This missing 75% is rather strange: where are all those former secondary modern pupils demanding a return to selection? If, as the meritocrats claim, the 11-plus is so clearly a superior system, why are not more of these (doubtless) happy, contented failures, secure in their particular places, beseeching the government to deliver more grammar schools?Grammar schools give a false perception of success. They select at 11, and get good results at 16. Those results look good, of course, because the kids they've got in there are judged, by one form of measure, to be smarter, so naturally they'll do 'well'. At least, at academic subjects. They also create a false view that only academic success is important; I'm pretty good academically (lazy bastard, but pretty good), but absolutely useless when it comes to, for example, fixing a car.
Students at a grammar are filtered towards academia, thou shalt attend University. Even if its innapropriate or you'd be better at a more practical skill. Those that 'fail' their 11+ are encouraged, and expected, to go on to those 'vocational' courses, even if they would actually be better served on an academic course. I got worse GCSE results than my younger sister two years later, but she 'failed' her 11+. My school pushed me to A levels, and then on to a crappy degree (despite being obviously wrong for me at the time, it was good for their statistics you see; they don't record first term drop outs, only that you got a place at university). Her school pushed her to train to be a secretary. Naturally, she's worked hard, and now earns much more than I, despite the incomplete education, but she is now hitting a glass ceiling wherein lack of a degree is causing her problems. Grammar schools fail people. Secondary moderns fail people. One size fits all comprehensives fail people if they insist on mixed ability classes.
I'm always bothered when people push for parental 'choice' in education. If you live in an area such as I do, you don't really have much choice, there are a small number of local schools. Add in selection, then the choice is even less, you go where you're accepted. What's wrong with the idea that all schools should be good schools?
What's wrong with the idea that someone good at maths may be poor at English, and therefore streaming and ability sets worked by subject may be a necessary tool?
Why do we value the academic over the mechanic, the lawyer over the plumber? And why do people seek to constantly bring back a system that palpably isn't good for anyone involved except those that are academic and pass the 11+?