Pearls before swine?
February 8, 2013 8 Comments
One imagines that filling Southend’s grammar schools with Southend’s children would be akin to casting pearls before swine in the mind of the Conservative portfolio holder for Children and Lifelong Learning. His limp excuse that up to three-quarters of the places available at the town’s four grammar schools go to children from outside of the borough because not enough of Southend’s kids pass the eleven plus does not please.
The eleven plus, a decidedly unscientific test, has a movable pass mark. The test weeds out those who are without coaching, rather than selecting the most intelligent. Any late developer, someone who is off-colour on the day, or whose education has failed them is condemned. (I also find it puzzling that we give the best of our educational resources to the already blessed, but then my view that we give the greatest support to those in greatest need is evidently not shared by those responsible for education in the town.)
Thus we are left with two options: concede that Southend’s kids just aren’t up to it (and then realise what this says about the quality of primary education in the borough), or move the pass mark so that these schools truly serve the community they inhabit.
I prefer a third option, though – the introduction of universal comprehensive education in the borough. Still, what do I know? I am also a victim of Southend’s educational apartheid.