Grammar schools were established years ago by bishops wanting to have development centres for their priests. In Saxon England much of the teaching in the grammar schools was in Latin.
The rise of medieval universities led the foundation and expansion of grammar schools. Where else would the universities find the able scholars? Allied to this was the desire of private benefactors to found schools to promote academic and secular learning.
During the seventeenth century the grammar schools developed on different lines to
`day schools.’ Grammar schools, however, began to go into a form of decline. The Taunton Commission (1864 – 7) found that many schools were needed reforming – and suggested that power for running many of the schools should be removed from the patronage of the bishops. Of course Church Schools remain today.
Education in those days, just as today, had to be paid for – so there was often a division between children who paid fees and the `free’ scholars.
One of the arguments today against grammar schools is that parents who can afford fees can help their children to pass by paying for books, materials and tutors – and so the children from poorer families continue to lose out. Parents with money can send their children to `good’ schools. Some parents can even move into `good’ areas where their children could have a better chance of entry to grammar schools.