Letters from Guernsey – the campaign that ended the 11-plus

Campaigners from Guernsey group W.I.S.E  (Working for Inclusive Secondary Education) are celebrating the end of the 11-plus on the island. They have shared these letters to the paper with Comprehensive Future, and they clearly demonstrate the point that sending 25% of children to a selective school in a modern era makes no sense at all. Well done to the campaigners for ensuring all-ability secondary education is implemented in Guernsey from 2019. 

Why should the Grammar be the preferred option for me?

Dear Deputy Le Pelley,

Imagine if you will… I’m a boy aged 10 3/4 and have just passed my 11-plus with flying colours. I’m now faced with the choice of either going to St.Sampsons High School, which is only a three-minute walk from my home, and is where most of my friends are going, or I could choose to go to the Grammar School.

I am trying to decide on what advantage there could be in going to the Grammar School, and I would like you to try to persuade me why choosing the Grammar School might be the preferred option. What can the grammar school offer me that St.Sampson’s High School can’t?

I enjoy English, maths and science and want to follow my elder brother’s route to university. He left St.Sampson’s School with some excellent GCSE results and then went on to the College of FE and he is now studying for his engineering degree at Brunel University.

There must be some advantages in going to the Grammar School, but what are they Deputy Le Pelley?

I would still take my GCSE whichever school I went to, and the quality of the teachers and the facilities are the same, aren’t they?

It’s not as if the high schools are different, or have lower qualification, like old CSEs, as they did back in my dad’s school days. So having gone to all the trouble of running an 11-plus there must be some good reason to offer me the Grammar School, only I just don’t see it.

So speaking as a valuable customer of your education system since the age of five I am asking you to persuade me to consider going to the Grammar School. Please give me your experienced advice so that I can make an informed decision.

Johnny Le Semenowicz

No ‘good reason’ for selection

I am writing in reply to the letter from Johhny Le Semenowicz, I know exactly how he feels. I passed to Grammar, but most of my friends didn’t. I felt really bad because my sister failed the 11-plus, although she had been predicted to get a Grammar place. She actually got a higher score than me in the 11-plus but missed out because she was in a clever year. So she is cleverer than me but goes to a high school, and I go the Grammar School. That seems crazy and makes me feel bad.

My mum says that she wishes we’d never sat the 11-plus so we were both at the same school. It would make everything so much easier for our family – and I do miss being at the same school as my sister after going through primary school together.

I like Grammar and my sister likes her school, and whichever school Johnny goes to he will do well, because we all do the same exams and have good teachers. But it would be great to live close to school and go to school with your brother or sister, and people who live by you.

I hope the 11-plus and selecting people for different schools stops very soon, as there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to do it.

Abbie Green

2018-01-31T11:22:32+00:00