I have been listening to BBC Question Time and they have been discussing the merits or otherwise of the grammar school system now that some would like to see the system restored in England.
I failed my 11+ so did not go to grammar school. I knew at the time that it would define my life from then on. Those who support the system say that there is another chance at 13yrs but that is a mischievous claim, as unless the child gets private tuition the secondary education was not designed to support a second chance.
Once in secondary school all aspiration had to be knocked out of the children or only frustration would result, during their school life and in their work life. They were destined for manual or semi-skilled labour. We would be told our teachers that our path was not inferior to those who had gone to the Grammar, just different. We knew they lied to us. They felt they too were the second-rate because they were not teaching in the Grammar. They despised us and lost no opportunity to communicate that. We in turn (the pupils) despised them and the result was constant rebellion. They had no respect for us and we had none for them.
One or two teachers treated us with respect. They were always popular and behaviour of the pupils was better in their classes. The other teachers would either cane us or tell us we were stupid. I wonder how miserable their lives were.
In my school the brightest were not allowed to take exams fitting to their abilities as they were in a secondary school and exam passing was not to be their path. Near the end of my time there the school turned into a Comprehensive and the rules changes, exam entry was open to all. That was a huge change of ethos.
Now, as a Christian I have learned how a person blossoms when given respect and taught that they can aspire. That is what the Bible teaches. I have learned how a person can be transformed by the knowledge that they are valued. After all, that is at the heart of the Christian gospel message.
I wonder what a difference it would have made if I and my classmates had been given the idea we could achieve.
My wife has looked over my shoulder as I write. She says that I should say that the views here are not necessarily the views of the management. She would say that, she went to a grammar school!
I oppose Grammar Schools.