The one political subject where I tend to have an almost schizophrenic attitude towards. The reason being that I have seen both the benefits and pain that the existence of these institutions can cause.
On one hand they are possibly elitist, have prevented many intelligent children from an education which would have afforded them great benefits, and can encourage snobbery. On the other hand they have helped children from many deprived areas have a head start in life.
I do have a vested interest in this subject in that, whilst I never went to grammar school, rather a decent secondary modern, my parents came from working class backgrounds and went to a grammar school, a well known one in fact (Although King Edward VII is now a seconfdary modern and is probably only famous because Graham Chapman was also a pupil there, and yes my parents were there at the same time and knew him). It probably helped them in all sorts of ways and I certainly wonder where we as a family would be now if one or both failed their 11 Plus. Not least the fact that they met at school! ;)
But what I do object to is the 11 Plus. Children have enough to contend with SATS tests without this, and it's unfair to stigmatise a child for life over one exam hurdle at such a young age. There can be other ways around this such as perhaps raising the age of Grammar School entry to 13 and having a form of Pre-Grammar School set up, although I can see the arguments against that.
Would be interested to know what you think?