The term grammar school originates from medieval times, describing a school that taught Latin and classical languages. Today however, they are some of the most outstanding and high achieving, academic schools in the country, which are accessible regardless of income.
In the 1940s grammar schools became the selective part of the tripartite system, for state funded secondary education in England and Wales. This is the system whereby pupils were allocated to a grammar school, secondary technical school, or secondary modern school, depending upon their performance in the 11 plus exam. In the 1960s and 1970s the system moved towards comprehensive, non-selective, schools, and during this time most grammar schools became independent and began charging fees, whilst others closed or became comprehensive. However grammar schools are still found in many areas of the country, retaining their well established reputation as top performing schools.
The merits and demerits of grammar schools have long been debated, with opinions dividing both the public and politicians alike. Traditionally the conservative party has backed the selective system, arguing that grammar schools produce some of the top results demonstrated in the league tables. In addition, grammar schools provide an alternative for students from low income families unable to go to a fee paying school, to gain a high standard of education. This opens doors for students, aiding them to go to universities such as Oxford and Cambridge where the main intake is predominantly from independent schools. Other advantages include improvements in a pupil’s social mobility, and a safer environment for children to excel academically without fear of being bullied, as in certain comprehensive schools.
By preparing for the 11 plus exam, you give your child the best possible chance at gaining a place at one of these top schools. You can find further information, resources and past papers on the 11PlusSwot website, to aid your child’s revision and achieve success.