Letter: The horror of grammar schools

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The Independent Online
Sir: Two of the Conservative Party's manifesto proposals on education would spell disaster for the majority of children in areas where there is a fully comprehensive secondary system, and would be particularly destructive in rural parts of the country.

With one in five secondary schools developing subject specialisations and another becoming a selective (rejective) grammar school ("a grammar school in every town"), we are left with three out of every five schools degenerating into lacklustre secondary-modern status.

These would be underfunded, would be short of well-qualified specialist teachers and would inevitably occupy very modest positions in the examination league tables.

It is not difficult to imagine what would happen to the educational prospects and to the self-esteem of the pupils, especially the late developers, as their schools start the downward spiral resulting from the loss of their fair share of the more able intake.

Under the manifesto proposals, it would take the parents of only one school to vote for selective grammar status for the fully comprehensive pattern to collapse. Around 85 per cent of the children in the new grammar school's original catchment area would have to be bussed to other schools, so destroying the links between school and the communities to which the children belong.

We can only trust that these proposals are never implemented.



Sonning Common,