Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Class Divide

Two news reports this week encapsulate the class divide in English secondary schools.

A report by Professor David Jesson of York University claims that nationally 13% of grammar school pupils come from fee-paying preparatory schools. In one local authority the proportion was 33%. His research from the national pupil database showed that private school pupils were gaining entry despite scoring lower in key stage 2 tests than their primary counterparts. Pupils from private schools filled 3,000 of the 22,000 grammar school places.

Another planet away from the privileged grammar schools, The Ridings School in Halifax, where staff walked out on strike in 1996 over pupil violence and ended up being branded, ‘the worst school in England’, may be up for closure. In March of this year it was put into special measures for the second time. The Ridings competes against grammar and faith schools.

Once again the selective school system and the blunt club of Ofsted inspections and the ‘naming and shaming’ culture forces the closure of another school. So much for school ‘improvement’.


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