Grammar schools may not help levelling up but they worked - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Andrew Hicks, Moorview Way, Skipton.

Your correspondent John G Davies in his letter (The Yorkshire Post, July 12) gives evidence that grammar schools will not help levelling up. As things stand he is correct.

However the 60s saw the largest amount of social mobility in the last 100 years, if not ever, courtesy of the grammar school system. Then it was thought that significantly affecting someone’s future at the age of 11 was not fair, so most of the grammar schools were converted to comprehensives.

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Life is not fair but social mobility was sacrificed on the altar of fairness.

A young man is helped in class. Picture: AdobeStock.

Access to the remaining grammar schools is distorted by middle class families having their children coached to pass the entrance exams. When I was at junior school we had June tests which included arithmetic, English etc. and some puzzles which turned out to be the main part of the 11-plus examination.

So when I came to take my 11-plus I was well rehearsed thanks to the state. At my grammar school in Bermondsey, sons of the upper or middle classes were thin on the ground but our headmaster used to boast that our A-level results were better than the nearby fee-paying Dulwich College.

On a History Society trip to Cambridge we were shown round by 17 ex-pupils who were by then undergraduates, this from a school with an intake of 90 pupils. I took my A-levels at a large Sheffield school, an amalgamation of three former grammar schools with an intake of some 1,000 pupils. No one went to Oxbridge because the headmaster didn’t agree with elitism. As I said, “life’s not fair”.

But the grammar school system worked.