no education: that would be unacceptable. I would aim for careers that people will be good at, and trained for from an early age.

Surely, by thinking about the individual in education, we can improve everyone's opportunities. Far from treating everyone as the same, grammar schools ensure our society will thrive.

Featured image: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez

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