Before we proceed, you need to understand the secondary school system in the U.K and how many types of secondary schools in this country. There are many types of secondary schools in the U.K, but we will see the 3 main types that matter most relevant to us.
- Comprehensive schools (also known as State secondary schools)
- Private schools (also known as Independent schools)
- Grammar schools (also known as Selective schools)
What Are Grammar Schools?
Grammar schools are state-funded secondary schools that choose their pupils using a test called "11 Plus". The 11 plus exam will take place at the beginning of Year 6, when the pupils are in their primary school, at the age of approximately 10. Grammar schools provide free education as they are government-funded like any other secondary school.
There are 163 grammar schools in England out of 3,000 state secondary schools. As of today, a further 69 grammar schools are in Northern Ireland.
# OF SCHOOLS
* Grammar schools are part of the Secondary school system. That means 3,285 Non-Selective schools + 163 Selective schools = 3,448 Secondary school. Grammar schools are also known as Selective schools.
# OF SCHOOLS IN U.K
# OF SCHOOL IN ENGLAND
**Pupil Referral Units
* Grammar schools are part of the Secondary school system.
** All the Pupil Referral Units are in England only.
^ Want to start a new business then start a nursery in England as there are only 391 out of 3,714 of the total in the U.K.
The History Of Grammar Schools
1600 — Medieval grammar schools
The teaching of Latin became the initial purpose of medieval grammar schools. With the foundations established by the influence of the ancient universities from the late 12th century, grammar schools became the focal point to a liberal arts education, with Latin seen as the base of the trivium.
1700 — Grammar School appeared in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
In 1775, for the first time, Grammar School appeared in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary. In this era, the demand for languages had fallen considerably and a new commercial class introduced for modern languages and commercial subjects.
1800 — The first girls' school started
Arithmetic and English introduced in most grammar schools founded in the 18th century. The first girls' school started in 1850 targeted at university entrance were North London Collegiate School and Cheltenham Ladies' College in the year 1858.
1900 — Grammar schools were reinvented
Under the influence of the Endowed Schools Act 1869, grammar schools in the 19th century saw a series of reforms. Grammar schools were reinvented themselves as academically oriented secondary schools while often retaining classical subjects while following literary or scientific curricula.
1944 — 11 plus exam was introduced
The Tripartite System was introduced under the 1944 Education Reform Act. In the Tripartite System, grammar schools were one of the three types of secondary schools. The other two types being secondary modern schools and secondary technical.
The 11 plus exam was introduced for the first time to test skills and intelligence, not financial means. After WWII ended, Europe with a crippling economy needed to be rebuilt, and there was a demand for white and blue-collar workers where the Tripate System suited to supply the demand.
1944 continued — 1,200 fully state-funded grammar schools
There were more than 1,200 fully state-funded grammar schools established and maintained between 1940-50.
Most were either newly created though some were quite old, or built since the Victorian period, seeking to replicate the intellectual, studious and aspirational atmosphere found in the old grammar schools.
1950 — grammar schools flourished
Between 1951 to 1964, under Conservative governments, the Tripartite System was prevalent, and grammar schools flourished.
1960-64 — 1,298 grammar schools
At their peak, 1,298 grammar schools at one point of time between 1960 to 1964.
1965-76 — non-selective comprehensive system was introduced
The Tripartite System was mostly abolished in England and Wales. A non-selective comprehensive system was introduced. With that, some grammar schools became fully independent schools and charged fees. The remaining grammar schools were abolished or became comprehensive.
1970 — Grammar School declined
The number of grammar schools went down from 1,298 in 1964 to 675 in 1974 (48% decline). By 1979 that number went down to 261. The fastest period of decline was the 1970s. 650 grammar schools closed between 1971 and 1978, an average of more than 90 per year.
1976 — abolished grammar schools
A circular 10/65 was issued by the Ministry of Education encouraging local education authorities to move to non-selective education. Under the Education Act 1976, a new education program called the Comprehensive system introduced by the Labour government and formally abolished grammar schools, giving way to the new Comprehensive System.
1980 — Most of the Grammar schools closed or converted
By the end of 1980s, most of the grammar schools in England, either closed or converted. But in Wales, all of them closed. In the same period, the selection disappeared from state-funded schools in Scotland.
Some of the grammars retained the name grammar even though they opted to become a fully comprehensive. A few became fully selective or partially selective in the 1990s.
1995 — no selection under a Labour government
At the Labour Party conference, then education spokesman, David Blunkett, promised that there would be no selection under a Labour government.
1998 — no new grammar schools were allowed to open
In 1998, the Labour government introduced a new School Standards and Framework Act, where no new grammar schools were allowed to open in England.
That meant no new grammar schools could be created, at the same time but promised to make sure that there were local ballots on the future of existing grammar schools.
2015 — all good schools allowed to expand
The Conservative Party manifesto promised to "allow all good schools to expand, whether they are maintained schools, academies, faith schools or grammar schools."
2016 — first grammar school approved in 50 years
Nicky Morgan approved the first grammar school in 50 years.
2017 — England's first 'new' grammar school opened
After 50 years, England's first 'new' grammar school opened in Kent in 7th September 2017. A brand new girls grammar school Weald of Kent has been built in Tonbridge, Kent with room for 450 pupils.