An article in today's Daily Mail
shows the extreme lengths parents will go to get their child into a grammar school.
Some of it seems utterly demented and puts unfair pressure on children with the stress even causing couples to divorce. Parents are putting their own feelings ahead of their child as it is a giant ego trip for them if the child passes the 11+, so that their status in society remains high.
What I can't understand is that GCSEs and A'levels which are still the staple diet of grammar schools (rather than other exams) are so accessible to many more pupils, with top grades becoming more commonplace, that I wonder how these grammars occupy their pupils' minds for 5 years until their GCSEs in view of the intense level of tuition they've undergone leading up to the exacting 11+ exam.
Reading the article, it also seems that the ethos of grammar schools is rather stifling and does not seem conducive to the social wellbeing of a child.
Back in the winter of 1994 when my son was in his final year at primary school, it appeared likely I was to be offered a job in Folkestone (which would have involved moving) where the disparity in GCSE results between the local grammar schools and the sec mods was huge. The raw results of the latter were even worse than my local comprehensive, but fortunately the job never materialised. Since that time I feel the pressure cooker situation on young children in areas like Kent has got worse year by year.
I know supporters of the 11+ will say the best way to resolve the situation is to introduce more grammars to meet this demand, but I really don't think this is the answer.