This is a U turn. I was all about closing Kent grammar schools a week ago.
Note the word ‘might’ . I don’t think academic selection works in any form, and I don’t think it works well in Kent. I wouldn’t have been exploring ways to turn Kent comprehensive if it was working.
Most academic selection fans simply want to bring back the eleven plus, sift off clever kids to grammars. Job done.
I am not happy with this. Read earlier posts to get an idea of the flaws of this method in Kent. But I could be happy with a very carefully thought out plan for academic selection.
The one thing that has become apparent to me, as I look beyond Kent, is that comprehensive areas regularly offer the best schools to those who buy expensive houses or take up faith. Of course this is not always the case, but it is a significant problem.
Peter Hitchens gave me a choice many times ‘select by wealth or select by ability?’ As he pointed out you have to select somehow.
Of these two choices I select ability.
But it’s not at all an easy choice. I hoped there was some other choice, or to avoid that choice entirely, or to pretend we can do it some way without making any choice at all.
These words are very hard to hear. I started this blog mainly because those who are ‘below average’ get a bad deal in Kent secondary moderns. So this is not an easy journey.
I told him I find it hard to support Kent grammar schools.
My cautious reply.
So here we are. A secondary modern mum trying to find a way to make academic selection work for the not academic ‘rest.’
I fear my demands for equal consideration for the less academic will not be met, that no one will listen, or notice the problems of bad academic selection, or look at Kent’s flaws and learn from them.
I worry that Peter Hitchens and the other academic selection fans will favour any form of academic selection, just because decades of campaigning and hating comprehensives makes them too eager for change.
I do not think that badly implemented academic selection is much better than our bad comprehensive system. I think it is probably worse, as Kent proves. I could define why, and may well do so in some future post. Although I think working positively to define an excellent education system is more productive.
And trying to get one here in Kent.