It cannot be right to label children failures at age 11 - ATL

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Press release
13 April 2017 by ATL Media Office
How can a Government that says it cares about social justice be willing to label children failures at age 11? asks Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted.

Dr Bousted said: “The Government’s plans to expand grammar schools will label the majority of children failures at the age of 11. It will damage children’s self-confidence and ambition and blight their lives.

“How does this square with the Government’s aims of improving social mobility? It will squander the talent and skills of the majority of children and risks losing potential engineers, designers, scientists, doctors, lawyers and teachers from less advantaged families.

“No one has managed to produce an 11-plus test that can accurately predict the academic potential of children, nor one that it is not possible to coach children to pass. This hugely disadvantages children from families who cannot afford the fees for coaching. Yet again, this Government seems more interested in embedding privilege for the few at the expense of the majority.

“Grammar schools are a total distraction from the most important issues facing children’s education – school funding cuts, the shortage of teachers, the shortage of school places, and the rise in mental health issues among children and young people.

“Instead of introducing a narrow, backward looking policy the Government needs to focus on developing the skills and talents of all children so that the UK has the skills it needs in the post-Brexit world.”

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Grammar schools