Selection creates failing schools
Anyone who needs convincing that selection at 11+ is a bad idea only needs to look at the map of "failing" secondary schools published by Ed Balls yesterday.
The county where I grew up, Kent, is shaded a nasty dark green colour rather out of keeping given its relative prosperity with the rest of the map, where the pattern broadly follows an economic one.
The accompanying list of schools tells you all the ones in Kent with GCSE pass rates under 30%.
26 of these schools are, when you check, "secondary moderns". They have often dressed up their names as something else, but these are the schools that necessarily have to exist as the corollary for selective Grammar schools in the 11+ system that Kent largely clings on to. That they get such low GCSE pass rates is hardly their fault when their intake consists entirely of those children branded as "failures" by the 11+, and all the kids likely to get a string of high grade GCSEs have been creamed off and put in different schools.
The remaining 7 are listed as comprehensives but from looking at the town names several of them are "comprehensive" in name only as they are in towns with high profile Grammar schools and hence face exactly the same problem of a lop-sided intake as the 26 secondary moderns do.
A quick way Ed Balls could get these 33 schools off the list of failing schools is to end Kent's nutty system of selection by exam at 11, and ensure every school in Kent has a mixed-ability intake and an equal chance of getting a good GCSE pass rate.