The case against Grammar schools by a local member

Rather than quote yet more dry statistics and reports from think-tanks, we thought this letter from a Huntingdon Labour Party member spoke far more eloquently to everyone about the effects of the old Grammar schools and why their re-instatement would be a national disgrace.

Sign the petition here and join Ewan and 42,000 others in saying “NO” to this.

And here’s Ewan’s story:

My name is Ewan Duncan. I was born in Dundee in 1950. I went to school in the heyday of grammar schools; some say the golden age. I don’t think so, it was a total disaster for the majority of children. At 11 you were tested and if you passed, well enough you went to grammar school, else secondary school. In secondary school, you had the 4-year course doing O levels and the majority like me a 3-year course with a leaving school certificate. Why do I think it was a disaster, well at 11 years  old you were judged a success or a failure, there was no allowance for children that developed  slower than others or who had  problems like illness or family problems.  At 11 you were and for the future a failure as far as education was considered .

One teacher actually said to my class that it was a waste of time for him to try and teach us as we were only fit for the jute mills.  I left School at 15 yr old, second in my year at school. And started as a Boy Labourer and then apprentice Plumber in the Caledon Shipyard. At 18 I started to take an  active interest in politics and joined the Plumbers union and the Labour party.  Through a combination of the labour movement and the Open University  and my mother buying me a magazine on the Tandy model 2 computers when I was 27 and in hospital,  I found that I was not a failure and education was not beyond me. I started a computer course with the Open University; I was 34years old, my union branch asked if I would like to go on a workers education course  at Oxford university, a week of social studies and Pascal programming.  The lecturer at the week-long course persuaded me after looking at my OU computer course results that I should do a full-time course and so it was that I did an HND in Computer Science. I have been a Project officer for the open University, a Technical Consultant, Systems Manager and finally Lead Engineer with Nokia Networks installing and supporting network management systems for companies like EE, O2,Virgin Media and so on. Not bad for someone that was labelled  a failure, at 11 and not worth teaching at 12? I was lucky, but it still took me until I was 37 to prove that it was the  system I was educated in that was the failure, not me.

Selection helps the few and penalises the majority.

We need  an education system that is excellent for all and penalises neither the gifted or the rest of the educated workforce this country so desperately needs. Grammar schools were killed off for a reason.

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