Grammar schools continue to divide opinion. Supporters believe a grammar school education gives all children, regardless of social class, a passport to a good education and future. Detractors point out that grammar schools take very few pupils entitled to free school meals, and denounce them as elitist, divisive and damaging to the moral and esteem of children who feel themselves to be failures at the age of 11.
Moreover, many view grammar schools, which are primarily located in middle class areas, as the preserve of that class - with intensive private tuition and a house in a good area as precursors to entry.
The schools themselves are keen to dispel this view and ensure they attract the brightest children, rather than those best prepared to pass entrance exams. Many schools continually review their entry procedure and examination structure in an attempt to thwart attempts by parents to skew the system. Some, such as King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, now reserve up to 20 per cent of places for children on pupil premium.
Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious.
How to find a state grammar school
Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston,…
This is the must read article for any parent of a child under eleven years of age who is contemplating a selective or independent school education. We unravel the mystery behind 11+ testing and examinations and explain what you need to do, when and how, to ensure maximum success for your child.
Your child has passed the 11+, but has not been offered a grammar school place. Or perhaps your child has narrowly missed the required mark or has not performed as expected in the tests. What can you do?
As the debate about grammar schools hots up and the Prime Minister herself seems to favour their reintroduction in a limited way, two experienced Good Schools Guide educationalists offer their contribution.
We examined the value-added from KS2 to GCSE for 2015 to see which state selective grammar schools added the most value to their offspring. A note of caution - the more highly selective a grammar school, the less scope there will be to add value.
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