News Mar 23rd 2015

Will grammar schools be back in the academic field?

Grammar school was originally meant to teach classical languages. Then, it became a secondary school. At first, it was open for everybody, but in time, disadvantaged families could not afford keeping their children in here. And this was because only 2% of pupils were receiving free meals. Additionally, studies have shown that comprehensive and individual schools were having better results in educating students who were to enroll into superior academic institutions. As a consequence, grammar schools have been cut out and forgotten about… until now.

Grammar school

Grammar schools are back on table and they raise all sorts of debates

The ones pro argue that people who followed grammar schools now have high educational degrees and successful careers.

On the other side, the opponents came up with a study showing that students who attended private secondary schools were two-and-a-half times more likely to gain degrees from ivy-league universities. However, those who accepted the success of grammar school said that this is due to the pupils’ original background. These were selected from more advantaged social environments and were already having higher academic attainment. They were all belonging to middle class society. The proof of this – only 2.7% of entrants to grammar schools were eligible for free school meals. Furthermore, the opponents want to remind us that most of the students who started studying in grammar schools continued their academic instruction in comprehensive institutions. And anyway, back then, the process of being admitted at the university was different than today.

The ones in favor of grammar school come with other arguments too. They are talking about normal schools wasting the potential of gifted students. In here, those are compiled to study the same curricula as average students. For them, this rhythm is too slow and the subjects are too easy. As a result, these pupils lose interest and are always bored during classes. This can cause them to resent school after all, and to even skip classes. Grammar schools would come up with new challenges for their advanced knowledge. And so, they would make a good use of their potential. But the problem is that opening new grammar schools is forbidden by law. Anyway, supporters have found a loophole – it is allowed for the already existing schools to expand and to create so called satellite grammar schools. In this way, they can build new buildings and campuses in other cities and areas.

Supporters claim that they want grammar schools in order to improve social mobility. But how would this be possible if these institutions do to not provide special benefits for working-class pupils’ higher-education? This category of students is the one needing the most academic support. Without it, children of disadvantaged families won’t be able to advance on the social scale. It won’t be possible for their next generations to get out of the working class and to become a part of elite. So where would that social mobility be? In order to reach this goal, grammar schools would have to offer more support to working class children – free meals, free studying materials, free classes, etc.

In conclusion, the problem is not the name of the school, or its kind. The nation needs to have more high standards schools. However, the aim of these institutions would not be to raise only straight A students, but not to accept laziness anymore and to support performance at any level and for any subject. It is vital to help students find their calling and to encourage them to follow that particular path. Every person is great at something – schools should find this something for each of us and develop it! Grammar schools or not, we definitely need better education programs for our children.

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