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Last Updated: Monday, 25 July, 2005, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
'Bring back grammar schools' call
pupils generic
Peter Morris will call for a return to grammars on Tuesday
A Welsh teachers' leader has called for the return of grammar schools.

Peter Morris, chairman of the Professional Association of Teachers' (PAT) Welsh executive said the comprehensive system failed pupils.

Mr Morris, a teacher at Bishop Gore Comprehensive in Swansea, believes comprehensive schools have lowered standards in education and discipline.

He will make the call for the return of the grammar system at the association's annual conference on Tuesday.

At the moment, the comprehensive system is letting children down
Peter Morris, Professional Association of Teachers

Mr Morris, who teaches information technology, said grammar schools were the most successful type of school Britain had ever had.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, he said: "Not only has the system produced many of our top doctors, lawyers, and academics, it has also produced many of our top sportsmen and women."

Mr Morris said a large number of children being taught in mixed-ability classes in comprehensive schools were being branded as "failures". Under the grammar system, they would be given the chance to excel, he argued.

Mixed-ability classes also posed teachers with the dilemma, as they would have to choose a single teaching strategy for the entire class, he added.

'Different strengths'

"We really do need grammar schools to enable the more academic pupils to get ahead," he said.

"Human beings are not all the same. We all have different likes and different dislikes. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone on this planet was born to be a brilliant academic.

"At the moment, the comprehensive system is letting children down."

But David Reynolds, a professor in education at Exeter University, said switching back to the grammar school system was not the answer.

"Grammar schools had considerable advantages," he said. "They took the best kids, they were a smaller size, and, historically, they existed in a society which was pro-education.

"The most successful countries in the world have comprehensive schools.

"It doesn't really matter that much what the system of education is. What matters is what goes on in classrooms in every school, whether comprehensive or grammar, or secondary modern."

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