Academic selection is not a question of passing or failing, but a means of improving our schools and helping every child thrive.
No one would dream of training Olympic athletes alongside the physically unfit, or creating a national youth orchestra with scrupulously equal numbers of the musically gifted and the tone-deaf. So why can't we have an intelligent debate about when might be the right time to allow children's academic characters to influence the sort of schooling they receive?
This is nothing to do with "failing" children, or despising those whose talents are not academic. It is everything to do with providing a school experience that is equally rich for those who, as time goes on, are clearly not motivated by academic study. It is about finding a way of releasing and delighting in the talents they have and nothing in the least to do with failure or contempt.
It is all about making sure that every child in this country can look forward to their secondary school years as a time to develop their talents, learn how to enjoy the life they are blessed with, make good friends, and understand and delight in the variety of mankind.
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