As the UK’s education system faces challenges and controversies at all levels, the most heated debate has been argued on the Common Entrance Exams and expansion of Grammar Schools. As Teresa May pushed to allow new selective schools to open and existing schools to turn into grammar schools, the political debate surrounding this arose strong opinions from all sides.
The Grammar Schools and Exams Debate
Over the past few years, many articles have surfaced regarding this disagreement that seemed to have no end. Prominent newspapers such as the Telegraph and the Guardian have been highlighting some of the key issues in the political sphere surrounding education.
Although the 11+ exams would be removed, the 13+ exam would continue in these new schools, as May argued by that age students are old enough to know their academic path. She believed that selective schools should no longer be prevented from being established. Although this would have increased the number of students admitted to these selective schools, it overlooked an important point: what would have happened to those who are not selected? And what would become of the state schools, once stripped of these selected students? To what level would they deteriorate? The divide would have only widened, as those who were not admitted would have felt they had failed at a young age.
Contentious Nature of Schools
Grammar schools have been highly contentious for years, as they select the most academically high-performing pupils with their Common Entrance Exams at age 11 and 13. The argument that the expansion would have increased social mobility, posited by the Tory Party, was naïve and unfounded. As Alan Milburn, the government’s social mobility expert explained in the Guardian: increasing the number of grammar schools could have led to an increase of “us and them divide”.
Some Foreseeable Luck?
Luckily, over the summer it was made clear that the Grammar school expansion was abandoned. This was the Conservative Party’s most high profile proposed education reform, where a major source of funding was going to be placed. The government has not included any legislation in education for the foreseeable future to date.
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