Pupils at Townley grammar school in Kent grilled Schools Week editor Laura McInerney at a recent debate on the government’s plan for more selective schools.
The Bexleyheath school uses the 11-plus to select pupils, with some travelling up to two hours each way to attend.
An eight-person panel, including pupils from the school, McInerney and headteacher Desmond Deehan, pondered the question: “Are grammar schools a force for good in society?”
Deehan argued there was “no evidence” that selective schools impacted on the quality of other schools, while McInerney said that “across the country literally millions of children don’t worry about having to pass a test to go a great school”.
Townley’s director of character education, Fabian De Fabiani, who organised and chaired the event, noted that every local non-selective school had been invited to send parents, pupils or teachers to the debate, yet none had attended.
Without a final vote, changes in the audience were not counted, but a thunderous round of applause suggested lessons were learned.