Chapter 1 in: de Waal, Anastasia ed. The Ins and Outs of Selective Secondary Schools: A Debate, Civitas, pp 9-28
This chapter traces the way in which national and local policies have at different times favoured selective or non-selective admissions arrangements in English secondary schools. It shows how, for most of the past century, the key issue of contention in political and educational debates was whether and how to select for a bipartite system on the basis of academic attainment or aptitude at age 11. The chapter goes on to discuss recent policies that have favoured a more diversified school system and parental choice, features that are sometimes criticised for introducing new forms of selection that may be less transparent and even more socially divisive.