Out in YouTube land there’s a independent film about to go on release. It’s the story of a dystopian future where the population is tested for intelligence and only the brightest are allowed to survive. You can watch the trailer here.
Whilst the film explores an extreme approach to “thinning” the population, its not so very different to the selective education systems that we have in the United Kingdom. Every year in areas that have selective education, children are put through the awful process of testing to see if they are “worthy enough” to be allowed a decent education. So much of their lives will be determined by the outcome of this test that perhaps the extreme version portrayed in “The Thinning” isn’t such a huge step beyond what we do now.
Can it really be right that after just six years of primary education, we determine the future of our children on a 2 – 3 hour test. Should we really determine who the winners and losers will be based on so little? Should we determine it at all at this stage when these young people are still only children and are only the barest outline of the adults that they will one day become?
Maybe it is the very awfulness of this thinning process that has left us with only 164 selective schools out of a total of 3268 schools in England. There were good reasons why the selective system was all but abandoned in the 1970s. So why would we want to go back?
Can the 11+ Thinning really be something that we want in our future?