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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eleven Plus Debate

One way parents can unite to ask for an investigation into the fairness and the efficacy of the eleven plus is to develop into some form of a coalition. We have, at the moment for example, a coalition of some considerable stature engaged in running the country. The success or failure of this form of this coalition will be determined, in time, by the ballot box. An eleven plus parent coalition could also, in theory, represent a form of democratic view.

There used to be a much wider range of grammar schools – but some of these schools changed the way they were governed to become comprehensives. Today there may be a number of grammar schools who could even be contemplating developing into Academies.

If parents wanted more grammar schools they would need to be granted a significant stake. An effective `uprising’ of parents would need strong incentives for participation. There seems to be, at present, little stomach by the various political parties to engage in vigorous and meaningful debate. It may be unhelpful, at the moment, to engage in a debate where there is no clear end point.

Who then can promote and develop a campaign to ask for an investigation into the present eleven plus? We know from history that there will always be leaders.

We probably all remember the story of Jason and the Argonauts. He had to plough a field and then sow the teeth of a dragon. The teeth grew into warriors. Someone threw a rock into the warriors who began fighting with each other. The warriors went on to defeat each other.

Would an eleven plus coalition grow into an eleven plus army? Would the ensuing coalition become so divisive so as to start destroying any goodness that may ensue? We may need to find a hero and a right hand person. Remember Horatio trying to defend the bridge? Three men stood on a narrow bridge to fight against a thousand.

In yon strait path, a thousand may well be stopped by three:
Now, who will stand on either hand and keep the bridge with me?'

Perhaps one day an Eleven Plus Horatio will emerge. What we are not sure of, until we hear the debate, if there is any point at all in looking into the present eleven plus system. There may be nothing wrong at all.

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