Grammatical error

September 22, 2016

The creation of grammar schools is an interesting but risky policy (“What will the creation of new grammar schools mean for UK universities?”, 9 September). Presumably, most schools will select by setting their threshold intake at a particular grade in the entrance exam, as with private schools or universities. The existing excellent schools would likely have first pick and increasingly attract the best teachers, followed by a pecking order of variably performing schools. Private tutors and crammers are likely to have a field day. Those at the bottom of the pile, however, would likely end up as problematic sink schools, only able to recruit temporary and transient or incompetent staff, shorn of aspirational students who would mostly leave early or at best be steered into the new 14-19 years Tech level trade courses.

Even if the new system drives up educational performance through enhanced competition within the state-school sector, state schools are confined within a common funding allocation, so the better private schools will likely just increase fees to fund the costs of enhancing performance to match any rise in exam results achieved, so as to retain undiminished access to Oxbridge and a few other prestigious universities. This will largely neutralise the state’s attempts to increase social mobility at the top end, and therefore won’t address the poor standard of UK advanced technical education so desperately needed to drive a modern UK economy.

W. Speedway

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