Mudcat Café message #4017360 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166877   Message #4017360
Posted By: Stanron
05-Nov-19 - 05:28 PM
Thread Name: BS: meritocracy dead in British Politics?
Subject: RE: BS: meritocracy dead in British Politics?
Mrrzy wrote: Translate to US? I know a public school there is a private school here, but grammar v. comprehensive?
The Grammar School system preceded the Comprehensive School system. In the Grammar School system 11 year olds were given a series of intelligence tests called the '11 plus'. Those who 'passed' went to Grammar Schools and those who 'failed' went to what were called Secondary Modern schools.

In Grammar schools successful students took 'O level' exams at 16 and, if successful 'A level' exams at 18 and if successful went on to university without having to pay any fees. I think it might have been about 5% of all students went on to university but that might not be correct.

When it worked this system meant that any child from the humblest origins, who passed the right tests, could get a university education free, and with living costs paid for by a government grant.

Some time in the 1970s some 'do-gooders' decided that this was unfair to all those who didn't pass the 11 plus and pushed for 'Comprehensive' schools which were attended by all children.

Eventually the Comprehensive system became predominant although a small number of Grammar Schools still exist.

Some people see this as egalitarianism resulting in a loss of an elite and a race to mediocrity in modern education.

Because of the debts accrued in university education it is unlikely that the very poor but bright kids of today will go to university.