Not everyone is the same, so I don’t believe an education system should force them into being so – I believe there should be different opportunities for children who are academically gifted. Please note that I say “different” and not “better”.
I feel grateful for the opportunities that learning in a grammar school gave me, and for the doors it opened up for me. Yes, it saddens me that there are children out there who would love those same opportunities, who don’t have them, but I don’t feel that denying them to others is the solution. I really wish that there were more grammar schools, so that more of the children who would like those opportunities could take them, but I am not naive enough to believe that every child in every school would want them. Despite what some people seem to believe, we don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world.
Grammar schools tend to be smaller, so there is a chance for all children to be fostered and for the quieter ones to shine. There is less disruption in the classes, so more learning can take place. I have taught in a grammar school and it was a joy to teach in a school where the whole class was thirsty for knowledge. There was no time wasted dealing with even low-level disruption, so the children were learning from the moment they sat at their desks to the moment the bell rang at the end of the lesson.
In schools there is always plenty of help available for lower-achieving children, but the higher achievers are often left to their own devices. It’s not the teacher’s fault – if they have a group of children they know they can just leave to get on with it, and another group they know won’t be able to do anything without help then they have no choice but to help the children who are struggling. In a grammar school, all of the children can just get on with it, so the teacher is able to spread his or her time more fairly and everyone gets stretched.
There are still special schools (and rightly so in my opinion) for those children whose learning difficulties are so great that they cannot access the curriculum in a mainstream school. Where then is the problem in having special schools for children at the other end of the spectrum?
I am proud to be from a city that still has grammar schools. Far from closing the ones still in existence in this country, I think we should be opening more.