National Grammar Schools Association
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'Let's have more grammar schools' says NGSA

12th October 2001

A new pamphlet, Grammar Schools in the Twenty-First Century, from the National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA) welcomes government plans to increase diversity in secondary education. But John Harris, the Association's vice-chairman, 'urges that consideration be given to increasing the number of grammar schools in areas where there is a parental demand' and 'deplores the fact that the grammar schools alone are discriminated against by current legislation on parental ballots.'

The NGSA's president, Canon Lord Peter Pilkington, points out that in summer 2000, Baroness Blackstone admitted in reply to a written Parliamentary Question that 13 per cent of the A and B grades at A level were gained by grammar school pupils and 25 per cent were gained by pupils at independent schools. So about 40 per cent of the top grades at A level were achieved by around 10 per cent of the school population.

Recent research purporting to show that selective schools are no more effective than comprehensive schools comes under heavy criticism. Fred Naylor cites the research work of authorities such as Professor S.J. Prais and Dr John Marks demonstrating the superior standards of selective areas, including the performance of non-selective schools. 'Today's secondary modern schools have nearly twice the success rate in the 16-plus examination as did the whole of the maintained sector in 1967', he writes.

Denial of choice to those who seek a selective education for their children is a by-product of a destructive educational ideology, argues Nick Seaton. He recommends that wherever possible, parents should have the choice of entering their child for a voluntary 11-plus exam to obtain entry to a grammar school. It is incoherent and totalitarian to preach diversity whilst denying choice to parents who want such options.

Writing from a parental perspective, Stan Danks emphasises the apprehension and frustration felt by parents who contact the NGSA from areas where grammar school places are either in short supply or non-existent. He, too, argues for an expansion of the choice of selective education where there is demand.

*Grammar Schools in the Twenty-first Century is available free from
NGSA, PO Box 7621, Oldbury, B69 3AJ.

or you can download a copy HERE

Further information or comment from:
Lord Peter Pilkington, Tel. 0207 730 4803
Brian Wills-Pope, Tel. 01803 295315 (w),
John Harris, Tel. 01227 830631
Stan Danks, Tel. 0121 544 3809 (w),
Fred Naylor, Tel. 01225 742219
Nick Seaton, Tel. 01904 424134, 01775 656608 (m)