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A grammar school is one of several different types of
school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is sometimes compuls ...

school
in the history of education in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
, but more recently an academically oriented
secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (ages 11 to 14) and upper secondary educat ...
, differentiated in recent years from less academic
secondary modern school A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower se ...
s. The main difference is that a grammar school may select pupils based on academic achievement whereas a secondary modern may not. The original purpose of
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
grammar schools was the teaching of Latin. Over time the
curriculum In education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelli ...
was broadened, first to include
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
, and later English and other
European languages Most languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. Out of a total European population of 744 million as of 2018, some 94% are native speakers of an Indo-European language; within Indo-European, the three largest phyla are '' ...

European languages
,
natural sciences Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer ...
,
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
,
geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...

geography
, and other subjects. In the late
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the wikt:period, period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian era, Georgian period and preceded the Edwa ...
grammar schools were reorganised to provide secondary education throughout England and Wales; Scotland had developed a different system. Grammar schools of these types were also established in British territories overseas, where they have evolved in different ways. Grammar schools became the selective tier of the
Tripartite System The Tripartite System was the arrangement of State school#United Kingdom, state-funded secondary education between 1945 and the 1970s in England and Wales, and from 1947 to 2009 in Northern Ireland. It was an administrative implementation of the E ...
of state-funded secondary education operating in England and Wales from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s and continuing in Northern Ireland. With the move to non-selective
comprehensive school A comprehensive school is a public school for elementary aged or secondary aged children (aged approximately 11-18) that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude, in contrast to the selective school A selecti ...
s in the 1960s and 1970s, some grammar schools became fully
independent school An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. Also known as private schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools, they are not administered by local, state or national governments. In British Engli ...
s and charged fees, while most others were abolished or became comprehensive (or sometimes merged with a
secondary modern A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower se ...
to form a new comprehensive school). In both cases, many of these schools kept "grammar school" in their names. More recently, a number of state grammar schools still retaining their selective intake gained
academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
status, meaning that they are independent of the Local Education Authority (LEA). Some parts of England retain forms of the Tripartite System, and a few grammar schools survive in otherwise comprehensive areas. Some of the remaining grammar schools can trace their histories to before the 16th century.


History


Medieval grammar schools

Although the term ''scolae grammaticales'' was not widely used until the 14th century, the earliest such schools appeared from the sixth century, e.g. the
King's School, Canterbury The King's School is a public school (English independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, ...
(founded 597) and the
King's School, Rochester The King's School, Rochester, is an English independent school in Rochester, Kent Rochester ( ) is a town and was a historic City status in the United Kingdom, city in the unitary authority of Medway in Kent, England. It is at the lowest brid ...
(604). The schools were attached to cathedrals and monasteries, teaching Latin – the language of the church – to future priests and monks. Other subjects required for religious work were occasionally added, including music and verse (for liturgy), astronomy and mathematics (for the church calendar) and law (for administration). With the foundation of the
ancient universities The ancient universities are British and Irish Medieval university, medieval universities and List of early modern universities in Europe, early modern universities founded before the year 1600. Four of these are located in Scotland, two in Engla ...
from the late 12th century, grammar schools became the entry point to a
liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art (skill), art'' in the sense of a learned skill rather than spec ...
education, with Latin seen as the foundation of the
trivium The trivium is the lower division of the seven liberal arts Liberal arts education (from Latin "free" and "art or principled practice") is the traditional academic program in Western higher education. ''Liberal arts'' takes the term ''Art ( ...
. Pupils were usually educated in grammar schools up to the age of 14, after which they would look to universities and the church for further study. Three of the first schools independent of the church –
Winchester College Winchester College is a public school (a fee-charging independent school File:Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level, OWID.svg, Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level (2015) ...

Winchester College
(1382),
Oswestry School Oswestry School is an ancient, co-educational independent school File:Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level, OWID.svg, Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level (2015) An independ ...
(1407) and
Eton College Eton College () is a public school (private sector) for boys in Eton, Berkshire Eton ( ) is a town in Berkshire, England, on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor, connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The civil parish In ...

Eton College
(1440) – were closely tied to the universities; they were boarding schools, so they could educate pupils from anywhere in the nation.


Early Modern grammar schools

An example of an early grammar school, founded by an early modern borough corporation unconnected with church, or university, is
Bridgnorth Grammar School Bridgnorth Endowed School is a Mixed-sex education, coeducational secondary school with Academy (English school), academy status, located in the market town of Bridgnorth in the rural county of Shropshire, England. Founded in 1503, The Endowed S ...
, founded in 1503 by Bridgnorth Borough Corporation. During the
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in History of England, England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor pe ...
in the 16th century, most cathedral schools were closed and replaced by new foundations funded from the
dissolution of the monasteries#REDIRECT Dissolution of the monasteries {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. For example, the oldest extant schools in Wales –
Christ College, Brecon Christ College, Brecon, is a co-educational Mixed-sex education, also known as mixed-gender education, co-education, or coeducation (abbreviated to co-ed or coed), is a system of education Education is the process of facilitating ...
(founded 1541) and the
Friars School, Bangor Friars School is a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of form ...
(1557) – were established on the sites of former
Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the C ...
monasteries. King
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fr ...
made an important contribution to grammar schools, founding a series of schools during his reign (see King Edward's School). A few grammar schools were also established in the name of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I. King
James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and En ...

James I
founded a series of "Royal Schools" in Ulster, beginning with The Royal School, Armagh. In theory these schools were open to all and offered free tuition to those who could not pay fees; however, few poor children attended school, because their labour was economically valuable to their families. In the
Scottish Reformation The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, ...
schools such as the Choir School of Glasgow Cathedral (founded 1124) and the Grammar School of the Church of Edinburgh (1128) passed from church control to
burgh A burgh is an autonomous The federal subject in Russia">Federal subjects of Russia">federal subject in Russia, close to borders of Finland. Picture of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Republic of Karelia. In developmental psychology and m ...

burgh
councils, and the burghs also founded new schools. With the increased emphasis on studying the scriptures after the Reformation, many schools added Greek and, in a few cases, Hebrew. The teaching of these languages was hampered by a shortage of non-Latin type and of teachers fluent in the languages. During the 16th and 17th centuries the setting-up of grammar schools became a common act of charity by nobles, wealthy merchants and
guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functiona ...
s; for example
The Crypt School Plaque at the site of the old Crypt School. The Crypt School is a grammar school with academy status for boys and girls located in the city of Gloucester. Founded in the 16th century, it was originally an all-boys school, but it made its sixth ...
, Gloucester, founded by John and Joan Cook in 1539,
Spalding Grammar School Spalding Grammar School (SGS), fully known as The Queen Elizabeth Royal Free Grammar School Spalding, is a boys' grammar school in Spalding, Lincolnshire Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs.) is a Counties of England, county in the East Mi ...
, founded by John Gamlyn and John Blanche in 1588, and
Blundell's School Blundell's School is a co-educational day and boarding independent school File:Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level, OWID.svg, Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level (2015) A ...
, founded in 1604 by wealthy Tiverton merchant
Peter Blundell Peter Blundell (c. 1520–1601) was a prosperous clothier, trading between Tiverton, Devon, Tiverton and London. He died in April 1601, never having married and with no known issue. On his death, he left over £32,000 cash to fellow clothiers ...
. Many of these are still commemorated in annual "Founder's Day" services and ceremonies at surviving schools. The usual pattern was to create an endowment to pay the wages of a master to instruct local boys in Latin and sometimes Greek without charge. The school day typically ran from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a two-hour break for lunch; in winter, school started at 7 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. Most of the day was spent in the
rote learning Rote learning is a memorization Memorization is the process of committing something to memory Memory is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information ...
of Latin. To encourage fluency, some schoolmasters recommended punishing any pupil who spoke in English. The younger boys learned the
parts of speech In traditional grammar Traditional grammar is a framework for the description of the structure of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sig ...
and Latin words in the first year, learned to construct Latin sentences in the second year, and began translating English-Latin and Latin-English passages in the third year. By the end of their studies at age 14, they would be quite familiar with the great Latin authors, and with Latin drama and rhetoric. Other skills, such as arithmetic and handwriting, were taught in odd moments or by travelling specialist teachers such as
scrivener A scrivener (or scribe A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist A copyist is a person who makes copies. The term is sometimes used for artists who make copies of other artists' paintings. However, the modern use of the t ...
s.


Grammar schools in the 18th and 19th centuries

In 1755
Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709  – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic A critic is a person who communicates an asses ...
's ''Dictionary'' defined a grammar school as ''a school in which the learned languages are grammatically taught''; However, by this time demand for these languages had fallen greatly. A new commercial class required modern languages and commercial subjects. Most grammar schools founded in the 18th century also taught arithmetic and English. In Scotland, the burgh councils updated the curricula of their schools so that Scotland no longer has grammar schools in any of the senses discussed here, though some, such as
Aberdeen Grammar School Aberdeen Grammar School is a state school, state secondary school in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of thirteen secondary schools run by the Aberdeen City Council educational department. It is the oldest school in the city and one of the oldest g ...

Aberdeen Grammar School
, retain the name. In England, urban middle-class pressure for a commercial curriculum was often supported by the school's trustees (who would charge the new students fees), but resisted by the schoolmaster, supported by the terms of the original endowment. Very few schools were able to obtain special acts of Parliament to change their statutes; examples are the
Macclesfield Grammar School The King's School, Macclesfield is an independent school for day pupils in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, and a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It was founded in 1502 by Sir John Percyvale, a former Lord Mayor of Lond ...
Act 1774 and the Act 1788. Such a dispute between the trustees and master of
Leeds Grammar School Leeds Grammar School was an independent school in Leeds Leeds is the largest city in the Ceremonial counties of England, county of West Yorkshire, England and the most populous in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Leeds is the cultural, fi ...

Leeds Grammar School
led to a celebrated case in the
Court of Chancery The Court of Chancery was a in that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the . The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including , , the estates of lunatic ...

Court of Chancery
. After 10 years,
Lord Eldon) , footnotes = Image:John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg, John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon Earl of Eldon, in the County Palatine of Durham, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1821 for th ...
, then
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the in in the , nominally outranking the . The lord chancellor is appointed by the on the advice of the prime minister. Prior to their i ...
, ruled in 1805, "There is no authority for thus changing the nature of the Charity, and filling a School intended for the purpose of teaching Greek and Latin with Scholars learning the German and French languages, mathematics, and anything except Greek and Latin." Although he offered a compromise by which some subjects might be added to a classical core, the ruling set a restrictive precedent for grammar schools across England; they seemed to be in terminal decline. However it should be borne in mind that the decline of the grammar schools in England and Wales was not uniform and that until the foundation of St Bees Clerical College, in 1817, and St David's College Lampeter, in 1828, specialist grammar schools in the north-west of England and South Wales were in effect providing tertiary education to men in their late teens and early twenties, which enabled them to be ordained as Anglican clergymen without going to university.


Victorian-era grammar schools

The 19th century saw a series of reforms to grammar schools, culminating in the
Endowed Schools Act 1869 The Endowed Schools Act 1869 (32 & 33 Vict c 56) was an Act of Parliament (UK), Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was one of the Endowed Schools Acts 1869 to 1948. It was passed during William Ewart Gladstone’s first ministry, to re ...
. Grammar schools were reinvented as academically oriented secondary schools following literary or scientific curricula, while often retaining classical subjects. The Grammar Schools Act 1840 made it lawful to apply the income of grammar schools to purposes other than the teaching of classical languages, but change still required the consent of the schoolmaster. At the same time, the national schools were reorganising themselves along the lines of
Thomas Arnold Thomas Arnold (13 June 1795 – 12 June 1842) was an English educator and historian. Arnold was an early supporter of the Broad Church Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from th ...
's reforms at
Rugby School Rugby School is a public school (English independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, a ...
, and the spread of the railways led to new boarding schools teaching a broader curriculum, such as
Marlborough College (First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 3:6: God gives the Increase) , established = , type = Public School (United Kingdom), Public SchoolIndependent school (United Kingdom), Independent day and boarding , religion = C ...

Marlborough College
(1843). The first girls' schools targeted at university entrance were
North London Collegiate School North London Collegiate School is an Independent school (United Kingdom), independent educational institution with a day school for girls in England. Founded in Camden Town, it is now located in Edgware, in the London Borough of Harrow. Sister s ...
(1850) and
Cheltenham Ladies' College Cheltenham Ladies' College is an independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the U ...

Cheltenham Ladies' College
(from the appointment of
Dorothea Beale Dorothea Beale LL.D. (21 March 1831 – 9 November 1906) was a suffragist, educational reformer and author. As Principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College Cheltenham Ladies' College is an Independent school (United Kingdom), independent boarding ...

Dorothea Beale
in 1858). Modelled on the
Clarendon Commission The Clarendon Commission was a royal commission A royal commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry A tribunal of inquiry is an official review of events or actions ordered by a government body. In many common law countries, such as t ...
, which led to the
Public Schools Act 1868 The Public Schools Act 1868 was enacted by the British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencie ...
which restructured the trusts of nine leading schools (including
Eton College Eton College () is a public school (private sector) for boys in Eton, Berkshire Eton ( ) is a town in Berkshire, England, on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor, connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The civil parish In ...

Eton College
,
Harrow School (The Faithful Dispensation of the Gifts of God) , established = (Royal Charter A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege ...
and
Shrewsbury School Shrewsbury School is a public school (English independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvani ...
), the Taunton Commission was appointed to examine the remaining 782 endowed grammar schools. The commission reported that the distribution of schools did not match the current population, and that provision varied greatly in quality, with provision for girls being particularly limited. The commission proposed the creation of a national system of secondary education by restructuring the endowments of these schools for modern purposes. The result was the
Endowed Schools Act 1869 The Endowed Schools Act 1869 (32 & 33 Vict c 56) was an Act of Parliament (UK), Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was one of the Endowed Schools Acts 1869 to 1948. It was passed during William Ewart Gladstone’s first ministry, to re ...
, which created the Endowed Schools Commission with extensive powers over endowments of individual schools. It was said that the commission "could turn a boys' school in Northumberland into a girls' school in Cornwall". Across England and Wales schools endowed to offer free classical instruction to boys were remodelled as fee-paying schools (with a few competitive scholarships) teaching broad curricula to boys or girls. In the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the wikt:period, period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian era, Georgian period and preceded the Edwa ...
there was a great emphasis on the importance of
self-improvement Self-help or self-improvement is a self-guided improvement''APA Dictionary of Physicology'', 1st ed., Gary R. VandenBos, ed., Washington: American Psychological Association, 2007.—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substa ...
, and parents keen for their children to receive a decent education organised the creation of new schools with modern curricula, though often retaining a classical core. These newer schools tended to emulate the great public schools, copying their curriculum, ethos and ambitions, and often took the title "grammar school" for historical reasons. A girls' grammar school established in a town with an older boys' grammar school would often be named a "high school". Under the
Education (Administrative Provisions) Act 1907 The Education (Administrative Provisions) Act 1907 ('' 7 Edw. VII'') was an Act of Parliament passed by the Liberal government as part of their Liberal reforms package of welfare reforms. The Act set up school medical services run by local governmen ...
all grant-aided secondary schools were required to provide at least 25 percent of their places as free scholarships for students from public elementary schools. Grammar schools thus emerged as one part of the highly varied education system of England and Wales before 1944.


In the Tripartite System

The 1944
Education ActEducation Act (with its variations) is a stock short titleIn certain jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and other Westminster-influenced jurisdictions (such as Canada or Australia), as well as the United States and the Philippines, primary l ...
created the first nationwide system of state-funded secondary education in England and Wales, echoed by the Education (Northern Ireland) Act 1947. One of the three types of school forming the
Tripartite System The Tripartite System was the arrangement of State school#United Kingdom, state-funded secondary education between 1945 and the 1970s in England and Wales, and from 1947 to 2009 in Northern Ireland. It was an administrative implementation of the E ...
was called the grammar school, which sought to spread the academic ethos of the existing grammar schools. Grammar schools were intended to teach an academic curriculum to the most intellectually able 25 percent of the school population as selected by the
11-plus The eleven-plus (11+) is an Test (assessment), examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary education, which governs admission to grammar schools and other secondary schools which use aca ...
examination. Two types of grammar schools existed under the system: * There were more than 1,200 maintained grammar schools, which were fully state-funded. Though some were quite old, most were either newly created or built since the Victorian period, seeking to replicate the studious, aspirational atmosphere found in the older grammar schools. * There were also 179
direct-grant grammar school A direct grant grammar school was a type of Selective school, selective secondary school in the United Kingdom that existed between 1945 and 1976. One quarter of the places in these schools were directly funded by central government, while the rem ...
s, which took between one quarter and one-half of their pupils from the state system, and the rest from fee-paying parents. They also exercised far greater freedom from local authorities, and were members of the
Headmasters' Conference The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) is an association of the head teacher A head teacher, head instructor, bureaucrat, headmaster, headmistress, head, chancellor, principal or school director (sometimes another title is used ...
. These schools included some very old schools encouraged to participate in the Tripartite System. The most famous example of a direct-grant grammar was
Manchester Grammar School The Manchester Grammar School (MGS) in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country's List of English districts by population, fi ...
, whose headmaster,
Lord James of Rusholme Eric John Francis James, Baron James of Rusholme (13 April 1909 – 16 May 1992) was a prominent United Kingdom, British educator. Background Eric John Francis James was born at Derby into a Nonconformist family. His father was a commercial ...
, was one of the most outspoken advocates of the Tripartite System. Grammar school pupils were given the best opportunities of any schoolchildren in the state system. Initially, they studied for the
School Certificate The School Certificate was a qualification issued by the Board of Studies, New South Wales, typically at the end of Year 10. The successful completion of the School Certificate was a requirement for completion of the Higher School Certificate (New ...
and Higher School Certificate, replaced in 1951 by
General Certificate of Education The General Certificate of Education (GCE) is a subject-specific family of academic qualifications that awarding bodies in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land bo ...
examinations at
O-level The O Level (Ordinary Level; official title: General Certificate of Education: Ordinary Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education The General Certificate of Education (GCE) is a subject ...
(Ordinary level) and
A-level#REDIRECT A-Level The A Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the ...
(Advanced level). In contrast, very few students at
secondary modern school A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower se ...
s took public examinations until the introduction of the less academic and less prestigious
Certificate of Secondary Education The Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) was a subject specific qualification family, awarded in both academic and vocational fields in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. CSE examinations were set in the years 1965 to 1987 inclusive. This qu ...
(known as the CSE) in the 1960s. Until the implementation of the
Robbins Report The Robbins Report (the report of the Committee on Higher Education, chaired by Lord Robbins) was commissioned by the British government and published in 1963. The committee met from 1961 to 1963. After the report's publication, its conclusions we ...
in the 1960s, children from
public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Engli ...
and grammar schools effectively monopolised access to universities. These schools were also the only ones that offered an extra term of school to prepare pupils for the competitive entrance exams for
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...

Oxford
and
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...

Cambridge
. According to
Anthony Sampson Anthony Terrell Seward Sampson (3 August 1926 – 18 December 2004) was a British writer and journalist. His most notable and successful book was '' Anatomy of Britain'', which was published in 1962 and was followed by five more "Anatomies", upda ...
, in his book ''
Anatomy of Britain''Anatomy of Britain'' was a book written by Anthony Sampson Anthony Terrell Seward Sampson (3 August 1926 – 18 December 2004) was a British writer and journalist. His most notable and successful book was '' Anatomy of Britain'', which was publi ...
'' (1965), there were structural problems within the testing process that underpinned the eleven plus which meant it tended to result in secondary modern schools being overwhelmingly dominated by the children of poor and working-class parents, while grammar schools were dominated by the children of wealthier middle-class parents. The Tripartite System was largely abolished in England and Wales between 1965, with the issue of
Circular 10/65Circular 10/65 was a government circular issued in 1965 by the Department of Education and Science (UK), Department of Education and Science (DES) requesting Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in England and Wales to begin converting their secondary ...
, and the Education Act 1976. Most maintained grammar schools were amalgamated with a number of other local schools, to form neighbourhood
comprehensive school A comprehensive school is a public school for elementary aged or secondary aged children (aged approximately 11-18) that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude, in contrast to the selective school A selecti ...
s, though a few were closed. This process proceeded quickly in Wales, with the closure of such schools as
Cowbridge Grammar School Cowbridge Grammar School was one of the best-known schools in Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish ...
. In England, implementation was less even, with some counties and individual schools successfully resisting conversion or closure. The Direct Grant Grammar Schools (Cessation of Grant) Regulations 1975 required direct grant schools to decide whether to convert into comprehensives under local authority control or become
independent schools Share enrolled in private institutions at the tertiary education level (2015) An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. Also known as private schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools, they ...
funded entirely by fees. Of the direct grant schools remaining at that time, 51 became comprehensive, 119 opted for independence, and five were "not accepted for the maintained system and expected to become independent schools or to close". Some of these schools retained the name "grammar" in their title but are no longer free of charge for all but a few pupils. These schools normally select their pupils by an entrance examination and sometimes by interview. By the end of the 1980s, all of the grammar schools in Wales and most of those in England had closed or converted. Selection also disappeared from state-funded schools in Scotland in the same period. While many former grammar schools ceased to be selective, many of these also retained the name "grammar". Most of these schools remain comprehensive, though a few became partially selective or fully selective in the 1990s. The tripartite system of grammar and secondary modern schools does survive in a few areas, such as Kent, where the eleven-plus examination to divide children into grammar and secondary modern schools is known as the
Kent Test The eleven-plus (11+) is an Test (assessment), examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary education, which governs admission to grammar schools and other secondary schools which use aca ...
.


Current British grammar schools

Today, "grammar school" commonly refers to one of the 163 remaining fully
selective Selective may refer to: * Selective school, a school that admits students on the basis of some sort of selection criteria ** Selective school (New South Wales) Selective strength: the human body transitions between being weak and strong. This rang ...
state-funded schools in England and the 69 remaining in Northern Ireland. The
National Grammar Schools Association The National Grammar Schools Association is an organisation in the United Kingdom which campaigns for the promotion of selective education. History It was formed in the 1970s. Following Circular 10/65 in 1965, issued by the Wilson 1964 United Kin ...
campaigns in favour of such schools, while Comprehensive Future and the Campaign for State Education campaign against them. A University College London study has shown that UK grammar school pupils gain no significant social or emotional advantages by the age of 14 over similarly gifted pupils in non-selective schools.


England

At the 1995 Labour Party (UK), Labour Party conference, David Blunkett, then education spokesman, promised that there would be no selection under a Labour government. However the party's manifesto for the 1997 election promised that "Any changes in the admissions policies of grammar schools will be decided by local parents." Under the Labour government's School Standards and Framework Act 1998, grammar schools were for the first time to be designated by statutory instrument. The Act also defined a procedure by which local communities could petition for a ballot for an end to selection at schools. Petitions were launched in several areas, but only one received the signatures of 20% of eligible parents, the level needed to trigger a ballot. Thus the only ballot held to date was for Ripon Grammar School in 2000, when parents rejected change by a ratio of 2 to 1. These arrangements were condemned by the Select Committee for Education and Skills as being ineffective and a waste of time and resources. There remain 163 grammar schools in England (out of some 3,000 state secondaries in total). Only a few areas have kept a formal grammar school system along the lines of the Tripartite System. In these areas, the eleven plus exam is used solely to identify a subset of children (around 25%) considered suitable for grammar education. When a grammar school has too many qualified applicants, other criteria are used to allocate places, such as siblings, distance or faith. Such systems still exist in Buckinghamshire, Rugby and Stratford districts of Warwickshire, the Salisbury district of Wiltshire and most of Lincolnshire, Kent, Reading and Medway. Of metropolitan areas, Trafford and most of Wirral are selective. In other areas, grammar schools survive mainly as very highly selective schools in an otherwise comprehensive county, for example in several of the outer boroughs of London. These schools are often heavily oversubscribed, and award places in rank order of performance in their entry tests. In some Local education authority, LEAs, as many as 10–15% of 11-year-olds may attend grammar schools (for example in Gloucestershire), but in other LEAs it is as low as 2%. These very highly selective schools also tend to dominate the top positions in performance tables. Further radical change was opposed by both Conservative and Labour governments until September 2016. Although many on the left argue that the existence of selective schools undermines the comprehensive structure, Labour governments have delegated decisions on grammar schools to local processes, which have not yet resulted in any changes. Moreover, government education policy appears to accept the existence of some kind of hierarchy in secondary education, with specialist schools, beacon schools, academy (English school), academies and similar initiatives proposed as ways of raising standards. Many grammar schools have featured in these programmes, and a lower level of selection is permitted at specialist schools. In September 2016, prime minister Theresa May reversed the previous Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party policy against expansion of grammar schools (except to cope with population expansion in wholly selective areas). The government opened a consultation on proposals to allow existing grammar schools to expand and new ones to be set up. The Labour Party (UK), Labour and Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat parties remain opposed to any expansion.


Northern Ireland

Attempts to move to a comprehensive system (as in the rest of the United Kingdom) have been delayed by shifts in the administration of Northern Ireland. As a result, Northern Ireland still maintains the grammar school system, with many pupils being entered for academic selection exams similar to the 11-plus. Since the "open enrolment" reform of 1989, these schools (unlike those in England) have been required to accept pupils up to their capacity, which has also increased. By 2006, the 69 grammar schools took 42% of transferring children, and only 7 of them took all of their intake from the top 30% of the cohort. The 11-plus has long been controversial, and Northern Ireland's political parties have taken opposing positions. Unionists tend to lean towards preserving the grammar schools as they are, with academic selection at the age of 11, whereas nationalist politicians lean towards scrapping the 11-plus, despite vehement protestations from the majority of Catholic Grammar Schools, most notably by the board of governors at Rathmore Grammar School in Finaghy, (a South Belfast suburb) and Lumen Christi (although co-educational) in Derry. The Democratic Unionist Party claimed to have ensured the continuation of the grammar school system in the Province as part of the St Andrews Agreement in October 2006. By contrast, Sinn Féin claims to have secured the abolition of the 11-plus and a veto over any system which might follow it. The last government-run 11-plus exam was held in 2008 (for 2009 entry), but the Northern Ireland Assembly has not been able to agree on a replacement system for secondary transfer. The grammar schools have organised groupings to run their own tests, the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (mostly Catholic schools) and the Association for Quality Education. The Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education has accepted continued selection at Catholic grammar schools as a temporary measure, but wishes them to end the practice by 2012. As of September 2019, the practice continues.


In other countries or regions

Grammar schools were established in various British territories, and have developed in different ways since those territories became independent.


Australia

In the mid-19th century, private schools were established in the Australian colonies to spare the wealthy classes from sending their sons to schools in Britain. These schools took their inspiration from English Public school (UK), public schools, and often called themselves "grammar schools". Early examples include Launceston Grammar School (1846), Pulteney Grammar School (1847), Geelong Grammar School (1855), Melbourne Grammar School (1858) and Hale School (1858). With the exception of the non-denominational Sydney Grammar School (1857) and Queensland grammar schools, all the grammar schools established in the 19th century were attached to the Church of England (now the Anglican Church of Australia). In Queensland, the Grammar Schools Act (Qld) 1860, Grammar Schools Act 1860 provided for the state-assisted foundation of non-denominational grammar schools. Beginning with Ipswich Grammar School (1863), ten schools were founded, of which the following eight still exist:Grammar Schools Act 2016
Queensland Government.
* Brisbane Grammar School * Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane Girls' Grammar School (1875), the first of several grammar schools for girls in Australia * Ipswich Girls' Grammar School * Ipswich Grammar School * Rockhampton Girls Grammar School, Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School (1892) * Rockhampton Grammar School * Toowoomba Grammar School * Townsville Grammar School. In the 1920s grammar schools of other denominations were established, including members of the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria, and the trend has continued to the present day. Today, the term is defined only in Queensland legislation. Throughout the country, "grammar schools" are generally high-cost private schools. The nearest equivalents of contemporary English grammar schools are selective schools. The New South Wales public education system operates 19 selective public schools which resemble the English grammar-school system insofar as they engage in academic selection by way of centralised examination, they do not charge tuition fees and they are recipients of a greater degree of public funding per pupil than is afforded to non-selective government schools.


Canada

Grammar schools provided secondary education in Ontario until 1871. The first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, advocated grammar schools for the colony to save the wealthy from sending their sons to the United States to be educated, but was unable to convince his superiors in London. He did however make a grant enabling John Stuart to set up Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Kingston Grammar School in 1795. After several abortive attempts to raise funding, the District Schools Act of 1807 provided support for one grammar school teacher in each district (of which there were then eight), but they were then left to their own devices. Finding the grammar schools unsuitable as preparation for university, lieutenant-governor Sir John Colborne founded Upper Canada College as a superior grammar school. Legislation in 1839 allowed for more than one grammar school in a district, triggering a rapid but unstructured growth in numbers over the following two decades, rising to 86 in 1861. The schools became more independent of the Church of England, and also began to admit girls. However, the schools were unsupervised, often underfunded and of varying standards. Some, like Galt Collegiate Institute and Vocational School, Tassie's School in Galt, Ontario, Galt provided a traditional classical education, while many provided a basic education of poor quality. Chief Superintendent of Education Egerton Ryerson attempted to reform the schools in the 1850s and 1860s, moving control of the schools from counties (the former districts) to city authorities, securing their funding and introducing inspectors. However, his efforts to convert the schools into classical schools for only boys were unsuccessful. In recognition of the broad curricula offered, grammar schools were redesignated as
secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (ages 11 to 14) and upper secondary educat ...
by the Act to Improve the Common and Grammar Schools of the Province of Ontario of 1871. Schools that offered classical studies were given additional funding and operated as collegiate institute#Canada, collegiate institutes. The secondary-school collegiate-institute system was also emulated in several other provinces in western Canada.


Hong Kong

Mainstream schools in Hong Kong reflect the post-war British grammar system, focusing on a traditional curriculum rather than vocational subjects.


Ireland

Education in Republic of Ireland, Ireland has traditionally been organised on Christian denomination, denominational lines. Grammar schools along the lines of those in Great Britain were set up for members of the Church of Ireland prior to its disestablishment in 1871. Some schools remain, as private schools catering largely for Protestant students. These are often fee-paying and accommodate boarders, given the scattered nature of the Protestant population in much of Ireland. Such schools include Bandon Grammar School, Drogheda Grammar School, Dundalk Grammar School and Sligo Grammar School. Others are among the many former fee-paying schools absorbed into larger state-funded community school (Ireland), community schools founded since the introduction of universal secondary education in the Republic by minister Donogh O'Malley in September 1967. Examples include Cork Grammar School, replaced by Ashton School, Ashton Comprehensive School in 1972.


Malaysia

Malaysia has a number of grammar schools, a majority of which were established when the country was under the British. They are generally not known as "grammar schools" but are similarly selective in their intake. Among the best known being the Penang Free School, the Victoria Institution (Kuala Lumpur), Malay College Kuala Kangsar, the English College, Johor, English College (Johor Bahru), King George V School, Seremban, King George V School (Seremban) and St. George's Institution, Malaysia, St George's Institution (Taiping). Mission schools set up by various Christian denominations paralleled the selective state school albeit not with the same degree of selectivity. Notable mission schools include the La Sallian educational institutions#Malaysia, La Sallian family of schools and those set up by the Marist Brothers and Methodist missionaries. Before the 1970s when Malay was made the medium of instruction, many such selective schools became known for providing excellent English-medium education and have produced many notable alumni, including former Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Tun Razak (St. John's Institution) and all five of his predecessors.


Singapore

Singapore was established as a Crown Colony, and the term "grammar school" was used since 1819 among the English community. The English, and later, the Scottish, set up cathedrals, churches, and elite grammar schools for the upper class. Initially, this was a racially segregated colonial system. The British then opened up their schools to children from English mixed marriages, or to those with English descent. During the late colonial period, these schools expanded and also schooled descendants of the very few mixed English and Straits-Chinese families, and descendants of some rich Straits-born Chinese merchant class families, who were educated in Oxbridge or had London trade ties. Initially these schools were run exactly like their counterparts in England, and taught by the English. The oldest of these, Raffles Institution, was founded in 1823 by Sir Stamford Raffles to educate sons born and living in the Crown Colony, often to fathers in Crown colonial service. Single-sex classes were set up for daughters of the British ruling class in 1844, and later became Raffles Girls' School, officially founded in 1879. After independence it became the Raffles Girls' School (Primary School), distinct from the branch school established by the local government after independence, the Raffles Girls' School (Secondary School). The French Roman Catholic Orders later opened up their ministries and boarding schools to children of mixed marriages, and racial segregation was also relaxed to some extent in the English schools. The French Catholic missions and schools, but not the English schools, also accepted orphans, foundlings, and illegitimate children abandoned by mothers ostracized for breaching racial purity laws. The CHIJMES building has commemorative plaques for these abandoned babies. The children were termed "children of God" and raised as Catholics. When laws banning polygamy became strictly enforced in Singapore after 1965, these schools extended their English-speaking classes to girls from families of any socio-economic background. The British grammar schools in Singapore imitated much of this education system, with Catholicism replaced by Anglicanism. Later the Anglican High School, Singapore, Anglican High School of Singapore was set up. Australian Methodist missionaries started UK-style grammar schools with American and British Methodist church funds. They founded the Anglo-Chinese School (1886) and Methodist Girls' School, Singapore, Methodist Girls' School (1887). When Singapore became independent from the United Kingdom, the Singapore government established publicly funded bilingual schools based on the existing grammar school system. Since the 1960s their mission was to provide a high-quality elite education to the top 10% in national annual IQ tests, regardless of socio-economic background. These bilingual schools were influenced by the US educational system, and termed "high schools" rather than "grammar schools". Other, less elitist, state schools were called simply "secondary schools", similar to the UK equivalent of "comprehensive schools". High schools include Dunman High School (co-educational), Nanyang Girls' High School, Maris Stella High School (for boys only) and Catholic High School, Singapore, Catholic High School (all-boys). Within these schools there are academically top classes, the very competitive Scholars' class or "A" class. Graduates tend to become part of the upper class. These schools recruit pupils worldwide, particularly from large emerging Asian economies. Recruitment is carried out under the auspices of the Special Assistant Plan Scholars programme, the ASEAN Scholars programme, and the India and China Scholars programmes. Gifted pupils, such as winners of Mathematical Olympiads, international violin and piano competitions, Physics Olympiads and child inventors are particularly sought after. In addition to religious missions and the new high schools, the less selective Singapore Chinese Girls' School was set up by several Peranakan business and community leaders. The Ministry of Education published annual rankings, but discontinued them after criticism of excessive academic stress placed on schoolchildren, some of whom committed suicide in response to perceived failure. After the 1990s all schools were integrated into a unified national school system, but the elite schools distinguished themselves by descriptions such as "independent" or "autonomous".


United States

Grammar schools on the English and later British models were founded during the thirteen colonies, colonial period, the first being the Boston Latin School, founded as the Latin Grammar School in 1635. In 1647 the Massachusetts Bay Colony enacted the Old Deluder Satan Law, requiring any township of at least 100 households to establish a grammar school, and similar laws followed in the other New England colonies. These schools initially taught young men the classical languages as a preparation for university, but by the mid-18th century many had broadened their curricula to include practical subjects. Nevertheless, they declined in popularity owing to competition from the more practical academies. The name "grammar school" was adopted by public schools for children from 10 to 14 years of age, following a primary stage from 5 to 9 years of age. These types were gradually combined around 1900 to form elementary school (United States), elementary schools, which were also known as "grammar schools". An analogous concept to the contemporary English grammar school is the magnet school, a state-funded secondary institution that may select students from a given school district according to academic criteria.


New Zealand

In New Zealand, a small number of schools are named "grammar schools" and follow the academic and cultural traditions established in the United Kingdom. Grammar schools were established only in Auckland, and all originally came under the authority of the Auckland Grammar Schools' Board. Auckland's grammar schools share a common line of descent from the British grammar school system, with a strong focus on academics and traditional British sports. Originally these schools used entry assessments and selected academic students from across New Zealand. The schools mentioned below all share the school motto: "Per Angusta Ad Augusta". They also share the same icon/logo, the "Auckland Grammar Lion". Today, all grammar schools in New Zealand are non-selective state schools, although they use school donations to supplement their government funding. Within the Ministry of Education (New Zealand), Ministry of Education, they are regarded as any other secondary institutions. New Zealand did not establish a state education system until 1877. The absence of a national education system meant that the first sizeable secondary education providers were grammar schools and other private institutions. The first grammar school in New Zealand, Auckland Grammar School, was established in 1850 and formally recognised as an educational establishment in 1868 through the Auckland Grammar School Appropriation Act. In 1888 Auckland Girls' Grammar School was established. In 1917 Auckland Grammar School's sister school was established—Epsom Girls' Grammar School. In 1922 Mount Albert Grammar School was established as part of Auckland Grammar School. Since then the two schools have become separate institutions. Takapuna Grammar School was established in 1927 and was the first co-educational grammar school to be established in New Zealand.


See also

* Grammar schools debate * History of education in England * Latin school


References


External links


A general timeline of English education

The situation of grammar schools today

Support Kent Schools

Q and A: Advanced schools
''BBC News''
Grammar schools
''The Guardian'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Grammar School Education in the United Kingdom State schools in the United Kingdom School types