Should Buckinghamshire keep the 11+?
There are equal sides to the argument when discussing the merits of the 11+. On one side there are those who feel the 11+ allows pupils to be placed into schools which are most beneficial to their learning capabilities. Then there are those on the other side who feel it is an unfair system, and means that pupils who do not pass the 11+ do not get the same educational experience as those who do.
Below is a balanced argument for keeping and abandoning the 11+.
Argument for the 11+
· Pupils can learn at a school suitable to them: the main argument for the 11+ is that it allows pupils who are deemed to be brighter to learn in an environment which is more challenging and engaging. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are studious allows the pupils at the schools to achieve better than they would have done in a non-selective school.
· Grammar schools need to be selective to keep standards high: Grammar schools have long been seen as the gold standard of education, and in many ways they are. Pupils who attend Grammar schools not only achieve better exam results on average, but they also end up in higher paid jobs and have longer life expectancy (in comparison to those who attend non-selective schools).
Argument against the 11+
· It causes additional stress to pupils: Many parents feel that too much pressure is placed on pupil to pass the 11+, and that this additional stress is not healthy. Because passing the 11+, and thus which secondary school children attend, has such a massive impact on a pupils future success and employment opportunities (as outlined above) many parents feel that preparing for, and taking, the 11+ causes unnecessary stress for children.
· It discriminates against disadvantaged pupils: whilst educational establishments claim that you cannot train for the 11+, research has shown time and time again that those pupils who receive private tuition for the 11+ outperform those who have not received tuition. This research has led many parents to argue that the test discriminates against those parents who cannot afford to send their child to a private tutor.
It seems that there is no right or wrong answer to this question; it is a matter of opinion. Some feel the 11+ is a brilliant idea and allows pupils to be placed in schools suitable for them. Whereas others feel it is an unfair system and discriminates against certain sections of society. No matter which side of the fence you sit on it seems that, for the time being anyway, the 11+ is here to stay in Buckinghamshire, and will be for some time to come.