Private Schools provide extra coaching for students to pass 11+ exams

An undercover BBC South East investigation into ten fee paying schools in Kent has revealed that nine out of the ten schools tutored their students in how to pass the 11+ exam. This type of coaching isn’t allowed by the local council to ensure that all students sitting such exams in the area have the same chance of doing well whether they go to a state or private school. But is it only academic ability that is being tested here?

Those who score the highest on these exams are offered places at local grammar schools with supporters arguing that selective schools provide a chance for bright students from poorer backgrounds to get a higher standard of education without having to pay school fees. However, critics say children from wealthier backgrounds have an unfair advantage because they are often coached in school, or attend private tuition.

In fact with social mobility figures in the UK at an all time low many fear that this type of coaching in private schools creates a divide between children from wealthier backgrounds destined for university and good jobs, and children from working-class backgrounds destined for less lucrative roles. The consequences of this early start in the right school can have a long term effect on the make up of society. As we are well aware the worlds of journalism, politics, law and the arts are dominated by those who have studied at elite schools. The school you attend, as well as the network of peers you connect with, can determine the future success of your career.

In light of this many feel that both state and private schools should be allowed to prepare their students for the 11+ exams as they do for any other test, this would be the most obvious way of ensuring a level playing field according to members of Kent council as well as the CEO for the Independent Schools Association. What do you think the best solution is?

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