The comprehensive system has failed! Any business with such a bad model would have ditched it years ago. Unfortunately, political dogmatism and old style Socialism is still alive in the educational system. The mantra of ‘equality in education for all’ is used to support this system, which strangely has never delivered a promised land of educational opportunity. Ironically, if you are wealthy but not very bright, your chances are good, in a system that has, oddly, prided itself on helping the disadvantaged. In fact, if you happen to be bright but poor, you are likely to find yourself in a badly performing school. Unfortunately, the character of schools tends to be reflective of the kind of area in which they are situated.
So much for equal opportunity! In the comprehensive system, it is wealth alone that decides what kind of school you attend. How can this be right? Why should those who are already privileged in our society receive all the ‘goodies’? The truth of the current system is perhaps typified by one of the more uncomfortable things Jesus said in one of the Gospels, “to those who hath more will be given and to those who hath not, even that which they hath will be taken away.” The only way to level things out is to give children, from whatever background, the same opportunity. This means children must compete for places in the best academic schools and for that to happen there must be more of them. The recipe for this is simple, but apparently controversial. We need to reintroduce that traditional ladder of aspiration for poor children – the grammar school. This entails an admission that comprehensives fail huge numbers of children from poor areas. Will our political masters have the courage to admit the mistakes that have been made? I doubt it. Ironically, the politicians know it suits the middle classes to keep the status quo and they do not want to upset this group. Meanwhile those who are poor but bright will continue to be disadvantaged.