In June 2023 The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child wrote a report listing observations about the UK, among which was a recommendation that academic selection should be phased out.

CF was surprised that this important comment received little press or political attention, the statement was clear and deserved a response. In July we highlighted this aspect of the  UN report to School Minister, Nick Gibb, and also Children’s Commissioner, Rachel de Souza.

We would have thought that the Schools Minister, and the Commissioner responsible for children’s wellbeing, would have cared to give the report some thought and attention. Sadly, neither bothered to reply to our email.

This is the message we sent.

Dear Nick Gibb,

You will be aware that the UK is a State Party signed up to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which serves to monitor implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

One of the recommendations in the CRC report published June 22nd 2023 was that the UK

“End practices, including academic selection and testing measures, that contribute to the high levels of stress felt by students owing to academic pressure and ensure that children benefit from a creative learning environment.”

The 11-plus takes place when children are just 10 years old. This ‘high stakes’ test adds considerably to the stress and pressure of a child’s transition to secondary school in those areas of England where selection by means of a test is still used to decide children’s schooling.

Comprehensive Future would be very grateful to know the Government’s response to the CRC recommendation to end selection, especially since the stress brought by selection tests such as the 11-plus is unnecessary. The vast majority of UK  children successfully transition to a secondary school of choice without any need of a test.

Your sincerely

Dr. Nuala Burgess

Chair, Comprehensive Future