Children in Northern Ireland transfer to school without any selection test

This year children in Northern Ireland have been allocated school places without any 11-plus test deciding school places. More than 23,000 pupils were allocated secondary school places under new admission rules, with grammar schools cancelling the ‘transfer test’ and using distance and sibling rules instead of the 11-plus. The pandemic meant grammar schools putting non-selective rules in place at short notice, and although 85% of NI pupils achieved a place in their first-choice school, about 280 children found themselves without any school place. Although the school transfer process has left a minority of parents disappointed, it’s clear most parents and pupils were allocated the school they wanted. It’s worth celebrating the fact that no child was rejected and made to feel a failure by the awful 11-plus test this year. This shows that grammar schools can drop admission tests and the world keeps turning, perhaps there’s a lesson for selective areas in England?

The gamble of the 11-plus

Laura McInerney, former editor of Schools Week, has made an excellent 4 minute explainer video pointing out the problems with selective education. I think we’ve all heard those ‘my Uncle Johnny’ anecdotes…

A survey shows dads are more likely to support grammar schools than mums

Karen Wespieser from the Parent Ping daily survey app, wrote for Comprehensive Future about parent’s attitudes to selective education. She explains that 30% of dads think that ‘bright’ children need grammar schools, while just 22% of mums think selective education is a good idea.

The survey also revealed attitudes to the 11-plus test, and tellingly, “Most parents admitted that their child would be upset to find out they’d failed the entrance exam to a selective school. Three in 10 said their child ‘would be very upset and it would significantly affect their feeling of self-worth.'” Read more about the Parent Ping survey HERE.

Grammar school social mobility – the public’s view

A YouGov poll asked the public whether they thought grammar schools boosted social mobility or mostly benefitted children from advantaged backgrounds. The results were close, but a small majority were aware that grammar schools were bad news for social mobility. The survey showed that older people were more likely to think grammar schools were a good idea, while young people and Labour voters were more aware of the problems with selection. Read more HERE.

Labour’s National Policy Forum now open for submissions

The Labour Party’s annual policy consultation is now open. Please respond and tell them we need fully comprehensive education in England, especially if you are a Labour member. You can read Comprehensive Future’s submission HERE.

Grammar schools – a view from the inside

Jack Allsopp has penned a powerful opinion piece about his time at a grammar school, explaining that although his education was deemed a ‘success’ due to his first-class degree at Oxford, he found the competitive culture at selective schools highly problematic.  “To my mind, the grammar school cocktail of demanding teachers, pushy and ambitious parents, and eager-to-please, hard-working children is by its very nature poisonous. “Read the article HERE.

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