Schools full of students with low self-esteem and low ambition

Lincolnshire, where I teach, is still selective.

In my local town of Louth we had the 11+ brought back after the 1997 election! (It had been 14+ since the 1960s with students from two Louth schools and one rural school taking the exam which might send them to the grammar in Year 9 – this is a very old battle!)

The city of Lincoln is non-selective – they don’t have grammars but have some highly sought after schools and some others.  There is talk of a City Academy coming to town which will obviously have an effect. The rest of the County has grammars and secondary mods.

Many of the secondary moderns really struggle to get their results up to the average. Some are slow to ‘improve’. Is that surprising, when they are full of students with low self esteem and low ambition?  Could selection have something to do with this?

(There are some excellent non- grammar schools which have been able to operate on comprehensive lines and get students to Oxbridge.  However, these are, as far as I can tell, both few and far between.)

Bussing children to school is quite normal in Lincolnshire. There is a lot of ‘far between’ in this large rural county.  However, it seems perverse that in some areas, children are taken 10 miles or more from their home town to go to the grammar, while others are bussed in the opposite direction to go to the secondary modern.

And it is not just Lincolnshire children who suffer under this divisive system. I work as a supply teacher in the county and in the neighbouring towns of Grimsby and Cleethorpes.  As I drive north, I meet busloads of children coming south to the grammar schools of Lincolnshire. The knock on effect of selection in Lincolnshire into the so-called comprehensives in North East Lincolnshire is stark and debilitating”