Today’s grammar schools are for a bourgeois elite | Letter

In 1968, I was lucky to pass my 11-plus and benefited from a better funded and higher aspirational education than my contemporaries who went to secondary moderns. There wasn’t much opportunity, beyond a prep school education, to train for these exams. So in theory it was an equal opportunity for young people to get into grammar school (Editorial, 18 September). In reality, this was far from the case. As female students disproportionally scored higher, it was deemed acceptable to discriminate against them. Middle-class pupils were much more able to understand the questions. In short, it was middle-class access to privileged schooling.

But today’s grammar schools are more seriously inequitable: we no longer have a compulsory 11-plus exam in year 6. Coaching for entry to a grammar school starts in year 5, when parents have to decide if their child should do the entrance exam, which they have to pay for. If their child is successful, they will have to pay for expensive uniforms and potentially for transport to school. This can be as much as £1,000. This is privatisation of state schooling for those who can afford it.
Sarah James

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