Found a copy of the observer on the tube yesterday and was interested by this article. Seems strange that the education system has come to this.
Given that the tripartite system proved only to strengthen class divides, why are we taking so many steps back towards selective schooling? Ok, the postcode lottery wasn't a good thing, but in some ways its so much better to this.
Children need to intermingle regardless of their academic abilities. Learning is a social process and their is so much more to learn through discussing and explaining things to each other across the ability range than could ever be portrayed by a teacher alone.
Given that most of the research I've seen finds against setting within schools, why are we pushing towards a system where your not just set or streamed within your school, but you are being set on a per-school basis?
By labelling children as being suitable for the "best" or "worst" schools we are only setting expectations of what we think they should grow into and then we're somehow surprised that some of those from the so called worst schools meet our stereotypes.
All children have massive levels of potential no matter what their ability level is. They can understand immensely complex concepts as long as you explain them in terms that they understand and the best people to do this are their peers. A process that is beneficial to both participants, after all, a good way of understanding something is to explain it to someone else. Why, in that case, do we go to so much lengths to stop this from happening?