YP Letters: Grammar schools can offer academic excellence to all

Gordon Marsden quizzed Prime Minister Theresa May
Gordon Marsden quizzed Prime Minister Theresa May
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From: Malcolm Bouchier, Park Row, Louth.

FOUR decades ago, we lived in Kent and our daughter was at the stage of going to a grammar school or a comprehensive. Our daughter was well above average intelligence, she could soak up information like a sponge but she was somewhat of a ‘free spirit’.

At that time, Kent had a system of a substantial period of assessment and tests to determine the suitability of pupils for grammar school education. (Which is far more preferable than the one day scholarship). However our daughter found school boring due to the pace that was set and she tended to show it. As a result, the authorities decided that our daughter must go to a comprehensive. and refused to change their minds.

At the comprehensive, many classes were ‘mixed ability’ where the pace for the whole class was set by either the least intelligent or the most disruptive pupil. Even the ‘streamed classes’ moved at a snail’s pace, leaving our daughter bored to tears with her education clearly starting to fall behind. Coupled with this, she was bullied mercilessly for not being like all the others who had no interest in learning.

Clearly this could not go on. After much searching we found a girl’s school that we could just afford and which would take her. The school itself was as poor as a church mouse, where everything was battered, second hand and had seen better days.But the education was absolutely superb. It was clear that the teachers loved their job and their ’girls’. At the start of the first day, our daughter had her first lesson – all pupils stood up as a mark of respect when the teacher entered the room. School uniform and discipline were strictly enforced. Our daughter absolutely loved it. She was so happy and was, at last, being academically challenged. She was a new person. This was the best investment we ever made.

Now many of our MPs are trying to stop all grammar schools with false claims of the damage that they do to children. This is particularly true of the ‘trendy left’. Yet all these MPs who would deny academic education for our children send their own children to private schools. What downright, repulsive hypocrites! We already have academies for music, art etc – why not for academic excellence? A recent, independent survey on education put Britain as 27th in the world. This is shocking. We became the greatest nation in the world by our wits and ability to think. If we are to hold our place in the world, every possible opportunity must be given to any child to reach his or her full potential.