Saturday, 7 March 2015

Bad Grammar?


I don't really like dwelling too much on myself (I'm an oddity rather than typical) but I do feel impelled to comment on the sudden demand to expand the old grammar school system in the UK on the basis of it 'giving intelligent but poor kids a leg-up' (http://www.theguardian.com/education/grammarschools). Having medical problems (long vanished) I 'failed' the 11+ twice in days when grammars and secondary moderns both stalked the land. In spite of this (due to a lot of hard work and teacher-led help which at no stage involved a grammar school), I went on to become the first person in my family to go to university, was appointed Professor of Zoology at an early age, generated more than 200 scientific publications on a wide range of topics, chaired the national body of university heads of Biological Sciences and even (1980) got a silver medal for medical science sponsored by UNESCO and WHO. I would just like to make 2 points. The first is that really poor kids are at a disadvantage in this selective system as many parents pay for coaching of their children (homes also vary greatly in terms of the provision of learning aids). I also feel that selecting at a specific age precludes late developers and kids who just happen to be hit by the tests at a difficult time.

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