You know you went to a grammar school when..
We’re not private, but we’re not comprehensive state. We had stupid uniforms, but our education was free. So where do the grammar schools stand in the infamous private-state debate?
So, as everyone’s arguing about whether private or state educations are better (everyone’s seemingly either #TeamBecca or #TeamWilliam), there’s a weeny group of us that are feeling extremely awkward and have absolutely no idea where to sit.
We are the infamous grammar-schoolers.
Our uniforms were equally as ridiculous as the private schools, and we still had to sit an exam to get in. But our education was entirely free – bar the small expense of continually having to explain what a grammar school is.
Just in case anyone’s not sure, a grammar school is a state funded institution, which runs off the same curriculum and rules of a state school, apart from we had to pass an 11+ exam to get in. If you were in the catchment area of your local grammar school, you could get away with passing by the skin of your teeth and still get in, whereas if you lived outside of it (usually about 6 miles), you had to get in the top 2-3% to get a place. Do with that information what you will.
These kind of arguments are always awkward for us, since although we didn’t pay for our education, it was still super selective, and broadly speaking, unless you’d gone to a good primary school, or were a complete brainbox, you had little chance of getting in without using naughty, underhand tactics.
So do we just have to keep our mouths shut?
Personally, having gone to a state funded grammar, I was perfectly happy with my education, and although on the odd (frequent) occasion, the teachers lost control, or in some cases (would continually) burst into tears, I think we all turned out alright. And my parents saved about £100,000.
But equally, I’ve got no idea whether our teaching was any better than the local comprehensives, and probably never will. We might have just been the lucky lot that got a fab education for zilch.
Of course the government are continually trying to scrap us, arguing there is no real need for them anymore. Traditionally, grammar schools were great for brainy kids that couldn’t afford a private education. Because everyone is about the same level of intelligence, theoretically teachers can move through work much faster, at a pace suitable to everyone’s intelligence.
Unfortunately, the sneaky few using underhand tactics to get into the catchment area ruin it for the masses, and those of us 7 miles from the school (me included), were stuck hoping for the best.
Therefore, I’m struggling to find which side of the fence we sit on. We could obviously never say our education was as good as a private one, but we most probably had an easier time of it than at a comprehensive. Even if we sat on the fence, we’d probably get pushed off.
So, whether you’re from a comprehensive or a private school, take a minute to think about grammar schools. We have absolutely no leg to stand on, we have no social contacts, and we spent 5 years looking like this.
I think that speaks for itself.