Elitism in education was believed, by some, to mean that the educational resources and the efforts of the wider community should be used to educate a small proportion of children. The `Elite’ children would need to possess the greatest ability and potential.
Thankfully the Eleven Plus examination is not aimed at selecting the brightest of the bright – it tries, in most parts, to select children who are in the top twenty five percent of the population.
Children in an `Elite’ band at school would have had the benefit of a markedly different education because they would not have been held back. We can possibly presume that elite children would have been taught by better qualified teachers – and in smaller classes.
After the Second World War it was felt that while the education of the Elite was important – the country may be better served by establishing grammar schools to work with a wider range of the more able. The theory was that the Elite would take their place in an educational system shared by all – except those in the grammar schools.
Today, many `Elite’ children are served very well by the comprehensives and new Academies. Some very bright children never go to grammar schools. Very able children have to understand their role in society – and learn to appreciate the responsibility placed on them by society. Removing these Elite children from the main stream and segregating them into `special’ schools may be counter productive.