Academic selection is cruelty towards vulnerable pupils

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

I am 76 years old, and for most of my adult life I have been a faithful reader of your paper.

However I have been made uneasy by your mindless advocacy of selective education.

The last straw came with your assertion in response to the new grammar school in Kent (‘Parents across the UK want grammar schools’ Oct 16). Undoubtedly some do, but for many it is an unattainable dream.

I have an interest in educating all of our children. In my teaching career, I have taught in the secondary, the grammar, and the integrated sector (the latter I believe the only rational provision for a divided society).

Time and again I have seen children rejected for an academic education go on to successful careers in medicine, the law, the church, but carrying with them a sense of “second best”.

Equally, I feel for the children who, perhaps by a fluke or by coaching, find themselves in a grammar school, where they have neither the aptitude nor the interest for the education on offer, which gives them little chance to develop other talents they may have.

The boast of ‘social mobility’ possible through selective education means little in light of the small proportion of youngsters from less well off families who actually get a grammar school place.

It is sad that unionism and the unionist-leaning press collude in a system which is nothing less than cruelty to vulnerable children.

Frank Loan, Dromore BT25

Pro grammar school letter