In fact, technical schools were numerous - and popular - in my area, to the east of London, where they did a good job producing the scientists, technicians and clerical workers needed by local industry and commerce in the 1950s and 60s.
My school's intake mainly consisted of 11-plus passers, although occasionally a pupil joined after passing the rarely used 13-plus. More radically, the school also accepted some students who had failed the 11-plus but received good reports from their primary schools.
The school's curriculum up to O-level was biased towards the sciences, office practice and accountancy, and what we now call Craft, Design and Technology subjects. Yes, there was streaming, but this wasn't inflexible: each September around 10 per cent of all second-, third- and fourth-year pupils changed classes as a result of their performance during the previous academic year.
Unfortunately, there weren't enough of them throughout the country for their successful combination of academic rigour and quasi-vocational training to act as a model for the emerging comprehensive schools.
K L Lane
Ilford, EssexReuse content