Letter: `Failed' at 11

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The Independent Culture
Sir: There should not be once-and-for-all selection at age 11: but Reg Hansell's suggestion that the top 25 per cent on the day should be held back to spare the feelings of the "non-selected" 75 per cent is absurd. However, such selection is wrong because it is unreliable in the borderlands between pass and fail at that age.

Far from children in comprehensive primary schools being "happy", many are made miserable by being held back by the needs of the majority. Streaming by level of function should apply throughout schooling, and should take place on arrival in any school at any age, and be reviewed at least annually thereafter. Get rid of the obsession with age - put children with those who learn at similar speed, and in secondary schools stream by subject performance after the first year.

Children should be offered emotional and social support appropriate for their age: education appropriate to their intellectual needs.