Sentiment for the past …

… is no substitute for an education policy.
Plenty of people coming out to oppose more grammar schools and more faith schools.

Happened upon a Notts TV’s debates of the week programme last week, and they had a section on grammar schools.
Clever points from former Conservative MP and ex-grammar schoolboy Martin Brandon-Bravo about the education reforms of the Labour Gov’t on 1945; no mention of how Conservative councils such as Essex County led their removal when they realised far more kids were capable of achieving at O-level than grammar schools could cope with. And of course, the programme to remove them nationally was backed up in the seventies by that Education Secretary, Margaret Thatcher.
Brandon-Bravo then berated the late Fred Riddell, who was Chair of Notts Education committee, but Fred grasped some big issues in a very distinctive way – using value-added to demonstrate the role of poverty, gender and race in attainment, driving at understanding child development, and pushing things like arts (Notts kids were performing at Edinburgh).
All way beyond notions of testing and segregating kids at 11 on the basis of intelligence tests.

Anecdotes from the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s, and exhortations to try harder, ignore the progress we’ve made in how to teach well and in understanding child developement. Meanwhile, condemning teachers for deigning to teach children from more challenging backgrounds seems a remarkably stupid approach – and yes, it’s proving counter-productive.
Indeed, I’m often surpised at the nonsense that comes from pundits who claim to have benefitted from a grammar school education, but don’t seem to want to learn about all we’ve learnt about education since they left school.
Hey, ** success for all **.

I suppose it’s natural to be sentimental about the school you went to, but I am pleased that my grammar school became a sixth form centre for the whole town.  “It’s better this way – more just.
Still, amazing school bus, eh?

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