We believe that the time has come for the Labour party to ensure that every child is offered the opportunity of a place at a high-quality comprehensive school. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the extent to which parental affluence creates educational advantage, and especially in areas that still use the 11-plus test to select 'by ability'. The time has come for the Labour party to phase out the 11-plus test and open up grammar schools to all local children.
The 11-plus test isn't fair
• The 11-plus is based on a bankrupt idea that intelligence is innate, fixed, and can be easily measured.
• Highly specialised coaching greatly increases a child's chances of passing the 11-plus.
• A test taken at 10 is unreliable and is not an accurate indicator of a child's future academic attainment.
The majority of children admitted to selective schools are from affluent families
• 13% of grammar school pupils have been privately educated. Just 2.4% of all grammar school pupils are on free school meals. This compares to 14% of all pupils on free school meals in non-selective schools.
• The majority of grammar school pupils come from families able to afford expensive coaching. An estimated £25 million a year is spent on 11-plus tuition with individual families typically spending £2,000 on coaching.
Selective areas mean the choice between grammar schools and secondary moderns
• Every school in a selective area which is not a grammar school is de facto a secondary modern and take all the school children rejected by grammar schools.
• Secondary moderns end up with a disproportionate number of lower attaining pupils and pupils with additional learning needs.
• Unfairly stigmatised for having a lower attaining pupil population, secondary moderns frequently suffer difficulties recruiting teachers and are often unable to offer the range of academic subjects offered by selective schools.
• Grammars unfairly present themselves as 'elite' schools. A school comprised of high attaining pupils will be high achieving. This is not an indication of a school's 'specialness' or 'better' teaching - it is inevitable.
We urge Labour to start planning for a fully comprehensive education system and an end to academic segregation and social divisiveness once and for all. Creating a fairer, more socially just society starts with the education we give our children. Comprehensive Future believes the time has come for an education system designed for all children from all social backgrounds to learn together.