Letter: `Failed' at 11

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Kent County Councillor Reg Hansell writes (letter, 13 July) about the selective system of education still practised in the county. He is right to think that the advantage for the few, if such it is, by no means compensates for the many who "fail"; and, dress it up as you will, that is how most children and their parents perceive it.

I have lost count of the number of people, mainly in their thirties and forties with successful professional careers, who have told me within a short time of meeting that they failed to win a grammar school place at 11. The blow to their self-esteem was apparently still sharp.

An aspect which Mr Hansell does not mention is the cost of running a selective system. It would be interesting to know the financial implications of the whole procedure, including setting and marking the exam as well as the appeals process, which he describes. At the end of it all there is the ongoing expense of the travelling costs of the pupils who attend grammar schools far from their homes.

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