Overlooking the conundrum as to whether a grammar school is divisive with regards to attendance, actually achieves all it claims to do, or can be used to open doors in future education or employment why should we be concerned over the opening of a new school.
For decades we have witnessed concern by government, teachers, parents and bless them, even the OECD, that all is far from well in our schools. Performance is not what is expected, stress within the teaching profession has increased as targets are missed and children constantly are subjected to changes in educational initiatives that ebb and flow with successive governments. But building a new school, a grammar school no less, is surely a good thing?
Most people would view a grammar school as an historic basis of excellence, replaced by a successive range of comprehensive, and more latterly, by academies and free schools. But if the replacement facilities have not ideally served the role, the original augment to supersede grammar schools would appear flawed. So why are we reluctant to give full support to the new additional grammar level schools?
The problem is there such a huge interest in schooling and its many manifestations; comprehensive, state, independent, free, academy, faith; to name a few it is difficult to reach a democratic result. Factor in the timescale for any judgement to be proven, say the five-year secondary educational journey of a cohort of school children and we mover potentially from one government to another.
With all things Chinese, associated with the state visit of Xi Jinping the Chinese President, we learn of their increased emphasis on schooling and their like of the British schools, especially independent grammar schools. Possibly wanting to secure places at their own school the Chase Grammar School in the midlands has been just purchased by a Chinese company. Read into that what you may, but maybe our state schools could become Chinese in the future, and is this a bad thing when you consider that China will soon become the world’s largest economy, for in the past, we have adopted many schooling practices from the USA, then the world’s largest economy.
By Alistair Owens