What is a Grammar School?
Grammar schools are state secondary schools, which select their pupils by means of an examination taken by children at age 11,known as the ’11 Plus’ exam. Pupils who pass the exam go to the local grammar school,while pupils who do not, go to the local ‘secondary modern school’. Most parts of the UK do not have an explicitly selective education system of this sort. More common is the ‘comprehensive’ system, in which pupils of all abilities and aptitudes are taught together. Since the early 1970s most areas of the United Kingdom have favoured a comprehensive education system that is non-selective. However, there are still a large number of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) grammar schools, foundation schools, independent schools and private schools that still admit pupils based on selection by the test known as the Eleven Plus exam. There are around 164 grammar schools in England and a further 69 in Northern Ireland that are allowed by law to select all their pupils on the grounds of high academic ability. Because they are funded by the state, grammar schools do not charge fees. The majority of grammar schools teach pupils aged between 11 and 18 and have integrated sixth forms that teach A Levels and equivalent post-16 courses. Sixth forms of this sort are far more unusual in comprehensive schools. Grammar schools regularly top state school league tables and results are not usually too far adrift of rivals from the independent sector.