Education correspondent GENE BRODIE on how selection in our schools has never really gone away
Did you know that the 11-plus is alive and thriving in a Croydon state school?
Many of the Year 6 pupils who prepared diligently for yesterday’s entrance exam at Riddlesdown Collegiate will have known the score. Certainly, their parents will have, knowing that 67 per cent was the target result to get a chance of entry for the daily trip to school up on Honister Heights from next September.
Croydon’s state schools have long complained, with some justification, that their efforts to climb up the exam league tables have been handicapped by what they see as the “creaming off” of the most able pupils.
Many are packed off each morning to Sutton’s grammar schools, a selective system supported by the local council’s ruling Liberal Democrats and its opposition Conservatives. Among those making the journey through the traffic jams along the A232 from Croydon to Sutton each day is the son of Tory MP Gavin Barwell.
Meanwhile, thousands of other children, predominantly those fortunate to have parents with the cash to afford the £18,000-a-year fees, are siphoned off to one of Croydon’s most successful businesses, the exam-passing factories that are the borough’s tax-subsidised independent schools.
Croydon’s ostensibly non-selective state schools are left to operate as best they can within this most selective of geographical areas. Continue reading