As Christians we should not be afraid to say that we believe in education as a common good for all children. I hope my story will appeal to compassionate politics in that the powers that be will reconsider the 11+ is not an accurate proxy for determining children's potential before they have had a chance to shine.
I recently enjoyed a festival concert that celebrated 500 years of our church’s spire. Children came together, as they always do within our choir from selective and non selective schools, but this time it was different. They sang so beautifully. I closed my eyes while they were singing Children’s Voices, by Claribel Alington Barnard (1830-69) and all I could hear was one voice united in the love of God.
The significance of this concert I cannot put into words. Its music reached into my soul. It accomplished for a couple of hours, across our divided education system, what no policy-maker or influencer in education has achieved, it paused that awful scenario, whereby, every year children in our county are divided into sheep and goats at 11+.
Claribel's music told the real story that children do not want to be divided.