/ Grammar Schools

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balmybaldwin - on 06 Sep 2016
I just don't get why they are seen as a problem.

Why are they such a political hot potato?

They are free.

They allow admission not based on mummy & daddy's wallet size, but instead ability.

They have outstanding results.

They provide a vehicle for social mobility equivalent to private schools (in terms of advancement in grades and likely university entrance.)

They allow the brightest kids to not be held back by the not so bright (and indirectly better tailoring of education for both top and underachievers)

I understand that there are arguments that the less well off can't afford housing nearby - but this is far less extreme than the fixed catchment areas of other non fee-paying good schools due to larger catchment areas, and only exacerbated by the bizarre limit on number of grammar schools

As far as I can tell the biggest problem with them is there aren't enough and aren't distributed properly throughout the country. They seem a much better idea than these Academies and "Free" schools pushed more recently

So why is it that when anyone mentions the idea politically they get hung out to dry?
abr1966 - on 06 Sep 2016

In reply to

> They are free.

Paid for by taxpayers. Significant evidence available that people with more money support their kids via private tutoring to gain selective ed placements.

> They allow admission not based on mummy & daddy's wallet size, but instead ability.

As above. I also would dispute 'evidence' that it's possible to delineate brighter and less brighter kids at 11 years old. Many kids are developmentally less mature at this point and ed results often primarily reflect social circumstances not intelligence.

> They have outstanding results.

Maybe so but not exclusively and are based on selection.

> They provide a vehicle for social mobility equivalent to private schools (in terms of advancement in grades and likely university entrance.)

Equal argument that social mobility is reduced for those not selected.

> They allow the brightest kids to not be held back by the not so bright (and indirectly better tailoring of education for both top and underachievers)

This is possible to manage in many other ways.
Post edited at 19:28
Toccata on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I used to think like you too. Then I realised they were private schools by the back door with the rich parents able to live in the catchment areas of the good Primaries, coach the children and hire the tutors to gain entry to them. Instead of all that parent power harnessed for the good of all, the less well off or fortunate are excluded from life's best opportunities. Grammar schools are a way of silencing a very noisy minority of self-centred people.

If the will was there, teaching standards could be raised across the board instead of lavishing it on the privileged few. Rather than improve social mobility, a two-tier education system will be created with most shut out of the Public-Grammar axis. Grammar schools are a relic from a different age and have no place in the UK today.

And if anyone cares I went from a small, rural state school outside the top 100 in Scotland to Cambridge Univ.
OwenM - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Because the flip side of Grammar schools is the secondary modern, whatever you care to call them. Grammar schools get the cream, the better teachers, better equipment, better resources, better accommodation. The secondary modern's get the dregs that's left over. They are just a way for some people to get a better education for their kids at everyone else's expense.
elsewhere on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
> I just don't get why they are seen as a problem.

> Why are they such a political hot potato?

> They are free.

> They allow admission not based on mummy & daddy's wallet size, but instead ability.

I'll believe that when estate agents stop mentioning catchment areas.

> They have outstanding results.

Is this really true when you include those not selected?

> They provide a vehicle for social mobility equivalent to private schools (in terms of advancement in grades and likely university entrance.)

This may be true for poorer kids who get to grammar school but there are fewer poor* kids in grammar schools.

*measured by free school meals

> They allow the brightest kids to not be held back by the not so bright (and indirectly better tailoring of education for both top and underachievers)

Streaming within comprehensive school?

> I understand that there are arguments that the less well off can't afford housing nearby - but this is far less extreme than the fixed catchment areas of other non fee-paying good schools due to larger catchment areas, and only exacerbated by the bizarre limit on number of grammar schools

> As far as I can tell the biggest problem with them is there aren't enough and aren't distributed properly throughout the country. They seem a much better idea than these Academies and "Free" schools pushed more recently

> So why is it that when anyone mentions the idea politically they get hung out to dry?

Do they improve academic achievement or concentrate achievement in one school with no overall improvement ? What is the evidence?
Post edited at 19:42
Wanderer100 - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:



> So why is it that when anyone mentions the idea politically they get hung out to dry?

Because the world is full of whinging people who think everyone is equal and should be presented with a good life on a plate and the same people bitterly lament the fact that we are not all equal and have to work hard for a living and squeeze out opportunities where we can.
My son goes to a local grammar school and my daughter takes her 11+ on Saturday. Like most of their peer group they have had to work hard to get to the required standard. No private tutors no private school just hard graft and a little natural talent.
KevinD - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Wanderer100:

> No private tutors no private school just hard graft and a little natural talent.

Ah well. She will be at a disadvantage then compared to those who have had that
m0unt41n on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

When Darwin brings out Volume 2 - Survival of the Equals
then the argument that everyone should be all on the same level gets some foundation.
The New NickB - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Wanderer100:

I'm glad you contributed, someone had to balance out the rational and reasonable responces above.
The New NickB - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to m0unt41n:

> When Darwin brings out Volume 2 - Survival of the Equals

> then the argument that everyone should be all on the same level gets some foundation.

Clearly some people have better comprehension skills than others.
KevinD - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to m0unt41n:

> then the argument that everyone should be all on the same level gets some foundation.

if Darwin brings out a second volume I think we will all have more important things to worry about.
wintertree - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to OwenM:

> Grammar schools get the cream, the better teachers, better equipment, better resources, better accommodation. The secondary modern's get the dregs that's left over.

I can assure you various teachers I know in some local troubled comps are as far from "dregs" as you can imagine. That's not to say all the staff are at their level.
wintertree - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

You can achieve equality by dragging those at the top down or by helping those at the bottom up.

The bottom end is just as bad in parts of the country with no grammar schools.

In my view there are significantly more urgent and pressing problems with the state school system in the UK, but for some reason these don't get the media attention or public interest that the grammar school issue does.
elsewhere on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
For the first time in ages Corbyn said something I like.

He asked something along the lines of "Why do the Tories want to bring back secondary modern schools?".

wintertree - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> They allow admission not based on mummy & daddy's wallet size, but instead ability.

Far better to base admission on mum and dads church attendance instead, all on state funding. To me the issues around religiously backed state schools are a far more pressing cause of inequality than grammar schools, because it extends down to the earliest formative years and is more widespread.
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
As others already mentioned, ability is minor compared with parental pushing in various forms.

Grammar schools do not get outstanding results when you look at the "value added".

When you consider that most grammar school parents will expect to get their child one to one tutition for several core subjects, it becomes apparent that actually some grammar school teachers are really quite dreadful, but they get away with it because the pupils are bright, so they learn anyway, the parents pay for tutors, so the results are never bad enough for the teachers to get sacked.

The truly great teachers are those that can inspire, motivate, explain and persevere to enable average and below average kids to do well. Any idiot can teach only clever kids.

I also think comprehensive schools are far fairer for children who are really good at one subject, but not good enough across the board to pass the 11+

They can be in top set for Maths, if that is their best subject, even if they are dyslexic and need extra help in English for example.
Post edited at 21:06
balmybaldwin - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

I agree. Religious schools seem a very bad concept regardless of religion.


Yanis Nayu - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

I'm public enemy number 1 I reckon. My daughter went to a C of E primary school because it was the best one in the area, now she goes to a grammar school. And I'm a white, middle-aged male.
balmybaldwin - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:



> The truly great teachers are those that can inspire, motivate, explain and persevere to enable average and below average kids to do well. Any idiot can teach only clever kids.

Agreed, I have a lot of respect for teachers that can inspire, it is those that stick in the mind, one of my closest friends has worked in teaching since college, and has spent time in the state and private sectors, but originally in the EBD sector, and it certainly seemed to be the most rewarding and challenging of the areas.
Swirly - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I'm not 100% sure why I'm replying to this as I'm probably just opening myself up to abuse. In the interests of openness, I'm a teacher in a grammar school. I realise that makes me the devil squared to some on here.

I think before considering the types of school we have first you have to consider the point of the education system. I don't believe it's there to provide qualifications but to allow young people to realise their potential and give them the chance to be a useful member of society. Unlike the new educational targets this does not mean getting the best 8 GCSEs possible. Sometimes this means listening to the child and doing what they ask, sometimes it means ignoring them. Take the following examples, all very common in my experience:

Jocelyn is a clever girl, she loves reading but cannot see the point in being able to solve a quadratic equation. She wants to be a hairdresser.

Mark doesn't see the point in school at all. At 16 he's going to be an apprentice (you have to be learning until 18 now) in his dad's building firm.

Pete likes school, especially languages. Unfortunately he's not very good at the subjects, if he's lucky he might scrape a pass at GCSE.

Darren is a brilliant footballer, he is on the books for the local premier league youth team. He trains 5 times a week and can't see any reason for being in school at all. Despite this outlook he has always shown academic potential.

Tracey has the potential to be an excellent scientist, she is outstanding at all the core subjects but could do with a little bit of help from time to time in maths.

With the current education system all 5 of these young people end up in the same classes attempting the same qualifications. It's effectively how our education system is set up, the qualification matters and progress8 is king. But is this best for the kids:

Jocelyn knows what she wants to do, she has a valid career path with good prospects for the future. She should be doing things that prepare her for this. She's even right about the quadratic equations, of course she shouldn't be allowed to drop maths but she should be learning relevant maths: how to budget, how does interest work etc. Instead she could well be the one stopping Tracey get that extra bit of help.

Mark also has a potentially decent career lined up. He's wrong about school being pointless but with what he's experiencing you can't really blame him. He could do with something similar to Jocelyn, without the literature perhaps but the ability to read and write formal letters, calculate amounts and do practical work would stand him in great stead.

Pete is the one I really feel for, in the subjects he loves he's going to be bottom set. The teacher is mainly going to be crowd controlling the Marks and Darrens. Pete was never going to go to university or even study A-levels but right now he's not even going to have the GCSEs to show for the last few years.

What do you think about Darren? As adults we know the chances of him making it are tiny but surely he should be given the chance. Right now he has to do a minimum of 8 GCSEs wouldn't a better option be to force him to do the core subjects and maybe one or two others. That way he'll be less tired and more able to focus on the studies he has, meaning he'll have a back up.

Tracey is probably the only "Grammar-School Kid" in this list, she'll do OK wherever she goes but with the teacher keeping Jocelyn and her mates under control is she going to reach her full potential?


All of these kids have bright futures, just like the vast majority of young people do, however, trying to force them into a one size fits all school doesn't allow them the best opportunity to reach their potential. In my view the school system needs a massive overhaul. I propose a three school system, at one end you have the grammar school focussing on traditional academic subjects, at the other end technical schools teaching kids skills that lead to careers. As a country we are crying out for skilled workers: plumbers, electricians , mechanics, joiners etc. You need a bit of maths, a bit of English but you don't need to know how to analyse a poem. When Johnny comes out of primary school unable to write a sentence why are we trying to teach him to conjugate avoir in the pluperfect? Then in the middle for most kids schools which are a mixture of the two. This, as far as I'm aware, is similar to the system in Germany; one key place we differ is in the respect we have for skilled tradespeople.

This system is far from perfect, something that is essential for it to work fairly is the ability to transfer between schools. Moreover, I haven't even considered provision for pupils with special educational needs which is horrendous at the moment.

So there you go, flame away. I'll probably be too busy marking to read anything.


PS another reason I'm such a fan of the grammar system is I'm a product of it. The first child in my family to do A-levels, let alone go to university and on to post graduate study. At work I meet a lot of young people in a similar situation so don't tell me they hinder social mobility. Also some people have commented on tutoring kids through the entrance exam. IMO this is borderline cruelty as those kids stick out a mile, I really feel for them as they struggle to keep up in pretty much every lesson for 5 years but that's the fault of the parents not the system.
wintertree - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> I also think comprehensive schools are far fairer for children who are really good at one subject, but not good enough across the board to pass the 11+

I think that is an excellent point.

> They can be in top set for Maths, if that is their best subject, even if they are dyslexic and need extra help in English for example.

That was my conundrum at school - pretty much the top kid at maths and the bottom kid at english.

I'm a great proponent of streaming within the state sector, but that attracts almost as much vitriol from some quarters as grammar schools. My preference would be for there to be no grammar schools, and for every state secondary school to stream every "academic" class of sufficient size. In terms of equality I believe this to be better for the less able students because it allows for far more targeted teaching and staffing and provides a less intimidating environment.
balmybaldwin - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:


> I also think comprehensive schools are far fairer for children who are really good at one subject, but not good enough across the board to pass the 11+

> They can be in top set for Maths, if that is their best subject, even if they are dyslexic and need extra help in English for example.

Sneaky edit!

Right. got you, this is the bit I've been missing.... the fact that the entrance exam is a broad measure and can therefore penalise a born mathematician if they are appalling at English.

As long as per subject streaming is allowed i.e. top set maths, bottom English (as I was) then that makes a lot more sense.

OwenM - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

> I can assure you various teachers I know in some local troubled comps are as far from "dregs" as you can imagine. That's not to say all the staff are at their level.

As someone who went to one of the dreaded secondary moderns (I did actually get the chance to take the 11+ as they were phasing it out at the time) I can assure you the teachers at that school were the dregs.
Swirly - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:


> Grammar schools do not get outstanding results when you look at the "value added".

Some do, some don't just like all schools. Of course, if all your kids are expected to get A* then it's quite hard to overachieve.

> so the results are never bad enough for the teachers to get sacked.

This is true, I've seen it first hand. But while everyone worries how many class teachers get sacked over results?

> Any idiot can teach only clever kids.

Also true, but can they make them think?

marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Swirly:

I'm not going to flame you. I agree we should be providing good and relevant education for all of those kids. It's one of the reasons I'm strongly in favour of rigorous ability setting. However this should be done by subject, not by splitting the whole cohort up and sending some to one school and some to another.

The schools I have worked in have all provided some form of vocational education, but have also provided the right environment for those that are academic. We had everything from entry level for those not able to access GCSE courses, (eg child with Down's syndrome) right up to multiple A* A Levels this year.

Comprehensive Schools can provide for the grammar school cohort as long as the school is well led and the students are trained to understand that they are there to learn and disruptive behaviour isn't acceptable.
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Not sneaky just getting old and my memory isn't what it was!
KevinD - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Swirly:

> I'm not 100% sure why I'm replying to this as I'm probably just opening myself up to abuse.

I suspect you fail to understand why people arent fans then or confuse disagreement with hostility.

> Pete is the one I really feel for, in the subjects he loves he's going to be bottom set. The teacher is mainly going to be crowd controlling the Marks and Darrens.

The concerning bit here is you seem to have decided that they are unteachable and consider them active opponents.

> What do you think about Darren? As adults we know the chances of him making it are tiny but surely he should be given the chance.

Given the other kids do the same and given the increased risk of harm of overtraining when a kid I would suggest it is a rather big failing not to work with him and his coaches to make sure he actually understands the probability of going pro with specific emphasis around likelihood of career ending injuries before it even becomes a career.

> All of these kids have bright futures, just like the vast majority of young people do, however, trying to force them into a one size fits all school doesn't allow them the best opportunity to reach their potential.

The major problem is when do you apply that specialisation. Eleven is way to early which might well be why Germany receives a lot of criticism.
I do think there should be a proper focus on polytechnics and institutes for vocational training and not, as they are sometimes seen, as for the dregs who dont make university. I know my dad used to get pissed off at being kids being pushed towards electricians training who had no mathematical skills.
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

I'm for setting (by subject) and against streaming (by overall results where a child such as yourself would probably average out to the middle, leaving them bored in maths and struggling in English)
wintertree - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to OwenM:

> As someone who went to one of the dreaded secondary moderns (I did actually get the chance to take the 11+ as they were phasing it out at the time) I can assure you the teachers at that school were the dregs.

I think all we've shown is that no two schools are the same.

Grammar schools do not however cause this problem. Your previous post effectively blamed grammar schools for concentrating the bad teachers in secondary moderns.

If you have C children and N teachers of which B are "bad", then across the system C*B/N children will be taught by bad teachers regardless of how they are distributed. Grammar schools change the probabilities for individual children getting a good or a bad teacher, but the number of children failed by them remains the same overall.

It's not right to blame grammar schools for the presence of bad teachers. You need to look at the teacher training routes, and then the toll that school management takes upon NQTs.

If there were no bad teachers then the advantage of grammar schools would start to disappear. This is what I allied to with my comment on helping those at the bottom vs dragging those at the top down.
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Swirly:

I'm not suggesting that all grammar school teachers are idiots, far from it. Just that the small % of idiot teachers do seem to drift away from comprehensive schools as they find they don't have the ability to do the job when it comes to middle and bottom sets.

Teaching top sets has its own different challenges (and far more marking)

As you say making them think is important.
wintertree - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> I'm for setting (by subject) and against streaming (by overall results where a child such as yourself would probably average out to the middle, leaving them bored in maths and struggling in English)

I am obviously having a terminology issue, sorry. I am thinking of having children placed in ability groups on a per-subject basis. Please don't tell me that there are schools that are placing kids in a "top" or "bottom" set across the board because that is so clearly insane that it can't be happening. Right? Right?...
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

That is called streaming. I think it's out of fashion at present, but effectively that is what the grammar school system did.
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/news.aspx?itemid=3064&itemTitle=Streaming+pupils+by+ability+in+primary+...

The disadvantage of not streaming can be removed by setting.
baron - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:
Idiot teachers don't move on they become part of the leadership/management team
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

I couldn't possibly comment....
Wanderer100 - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> I'm glad you contributed, someone had to balance out the rational and reasonable responces above.

Whereas your meagre contribution is too sneer contemptuously at others for expressing an opinion that is different to your own.

And it's responses....

TheDrunkenBakers - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
My daughter is at a grammar school and I make no apology. Its a bloody good one too where Maragaret Thatcher attended.

I paid her to go to tutors despite the fact that I couldnt really afford to at the time and she has flourished. She is hopeless with maths but excels at other subjects.

The reason. The schools in Newark are appalling with a constant change of head teachers and little direction. The main school in Newark is under total reconstruction now which is sorely needed and hopefully this will improve things.

The other decent schools locally I am out of catchment. If anyone doesnt know Southwell then look it up on Rightmove and see what a home costs to move to a catchment area with a decent free school. In this case, The Minster School. My home would be over 40pc more there.

She travels 12 miles to school and 12 back and I can assure you that neither Newark or Grantham (which happens to have two really good grammar schools, a boys a girls), are Prestbury or Chelsea. The Minster School catchment puts a vast premium on house prices that its like a mini Cheshire Triangle.

The whole system is clearly broken but sometimes, as in my case, the grammar school offers a potentially decent education for those of us who either cant afford the premium catchments or private education.

What option did I have?
Post edited at 22:21
Shani - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to m0unt41n:
> When Darwin brings out Volume 2 - Survival of the Equals

> then the argument that everyone should be all on the same level gets some foundation.

The arguments above are about equality of opportunity, not about 'making everyone equal'.

Look at it another way; your child (if you have one), is likely to be hindered in fulfilling his/her potential in life already, by virtue of YOUR current career, and by the schools he/she has attended and is currently attending.

Let's unpack this a little more; Your child may be superbly able to fulfill a particular role in life. But far less able, far less qualified and far less deserved people will be in line to get that job before your child (no matter how hard s/he works), because those with societal advantage ensure they hoard those advantages and secure those opportunities for their offspring.

Are you happy with this situation? Are you prepared to sit back and let structures which disadvantage your child to persist? Are you happy top jobs are not allocated on ability?
Post edited at 22:33
pec on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to OwenM:

> Because the flip side of Grammar schools is the secondary modern, whatever you care to call them. Grammar schools get the cream, the better teachers, better equipment, better resources, better accommodation. The secondary modern's get the dregs that's left over. >

You are still living in the 1950's if you believe that lot, absolutely non of it is true these days. Indeed thay aren't even called secondary moderns anymore. In the local authority where I used to live which still has grammar schools many of the non grammar schools still get results most comprehensive's can only dream of even with "the cream" removed.

baron - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:
The biggest handicap to getting on in life in the UK is a lack of aspiration. This is a direct result, in most cases, of a lack of parental support and guidance.
There is no doubt though that the old boy's network is still alive and well and enabling some people to achieve way beyond what they deserve based on merit alone.
That said you can't allow the unfairness of life to stop you trying.
pec on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Toccata:

> I used to think like you too. Then I realised they were private schools by the back door with the rich parents able to live in the catchment areas of the good Primaries, coach the children and hire the tutors to gain entry to them. Instead of all that parent power harnessed for the good of all, the less well off or fortunate are excluded from life's best opportunities. Grammar schools are a way of silencing a very noisy minority of self-centred people. >

To the extent that what you say is true, it is only so because there are so few areas which still have grammar schools, hence the incentive for parents to move to the nearest grammar school area. If we had grammar schools in every town regardless of the area's wealth, all that would cease to be the case because everybody would live in the catchment area of one.

> If the will was there, teaching standards could be raised across the board instead of lavishing it on the privileged few. >

You have about as much idea as to what's going on in education these days as Micheal Gove;-) There has been an enormous drive to (successfully) raise teaching standards accross the board in recent years with far greater accountability than there has ever been and with many underperforming teachers removed from their jobs in a way that never happened in the past. Indeed the most likely hiding place to find an underperforming teacher these days is probably a grammar school, not a comp, you just wouldn't get away with it for long anymore.

> Rather than improve social mobility, a two-tier education system will be created with most shut out of the Public-Grammar axis. Grammar schools are a relic from a different age and have no place in the UK today. >

The greatest period of social mobility in British history was when we had grammar schools in every area, the lack of grammar schools across most of the country is what shuts people out from the Public-Grammar axis.



Shani - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:
> The biggest handicap to getting on in life in the UK is a lack of aspiration. This is a direct result, in most cases, of a lack of parental support and guidance.

You might be right. Do you have any evidence to support this?

> There is no doubt though that the old boy's network is still alive and well and enabling some people to achieve way beyond what they deserve based on merit alone.

> That said you can't allow the unfairness of life to stop you trying.

Quite. But that's not the issue being contested above. The central argument is the problem of inequality of opportunity, not a lack of trying.
Post edited at 23:03
The New NickB - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Whereas your meagre contribution is too sneer contemptuously at others for expressing an opinion that is different to your own.

> And it's responses....

I would suggest that you started the contemptuous sneering and name calling at others for expressing an opinion that is different to your own.
pencilled in on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:
I used to tell anyone who would listen about the shortcomings of Grammar schools, having attended one. I used to whine about having been persuaded to persist with Latin in favour of Art despite having won an Art prize, about how the music resources were poorly funded. In recent years I've realised that I had a choice to be a competitive student and earn my grades, I had a choice to follow music when the time was right and pursue a career in music. I had a choice of University, free to take gap years, free to literally do what I wanted. I had a fantastic plan B which I fell back on when it felt right to do so. The choices I was offered determined a great deal more than my own path as, now, I have to guide my kids through the same minefield.

I think there are bigger targets, depending on where you live, on which to focus attention.

Robert Durran - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

How about having grammar schools but giving the "secondary moderns" the lion's share of the funding, including higher pay for teachers. And maybe an entrance test which includes an aptitude test to assess academic potential rather than attainment and which is next to impossible to cram for. And maybe well funded cramming for late developers to transfer at a later stage to grammar schools.
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baron - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:
My evidence is purely anecdotal having taught for 30 years.
While inspirational teachers and excellent facilities help it's the drive,ambition and realism engendered by the parent(s)/carer that gives most children the best chance.
KevinD - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:

> The greatest period of social mobility in British history was when we had grammar schools in every area, the lack of grammar schools across most of the country is what shuts people out from the Public-Grammar axis.

Even if this was true the evidence for the remaining grammar schools doesnt support this.
They score extremely poorly on metrics for those children from deprived backgrounds and above average for children from private primary schools. For those kids from a deprived background the advantage doesnt seem significant.
Studies looking further back also dont show any major variants. Seems to be more one of those myths which has just been repeated until its considered fact.
marsbar - on 06 Sep 2016
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

In Newark things aren't good. But that is down to shocking mismanagement of certain schools and a tolerance of behaviour that I have never seen elsewhere. The worst place I ever taught and I've done various inner cities.

I would totally support your decision, obviously the right thing for your daughter.

Doesn't mean the system is right for all those other kids. I hope you are right about the change, the last merger seemed to make things worse if anything.
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> My evidence is purely anecdotal having taught for 30 years.

In a grammar school or other? In several schools or one? In several regions?

The problem with anecdotes are legion. The data is often self selecting.

Wouldn't those whose parents are lacking aspiration naturally end up at a secondary modern? Just as those whose parents are aspirational get in?

But what of those whose parents are aspirational but don't get to grammar schools due to the financial gates mentioned above? Does your anecdotal evidence adjust for the economics?

Really, we'd need figures/research on these categories.
marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:
I understand what you are saying, but I've taught all over the country, in a wide variety of schools, rural and city and I would totally agree with Baron. I expect there is already research out there but I've not got time to look for it right now.

However what I will say is that school ethos can make a massive difference. Caring for the children at school will help close the gap for those children whose parents don't care as much. That's why we have free school meals, to make sure every child eats something healthy once a day, that's why we have a washing machine discreetly tucked away, for the children who come to school grubby and smelly because the parents aren't doing laundry for whatever reason. It's why we have replaced teaching heads of year with non-teachers. It's cheaper, and they can concentrate full time on looking after the children.

There are teachers who don't think it's schools place to look after children, that the parents should do that. I see what they are saying, but in the real world not all parents do care. If we can nurture those kids where the parents don't care, then we can get them through their exams and into work or off to university too. I'd rather see money spent on helping these kids catch up than on researching "the bleedin obvious".
Post edited at 07:54
marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

That wouldn't be a problem to me, but why bother? Comprehensive schools can be amazing.
Jim Hamilton - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> That wouldn't be a problem to me, but why bother? Comprehensive schools can be amazing.

but would they remain amazing if there were amazing grammar school alternatives?
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> The arguments above are about equality of opportunity, not about 'making everyone equal'.

Except that they assume that everyone is equal. There's no point giving everyone the same opportunities when we know full well that some can make something of those opportunities and some will fail, no matter how hard they try.

> Let's unpack this a little more; Your child may be superbly able to fulfill a particular role in life. But far less able, far less qualified and far less deserved people will be in line to get that job before your child (no matter how hard s/he works), because those with societal advantage ensure they hoard those advantages and secure those opportunities for their offspring.

This is the current situation, without grammar schools, sustained by the fact that the school you go to depends on how much money your parents have. How are you hoping to fix it?
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

Yep I agree with much of what you are saying. By offering free school meals and the washing machines you are attempting to support the disadvantaged and reduce the drag of poverty. This is absolutely to be commended.

Ideally we still need to see some measure on how wealth acts as a gate to Grammar schools for the purposes of this discussion.

(Also, whilst those steps might resolve problems of educational attainment, when it comes to jobs in the City, closing any attainment gap will not get around the advantage enjoyed by some due to kinship ties and educational lineage. Hoarding of opportunity is endemic into certain strata of society.)
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Except that they assume that everyone is equal. There's no point giving everyone the same opportunities when we know full well that some can make something of those opportunities and some will fail, no matter how hard they try.

Has ANYONE made the claim on this thread that 'everyone is equal'?

The point HAS been made for equality of opportunity so that ability DOES become a determining factor. That's the whole point.
baron - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:
There's no denying that there's a link between wealth and grammar schools.
If you only have a few grammar schools then you create catchment areas around those school that only the better off can afford to live in.
This effect is also seen around any school perceived as being 'good'
To combat this effect in my local area the grammar schools bus pupils who pass the entrance exam in from quite a distance.
But the main link between education and achievement isn't a poverty of money but a poverty of aspiration.
Marsbar is doing what many schools have to do today to give their pupils a fair chance.
But even the hardest trying school can't replace a parent/carer who actually cares
Too many people in the UK do not see education as valuable nor do they possess a work ethic and they pass this apathy onto their children.
The government's easing of exam standards over many years and the drive for many youngsters to go to university has masked a decline in standards.
Pupils aren't any brighter or denser than they were in the past but too often they aren't academically challenged.
So, more grammar schools and do something, anything to prevent some parents abusing their children by denying them a fair chance at school.
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> The point HAS been made for equality of opportunity so that ability DOES become a determining factor. That's the whole point.

Ability is always the determining factor. In any school the most able students will do the best, the least able will do the worst. The most able students will get teaching which is far below the level that they can deal with, the least able will be taught well above their heads. Equality of opportunity fails to deal with the inequality of reality.
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Ability is always the determining factor. In any school the most able students will do the best, the least able will do the worst. The most able students will get teaching which is far below the level that they can deal with, the least able will be taught well above their heads. Equality of opportunity fails to deal with the inequality of reality.

You need to re-read the thread. The point is being made that economics act as a gate upon a Grammar education. As Baron states above, "There's no denying that there's a link between wealth and grammar schools."

It's not the only factor. But it's effects are real and profound.
Post edited at 09:59
planetmarshall on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> There's no point giving everyone the same opportunities when we know full well that some can make something of those opportunities and some will fail, no matter how hard they try.

Chicken. Egg.

wintertree - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Equality of opportunity fails to deal with the inequality of reality

Only if you equate equality of opportunity to equality of treatment.

Another interpretation is that you have to examine every person's needs individually and ensure that a consistent quantity of resource and effort is put into meeting every persons needs. It does not say that they have to be met in the same way.

Recognising indiviual needs is a key component of dealing with disability by educators under the Equality Act 2010. It's not a large leap that recognising indiviuality in every single person is a key step to being fair and equal.
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> You need to re-read the thread. The point is being made that economics act as a gate upon a Grammar education. As Baron states above, "There's no denying that there's a link between wealth and grammar schools."

Currently, because currently there are few grammar schools located in certain areas and so exactly the same effect as works on other schools applies - rich people buy houses in those areas prices are high and poor people can't get in. That has nothing to do with grammar schools in principle and is entirely to do with our current setup.

> It's not the only factor. But it's effects are real and profound.

The effects of rich people going to good comps and poor people going to poor comps are also real, and affect far more people. It strengthens the division between the poor and the rich (as they never really meet, even as kids) and lets the rich pretend that they're the same as the poor as they went to comps too. Grammar schools do the opposite as they take based on ability not how much cash your parents have, and as they take poor and rich alike they encourage mixing between them.
Jim Hamilton - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:
> So, more grammar schools and do something, anything to prevent some parents abusing their children by denying them a fair chance at school.

But won't this mean more corresponding "sink" schools. As has been often mentioned, presumably grammar school supporters imagine their own children being clever enough to attend.
Post edited at 10:27
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to wintertree:

And then we hit reality, and in reality 1 teacher cannot possibly have the time to create 6 lessons for the varying abilities in their class (even if they are required to do so). They also do not have the time within their lesson to teach those 6 different lessons even if they have the time to make them.
jkarran - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> They allow admission not based on mummy & daddy's wallet size, but instead ability.

Nonsense. You might not need the deepest pockets to see your 10 year old tutored through their exam prep compared to private school fees but it's the sort of spending and concept beyond the reach and imagination of many.

> They allow the brightest kids to not be held back by the not so bright (and indirectly better tailoring of education for both top and underachievers)

And in practice on the other side of the same coin they facilitate the development of dead end sink schools where low expectations are the norm, where attracting and retaining able staff is more difficult, where moderately bright (as determined age 10 or 11!) or slow developing pupils are not stretched, where they have little to aspire to and little expected of them.

jk
wintertree - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> And then we hit reality, and in reality 1 teacher cannot possibly have the time to create 6 lessons for the varying abilities in their class (even if they are required to do so). They also do not have the time within their lesson to teach those 6 different lessons even if they have the time to make them.

So we should just give up and go home then? If grammar schools are possible then it is equally possible to ability set on a per subject basis without them.
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Grammar schools do the opposite as they take based on ability not how much cash your parents have, and as they take poor and rich alike they encourage mixing between them.

This is at the crux of this whole thread. Grammar schools DON'T take exclusively on academic 'ability'. They take on ability to pass a test. Amongst other confounders and as discussed above, it's a test that favours wealthier parents who can pay for coaching to pass this test. Not the whole story but a part of it.
Offwidth - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
The fuss around Grammar schools hides away so many real issues in our education system.

I think it is fundamentally unfair to select across the board at 11. We know the research that led the intellectual drive behind the idea was misunderstood or wrong (and some of it was invented). We all know entry is gamed by some richer parents hiring tutors. I think the grammars do lead to a regressive 'them and us' attitude in society. I think the social mobility arguments of the schools are exaggerated and with the rose tinted glasses much history was forgotten... social responsibility changed massively with the post war governments and social mobility may have improved more if we had comps earlier, not many went to University then but numbers were increasing fast (its hard to compare the 50s and 60s with now); in the early 50s places for kids were often rationed (one boy and one girl in my village ) and if a poor kid had the best results (it was in competion with the lower middle class trying to avoid fees) they often struggled with the bullying in what was really an alien independant school culture. Current research shows grammars are no better on average and the best schools for everyone, including the poorest kids, are in the comprehensive system in London. Despite all of this grammar schools obviously do work, just less well than if we had a uniform system of comprehensives with setting. Others have pointed out that religious schools and streaming can share the same unfairness.. true.

In the end the issues that lead to the best performance... parents who care so much about their kids they seek unfair advatage, can lead big social diversiveness if there is a lack of protection of equality of opportunity. It is the state's responsibility to ensure it doesn't waste talent in this way. The Freakanomics team did some great research in the US that showed parental support and encouragemnt was far more important than the school attended (I think with a health warning that a well motivated kid in a truely terrible school may well struggle). So any half decent system will work.

Parental gaming has had far too easy a ride in the UK. Right now about 85% of independant school kids reach University, compared to only 15% on free school meals. We need to wake up and start sorting this out, not just because of the waste if talent but because eventally such inequality will start to crack society.
Post edited at 11:03
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> This is at the crux of this whole thread. Grammar schools DON'T take exclusively on academic 'ability'. They take on ability to pass a test.

Playing with words here, surely? It's a test of ability/potential.

> Amongst other confounders and as discussed above, it's a test that favours wealthier parents who can pay for coaching to pass this test. Not the whole story but a part of it.

No, not the whole story. At the margins some few may, with teaching, get a better mark than they would have done without and so get into the grammar. If they don't have an adequate level of ability the teaching simply won't be enough. The current situation is that rich parents buy a house in a nice area and their kids go to the best schools. Pretty much the whole story, not a marginal issue.
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to KevinD:
> The major problem is when do you apply that specialisation. Eleven is way to early which might well be why Germany receives a lot of criticism.

Speaking from Germany the question is whether this criticism is really justified, in most Länder it is reasonably easy to move on to a degree that allows university access even if you initially went to a school that was guiding to towards learning a trade after finishing. The OSCE also regularly criticize Germany for not having enough academic training, when many trades can just as well, if not better, learned in formalized apprenticeships coupled with ongoing vocational training at school.

In any way, in most Länder (I know this federalism is lunacy) the supposed selection can be overruled by the parents, resulting in lots of pupils in the class of my children who were quite clearly not suited for an academic track. This was only not enjoyable for these children, but lowered the level for everybody else as well. The idea that better students should help the weaker ones in class and magically benefit from it is rubbish: Students benefit when they are intellectually challenged rather than bored out of their minds. Also, if the better students are expected to be part of teaching experience then they should be paid. As it is, I see most resources (financial, but especially in terms of teacher attention) are spent on the weaker cohorts in any subjects. In a way stroger students are punished for having stimulating environments at home. This was also bad when I was at school, which therefore felt like prison to me, but IMO not as bad as I see it now at the school of my son (the schools of my daughters were highly selective, e.g. by having part of the lessons in French, so I cannot claim that it got worse over the last few years).

To return to the original post, I therefore have all sympathy for the reintroduction of grammar schools, given that many comprehensives (or for that matter German gesamtschulen) fail to allocate the same level of effort and resources to good students as to weaker or disruptive cohorts. I am sure this could also be achieved with rigorous setting or streaming, but I would believe in that when I see it.

CB
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Playing with words here, surely? It's a test of ability/potential.

Does coaching someone to pass a test reflect 'ability' or 'ability to pass that particular test'?

Can a single metric at one point in time (a time where developmental progress can vary hugely - a progress that is ignored by the metric), really capture potential?

neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
I am appalled that the govt is even looking at grammar schools, god grief even Margaret Thatcher realised that they were out of date.

Irrespective of that personally I am opposed as I failed the 11 plus and was destined for a secondary school. Fortunately my parents decided to scrape the money together and send me to an independent where I then got 4 Alevels , 3 at A grade.11 plus failed me completely.God knows how many people were dumped at 11 plus into failing secondary schools. John Prescott who followed a similar route, he failed and his brother passed, worth listening to him about the subject.

It tarnishes you for the rest of your life.
Post edited at 12:22
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> Can a single metric at one point in time (a time where developmental progress can vary hugely - a progress that is ignored by the metric), really capture potential?

Modern societies use easily measurable proxies all the time in any context imaginable, anything else would not be practicable. We measure blood or breath alcohol when actually we actually want to know whether someone is still able to drive safely.

So why not use an academic test as a predictor for future academic ability (under the provision of course that the system is sufficiently flexible afterwards so late developers can catch up )? Seems much better to me than to use the actual education as a means to find this out.

CB
petellis - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> I just don't get why they are seen as a problem.

Because they are an archaic throwback to a class based era when the the Rich Haves were able to select only the best of the Dirty Proles to come to school with their kids. Nowadays we try to think that everybody can live on their merits all the way through life and not just be judged by how well they picked up a few things just before they sat a test as a kid when they were far to young to realise what a big deal it was and hadn't had the good fortune to choose bright parents. It isn't even based on evidence that it works!

I'm working class, I would have failed the 11+ and not got into grammar school. At secondary modern its unlikely that I would have been developed the way I have because I was late developing academically, easily led astray and didn't take to my studies well. However, thanks to forward thinking education for all I now have a doctorate.

If you want to make free education better, give it more resource rather than making it better for some and worse for others. Bringing back grammar schools is part of the consistent Tory policy of crushing social mobility for those to whom life has not been kind.
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:
> Does coaching someone to pass a test reflect 'ability' or 'ability to pass that particular test'?

Coach me all you like to pass the test that gets me into the Olympic sprinting group, it's not going to get me in. I don't have the ability that would get me there and coaching can only do so much. Like I said, at the margins it has an effect.

> Can a single metric at one point in time (a time where developmental progress can vary hugely - a progress that is ignored by the metric), really capture potential?

There were 3 tests when I took them.

Anyway, the answer is yes, to some extent. Uni's make their decisions on points gained in exams (usually 3, just like the school entrance exam I took), can that really capture their potential? Not completely, of course, but yes, to some extent it can. A sensible system allows for transfers later to account for developmental progress.

Neil h
> John Prescott who followed a similar route, he failed and his brother passed, worth listening to him about the subject.

John Prescott, ex deputy Prime Minister. Really had his life chances utterly ruined by going to the same type of school as 80%+ of the population, didn't he?
twodada on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

Could not agree more wth your point about parental support. I was a school governer and saw a lot of UK based research that basically said the of all the factors influencing success at school by far the biggest was the engagement and encouragement of the parents.
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to cb294:
> Modern societies use easily measurable proxies all the time in any context imaginable, anything else would not be practicable. We measure blood or breath alcohol when actually we actually want to know whether someone is still able to drive safely.

To take your analogy and on the point of potential - it's like taking a breath test at a single point in time. This wouldn't illustrate alcohol levels at a future date.

The same problems of non-uniform development rates have been found in sport. Check out this as an example where they realised that the longer they can keep kids playing rugby, the more chance of spotting late developers (and yes, I know it is in a NZ Grammar system, but I use it as a example against single point gating of youth potential):

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2015/sep/11/all-blacks-how-new-zealand-sustains-its-rugby-dyna...
Post edited at 12:46
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
Have you read what John Prescott says about the social stigma of failing 11 plus, it might open your eyes. And yes he did succeed which can be turned into an argument that its a waste of time having them.

They are appalling for their social deviseveness.

And do not even get me started on parents who pay for tutoring to get their children through the exams and how that creates an unequal playing field.
Post edited at 12:49
KevinD - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Coach me all you like to pass the test that gets me into the Olympic sprinting group, it's not going to get me in. I don't have the ability that would get me there and coaching can only do so much.

If we use climbing as the comparison. If you spend a year training though the chances are you will be better than someone who didnt spend that year coached by the best teachers available and just has taught themselves. The chances of them being better if they first went climbing that day would be extremely slim.
Depending on the format of the test practice can make a significant difference. This has been shown in IQ tests and the USA SAT verbal and numerical reasoning.
Whilst it wont make someone thick clever it will be a disadvantage for someone who is clever but hasnt had training vs someone less clever who has.


KevinD - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to cb294:

> To return to the original post, I therefore have all sympathy for the reintroduction of grammar schools, given that many comprehensives (or for that matter German gesamtschulen) fail to allocate the same level of effort and resources to good students as to weaker or disruptive cohorts.

unfortunately the evidence looks to show only a small improvement for the kids in grammar schools vs a equal or larger disadvantage for all the other kids. If it gave a major advantage then there would be more of a case although even that would need balancing against the far greater number potentially harmed by the process.
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

I know the alcohol test was not the best example, a much better example brought up in the thread was the selection for university entrance. Would you also make university access available for all that want it, regardless of their suitability? Again, performance at a school exam may or may not prove suitability to study a particular subject.

Unfortunately, due the pressure towards academisation, this is happening already.

CB
ultrabumbly on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Offwidth:
> I think it is fundamentally unfair to select across the board at 11. We know the research that led the intellectual drive behind the idea was misunderstood or wrong (and some of it was invented). We all know entry is gamed by some richer parents hiring tutors. I think the grammars do lead to a regressive 'them and us' attitude in society.

In addition to some of the excellent points you make, 11+ type testing is at an age at which development can be vastly different for any one kid to the next.

Anecdote follows but I'm sure many who had similar school experiences will have seen the same sort of thing...

I went to a selective private school for the first half of high school. ( It was while the assisted places scheme was still in existence so my parents only paid means tested fees). I opted for rugby in games while there. One thing that has stuck in my mind is that we were all HUGE compared to the majority of the players on the rugby teams the comprehensives could field while in the U3rd & L4th. I have some very clear memories of regular friendlies with the two closest boys' comps, of us walking in tries with an opposing team having one kid attached to each leg of the scorer being dragged over the line. The other selective schools could muster teams of a similar size. By around 14 this developmental gap had smoothed out somewhat.

By the time I got to a VIth form college there were students there from those comps and a few from the private schools (common factor was it was clear they weren't that academic so from the parents' POV no point throwing good money after bad). Conversely, I knew two (non identical) twins there with whom I had been to primary. One had scored an assisted place and the other had not, so they opted to stay together and go to the comp. By this stage they were both way smarter than the dropouts from the private school at the VIth form.

11 is a really inappropriate age to make these distinctions.
Post edited at 13:15
blurty - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> The biggest handicap to getting on in life in the UK is a lack of aspiration. This is a direct result, in most cases, of a lack of parental support and guidance.

> There is no doubt though that the old boy's network is still alive and well and enabling some people to achieve way beyond what they deserve based on merit alone.

> That said you can't allow the unfairness of life to stop you trying.

Excellent points
mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016

Having read this entire thread the thing that stands out is that a whole load of ire is directed at problems with grammar/secondary schools as they were rather than whether they could be a good idea in future. Similarly, there are a lot of complaints about the 11 plus as a method of streaming, rather than whether streaming is a good idea overall.

I'm not sure I see what's wrong with allowing children with better academic potential access to a better academic environment rather than sticking them in the same environment as loads of kids who don't want to be at school at all.

If the problem is that the non-grammar schools don't have the funding/facilities/social programmes to look after the non-academic kids then THAT is the problem to solve. Making sure that nobody achieves their full potential is not fixing the problem.

When the titanic went down with the huge number of deaths that resulted from insufficient numbers of life boats the result was rules requiring the number of lifeboats to be sufficient for all the passengers. The UKC response (based on this thread) would have been to remove all the lifeboats so that the faster passengers didn't get an unfair advantage.
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to KevinD:

I distrust all evidence on education that I have not faked myself! Unfortunately I cannot think of any field where it is harder to figure out what part of a given study is science and which is ideology (left and right, both are equally guilty). This is a terrible state of affairs, given that education of our children is by far the most important duty of our generation, and will determine success or failure of our societies.

In any case, I have experienced my children being disadvantaged by a lack of separation by ability at some stage during their school career. My son was asking me about prime numbers before even starting school, but has over the years almost all interest in maths actively coached out of him by lectures aimed exclusively at the weaker students in his class: First he got bored, then he lost interest. He still gets good to excellent grades, but is nowhere near fulfilling his potential. This is patently unfair, as the school systems rewards families that let their children watch too much TV or play computer games all night and generally do not give a shit about their education. Just the attitude that education is something the school does is bad enough! At the same time, there is no reward for providing your children with a stimulating, intellectual environment.

Due to my overall lefty political convictions I am completely against public schools that allow rich families to buy a better (i.e., more personalized and especially better funded) education for their children, money should not be the criterium.

In contrast, grammar schools to me appear to be one way of removing the discrimination (and I choose this word deliberately) against families interested in the education of their children I described above. In the best case, the introduction of a few will provide the kick in the behind many comprehensives need (and before anyone says I just have an ill informed, outside view, my girls went to school in the UK and I served as a parent representative). Unfortunately I do not hold much hope there, education is badly undervalued in our societies, and the fact that families need to put in some effort towards this aim is ideologically poisoned.

CB
thomasadixon - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

I've read stuff from him and heard him say stuff, not sure if I've read whatever you're referring to specifically. It wasn't convincing.

> And do not even get me started on parents who pay for tutoring to get their children through the exams and how that creates an unequal playing field.

But it was okay, and not divisive, for your parents to pay to get you into a private school? Is it okay now for parents to buy houses in areas with decent schools and create the unequal playing field that way? Not sure what your point is really...

In reply to KevinD:

> If we use climbing as the comparison. If you spend a year training...

Don't disagree at all. As said, it has an effect on the margins.
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

> If the problem is that the non-grammar schools don't have the funding/facilities/social programmes to look after the non-academic kids then THAT is the problem to solve. Making sure that nobody achieves their full potential is not fixing the problem.


This!

CB
mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016

>> And do not even get me started on parents who pay for tutoring to get their children through the exams and how that creates an unequal playing field.

I'm not sure I understand the rage against this, either. If you can afford to provide better chances for your child through extra school tutoring why is that wrong?

Reading to your child is supposed to be a key indicator of potential for success at school. Are parents who do that instead of sticking them in front of an X box creating an unequal playing field too?
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

That is easy, you have streaming. that is what our local comp does.My daughter is in top of set and is streamed into high achievers.

She turned down an offer of a place at the nearby selective shool ( in catchment area for Alt Girls Grammar which is top 5 or 6 in country)

She decided to stick with the the comp.

If you are an academic achiever, comp schools can easily cater for you these days.

Parental support is as others have pointed out always key.
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

Reading is free.
mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> Reading is free.

So what we really dislike is the fact that some parents have more money and the ability to choose what to do with it than others?

Some parents can't afford to feed or clothe their children properly. Are the ones who can cheating the children of the ones who can't?
ads.ukclimbing.com
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

He has written about it, especially how he fared with I think it was his brother ( who got a bike for passing his 11 plus, whereas JP got nothing).

As I said I was in that fortunate position. I also saw the devestating effects this had on those who did not pass their 11 plus and who were not in my parents position.Its not pretty if you fail this type of exam.


If anything these days you would be better to buy your way into the poorer areas of London where the states schools are turning out excellent results because parents are putting everything into educating their children....as others have said parental support is key.

neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

I do not like the fact that in a state grammar schooleducation system you have an exam at 11 that destroys / tarnishes you/marks you out you if you do not get into that grammar school.

I do not like the fact that if you have money , that to get into said state grammar school, you can pay for tutoring to get you in. This is clearly an advantage over those who do not have that money.

Simple.
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

Sure they can, but will they? That was not my experience (admittedly a few years ago).

CB
mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:
> As I said I was in that fortunate position. I also saw the devestating effects this had on those who did not pass their 11 plus and who were not in my parents position.Its not pretty if you fail this type of exam.

I took (and failed) the 11 plus without even being really aware of what it was at the time, and I don't think it's really crossed my mind to think about it until this came up in the news, so I definitely wouldn't say the effects have to be devastating. I do think that (as someone in the academic upper-middle ground rather than the top end) I'd have done better at school if I had been in a more academically focussed environment rather than lumped in a community with a whole load of kids that were only there because they had to be, hence mildly advocating the idea in this thread. Individual lessons can be streamed, but the entire environment of the place can't.
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

> When the titanic went down with the huge number of deaths that resulted from insufficient numbers of life boats the result was rules requiring the number of lifeboats to be sufficient for all the passengers. The UKC response (based on this thread) would have been to remove all the lifeboats so that the faster passengers didn't get an unfair advantage.

Step back a minute a think about the corollary of your conclusion here. Would you favour the 11+ solution where the strongest and fittest males aged 20-35 got to the lifeboats whilst the old, very young and women perished?
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

is that not a different different argument. The focus should be on improving the school. I also look at it from the perspective of all, not just those who are academically bright.
KevinD - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to cb294:

> I distrust all evidence on education that I have not faked myself! Unfortunately I cannot think of any field where it is harder to figure out what part of a given study is science and which is ideology (left and right, both are equally guilty).

Most of these studies are data analysis so less vulnerable than other areas.

> In any case, I have experienced my children being disadvantaged by a lack of separation by ability at some stage during their school career. My son was asking me about prime numbers before even starting school, but has over the years almost all interest in maths actively coached out of him by lectures aimed exclusively at the weaker students in his class:

As others have already mentioned. This isnt a problem easily solved since a child strong in one subject might be weak in another. The only really effective solution for this is in school streaming. Which doesnt need a grammar school.

> In contrast, grammar schools to me appear to be one way of removing the discrimination

Unfortunately this isnt supported by the percentages of disadvantaged children vs not. What they act as is a nice cost saving for richer parents in many cases. Get the kid privately schooled to 11 or tutored for the exam and you stand a far better chance of getting them in.

> (and I choose this word deliberately) against families interested in the education of their children I described above. In the best case, the introduction of a few will provide the kick in the behind many comprehensives need (and before anyone says I just have an ill informed, outside view

You would need to explain how, exactly, this would work? How would allow the "best" pupils be creamed off help those schools. The evidence from Kent doesnt show an advantage for those other schools. If anything it is the reverse.
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to cb294:

There is alot of focus now on the achievers with scholars programmes and the like as I am sure others will testify.

I agree it was not the same a few years ago.

its also interesting that the selective schools seem to go round targetting the bright kids in comps. I have always assumed its so they can boost their results.

So grammar schools in local authorities next to comps in other local authorites can be a recipe for disaster.

mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> I do not like the fact that if you have money , that to get into said state grammar school, you can pay for tutoring to get you in. This is clearly an advantage over those who do not have that money.
> Simple.

I think you may be over simplifying it. If it is possible to pay a tutor to reliably get a child with poor academic skills through the 11 plus *without* simultaneously raising their academic skills, then the exam is badly written (or leaked!).

If it's possible to pay a tutor to raise a child's academic skills through tutoring and *as a result* they pass the 11 plus, then that's just doing the best job of providing education for your child you can. I guess some people might still object to that, but I don't see what really sets that apart from parents giving their children better food/clothes/holidays etc. some people just have more resources than others and it's not the objective of the school system to fix that.
mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> Step back a minute a think about the corollary of your conclusion here. Would you favour the 11+ solution where the strongest and fittest males aged 20-35 got to the lifeboats whilst the old, very young and women perished?

The titanic metaphor is itself starting to sink at this point, but the connection was that instead of removing the opportunity for the more capable students to achieve their potential in a selective school, the better course would be to address the perceived shortcomings in the non-selective schools. Lifeboats for everyone, rather than removing all the lifeboats so that nobody gets one and creates an unfair situation.
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

> The titanic metaphor is itself starting to sink at this point, but the connection was that instead of removing the opportunity for the more capable students to achieve their potential in a selective school, the better course would be to address the perceived shortcomings in the non-selective schools. Lifeboats for everyone, rather than removing all the lifeboats so that nobody gets one and creates an unfair situation.

There's the rub. No one is arguing to "[remove] the opportunity for the more capable students to achieve their potential in a selective school."

The argument is whether grammar schools and the 11+ actually DOES select the most able students or whether wealth confounds the selection process.
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

One of the so called benfits of grammar schools is that you are giving help to those at the bottom - a so called " way out".So creating social mobility

That is a very laudable aim.

The downside is that you get parents with money effectively buying their way in and shoehorning other students who have not had tutoring out of the way.

Does that really help in the mobility argument?

Anyway other things to do,so i will leave you to chew it over.

mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> is that not a different different argument. The focus should be on improving the school. I also look at it from the perspective of all, not just those who are academically bright.

Well that's a good question in itself. Is making a school entirely safe/happy/non-disruptive while still having people from all across society in it achievable? The only thing that connects kids at school is their age group and geography. How do you create one single environment where everyone is fulfilled and develops while accounting for the fact that people are drastically different to one another (ranging from 'I love learning' to 'I hate it here and can't wait to leave') yet forced to try and study the same things in roughly the same way for years on end? Any solution has to account for reality the way it is, not how it would ideally be.

Anyway, I'm not claiming to be an expert on the subject, just throwing out hot air on the internet like everyone else ;)
Andy Hardy on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:
> One of the so called benfits of grammar schools is that you are giving help to those at the bottom - a so called " way out".So creating social mobility

> That is a very laudable aim.

> The downside is that you get parents with money effectively buying their way in and shoehorning other students who have not had tutoring out of the way.

> Does that really help in the mobility argument?

> Anyway other things to do,so i will leave you to chew it over.

To me the downside is that kids are written off at 11.

edited to add: Assuming we go back to the good old days of grammar schools, ricketts and TB, about 60% of our year 6 pupils would be told they aren't good enough.
Post edited at 15:02
mullermn - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> The argument is whether grammar schools and the 11+ actually DOES select the most able students or whether wealth confounds the selection process.

That still sounds like more of a question as to whether the selection method works than an argument against the concept?



Anyway, this is been a unusually civil and constructive discussion by internet forum standards and since I don't think I have anything left to add I'm going to leave it there ;)
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to KevinD:

This would work by the comprehensives being forced to become attractive to potential grammar school parents to avoid support / avert the need for locally establishing a grammar school.

I accept that this would have negative consequences for the children left behind, but as it was, the negative consequences were also there, just for the academically stronger children. Since this affected my children I react very strongly here.

What I find especially galling is that some parents are allowed to screw up not only the education of their own children, but that society apparently has no problem with the fact that (in the absence of separation or rigorous streaming based on academic performance) their unwillingness to support their children also interferes with the education my children get.

For me, all children deserve an education designed such that they have the chance to fulfill their potential, not only the weaker ones.

This was definitely not the case a few years ago. If this has since changed, so much the better.

CB
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

This is good to hear, and I see the main benefit of grammar schools as a threat to comprehensives that fail to also serve the more academically successful students well.

CB
cb294 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> There's the rub. No one is arguing to "[remove] the opportunity for the more capable students to achieve their potential in a selective school."


But this is exactly what in my experience the non selective schools do (or at least did a few years ago when my girls went to a local comprehensive school)!

neilh tells me that this is changing, which is good to hear, but I believe that having selective schools as an alternative would accelerate this process.

CB
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to mullermn:

> That still sounds like more of a question as to whether the selection method works than an argument against the concept?

True. They're closely entwined in practice but not principle. Something I still ponder over.

> Anyway, this is been a unusually civil and constructive discussion by internet forum standards and since I don't think I have anything left to add I'm going to leave it there ;)

Yep same here.
Regards,
C.
ChrisBrooke - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:
> I do not like the fact that if you have money , that to get into said state grammar school, you can pay for tutoring to get you in. This is clearly an advantage over those who do not have that money.

I still don't get how this is any different to how the rest of the 'free' education system works. In comprehensive education your parents' income is still determining the school you go to, through house prices, such that better performing schools have higher house prices in their catchments. How is that fairer?

[eidt: lol, didn't refresh for a few minutes and there are already about 20 posts between yours and this....sorry ]
Post edited at 15:29
Trangia - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I think Grammar schools are great for kids that are prepared to work. OK some rich people, who could well afford private education take advantage by moving into the catchment area etc, but they offer so much to grafters from more humble backgrounds and on that basis I think help redress the balance whereby it's not just the rich kids who get ahead.
ChrisBrooke - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Trangia:

Not trying to be provocative, but, just because some people can afford private education, it doesn't mean they *should* pay for it. It's not 'taking advantage' of anyone to move to an area where they see the best educational opportunities for their children.
NeilBoyd - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
Maybe if there were decent better paid, secure jobs for less academically minded folk, there wouldn't be such an unseemly scramble to get our poor kids through a pressure cooker of an education system. Jeez, are we all in this together or what ?
The much maligned comprehensive system has seen the greatest improvement in educational standards across the board that the country has seen. One anecdote trumps a thousand pieces of evidence though.

Trangia - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

Fair comment, so long as the schools don't become overwhelmed (in terms of places) by the children of rich parents to the detriment of those from more humble backgrounds.
Postmanpat on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to NeilBoyd:

> The much maligned comprehensive system has seen the greatest improvement in educational standards across the board that the country has seen. One anecdote trumps a thousand pieces of evidence though.
>
Your evidence for this?

marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

I teach both mixed ability (IT) and sets (Maths) thought the full range to GCSE.

I can assure you that with experience and tweaking it does not require 6 different lessons even for the very mixed ability groups. For example I might pitch my lesson generally at middle to high ability students, provide an extension task for very high ability students, provide extra support to the lower middle students (so that with support they achieve as much as the higher middle students can do alone) and provide a structured help sheet for the lower ability students (perhaps a worksheet with most of the topic and they fill in the gaps with help from a TA). The same lesson, same topic, different levels of achievement and support. The opportunity for all of them to have a go and stretch themselves.

I am required to do this, and happy to do this because it's my job. Anyone that can't or won't do that needs to think about what they are in the job for.
NeilBoyd - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat: A masters degree in education. The evidence is out there. Not going to find it for you.

neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

An excellent post
Postmanpat on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to NeilBoyd:

> A masters degree in education. The evidence is out there. Not going to find it for you.

You don't need to. You must know it already.

The evidence says the opposite. Not going to find it for you.
pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

> But won't this mean more corresponding "sink" schools. As has been often mentioned, presumably grammar school supporters imagine their own children being clever enough to attend. >

As I cited above, there are non grammars in grammar school areas which achieve excellent results, for example
http://www.wellington.trafford.sch.uk/exam-results/2051.html
There are at least 5 state grammar schools serving the same catchment area as this non selective school plus several private ones and yet despite this it achieves results better than most comps.
Of course such results may not be possible everywhere but simply because a school does not achieve the highest of academic results does not make it a sink school. A sink school is one in which the needs of the pupils are not adequately met causing them to perform below their capability. Its quite possible for a school to get low academic results and still be overchieving.
Personally I think the real problem in our education system is that we put too much emphasis on academic achievement for everyone whether its appropriate or not. Consequently we shoehorn everyone down a one size fits all GCSE exam route which fails to stretch the brightest and is too acedemic for many others who leave school believing they are failures because they went through an exam system which was irrelevant to them.
I think we should have several routes down which pupils can travel, grammar schools just happen to be one of them for the more academically inclined.

andy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to abr1966:
I live in Skipton and we have a boys' and a girls' grammar school. House prices here are not particularly high, and significantly lower than other nearby places that are out of catchment (eg Ilkley, Addingham, Harrogate).

Both my girls got into the girls' school and are doing well. Other kids who failed 11+ have moved across at 14 and 16 (for 6th form). However the local secondary modern has been a bloody disaster - but I think that's more because parents who care about their kids' education whose kids fail at 11 tend to fight tooth and nail to get them into one of the three or four other good comps in nearby places - so the other Skipton school did get less able kids AND the ones whose parents weren't that bothered - so it became the sort of place where kids who "tried" were bullied and the whole place was dragged down.

They have a new head now but the performance at GCSE is stark. One of my eldest's mates got into grammar on appeal and has struggled a bit all the way - but "struggling" has left her with 12 GCSEs at A-C... Suspect she'd be off the scale at the other Skipton school.

Not quite sure how I feel about this (other than a bit hypocritical) - I'm really glad my kids have the opportunity to go to an outstanding school in the town they live in, but feel really sorry for the kids who failed whose parents don't want to or don't know how to fight to get them what they deserve in terms of quality of education.
Post edited at 19:23
Indy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

The only people against Grammer schools are poor stupid people. Rich stupid people go private.
Indy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Toccata:

> Then I realised they were private schools by the back door with the rich parents able to live in the catchment areas of the good Primaries, coach the children and hire the tutors to gain entry to them.

But I see a flaw in you're thinking. Poor people can't afford to hire tutors....... Oh well, off down the pub for 10 pints, a packet of fags so as to be back in time to watch the big game on Sky Sports Ultimate package.
pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> To take your analogy and on the point of potential - it's like taking a breath test at a single point in time. This wouldn't illustrate alcohol levels at a future date. >

That is one of the most shockingly bad analogies I have ever seen. How can you possibly equate blood alcohol level which can obviously change wildy in a short time frame with academic ability?
If you'd ever worked in education you would know that the difference in abilty between 11 year olds starting secondary school is enormous (despite having had the same teachers at the same primary schools) and that very few children move very far relative to their peers in the 5 years they spend at secondary. The number who move up or down significantly really is very small. Ability at the age of 11 is by far the best predictor of exam results, that's why the targets all schools are now set are based upon this data.

abr1966 - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to andy:



the ones whose parents weren't that bothered -

....or who may be disabled, have mental health problems or are single parents working long hours or have other kids with extra needs or live in poor housing with drug dealers next door....?

For me it's actually about creating equality of opportunity whilst children are 'children'. Issues such as behaviour probls in school should be resolved and managed at a school level, I have no problem with excluding kids. My worry is that separately educating kids from 11+ and relying on GCSEs performance stats as the primary performance indicator is very short sighted.
I suppose my 'value' around this is that aged 18+ life gets tough and people are responsible for their own actions but up to that point there should be more help for those who require it and a 'secondary' system does not do this...

Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:

> That is one of the most shockingly bad analogies I have ever seen. How can you possibly equate blood alcohol level which can obviously change wildy in a short time frame with academic ability?

I agree it's shockingly bad - and it's not mine. CB294 introduced it.

> If you'd ever worked in education you would know that the difference in abilty between 11 year olds starting secondary school is enormous (despite having had the same teachers at the same primary schools) and that very few children move very far relative to their peers in the 5 years they spend at secondary. The number who move up or down significantly really is very small. Ability at the age of 11 is by far the best predictor of exam results, that's why the targets all schools are now set are based upon this data.

You need to re-read the thread. I've been clear about 'ability' and 'ability to pass a test'. This article makes a similar point:

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/pupils-who-fail-11-plus-outperform-grammar-school...
pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> Step back a minute a think about the corollary of your conclusion here. Would you favour the 11+ solution where the strongest and fittest males aged 20-35 got to the lifeboats whilst the old, very young and women perished? >

Although it would be preferable for the young fit males to get in the lifeboats rather than nobody, your argument is based on the premise that those who go to non grammar schools will recieve a poor education. This was probably the case in the 1950's but the world of education has changed beyond recongnition since then in more ways than anyone not involved in it can probably imagine.
In the 21st century there is absolutely no reason why someone not getting into a grammar school should recieve a worse education than someone who does. They would receive a different education, more appropriate to their needs and more likely to be of relevance to them, especially if we had a variety of curricula to choose from rather than the one size fits all GCSE we have now.
Even with GCSE's, you cannot assume a child who passes 5 has had a worse education than a child who passes 10.

The New NickB - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to andy:

Does Skipton really have a Secondary Modern, rather than another Comprehensive, I thought they were scrapped in the 70s.
andy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to abr1966:

> the ones whose parents weren't that bothered -

> ....or who may be disabled, have mental health problems or are single parents working long hours or have other kids with extra needs or live in poor housing with drug dealers next door....?

>

Fair point - I'm using personal experience of the people we know but you're right. I don't know about all of them.

And I agree with your "GCSEs aren't the only measure of success" point too - but for my kids (who are reasonably able and will probably end up at uni or an equivalent apprenticeship thing) then they're a pretty good measure for them, as it's one of the things that'll help them have more choice of what to do at 18+.

andy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> Does Skipton really have a Secondary Modern, rather than another Comprehensive, I thought they were scrapped in the 70s.

It probably is a comprehensive (it's called "the skipton academy") - but as it's where the kids who don't pass 11+ go whose parents can't get them in elsewhere I guess I'm saying it's the equivalent. Again - sorry for thoughless posting.
Shani - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:

> Although it would be preferable for the young fit males to get in the lifeboats rather than nobody, your argument is based on the premise that those who go to non grammar schools will recieve a poor education.

The lifeboats analogy is not my argument. It is simply a corollary to the point I was responding to. I think it is a poor analogy personally.

> In the 21st century there is absolutely no reason why someone not getting into a grammar school should recieve a worse education than someone who does. They would receive a different education, more appropriate to their needs and more likely to be of relevance to them, especially if we had a variety of curricula to choose from rather than the one size fits all GCSE we have now.

Again you're off point. Tailored education is fine. It's addressing the fairness of the gating process in 11+ I've been addressing.

> Even with GCSE's, you cannot assume a child who passes 5 has had a worse education than a child who passes 10.

Eh?
marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:

Whilst many pupils have exam results broadly in line with year 7 results, the interesting thing is those that don't. Some children don't achieve as they should, largely due to issues at home. Others just didn't perform well at that age and were slightly later to develop than others. Assuming that no improvement can be made if a child doesn't hit an arbitrary level at age 11 is not clever.
The New NickB - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to andy:

No need to apologise, the comparison is interesting.

My brother and sister had the challenge of getting in to LRGS and the girls school from a catchment that required a high score in the entrance exam. My brother went to LRGS and my sister ended up going to school 20 odd miles away in Cumbria.
neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:
At least get your facts correct. That school is an a selective area. The high school is altrincham grammar for boys or the grammar school for girls. They are top schools.

That part of Trafford is incredibly affluent. It has Hale as a catchment area. One of the wealthiest parts outside London .

It is an outstanding school because of the money there .

It is not a Liverpool sink estate or even a resonabe middle class area.

Come up with a better example.
ads.ukclimbing.com
summo on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I have no problem with grammar schools, or deciding if kids are sharp enough to do academic route.

What the UK lacks is the vocational training for those that decide for themselves or have no choice in the matter and can't go the A level, Uni route. Skilled trades just aren't valued in the UK, don't earn as well as many other European countries etc.. and it's all because of the degree obsession that has been driven into society in the past decade or two.

Although the early nail in the coffin of quality apprenticeships was the invention of the YTS scheme in the 80s.
Postmanpat on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

> Again you're off point. Tailored education is fine. It's addressing the fairness of the gating process in 11+ I've been addressing.
>
Why do people imagine that it is written in stone that grammar schools would demand a gating process at 11+.
andy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

> No need to apologise, the comparison is interesting.

> My brother and sister had the challenge of getting in to LRGS and the girls school from a catchment that required a high score in the entrance exam. My brother went to LRGS and my sister ended up going to school 20 odd miles away in Cumbria.

Which one in Cumbria? Sedbergh?
The New NickB - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to andy:

Dallam.
andy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to The New NickB: ah, was Heversham GS in my day!

marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

To move children up generally requires you move some down. Otherwise you would have an ever growing grammar school. We do this every term. The chaos this would cause if it involved moving schools wouldn't be sensible.

More to the point, the parents of those moving down generally are ok with it once you point out that it is reversible with hard work and improved performance.

Can you imagine parents concerns if their child was to be moved out of grammar school and into secondary modern?
Postmanpat on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> To move children up generally requires you move some down. Otherwise you would have an ever growing grammar school. We do this every term. The chaos this would cause if it involved moving schools wouldn't be sensible.

>
Not necessarily. The grammar school could just allow for a slightly larger cohort in each age group.
marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

You could, and then some of those in the ever increasing cohort would start to coast, safe in the knowledge they aren't going anywhere.
Postmanpat on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:
> You could, and then some of those in the ever increasing cohort would start to coast, safe in the knowledge they aren't going anywhere.

So are you suggesting that the only way to stop students coasting is to threaten them with "demotion" to a different school. Is that true in comprehensives?

Is it really impossible to design a system whereby "late developers" can be moved post 11 and those strugglers whose best interests would be servedby leaving the grammar school were enabled to do so?
Post edited at 21:01
andy - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat: Well "late developers" in Skipton can certainly re-apply at 14 as every year a few do and get in - I assumed it was the same everywhere. And for 6th form they're basically "comprehensive" in that they take anyone with appropriate GCSE grades (which i think is B in the subjects they want to study, plus C at maths and English).
marsbar - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

In comprehensive schools you have to be the best to stay in the top set. If you are in set 2 and you want to go up, you have to work hard and do better than those in set 1.

Nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition at the top end in my opinion. Keeps them on their toes.
summo on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> To move children up generally requires you move some down. Otherwise you would have an ever growing grammar school. We do this every term. The chaos this would cause if it involved moving schools wouldn't be sensible.

What about a system where you moved back a year, better a child leaves a year or two later with a good standard of education, than on time with a poorer one?
pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:


That article seems to make a good case for using KS2 SATS results rather than the 11+ as the entrance criteria, I've no problem with that. Its the grammar school system in general I support, the specifics can always be tweaked.

Furthermore, the fact that the narrow misses go on to do better in secondary moderns disproves the lie that they are sink schools.

No system will be ever be perfect but I've seen too many bright kids waste their talent coasting in a comp that couldn't cater for them, and too many bottom end (academically speaking) kids disillusioned by a system which only values academic study to believe that a one size fits all comprehensive system is the best we can do.

pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Shani:

PEC :
> Even with GCSE's, you cannot assume a child who passes 5 has had a worse education than a child who passes 10. >

Shani :
> Eh? >

Obviously grammar schools will get better results than non selective schools, we can't judge schools simply on results but on how well they cater for the needs of their pupils. For one child 5 GCSE's may represent a better achievement than 10 for another.
Too many people jump to the entirely incorrect conclusion that kids who don't get into a grammar get a worse education simply because on paper their results look worse.
Yanis Nayu - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

At my daughter's school kids have transferred both ways.

In response to what others have said about the catchment area raising house prices - it's a bit of a red herring, because at least in our area, the catchment is the whole county.
pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> At least get your facts correct. That school is an a selective area. The high school is altrincham grammar for boys or the grammar school for girls. They are top schools. >

I'm well aware of the schools and demographics of Trafford and why ALL the schools perform well, but the grammars don't just get good results, they get excellent results even by grammar school standards and the non grammars get excellent results by non grammar school standards. In other words the demographics of the area shunt everything up the scale.

In a "normal" area all schools may do less well but my point is that non grammars can still do very well by their pupils. In the 21st century they are not the sink schools they were in the 50's as many still seem to believe.



pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Is it really impossible to design a system whereby "late developers" can be moved post 11 and those strugglers whose best interests would be servedby leaving the grammar school were enabled to do so? >

That system already exists in some areas. My wife's cousin's child has just been moved up to the local grammar (in Lincolnshire I think) after failing his 11+ but doing very well in his first year at secondary.

neilh - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:
It is far from a normal area. They also target the high performing students from outside the Trafford area to bump up their positions in the league tables. It is a ridiculous comparison compared with other areas. Never mind the amount of money locally.you have a huge number of motivated parents doing tutoring to get into those schools and that is even for the likes of Wellington.
Post edited at 21:53
Jim Hamilton - on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:

> In a "normal" area all schools may do less well but my point is that non grammars can still do very well by their pupils. In the 21st century they are not the sink schools they were in the 50's as many still seem to believe.

But that may because grammars were educating 25% in the 50's , now it's less than 5%
pec on 07 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> It is far from a normal area. They also target the high performing students from outside the Trafford area to bump up their positions in the league tables. It is a ridiculous comparison compared with other areas. Never mind the amount of money locally.you have a huge number of motivated parents doing tutoring to get into those schools and that is even for the likes of Wellington. >

As I've told you I know the area very well, I lived there for nearly 20 years and know people with children at the schools so will you please read what I've actually written i.e.

"In a "normal"* area all schools may do less well but my point is that non grammars can still do very well by their pupils. In the 21st century they are not the sink schools they were in the 50's as many still seem to believe."
* normal being not like South Trafford, of course North Trafford (fairly normal) schools do pretty well too.

And by the way, your point about bussing kids kids in from elsewhere just shows how the absence of grammar schools elsewhere distorts our present system in favour of more motivated parents with money.
I know you had a bad experience after failing the 11+, but seriously, you wouldn't believe how much education has moved on from when we went to school, that wouldn't happen now.

Andy Clarke - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:


> No system will be ever be perfect but I've seen too many bright kids waste their talent coasting in a comp that couldn't cater for them, and too many bottom end (academically speaking) kids disillusioned by a system which only values academic study to believe that a one size fits all comprehensive system is the best we can do.

I can't accept this as a fair description of our current system. I was a relatively long-serving Head of a large and successful comprehensive school. With an intake of around 200 we had a great deal of flexibility in terms of student grouping and variety in terms of subjects offered - far more than you could expect in a grammar school with typically a much smaller intake. To describe the school as a 'one size fits all' institution would have been a crude caricature. My heart sinks when I hear arguments for reintroducing the crushing of hope and aspiration which so many suffered during the heyday of the grammar school. In my view this far outweighs any marginal benefits to be gained by the minority who might receive a slightly more intensive academic education. I passed the 11+ and went to a single sex state grammar myself - but without wanting to sound ungrateful I certainly don't believe I received a better education than I would have had in my own comprehensive. In fact my own educational experience made me a passionate and lifelong advocate of the comprehensive ideal.
cb294 - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:

That was not the point I was making. Instead, it was criticized that tests like 11+ are useless because they measure the ability to perform well in a test rather than academic suitability. I therefore tried to point out that in our modern world it is not at all unusual to measure a parameter you can measure (alcohol) rather than the thing you really want to know at the same point in time (driving ability). It is not about comparing one time vs. long term performance!

My point therefore was that one is essentially doing nothing else in performing tests for academic ability (which is feasible) to obtain a predictor for long term suitability for one type of education or another (which, to be fully tested, would require to provide every student with several different types of education and seeing afterwards which one worked best. This would of course be even less feasible than providing a driving test for every suspect drink driver).

A few posts further down also replaced my off the cuff example with the even more blatantly obvious one of using A levels as predictors for success at uni, which is essentially just as arbitrary but is accepted as working!

CB
neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to pec:
I was born and brought in that area. I have family there and I live nearby.I know it as well.

Its a crap system and to be blunt all the schools in that area just dump the middle performing 16 years old and offer places to A star pupils at GCSE outside Trafford area. Parents like lemmings go to it in the belief it offers a better system. Those schools only do better because they have the top pupils in a very affluent area.

Education has considerably moved on, so that the brightest at comps get targetted these days.

But to go back to grammars is appalling. For once listen to what the educationalists are saying.We should not be pandering in this day and age to a socially devisive system.

You only have to look at somewhere like Wigan and Winstanley College to see how good the system can be.
Post edited at 08:53
FactorXXX - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Theresa May's viewpoint: -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37303348
neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to Andy Clarke:

100% spot on.
baron - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to Andy Clarke:

But grammar schools are, or certainly used to be, more than just academic institutions.
Many grammar schools had a fairly long history and with that came all the traditions.
Masters (not teachers) in black, flowing gowns, sixth form prefects the size of giants, oak panelled corridors lined with the photos of past headmasters, being addressed by your last name never your first, collecting litter from your year yard, sewing your house colours onto your school uniform, lining up in the yard, not walking on the grass and a myriad other things which most schools have either abandoned or merely pay lip service to.
There was a huge emphasis placed on loyalty, duty and personal responsibility.
For many first year pupils it was like Hogwarts - but obviously without the wizards - but non the less a magical place.
For myself and my peers, none of whom was well off, for that sort went to the better grammar schools in the area, it was the most inspirational place.
I mourn the passing of such places.




neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

And the people who did not go to these places. What happened to them ?

They were generally thrown into the dregs of schools.

Believe it or not you can still do most of what you say in a good comp and cater for all.Housesetc, smart uniforms etc etc are not exclusive to " grammar schools".
Dax H - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> In comprehensive schools you have to be the best to stay in the top set. If you are in set 2 and you want to go up, you have to work hard and do better than those in set 1.

A good idea in principle but not necessarily in practice.
I was in the bottom set for everything but I really enjoyed chemistry and biology and at the end of the first year / start of the second year I was moved up to the middle set.
The problem was because the middle set were a good way in front of the bottom set I missed a lot of stuff and as a result though I aced the bottom set I was way way behind the rest in the middle and at the end of the second year I was back down in the bottom again and very de motivated because I had failed.

I don't have a clue what the answer to this would be though.

Andy Clarke - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

You paint an evocative picture, reminding me of my own days as 'Clarke Major!' However, the many good comprehensive schools I experienced during my career similarly developed expectations and traditions to instil loyalty, duty and personal responsibility. To suggest otherwise would be to impugn the passion and idealism which drives so many staff. I would add that many comprehensives are also very effective in developing social and civic responsibility, something I don't feel was particularly well done by my own grammar. And on a hard-headed practical note, any secondary headteacher who doesn't nurture loyalty in students will seriously regret it come sixth form recruitment time!
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> Masters (not teachers) in black, flowing gowns, sixth form prefects the size of giants, oak panelled corridors lined with the photos of past headmasters, being addressed by your last name never your first, collecting litter from your year yard, sewing your house colours onto your school uniform, lining up in the yard, not walking on the grass and a myriad other things which most schools have either abandoned or merely pay lip service to.

must like the Comprehensive this week that turned away 70 pupils at the gate for not being dressed properly. Just a little Victorian to say the least, who cares what people wear.

All those things you list happened in my comprehensive school, which overall delivered a very average education, in some subjects it was appalling, but then I think it's only goal was to churn out factory worker fodder.
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to Dax H:
We make sure that the lesson topics are the same for all sets to try to prevent that happening.
Also we try to have 4 sets, so only the really weak ones are in set 4 and set 2 and 3 are middle.
Post edited at 10:29
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Proper shoes for practical lessons is a health and safety issue.

Much as I don't personally care what the pupils wear, we are trying to prepare the for the workplace, and instill a sense of pride in their appearance.

If you have uniform rules and don't enforce them, you send a strong message to the kids, we don't care about you, and we don't care about what the rules say. How can you then punish a child for not following rules about learning or discipline without being a hypocrite?

My experience of schools that have done this kind of crackdown is that the first week is difficult, and then it settles down, people will always hate change, but once it's done you do see improved behaviour with improved uniform.

It's something I didn't agree on initially, and considered a waste of time, but having seen it first hand, I have changed my mind.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:
> Proper shoes for practical lessons is a health and safety issue.

I didn't realise black school shoes were now H&S approved work place footwear? ;)

> Much as I don't personally care what the pupils wear, we are trying to prepare the for the workplace, and instill a sense of pride in their appearance.

True, but the UK work place attire is as Victorian as the school attire. The idea that a person is some how going to be better at their job because they have a shirt and tie on etc...

> If you have uniform rules and don't enforce them, you send a strong message to the kids, we don't care about you, and we don't care about what the rules say. How can you then punish a child for not following rules about learning or discipline without being a hypocrite?

Why have a uniform at all? Then you don't need to punish anyone. Let kids dress as they decide, they grow respecting that everyone is different, different tastes etc.. rather than making them all like clones then when they leave at 16 they suddenly discover the world isn't quite like school. They also learn to make decisions on what to wear, a little responsibility and trust.

99.99% of Nordic/Scandic schools have no such thing as inappropriate footwear, clothing, haircuts etc.. and their results and academic standards overall don't suffer?

Perhaps respect is earned through teacher's actions not what they actually make pupils wear. Uniform and haircut regulations are ruling pupils by the stick, not the carrot and respect is rarely earned there, only fear.
Post edited at 10:45
baron - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:
Most of my mates failed the 11plus and went to the secondary modern. No hogwarts for them.
Most went to work in the local shipyard as did I. Different experiences, same result. Dregs? I don't think so.
The ones who failed did so because of their home circumstances not because of the school they went (or didn't go) to!
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

I agree with you totally, but given the situation we are in we have to make the best of it, school uniform is part of the culture here and if we have it, it should be done properly.
Jim Hamilton - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> But grammar schools are, or certainly used to be, more than just academic institutions.

This raises perhaps another unfairness. I get the impression children at better state grammars get a public school “lite”education. Certainly the one grammar I know a little about has a much better sports ethos than the surrounding comprehensives.
baron - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to Andy Clarke:
Good comprehensive schools embrace, and see the value of, many of the things I was talking about and are all the better for it.
Too many don't but maybe that's more a reflection of a changed society than of teacher's ideals and enthusiasm.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:
> I agree with you totally, but given the situation we are in we have to make the best of it, school uniform is part of the culture here and if we have it, it should be done properly.

or more flexibly, so eventually the UK can move into the enlightened era of 21st century, where skills & ability count for more than being able to wear a shirt and tie.

Leaving the UK when our eldest was 4 and a bit was one of the biggest drivers for us. A CoE school was our only local option, so that's 20mins of day wasted on unproven religious nonsense. Followed by uniforms etc... the school wasn't even performing that well despite their obsession with non academic elements, strange that. They've even voted in now that over 9s have to wear ties too.

Our kids start the day in class, they arrive in dribs and drabs and when they get in they have special books of work for spare moments. The teacher comes in and they all stop, saying morning to each formally and after bit of admin such as the pupil of day having a few special tasks like standing at the front and saying what day it is, what is for school lunch etc.. the lesson begins, no trailing round school for an assembly. It's great, any parent can go to school with their kids for the day too, sit in the back of class, have school lunch with them (free to all kids regardless of income, no them and us, no packed lunches).

The UK answer to education at the moment seems to be more testing, stricter rules etc... I don't think they'll find the answers they are looking for.
Post edited at 10:58
neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Is that at High School level?
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Where are you now?
baron - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Fear is a wonderful tool in the modern day teacher's limited arsenal of weapons.
There's an old saying in school - 'never smile before Christmas'.
Pupils actually like discipline and guidelines.
They dislike teachers that they perceive as weak or patronising.
So you impose strict discipline from day 1 with your Year 7s.
You demand high standards and 'punish' those who refuse to toe the line.
Note that 'punish' doesn't mean what it used to years ago.
With this strict regime goes a total intolerance of bullying, skitting, etc.
You say hello to your pupils both in and out of the classroom
You listen when they talk to you
You show them the respect that you expect them to show you.
You ensure that you never embarrass them or place them in a situation that thay can't deal with.
This is not 'getting down with the youth'
You are not their mate.
They learn that school is not a democracy and that there's only one person in charge in the classroom
Well before Christmas the pupils are very aware of what you expect of them and they realise that you're not the ogre you made yourself out to be.
Then you can teach and pupils can learn in an ordered, safe and relaxed environment
Other teachers will have different styles, that's what helps make some schools good.
But never underestimate the power of 'fear'. (Not to be mistaken for bullying by the teacher)
KevinD - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

> The UK answer to education at the moment seems to be more testing, stricter rules etc... I don't think they'll find the answers they are looking for.

Its what you do when you dont really understand the domain you are dealing with. Far easier to come up with some KPIs and rules to follow.
The bit that really bothers me is the apparent keenness of some to do learn by rote. I deal a lot with a country whose education system is based around that and it can be quite painfully obvious.
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to KevinD:

Thankfully learning by rote is out of fashion again this week.

(Although I do wish kids would learn their times tables as it make their life easier later on)
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> Is that at High School level?

Same class from year 1 to exiting at 16, all on the same site. Which also have nursery and pre school down to aged 1. They share gym facilities, kitchens etc.. so no big changes in school life, or move to the 'big school'.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> Where are you now?

Sweden
ads.ukclimbing.com
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Sounds great.
Dax H - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> We make sure that the lesson topics are the same for all sets to try to prevent that happening.

> Also we try to have 4 sets, so only the really weak ones are in set 4 and set 2 and 3 are middle.

That is interesting but what happens when set 4 drops behind, do you skip and catch them up or hold sets 1,2 and 3 back until 4 catches up.
Set 4 might only cover the basics of a topic when set 1 goes in to it much deeper because the kids are more academically minded.
Any time you have sets based on ability the best will always be ahead of the worse and over a relatively short period of time it will be too late to bump someone up a set without extra tuition and if they are going up a set can they handle the extra tuition on top of the more intense workload of the new set.

I am damn glad I don't have to solve this.

At our school we had 4 sets.
Top, middle, bottom and special needs,
I was firmly in the bottom and they wouldn't let me do GCSE's because apparently I didn't stand a chance of passing any.
Instead I got to do 2 years of city and guilds vocational preparation.
Literacy and numeracy instead of English and maths, really basic stuff and not worth a sparrows fart.

Fortunately for me I gelled with engineering Collage and nailed every exam with a distinction but as far as school was concerned I was destined for the scrap heap and I could maybe aspire to a job on a production line in a factory.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:
> Pupils actually like discipline and guidelines.
if they can see a value or purpose in them.

> They dislike teachers that they perceive as weak or patronising.

There is no correlation between a strong or good teacher and a uniform. One is rule, the other down to personal attributes and training. A uniform won't compensate for a poor teacher, but a good teacher will more than make up for any uniform rules.

> So you impose strict discipline from day 1 with your Year 7s.

Why not start with discipline and guidelines that fulfill a purpose from year 1, or even age 1/2 in nursery. Why wait until kids are 12? It's too late.

> They learn that school is not a democracy and that there's only one person in charge in the classroom

just like my kids class, but no uniform is required. It is done through the skills and attributes of their teacher, not the iron fist of the head master on the school gate.

> Well before Christmas the pupils are very aware of what you expect of them and they realise that you're not the ogre you made yourself out to be.

Before xmas!? that's 90 or a 120 days. If a teacher hasn't got control of class by the end of week one to some degree, then there is trouble ahead.

> But never underestimate the power of 'fear'.

For turning a child off school and education for life, I agree.

Better to educated them on the opportunities in the world, inspire them on what they can become and give them an incentive to learn and try new things.
Post edited at 12:07
neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:
I am not too sure that my teenage daughters would appreciate me sitting at the back of their class.

Having said that some of what you describe easily happened at primary school. I enjoyed going in and having school lunch with them.

Uniforms- I have mixed views on. When you see kids in uniform in India and Japan etc you realise its not an issue in other countries.

Personally I would run with what the Head wants. As I see it alot of Heads use it as part of a tool to improve schools.
Post edited at 12:19
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> I am not too sure that my teenage daughters would appreciate me sitting at the back of their class.

I think there is probably a cut off limit age wise, where older kids need a little space in their more volatile years!
baron - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:
Uniforms are so a part of life, even not wearing a uniform, rightly or wrongly, sends out a message.
While a uniform does not equal good learning it serves other purposes.
Discipline does start in primary school but now they are too busy teaching children not to eat with their fingers.
Discipline by Christmas was an example of when pupils really appreciate what your trying to achieve, you'd better be in control from the first minute never mind a week
Fear in the classroom is a perception as there's nothing you can actually do for or to a child who doesn't want to play.
Teaching is an act and teachers play different roles or do you think we behave in the same way out of school?
Try waltzing into a school in the UK and see how far you get - child protection issues have made that extremely difficult.
Just because Sweden is different doesn't make it better.
Offwidth - on 08 Sep 2016
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> Uniforms are so a part of life, even not wearing a uniform, rightly or wrongly, sends out a message.

Why are they part of life, can't people dress as they wish (with the bounds of protective clothing etc..), can't people just respect each as individuals, why have uniform and conformity. It is just a tool to control people.

> Teaching is an act and teachers play different roles or do you think we behave in the same way out of school?

but perhaps kids can spot the ones who are trying to be something they aren't. There is a difference between having the confidence in stand in front and teaching, and pretending. Perhaps kids will respect teachers who are themselves, honest and open? Yes I know there will always be some kids, my brother and his wife work in a SEMH school for kids who aren't allowed in mainstream education, they have some special little treasures there, most through no fault of their own though, usually background related.

> Try waltzing into a school in the UK and see how far you get - child protection issues have made that extremely difficult.
you think child protection is less here? You might be surprised, Sweden's whole society revolves around doing what is best for kids and families, hence their paternity / maternity, different legal status for parents & guardians etc...

> Just because Sweden is different doesn't make it better.
no, but they get at least equal education results without having to stand at school gates sending kids home because of attire, haircuts etc..
ultrabumbly on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

In relation to uniforms and the "Swedish way", I'd guess it would be particularly unswedish for kids/parents to be outdoing each other in terms of the expense of clothes.?

The UK is different in that respect and having a uniform does away with creating a "mini-class system" based on clothes. The kid has to wear on their back for the five years an advertisement of how rich or poor they are (or are projecting they are)when most people are at their cruellest and least sensitive. There's a whole bunch of other stuff that makes it a good idea: football team allegiance, gang claiming. In many ways a uniform is a means for a a kid to establish a real identity rather than having one presumed just because of what they are wearing.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to ultrabumbly:

Don't think it matters, in my uniformed comp school as a kid, folk would compete on expense of shoes, watches, trainers for gym, bags, holdalls... It will happen regardless still.

I think some school uniforms cost more than branded fashion goods in some cases.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to ultrabumbly:

> There's a whole bunch of other stuff that makes it a good idea: football team allegiance, gang claiming. In many ways a uniform is a means for a a kid to establish a real identity rather than having one presumed just because of what they are wearing.

Are UK schools showing such low levels of bullying compared to none uniformed countries? Or are people just using it as means to justify something that has no evidence to support it?

If you think by making everyone wear black in school, other kids won't know where you live, how rich or poor a family is, what team they support, who they hang out with at school and after school... then I suggest you are a little naive. Surely making everyone dress the same takes away their individual identity? Then the same when people start work, little office clones... is it little wonder a fair percentage of the UK youth gets smashed off the face after cease work on a Friday, a bit for freedom and they go wild?
neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

We have gone way off topic here......
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to Dax H:

The trick is to make sure that the brightest of each level are doing the same work as the set above. So we overlap the work to make it the same for the weakest in set 1 and the brightest in set 2 and so on. It does mean we have to make sure we communicate with the teachers of the other set and everyone must stick to the plan.

Are you dyslexic or anything? You come across on here as successful and intelligent. I'm surprised you were in lower sets.
summo on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> We have gone way off topic here......

yeah, I know. Correlation is rarely causation.
Dax H - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

Ahh that makes sense.

Yes I am dyslexic but to be honest my problem with school was a total lack of self discipline.
I was the kid doing the homework on the bus on the way to school.

Every report said must try harder and I used the dyslexia as an excuse not to achieve.
I was the disruptive kid in the class in most cases and with the teachers strikes being in action in the late 80s we had to leave school at lunch time and I never went back in the afternoon.

Collage engaged me though and I did well and over the last 20 years growing my own business I have come to realise that I can do a lot more than I thought I could.
I can't say I half arsed school, it was more like eighth arsed it but you can't half arse tendering a contract for a utility company so I sharpened up my ideas and ran with it.

I keep pondering on going back to school and getting some qualifications and maybe a degree (if my business ever goes under I suspect I will struggle with zero academic qualifications) but when you work a minimum of a 60 hour week and often in to the 70 and 80 hour bracket free time becomes a very precious commodity.
baron - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
Having read and contributed to this thread I've come to the conclusion that we need a range of schools.
From grammar schools to something like this -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29518319

That should keep everyone happy!
pneame on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> That should keep everyone happy!

"If anything Scotland Road was even more radical. No-one can remember doing any lessons at all. They learned in other ways. There was a helper, Michael Griffies, who would teach them how to change a car battery and how to drive."

That explains everything! No wonder my car was nicked several times until I learnt to take the rotor arm out after parking it. Although that wasn't always a solution - you can drive a car a mile or so on the starter motor....
Post edited at 18:19
neilh - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

I wonder what the likes of Diane Abbott and JC think to this whole issue considering which schools their children went to.

I do smell a strong wiff of hypocrisy over this issue. Maybe it's a political strategy from the Tories to embarass Labour.
marsbar - on 08 Sep 2016
In reply to Dax H:

I think these days compared to when we went to school you might have done better because lack of self discipline is challenged more. However the flip side of that is we have taken so much responsibility away from the kids that none of them seem to develop much self discipline or independence.

As for not having qualifications, I suspect if you did need to get a job you would be fine, you've clearly got experience skills and common sense.
Offwidth - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

Micheal Wilshaw's view (ex head of OFSTED):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-37275092

Rob Exile Ward on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

I was going to post this as a new thread entitled 'F*ck Me, She's lost it already' but decided to add it to this one instead:

I had some glimmer of hope for May but no, my hopes have been cruelly dashed.

She's up to her a*se in alligators trying to ensure our economic survival in the face of world wide hostility to dealing with the UK post Brexit (US: ' 'you're back of the queue', Australia: 'You're back of the queue', etc), and what does she do? Try and re-introduce, by way of the most clumsy and hackneyed trick in the book, grammar schools. Like Shakespeare went to.

And to hear her and her ilk trying to square the circle ('children failing the 11+ at ... er ...11 won't really be failures, no of course not') would be funny if it wasn't cynical, ignorant and stupid.
testagrigia - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

Entirely agree. Here's what he said this morning: "We will fail as a nation if we only get the to 15-20% of our children achieving well."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0479424

If there is a problem with our education system, it is not that we have too few young people being hot-housed for university entrance. It is the 46% of young people who do not get 5 good GCSEs including maths and English. It is the 16% of young people who drop out of education and training at 16. It's the 12% of 16-24 year olds who drop completely off the radar, and who are neither in education, in training nor in work. And for white British boys these percentages are more than double that.

We have the resources and we have the know-how to give every child a decent education to 16. If only we didn't have politicians buggering about with school structure and curricula and testing, when they should be concentrating on what matters, i.e. having quality teaching and quality leadership in all schools.
Offwidth - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think its more cynical... sells well to marginal voters in areas with school related house price and school performance problems and suits the ideology of those in her party whom she needs for support... this is a government with a slim majority afterall. Just at the point where the real evidence is seriously stacking against grammars with the London data Wilshaw was so proud of. Equality of educational opportunity has clearly been falling behind in many areas of the UK with grammars, despite all the hype about how they give poor kids a chance ... London showed hope of a better alternative.

Yet even I would reluctantly support a (less efficient) grammar system compared to what we have now; if the governemnt had serious measures to tackle inequality of opportunity ( letting a few more bright poor kids in won't hack it). We need to generate aspiration in average poor kids and help their parents in that at a young age. Its difficult and its expensive and probably more so in both respects in a grammar system.

With 85% of Independant kids heading to University compared to only 15% of kids on free school meals we have a situation which is clearly awful for the latter group and in the former shows those well below average IQ have plenty to gain from HE (if thats what they want to do).
neilh - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Maybe a political ruse to take flak away from the Brexit debate and move onto othe issues .

As posted earlier, do not forgot that JC's lad and daine abbotts children went to grammar/ selective schools.

There may be more to play out on this one than we think.Just remember it is something they are ""looking at"", does not mean they will do.......
RyanOsborne - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> Maybe it's a political strategy from the Tories to embarass Labour.

Pathetic if true. When will the tories take their policies beyond political point scoring and start doing things which are actually good for the country?
winhill - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

> Same class from year 1 to exiting at 16, all on the same site. Which also have nursery and pre school down to aged 1. They share gym facilities, kitchens etc.. so no big changes in school life, or move to the 'big school'.

Our local Secondary schools have an intake that covers over 30 primaries, so a career long school system is going to have massive schools. Plus we work on the idea that primaries are neighbourhood schools, that each pupil should be in walking distance.

If neighbourhood schools expanded into secondary you'd need a lot more teachers.

The Swedish system may work for a largely rural country but it doesn't bear much relevance for England.

The Chain my kids attend took over a nearby failing school 2 years ago. Initially the only visible results they could claim were less bullying and better uniform but this year they've taken GCSE results from 37% 5 GCSEs to 71%. So whatever our emotive response to uniforms it certainly seems to help in these poor schools.
neilh - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

All political parties do this, its nothing new from either side.
Al Evans on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I was a working class grammar school boy, Passing my 11+ was a great source of pride for me and my working class family. I doubt that I would have thrived in a secondary modern as I was quite lazy, The Grammar school system suited me perfectly, I as a labour supporter all my life have never seen a problem with the grammar school system.
JR - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Because the world is full of whinging people who think everyone is equal.

Equality and equal opportunity are two different things. Whichever ones political persuasion prefers Grammar schools evidentially damage both at a whole system level. Anecdotally, I'm sure that grammar schools will serve one as an individual well.

In evidence terms, the data clearly shows that poorer pupils in areas with selective schools have worse outcomes than their equivalents in non-selective areas with no or little difference for more affluent pupils.

In anecdotal terms, it's political gold. This is because being told the policy is a positive one that benefited them personally, by one person in one's family or friendship group, is, regardless of class or wealth group, generally more valuable politically than the evidence.
Post edited at 18:19
baron - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to JR:
Why would grammar schools have an effect on those children who don't attend them?
Andy Clarke - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> Why would grammar schools have an effect on those children who don't attend them?

The local grammar certainly had an effect on a number of my mates who failed to attend it. They felt like failures as a result of not passing the 11+. I hated seeing it then and I hate the thought of it happening again. Such a cost simply isn't worth paying for the marginal benefits to be gained by those who've already won in the genetic lottery.
RomTheBear - on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> I just don't get why they are seen as a problem.

Don't know about this one.

There is relatively strong evidence that they widen the attainment gap between rich and poor, as more rich pupils attend them, whilst making only a marginal difference to the attainment of poorer pupils.

So overall it seems to be a good thing, as it makes rich kids more successful than they would already have been, but makes social mobility more difficult, as it widens the gap between rich and poor. Not really sure what is best.
summo on 09 Sep 2016
In reply to winhill:
Much of the UK is rural though, so centralised schooling which means all ages get to access and share facilities would benefit all kids. There is an economy of scale, not to mention social benefits. Our 7 year old came home today excited as she has homework, happy kids are motivated kids. School should not be a military regime.

Also, your school in question probably changed more than just a uniform, so correlation isn't likely to mean causation.
JR - on 10 Sep 2016
summo on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to JR:

> Effects of school uniform: .....educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit/school-uniform/

thanks, I'll steal a quote from the article.

"However, there is no robust evidence that introducing a school uniform will, by itself, improve academic performance, behaviour or attendance".
Yanis Nayu - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

It gets my daughter out the house a bit quicker than on non-school uniform days...
Yanis Nayu - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to JR:

You pass the 11+, you go to the school. You don't have to pay. We're broke - my daughter couldn't go to the local private school but she can go to the local grammar. We don't have to move to an expensive area because the catchment is the whole county.

The big issue imo is the effects of expensive tutoring on selection and how that disadvantages poorer kids. I know in extreme cases rich, pushy parents have their kids tutored daily at stupid o'clock in the morning, which is almost certainly counter-productive for the kids involved, and for the few kids who just missed out without tutoring. I know when my daughter took hers they had started to change it to make it less coach able, which is a good thing.
andy - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:
Tutoring's a funny one, eh? In our area the state primaries in catchment are specifically not allowed to do any prep, other than one practice test.

Yet other private primaries have 11+ lessons, so local parents (if they can afford it) tend to get private tutors. Despite the tests being supposedly "un-coachable". There's also a fair old industry in "how to appeal", with various bits of "analysis" and stats being passed down from family to family.

They swear blind coaching makes no difference but there are kids who were heavily coached and squeaked in have struggled at school. Although that could be the opposite of "late developers", maybe?
Yanis Nayu - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to andy:

Same here. The 11+ wasn't even mentioned at my daughter's primary, to the point where they didn't even ask the kids how they got on. I somehow suspect it wasn't the same at the local private school...
JR - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> You pass the 11+, you go to the school. You don't have to pay. We're broke - my daughter couldn't go to the local private school but she can go to the local grammar. We don't have to move to an expensive area because the catchment is the whole county.

Sure, not a bigger picture view though. Why is the fact that it's a grammar making it good? There's a huge re-focus on the data now and to quote Becky Allen (http://www.educationdatalab.org.uk/) who sifted this yesterday: "The very best all-ability schools perform far far better than grammars."

> The big issue imo is the effects of expensive tutoring on selection

Sure, but remove selection and you remove a bulk of that issue too with little effect on kids from wealthy families.
summo on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:
there was a teacher on r4 yesterday, a head I think, saying they even get cases at his school (a selective one), where parents bring their kids for the testing, even though they won't ever accept a place, simply as exam training, before finally applying to the school they prefer.

I think it's all a distraction. The answer can only come down to money, bin the charitable status of private schools use the money to improve teaching ratios in all UK schools etc... put up tax. The current generation needs to invest in the next. Classes of 25-30 kids with one teacher in a modern developed country is pretty ridiculous.

With proper funding for all schools the desire to go private, selective, grammar, religious etc.. would be removed.

Finland does OK with education and they don't even have homework there, never mind private tutors hot housing kids.
Post edited at 09:50
TobyA on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Across Sweden the school system is doing quite poorly in international comparison of outcomes. Interestingly, 10-5 years ago, it was Tory ministers who tended to laud Sweden's school because they basically worked on the free school model and were the inspiration for introducing them in the UK while ignoring Finland, which had better result, because Finland has something closer to the LEA model. Oddly, those same MPs and commentators have had less to say about the continuing decline of Sweden's PISA scores where their results are now below the UK's.

You can of course argue until the cows come home over PISA's methodology, but it's probably the best way we have at comparing some educational outcomes between countries.

But I agree on uniform, I hate having to wear a tie to teach and feel sorry for the kids having to wear them. As you say, kids will just judge each others bags or pencil cases, or -of course- phones - to create status markers if all their clothes look the same.
RockAngel on 10 Sep 2016
You've got your own business and are looking for a new apprentice.
Two candidates show potential. Robert went to grammar school, didn't do as well as expected in his exams but his dad is a friend of yours.
Johnny went to secondary school, aced his exams but lives on a council estate and has worked part time in the industry while studying.
Who would be chosen for the apprenticeship?
Where we live, it's the grammar school kid purely because they went to that school not because of their ability & experience. I've seen it first hand with my previous job. The manager was a useless 25 year old with zero knowledge or experience in the industry, but because he went to a better school and uni, but was chosen because he was the son of a friend of the boss.

summo on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to TobyA:
> You can of course argue until the cows come home over PISA's methodology, but it's probably the best way we have at comparing some educational outcomes between countries.

I think we will agree on pisa, given it is funded by individual nations, where each nation educational establishment gets to decide which school kids sit the test. Do we even need international testing? Obviously people make a living out of it, so it won't go away. A better educational outcome or measure might the number of people employed using the skills they learnt in the education process.

I think Sweden's results have taken a slight kicking, not sure how the migration in recent decades has impacted this or been factored in. Given the ratios of people in schools here who often had no education for the first 5 or 10 years of their life etc.. Not that the far left government here would ever admit that migrants have caused a problem. Either way given the absence of religion, morning assemblies, uniform, free meals for all background, free education up to degree/apprenticeships for all backgrounds and fields, plus a teaching ratio of roughly 1 to 15 (for our kids anyway), I would never consider returning to the UK to improve my kids education.
Post edited at 11:47
summo on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to RockAngel:


> because he was the son of a friend of the boss.

that is why they got the job, their school wasn't relevant.
ads.ukclimbing.com
1poundSOCKS - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to Toccata:

> Then I realised they were private schools by the back door with the rich parents able to live in the catchment areas of the good Primaries, coach the children and hire the tutors to gain entry to them.

Anecdotal evidence alert!!!

Funny you should say that. My friends moved to a nice village, so their kids could go to the good village school. Their eldest had private tuition, and got into the local grammar school.
RockAngel on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Even though he has no experience too?! So, if you can't afford extra tuition for your kids to get them into a better sounding school because it's a grammar school, they're stuck doing awful jobs even though they're over qualified for them and the posh boy is under qualified and proves to be useless
summo on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to RockAngel:

> even though they're over qualified for them and the posh boy is under qualified and proves to be useless

posh boy? He got the job because his father and the boss are friends. Status class, if such a one as 'posh' exists it isn't relevant here. Although I doubt his family were sailing round Africa a few generations ago.


Yanis Nayu - on 10 Sep 2016
In reply to RockAngel:

Why do you have to be posh to go to a grammar school?
baron - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

Sorry, couldn't read your link. It kept asking me to sign in.
In reply to baron:

Ah, yeah. You can register for free and see three articles a month. http://help.ft.com/registering-and-subscribing/registering-for-free/#axzz4JvmXiybv

Basically it's stats comparing selective and non selective areas of England and Wales. It shows that grammar schools are bad for poor children, make little difference for most children and are good for rich children.
Jon Stewart - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I'm baffled by this whole topic.

This is a policy that has been tried, and abandoned. So presumably there is a huge body of research to refer to which can help make a well-informed decision. This is incredibly rare in any policy area let alone education. I haven't read this whole thread, but I've scanned chunks of it and seem to have missed any precis (pl. precise?) of the research (and obviously I'm not interested in cherry picking, there must be enough out there for multiple reviews with different biases?).

But what I see both here and on every discussion on the TV and radio is guessing, n=1 reports, hypotheticals, and more guessing, without any reference to anything useful.

Has anyone got an explanation for this?

FWIW, I think it's barking mad to separate kids into entirely different schools that offer different sets of opportunities according to the results of a single test at age 11. It's just daft because of the age at which the division occurs. We should also remember that the "school effect" makes up about 10% of the variation in outcomes anyway (source: Radio 4 Analysis programme years ago) so the idea that this type of policy change is going to revolutionise anything is a total non-starter. Those who were going to do well will do so anyway, and vice versa.
BnB - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Stewart:


> FWIW, I think it's barking mad to separate kids into entirely different schools that offer different sets of opportunities according to the results of a single test at age 11. It's just daft because of the age at which the division occurs. We should also remember that the "school effect" makes up about 10% of the variation in outcomes anyway (source: Radio 4 Analysis programme years ago) so the idea that this type of policy change is going to revolutionise anything is a total non-starter. Those who were going to do well will do so anyway, and vice versa.

And if you are correct in your final sentence, and if the budget for the expansion of grammar schools is a frankly derisory £60m, why the fuss (not necessarily from you, but from the majority of contributors)?

My own take on the discussion is that many academically-minded youngsters benefit from an environment which celebrates academic achievement with less embarrassment. My own children (heck, me too) were highly academic and taunted and bullied for their intellect (and lack of "normal" social skills) at junior school. Is it wrong that they should be afforded a more sympathetic social environment?
Yanis Nayu - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Stewart:

There's lots of evidence that people who live in areas with grammar schools want their kids to go to the grammar school...
neilh - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to BnB:
The 11 plus was a complete waste of time for me. I failed it and I still got 4 a levels , 3 of which were a's. Selection at that age is an appalling waste .
Post edited at 19:41
BnB - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> The 11 plus was a complete waste of time for me. I failed it and I still got 4 a levels , 3 of which were a's. Selection at that age is an appalling waste .

My brother would agree with you. Not only did he fail his 11+ yet end up a university professor, his own son then passed his entrance exam for Stretford Grammar as one of the highest scoring entrants, yet hated grammar school with a passion.
Jon Stewart - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to BnB:
> Is it wrong that they should be afforded a more sympathetic social environment?

As a single factor taken in isolation of all of context, no it isn't wrong. But that's a long, long way from justifying the policy! And you could argue that in view of all the advantages to being academically gifted that accrue over a lifetime, being called "square" by the thick kids at school is a very reasonable trade-off.

It's very complicated: you've got the limited "schools effect" to work with, but you still want to maximise that effect. What do we mean by "maximise"?

- shift the whole bell-curve of achievement to the right?
- decrease the spread and shift the mean only a bit to the right, by mopping up the lower tail?
- concentrate on the top quartile, shift this up and screw the rest, increasing the spread?

Or is it about sociable mobility, i.e. who cares about the bell-curve, let's break the association between background and outcome?

If there was a specific aim, and there was evidence was to show that grammar schools are the best way to achieve it, we would have a proper policy. What we have instead is:

"The Briddish people have spoken, and they like Tories and Brexit. They're fed up with social progress, and they want things to be like what they were back in the olden days. Let's bring back grammar schools, and while we're at it, let's bring back hanging. And let's unplug the internet".
Post edited at 20:42
summo on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Stewart:

bigger debate is what is the aim of education overall in the big scheme of things. Give everyone a life chance to achieve their very best and have a rewarding work life, or just churn out enough people at a higher level to keep innovation going and make sure there are some under achievers to empty the bins and mop the floors, all at optimum cost for their return, no point over or under training anyone.

ps. I do not think grammar schools will solve any of the current problems.

Jon Stewart - on 11 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:
> bigger debate is what is the aim of education overall in the big scheme of things. Give everyone a life chance to achieve their very best and have a rewarding work life, or just churn out enough people at a higher level to keep innovation going and make sure there are some under achievers to empty the bins and mop the floors, all at optimum cost for their return, no point over or under training anyone.

Absolutely agree. Perhaps even more broadly: how can the education system be designed so that it helps create the type of society we want to live in? Is it just about GDP? Do we want society to be more or less financially equal? Should communities be more homogeneous and separate, or more integrated? Should society be more or less enriched by the arts? Is national success at sporting competitions important? What role should religion play?...

But I think this type of discussion is rather above the heads of the policy makers...
Post edited at 21:03
fred99 - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to:

The thing I find most interesting, is that whilst teachers in the state system go on about how wonderful the system is, and that selective schools are so terrible and are detrimental to the state (comprehensive) system, so many of them then go on to send THEIR children to private schools.
Timmd on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to fred99:

> The thing I find most interesting, is that whilst teachers in the state system go on about how wonderful the system is, and that selective schools are so terrible and are detrimental to the state (comprehensive) system, so many of them then go on to send THEIR children to private schools.

What makes you say that?
MargieB - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I'm going to reply slightly differently. It does depend where you live. My daughter is at at comprehensive school in Scotland and every aspect of it seems to fit her needs. it does stream Maths and English. I would say Inverness has fortunate levels of affluence as well as less affluent areas but generally the town is flourishing. Th ethos of the whole city is remarkably positive.

However, I was born in a tough town. I went to a religious school and noted how when I went back to that area for three years, religious schools with "state" status { not Grammar schools, as I went to} were in huge demand and there were not enough places. Why? They delivered an ethos to counter a lot of difficulty and drove up academic standards.

I'm lucky and have worked to live elsewhere now but that part of the UK still needs support in radical ways. If religious schools have a broad intake I think that they deliver standards people want. I'd support that idea above an 11 plus grammar school system. The state system as it stands is still just not delivering enough in some of the most difficult parts of the UK. It all depends on the city and town.

It's a possible solution and we've had years of state school investment and progression but it seems to be not enough.
Dave Garnett - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Offwidth:
> With 85% of Independant kids heading to University compared to only 15% of kids on free school meals

I'm not sure what to make of statistics like this without knowing more of the background - like what % of comprehensive kids qualify for free school meals, for instance.

To declare an interest, I went to what was then a direct grant grammar that went independent rather than become comprehensive while I was there. Working class background and when my dad died they waived the fees completely. I'm pretty sure we'd have qualified for free school meals if the scheme had existed then.

If we'd had the option of our kids trying for a local grammar, we'd have taken it. As it happens there aren't any in our area so the only alternatives were the local comps (not impressed) or independent (and selective, so they still had to pass the entrance exam). I'm obviously riven by middle-class guilt but it does seem to me that grammars should either be an option everywhere, or nowhere.
Post edited at 11:30
andyjohnson0 - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to MargieB:

> If religious schools have a broad intake I think that they deliver standards people want. I'd support that idea above an 11 plus grammar school system.

It has been mostly overlooked due to the discussion of grammar schools, but the government is also proposing to end the cap on faith school admissions - allowing those schools to select 100% of their intake by religion.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37314149

In my opinion this is an incredibly bad idea.




Dave Garnett - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to andyjohnson0:

> It has been mostly overlooked due to the discussion of grammar schools, but the government is also proposing to end the cap on faith school admissions - allowing those schools to select 100% of their intake by religion.

That, at least, I'm clear about. If the current social unease over religiosity doesn't confirm that we should be phasing out faith schools rather than encouraging them, I'm not sure what will.

fred99 - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Timmd:

Because I know teachers who do say and do exactly that.
It seems that what they want for everyone else isn't good enough for their children.
krikoman - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Swirly:

> Also true, but can they make them think?

But school isn't about this any more, it's about passing exams, even more so in Grammar Schools as many pupils are "trained" to pass the exam.

I'm all for making kids think, but I don't think many schools comprehensive or grammar have the time to do this now.

krikoman - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> There's lots of evidence that people who live in areas with grammar schools want their kids to go to the grammar school...

That doesn't make them better schools though, there is a cache to the word Grammar and it already cries elitism, whether it's a good school or not. This is part of the problem.


Like knighting someone and calling them Sir, it doesn't stop them fiddling with kids or thinking they are above the law.
Dave Garnett - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:

> Like knighting someone and calling them Sir, it doesn't stop them fiddling with kids or thinking they are above the law.

And when you say 'like' presumably you mean in the sense of being completely dissimilar.
TonyM - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

By tweaking the hyperlink, I think you can view this blog entry from the excellent FT journalist, Chris Cook, without signing up to the FT online. It sets out the evidence on the real exam performance of current grammar schools in England compared to non-selective regions.

http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2013/01/28/grammar-school-myths/

It compellingly demonstrates that, at system-level, the current selection model operating within state-funded secondary education in England does not produce better outcomes for society.

The future has obviously not yet been written, so it is unknown whether our politicians can change the current situation of grammar schools not being as good a driver of opportunity for pupils from poorer backgrounds as comprehensives. But, rationally, if you were looking at which system to take as your starting point for system reform you'd wonder why selection would be your foundation principle. Better to take the stand-out relative success of London school as a starting point (impact of London Challenge and subsequent policies) as Sir Michael Wilshaw advocates.
krikoman - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> And when you say 'like' presumably you mean in the sense of being completely dissimilar.

Yes that's it exactly!

Or if you give something a name like Sir, Grammar, Super, Extra, Special, then people assume it's better than the "normal" version, it doesn't have to be, but it's all about perception. Some people can't see through this little wheeze which is why it's so appealing.
MargieB - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to andyjohnson0:
Teachers also like to live in a pleasant middle class sort of a place and motivation may come from a religious school to work in deprived areas where it is really lacking from others in education However religious schools should I think have to have an intake not relating to the religion of the school. Many people as I say don't object to going even if they are of a different or of no religion. I have seen that for myself. So I think I would reject 100% same religion requirement but not object to new religious schools.
Post edited at 14:22
Dave Garnett - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:
> Or if you give something a name like Sir, Grammar, Super, Extra, Special, then people assume it's better than the "normal" version, it doesn't have to be, but it's all about perception. Some people can't see through this little wheeze which is why it's so appealing.

Right. So what you are saying is that grammar schools are no different to comprehensive schools. So all the government is proposing is more schools. Which, given the number of good schools that are oversubscribed must be a good thing, right?
summo on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to MargieB:

> but not object to new religious schools.

does that depend on which fictional beliefs are being endorsed in a place of fact, knowledge & education, or are all unproven beliefs held in the same esteem?
neilh - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to MargieB:

Its weird the religious aspect. I have never met anybody who went to a Catholic, Jewish or Muslim school who was not of that particular faith. Certainly with Catholic schools they always have an air of you have to be Catholic to go.I would almost suggest they are imprenetrable to other faiths.

Yet I have met quite of few of those faiths who have been to C of E schools.
MargieB - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:
Not so of Catholic schools I've experienced. They have had a very broad range of people attending. And in areas not particularly affluent . Well, not affluent in the least. As I said before there was a huge demand for places in these schools.
Post edited at 17:26
krikoman - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Right. So what you are saying is that grammar schools are no different to comprehensive schools. So all the government is proposing is more schools. Which, given the number of good schools that are oversubscribed must be a good thing, right?

Of course not, time and time again, what grammar schools have proven is that they cream off the best pupils and teachers, because of the chache of the term "grammar". Poorer schools do less well than before there was a grammar school, and people in the "secondary" school feel somehow below the grammar school. It's a perception thing.

I'm not against more schools, and there's no reason we can't have better schools with what we have now, streaming is a far better way of bringing on poorer students than separate schools. Besides that, if a town only has one grammar school with everyone trying to get to it, it creates more travel, longer days and more traffic.

Why not just make the schools we have better?
Yanis Nayu - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:

What about the kids in the 'C'stream who feel below the kids in the 'A' stream?
Offwidth - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:
The stats are what they are (overall for England) .... the % in comps depends on the comps... comps in 'good' school areas started with fewer poor kids and it usually got worse as house prices rose as families who could afford it moved into the area. Nice middle class families are inadvertantly making the system more socially diversive (when the Freakanomics research shows any goodish school will do if you care about and help your kids aspire). The trouble with England is too many less good schools remain and often cluster in some towns and inner cites: what they need is preferential funding and targetted help to improve just above average poor kids aspire and hence drag up standards. The old style grammars are OK for the brightest 15% but pretty bad for these more average poor kids, so that model can't be used... the government talk about a hybrid model with late entry, bussing in and quotas but excuse me if I remain cynical until evidence of improvemnt arrives. London comps in contrast are working well are a cheaper solution (according to Wilshaw who is as well informed on the subject as anyone).

What is proposed for faith schools seems even worse to me... add religious ghettoisation to the increasing educational divide between rich and poor. 50 % seemed a perfectly reasonable limit.
Post edited at 18:43
ultrabumbly on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> What about the kids in the 'C'stream who feel below the kids in the 'A' stream?

They get to clatter the spods at dinner.
krikoman - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> What about the kids in the 'C'stream who feel below the kids in the 'A' stream?

The thing is I was that kid, actually in the "D" stream just above remedial when I went to Secondary school, no one realised I was quite clever, probably because my writing and English were so bad.

I moved up a band every year, but by the time I got to the good teaching, I'd already had three years of arseing around.

It was only when we did the mocks that people started to realise I had some potential, with only six months of O level physics teaching I got a "B". I got a "C" in biology, without ever having a lesson, I used to read my mates books (we weren't allowed to do Chemistry AND Physics!!

I failed my French - because I couldn't see the point of it (what am I ever going to do with French?!?)

I also failed my English, which stopped me getting a job - I later retook it through night classes.

I passed every aptitude test for every apprenticeship that I took and got job offers for every interview I sat, bar one.

I took the job which paid the most a whole £29 a week which was £8 more than any one else (50+ students) on my EITB course.

Luckily the company I worked for would continue to allow day release and career progression so long as you continued to pass exams. I got a further 4 years of paid for education out of them.

Had I sat the 11 plus, I'd have been f*cked most probably, with limited options and a limit on how high I could move up.

I've done reasonably well for myself but, a lot of it was luck. I was failed by the education system until after I left school, and I wouldn't wish this on anyone else. A grammar school and the entry system would have made matters worse for me.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Maybe they'll be in the 'A' stream for one or more different subjects.
marsbar - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I agree. As I said above in more detail this is the advantage of setting over streaming.
Yanis Nayu - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:

Had you sat the 11+, you would have either passed and gone to a grammar school, or not and gone to the same school you went to anyway. You know they don't send you up the chimneys if you don't pass, don't you?
TobyA on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

That's bollocks, comps aren't the same as secondary moderns. It sounds like krikoman got some access to more academic studies even if it was too late in some subjects for him to do well in exams. Quite possibly in a secondary modern he would have not got even that little chance.
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> Had you sat the 11+, you would have either passed and gone to a grammar school, or not and gone to the same school you went to anyway.

Nope. F- in comprehension of the obvious.
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to TobyA:

It's not bollocks at all. It's the same situation now as it was then. Sitting and passing the 11+ simply gives you access to the grammar school. If you don't pass you go to the same school you would have anyway.

In my daughter's primary school only about a third even sat the 11+.
Pete Pozman - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Apart from telling children at a young age that they are losers, the 11+ has perhaps a more invidious effect in giving the kids who passed an overblown sense of their own specialness. You can have the sadly misguided feeling that you have finally arrived when you enter the hallowed portals of a grammar school. You haven't...
summo on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Pete Pozman:
> Apart from telling children at a young age that they are losers, the 11+ has perhaps a more invidious effect in giving the kids who passed an overblown sense of their own specialness. You can have the sadly misguided feeling that you have finally arrived when you enter the hallowed portals of a grammar school. You haven't...

There is a danger that in trying to drag the under performers up to the 'average', you neglect those who can excel, which is equally damaging in the long run.

The UK problem is they don't valued skilled trades and it's degree obsessed. Not go the academic route wouldn't be considered a bad thing by pupils, their parents and their grandparents if they weren't obsessed with anything else being seen as a failure. The 11+ is probably a little young, but a 15+ to see who would benefit from an academic route and those a more vocational or apprenticeship line would work well (imho), many by the age of 15 would know what they enjoyed or excelled at any way, so the result would confirm their thoughts.
Post edited at 08:00
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Doug on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Yanis Nayu:
It is bollocks as once you send the 'brighter' kids to a grammar school, the intake of the secondary modern will be the 'non-bright' kids, ie it won't have a comprehensive intake & will have adapt its teaching to fit. Aspirations are also likely to be a lot lower as well - I went to a state grammar in mid Bucks back in the early/mid 70s & while we were expected to get 8-10 good 'O levels', my friends at the local secondary modern were expected (by staff, parents & students) to aim for maybe half a dozen CSEs, barely enough to get onto an apprenticeship scheme (which still existed then) . About half my year group at the grammar went on to university (some 10-15 to Oxbridge) but only one from the same year at the local secondary modern
Post edited at 08:20
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Doug:

"Adapt its teaching to fit" sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Although some of what you say makes some sense in theory, it's not borne out by either my experience in the 80s or my daughter's year's experience now.
neilh - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

Comps have things like Scholars programmes and streaming for their able pupils.There is really no need for grammar schools as long as the comps do these type of programmes.
neilh - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:

You and I have something in common( I failed the 11 plus, and then by the time my GCSEs kicked in I had turned the position round as I grasped the relevance of education)

I detest the grammar school system for marking people out as failures at 11.

( By the way - you do know JC's son went to a grammar school - LOL)

krikoman - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to TobyA:

> That's bollocks, comps aren't the same as secondary moderns. It sounds like krikoman got some access to more academic studies even if it was too late in some subjects for him to do well in exams. Quite possibly in a secondary modern he would have not got even that little chance.

You are correct in all you say, also the "good" teachers I had (the one's that encouraged and helped me) might have been lured away by the grammar school, so I might have been in a much worse situation.
baron - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:
The idea that grammar schools have the best teachers is not always, if ever, true.
While grammar schools often have highly qualified academics that's not the same as being a good teacher.
I'm in favour of grammar schools but not just for academic reasons.
Most children could pass their GCSEs by staying at home and learning from the internet.
Teachers probably won't advertise that fact
krikoman - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> Most children could pass their GCSEs by staying at home and learning from the internet.

> Teachers probably won't advertise that fact

Your evidence for this?

Even if they could, would they?

Surly part of what school does, is to make sure you're not playing pokeman for 8 hours of the day.
baron - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to krikoman:
Have you seen how easy a GCSE exam paper is?
Have you seen how low some 'pass' percentages are?
Most children spend many hours in school but aren't always concentrating on lessons - cognitive truancy.
If pupils could see the point in learning then most would probably learn at home.
But, of course, they're children and so find other things more interesting
Then there's the social development side of school that they'd miss out on.

thomasadixon - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

Except that the scholar's programs are below the level of the grammars. My wife was high streamed in her (rather good) local comp. She didn't do triple science because it wasn't available. At my school a few people did double science, triple was standard. You have to set your standards based on the people you have, and in her school there were too few people aiming for it for it to be viable. Not really anyone's fault, and not something that can be fixed within the school, just a function of the range of ability and the numbers of pupils at each part of the range.

Doug - if you take the brightest and put them in one school then, shock horror, the pupils at that school will be far more likely to go to the best Unis than the pupils in the other schools. This is not an indictment of the grammar system, it's an obvious outcome. It's also obvious that you will set the general standard higher, again not an indictment of the grammar school system (more the whole point of the system). It's not throwing people on the scrapheap for them not to go to Oxford. Different people are different, some aren't capable of getting there - that's not them or the school failing.

marsbar - all comments are interesting, but just FYI my wife was a physics (and some maths) teacher, now in special school, so I do know a fair few teachers and have heard a range of opinions. We have schools at the bottom for those who clearly wouldn't cope in a normal school, so we separate them out. I see no real reason to not do the same at the top.

The psychological problem, with people feeling that they've failed, is the fault of parents like John Prescott's. My parents gave me no reward for passing, and certainly didn't punish my siblings that didn't - it wasn't something that was their fault, it was just a test of something that is. I was no more treated as a success for passing that exam than my sister is for being blonde, or my other sister is for being tall. The grammar system isn't at fault here.
Jim Hamilton - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

Isn’t inevitable that if say one of two fairly similar Comprehensives becomes selective, children who are less academic, have a poorer start in life and have little interest in learning or are disruptive, will gravitate to the non selective school where results will slide? If your child then just misses out on a place at the grammar are you still going to be happy with this system?
Doug on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
sure not going to Oxbridge isn't being thrown on to the scrapheap, and for many its not the best place even if they can qualify (I went & left quite quickly) but you seem to have missed the point on poverty of ambition - the kids at the local secondary modern were effectively led to believe that a few poor CSEs was their limit which, as some later went on to university via HNDs & the like studied on day release/evening classes, was clearly wrong. Few were even encouraged to get on to apprenticeships
Post edited at 16:07
balmybaldwin - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

Excellent post. Was struggling how to articulate this. The problem isn't the system labelling people as failures for not being academic at 11 its a societal and parental thing.

This idea that to be successful one must go to Uni is a terrible misnomer. It's also regrettable that Universities are seen as a positive thing for all children - they aren't - a great number of my generation went to uni as it was expected of them (and made affordable for all - with a loan), as a result they went to do things that should never have been offered as degree courses, and end up feeling over entitled and thoroughly useless with a massive loan round their necks to boot.

neilh - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Doug:

Spot on. It its harshest form it is saying

""As you are not good enough to pass these exams or tests, then you are clearly a thicko and may deserve some scraps or handouts from the top table."
summo on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> and parental thing.

probably the biggest factor of all in the child's chances of making the most of their education, partly through the genetics they are born with and then what the parents do before a child has even started school. Schools can probably help them catch up at little, but a child has still potentially missed out on a huge amount of development. It is also more likely that it's the lowest earners whose kids miss out most, as with high child care/nursery costs there are often no benefits in going to work, so the child misses out on some subtle early development there.

No MP or Teacher wants to tell a parent that the reason a child is at an instant disadvantage in school, knows no numbers or letters and have poor hand motor skills is because they've sat the little urchin in front of the TV for 3-4 years.

Mike Stretford - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:
> Excellent post. Was struggling how to articulate this. The problem isn't the system labelling people as failures for not being academic at 11

The problem is selecting people at 11, it's far too early and unnecessary.

I would not have passed the 11+, I improved from 11 to 13 and got moved up to top sets in a streamed comprehensive (where triple science was an option).

We just need good comprehensives, accessible to all kids.
Post edited at 16:24
summo on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> The problem is selecting people at 11, it's far too early and unnecessary.


15/16yrs would seem logical. Streamed school sets if class size dictates up until then, but better to invest in smaller class sizes. Aged 16 is the obvious point at which people go to work, or vocational training, apprenticeship, or A level... so whilst many will have decided what they want to do anyway, others who don't get the grades will be steered.
Yanis Nayu - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to neilh:

> Spot on. It its harshest form it is saying

> ""As you are not good enough to pass these exams or tests, then you are clearly a thicko and may deserve some scraps or handouts from the top table."

Along with 90-odd percent of your mates...
krikoman - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

> Have you seen how easy a GCSE exam paper is?

> Have you seen how low some 'pass' percentages are?

No but that doesn't help, because employers don't just look at passes but grades.

> Most children spend many hours in school but aren't always concentrating on lessons - cognitive truancy.

But school shouldn't be about passing exams, should it?

It should be about learning and learning for the sake of it.

I've developed a small interest in Latin, because of my interest in insects. 30+ years ago only the top class did Latin at our school, I never saw the point of the "live" language of French.

I tell my children ,"all knowledge is power" and I thoroughly believe it, nothing is NOT worth learning, because if it isn't useful in itself then it might explain something else.

This is what teachers should be teaching, they don't have time (most of them) there are too many pressures and target to achieve. Good teachers have always done this and hopefully will continue to do this.
TobyA on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to summo:

> Aged 16 is the obvious point at which people go to work,

Not anymore. Law has changed, everyone gets education to 18 now. Schools are dealing with kids applying to stay on for 6th form who probably wouldn't have done so before. We were analysing AS results earlier today and that seemed to be a significant issue. You don't have to be in school, but you do have to be in some form of education.
thomasadixon - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

> Isn’t inevitable that if say one of two fairly similar Comprehensives becomes selective, children who are less academic, have a poorer start in life and have little interest in learning or are disruptive, will gravitate to the non selective school where results will slide? If your child then just misses out on a place at the grammar are you still going to be happy with this system?

I'm not really sure what being academic actually means to people, I'd rather stick to clever. Otherwise I get your point though. Certainly overall average results in that school will fall. The average includes the top and if you move the top they don't count, so the mean falls, of course. That's not a bad thing, it's just statistics. I expect if I have more than one kid they won't all go to the grammar (if there is one). That's fine. A relatively small number of people go to the grammar. You don't end up with 1 bad school and 1 good school, you've got 10 schools, 1 is the grammar. The idea is to make the most of the cleverest people, not my kids (though I admit I'm hoping they will be).

- Doug - I do understand that many schools as was were terrible. The comps where I grew up were awful, the local ones are gone or reopened as academies. Grammar schools are just a separate issue.

- Mike Stretford - The age is pretty important because we all learn faster when we're young. If it's a good thing to do then we should do it younger so we can make the most of our learning potential while we can. Why is 11 too early, why 16 or 18? I understand what you're saying about comps, but the triple science wasn't the top it was the norm, there were things above that people were doing.

- balymbaldwin - thanks! Am trying
marsbar - on 13 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

Good luck with that.
marsbar - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

Triple Science is standard for the top sets at my comprehensive school and at my step daughters. As far as I know it is in pretty much any school. Things have improved for the higher pupils since your wife went to school. Personally I'm in favour of integrating SEN pupils as well, but that does have to be done carefully.
baron - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:
Shouldn't you be marking and preparing?
thomasadixon - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

I think you're missing the point. Standard for the top set and standard for the school are different things.

Integrating pupils at the lower levels of her school would make no sense at all - there's a class she calls "the babies", varying secondary school age, mental age of a baby, cry, lash out when angry, in nappies and can't talk. Surely you accept at the bottom of the range there are those who cannot be in mainstream school?
marsbar - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
That's why I said where possible.
However I have taught in mainstream secondary several pupils who are probably at infant school level.
Post edited at 01:23
marsbar - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

Probably .
FactorXXX - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to baron:

Most children could pass their GCSEs by staying at home and learning from the internet.

I think you misunderstand. When they say that they've learnt a lot about 'O' and 'A' levels via the Internet, it doesn't necessarily mean that they've been brushing up on their Trigonometry...
Big Ger - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> "He went to a grammar school, I went to a grammar school. It is what got us to where we are today. My side may be slightly happier than his."

Snurrrttt....
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Integrating pupils at the lower levels of her school would make no sense at all - there's a class she calls "the babies", varying secondary school age, mental age of a baby, cry, lash out when angry, in nappies and can't talk. Surely you accept at the bottom of the range there are those who cannot be in mainstream school?

That's not really an argument for grammar schools.
thomasadixon - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

> That's not really an argument for grammar schools.

No, it's not, it's a response relating to SEN pupils as marsbar was talking about them...

The other stuff's about grammar schools.
Pete Pozman - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

If the children who fail the 11+ then get sent to a school with exactly the same quality of courses, playing fields, studios, teachers and expectations then what's the problem?
Mike Stretford - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
> - Mike Stretford - The age is pretty important because we all learn faster when we're young. If it's a good thing to do then we should do it younger so we can make the most of our learning potential while we can.

I don't think it is a good thing or necessary. A graduate teacher should be able to teach a range of abilities, just because they teach lower abilities does not mean they will not be able to teach the brighter 15 year olds to their full potential. Post 16 is a good age to have separate institutions as that is when more specialist subject knowledge is required.

11 years is not a good age to asses a persons future potential, I know that from personal experience. Children develop at different rates, and the evidence does strongly suggest that family/ social background has a strong influence on how children perform in a test at 11 years. Grammar school are socially divisive, and in a sector with finite resource, will only serve to further disadvantage the already disadvantaged.
Post edited at 14:55
In reply to thomasadixon:

so it is. beg pardon
thomasadixon - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Everyone has a limited amount of time that they're able to spend doing anything. If we could afford it we'd do 1 to 1 teaching and you would get better results, but we can't, so we've got 30 kids in a class (we did at my school too). It's possible for people to teach to a large range of abilities, sure, but it does mean they have less time to focus on all points of the range, and that means it can't be as effective. The point of a grammar isn't to teach specialist knowledge, it's to move faster overall and learn more/in more detail. You shouldn't be giving more resources to grammar schools, they should be able to get better results with the same resources because the lesson can be pitched higher/you can get through topics quicker.

If you allow for later transfers then it's not quite about assessing potential, it's about current progress. For me I went from teaching myself, because I was working on next year's books out of the library instead of following lessons, to being taught with others doing the same stuff. I was under 11. It was a huge change, the teacher was suddenly actually teaching me and I was having to keep up. Socially I met a far greater range of people than I would have otherwise. It meant I had mates from different backgrounds from all over and they met my mates from out of school and so on. Doesn't seem divisive in principle to me. It was absolutely a school for the rich/middle class (was low fee paying, extortionate now, as well as selective) just a few of us who got in free, not in favour of that and divided in that certainly, but not much different in that sense to local schools being for those who can afford the catchment.

It's certainly true that background has a great influence on people's outcomes, but that's not because of grammars, it's a separate issue.

> Pete - If the children who fail the 11+ then get sent to a school with exactly the same quality of courses, playing fields, studios, teachers and expectations then what's the problem?

The same expectations would kind of miss the point, no? But then I suppose that's the issue really, we shouldn't expect the same of everybody. Otherwise, the same everything.

Sebastian - no worries
Offwidth - on 16 Sep 2016
Offwidth - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

Complete guff: there is nothing a grammar does that streamed or set comps can't do (and already do as well or better in some of the areas with middle class catchments). The real question is what system helps all our children best, not just the middle classes and the brightest 15% of poor kids (at 11!). London currently shows a much cheaper and fairer solution with better overall results than areas with grammars. Improvements could be made with a grammar system but investment in secondary moderns would, need to be much higher than in the current struggling academies in poorer areas.... where will this money come from?
marsbar - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

I had a really interesting conversation today with one of our young teachers. We were discussing the pressure on pupils to pass exams and get tutors etc. She went to a very selective private school. She told us about picking up her GCSE results, 6A* and 4A, and going home and crying for days because she didn't do well enough. She said she was always in the bottom half of her year and spent her whole time at school feeling like a failure.

On another subject, your description of teaching yourself is not something I would want to see in any of my top set classes. I might have a small group working on something harder, but I still give them my time.
Yanis Nayu - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> I had a really interesting conversation today with one of our young teachers. We were discussing the pressure on pupils to pass exams and get tutors etc. She went to a very selective private school. She told us about picking up her GCSE results, 6A* and 4A, and going home and crying for days because she didn't do well enough. She said she was always in the bottom half of her year and spent her whole time at school feeling like a failure.

I think that's why it's important that kids aren't coached to death for 11+, then go to a grammar having just scraped through and spend their whole time feeling out of their depth. It's also important for parents and schools to support the kids and give them a sense of perspective. Exam results aren't everything. I think my daughter's (grammar) school is great for this, despite being academically strong as you'd expect.

> On another subject, your description of teaching yourself is not something I would want to see in any of my top set classes. I might have a small group working on something harder, but I still give them my time.

birdie num num - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Mrs Num Num and I would like to move to an area that has a really bad school with an atrocious Ofsted rating.
The Num Num children are all complete knuckleheads and we feel that this would cater for their abilities.
thomasadixon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

> Complete guff: there is nothing a grammar does that streamed or set comps can't do (and already do as well or better in some of the areas with middle class catchments). The real question is what system helps all our children best, not just the middle classes and the brightest 15% of poor kids (at 11!). London currently shows a much cheaper and fairer solution with better overall results than areas with grammars. Improvements could be made with a grammar system but investment in secondary moderns would, need to be much higher than in the current struggling academies in poorer areas.... where will this money come from?

It's at least reasoned guff. Why doesn't the same mechanism that applies at later levels (e.g. Uni) work at younger ages? Yes, the question is what helps all our, quite different, children best. The comprehensive answer is to treat them all the same. I'm not sure about London, there are various studies that give different reasons for the improvements. What do you think it shows? There's no need for any extra money.

- marsbar

I think it just happens, and will happen, at either end of the scale because of basic time constraints. I wasn't special, I was just out of the norm for the class I was in. Pressure for the right exam results hasn't gone away with people that don't go to selective and/or private schools, and likely will never go away (achieving is hard!), some people take the pressure (that they largely put on themselves) harder than others...
marsbar - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:

It just happens if we let it. I don't let it, my headteacher wouldn't let it, parents don't find it acceptable, because it isn't. If there are no grammar schools then all the bright pupils will be together in the top set and it won't need to happen anyway. Your argument is out of date, it simply isn't acceptable these days not to teach pupils to their level. Much as people complain about endless data, it's one of the reasons we do it.
thomasadixon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> It just happens if we let it. I don't let it, my headteacher wouldn't let it, parents don't find it acceptable, because it isn't. If there are no grammar schools then all the bright pupils will be together in the top set and it won't need to happen anyway. Your argument is out of date, it simply isn't acceptable these days not to teach pupils to their level. Much as people complain about endless data, it's one of the reasons we do it.

You're not magicians, there's only so much you can do. Parents don't find it acceptable, no, which might be why many clamour for grammar schools! Pupils are not taught to their level now, it happens, whether it's acceptable or not (and will always happen unless you have 1 to 1 teaching). All the bright pupils aren't equally bright, and if you're talking about the top 20% of the year, assuming 5 sets, then that top 20% is itself is a huge range. Too large in my opinion, obviously not in yours, so we'll have to agree to disagree.
marsbar - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
Across a year group we have 8 sets. Larger schools have 10. Grammar schools across the board might easily have the same range or larger.
Post edited at 14:53
thomasadixon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to marsbar:

> Across a year group we have 8 sets. Larger schools have 10.

How big is a year group, how big are the classes?

> Grammar schools across the board might easily have the same range or larger.

Not sure how that can make sense. At a comprehensive (say take the ones with 10 sets per year) the top 10% are in the top set. Assuming schools of equal size the top 10% are in the grammar, the top 1% are in the top set at the grammar, well focused. How can they have a larger range? Unless you mean in the entire school they can have a larger range than in your top set? In which case yes they could, but so what...
Offwidth - on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to thomasadixon:
Reasoned guff is one of the worst sorts of dishonest rhetoric. You need to go and have a good look at the evidence, especially what happened in London as praised by Wilshaw. Pretty much any educational idea that happens in a grammar happens in a comp somewhere, except the really stupid bit of making the kids less good at exams at 11 go elsewhere (or suffer disadvantage compared to those able to afford tutors to get their kids through those exams). Like grammars, some of the best comps 'cheat' in how good they look on attainment stats eg by having nice catchments where poor families can't afford to live or limiting numbers by faith. Bright poor kids already do pretty well in the UK as do most middle class kids (the Freakanomics research amongst others shows reasonable sounding parental worries about getting kids into good schools are usually unfounded.... if the school is good enough and the kids well supported by parents, they will do well anyway) what needs to happen is more focus on added value for poorer kids of average or less ability.... exactly why London is so good. If the UK doesn't sort out the growing gap in equality of opportuity in education we are heading for an increasingly divided society with all the problems that entails (poorly trained uncompetitive workforce, social unrest etc)

Grammars alongside much better funded 'secondary modern' type schools could be a solution but will inevitably generate a 'them and us' attitude, would be a good bit more expensive and I think politically unpopular as more lose than win in the biased 11 plus lottery. As it is we just have apple pie promises on funding with nothing like the concrete additional funding required to just transition, let alone run effectively.
Post edited at 08:47
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Offwidth - on 16:54 Mon
garycrocker - on 20:14 Mon
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I sort of see what you are saying. They are only a problem when shoe horned in to the current education system. At the moment we expect all children to be successful academically regardless of their interests or skills and then get annoyed when they misbehave because they're bored. The whole system needs a rethink, more vocational education and more funds for poorer areas and grammar schools could fit into that.
Offwidth - on 22:22 Mon
In reply to garycrocker:

With what money and why not do it cheaper without grammars like the best current research indicates?
Postmanpat on 22:49 Mon
In reply to garycrocker:

>The whole system needs a rethink, more vocational education and more funds for poorer areas and grammar schools could fit into that.
>
A return to secondary moderns?

garycrocker - on 22:59 Mon
In reply to Offwidth:
Things need to change. I don't have an answer but I do know that an obsession with academic success is marginalising many young people. The government now only allow schools to record 'proper' GCSEs in their results not vocational equivalents. Consequently many schools have dropped them. The grammar issue is a bit of a red herring as selection often occurs through the house purchasing clout of the parents.
I would prefer a good education for all.
Offwidth - on 06:16 Tue
In reply to garycrocker:

I've had 30+ years watching vocational qualified technicians in engineering try to upgrade to full accredited engineer qualifications because the sector gets treated badly long term by too many companies in a globalised environment where no government (since Thatcher wrecked the levys) has set a sensible structural UK context. I see tne arguments as very important but largely disconnected from the grammar debate.... secondary moderns in the old days were sold as vocational but were usually anything but. In contrast the old work linked (City and Guilds upwards) qualifications were intellectually testing and meaningful qualifications and modern EdExcel equvalents are a usually a joke in comparison.
neilh - on 09:29 Tue
In reply to Offwidth:

I can point you to some engineering companies who disagree. They have engaged with for example my local engineering college and very much work hand in glove to produce the engineers they need for the future. One company I know takes on as many as possible mechanical apprentices ( on exceedingly good rates of pay way way above the average- 18 year olds half qualified on £10.75 an hour plus overtime etc). They form a pathway to produce the engineers they need.I reckon engineering companies are just as much to blame for failing to engage and bring on engineers.

And when I visit machining shops which are basically " s...holes" complaining that college do not produce the engineers they need I just laugh ( nobody in their right mind would stake their career on having to work in these places)

It is a 2 way process as I am sure you will agree.I get fed up with engineers complaing about the govt, when we cannot also get our own house in order.

There are some great stories out there for both sides.So let us not paint it so bleak, it does nonoe of us any good.
Pete Pozman - on 09:45 Tue
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Grammar schools did their job between the war and the 70s. Having brought a massive cohort of working class kids up and out of their previously predetermined manual labour future, they produced a vanguard of earnest, highly qualified people who had a stake in broadening opportunities for all through a comprehensive education system. That system has been beset by obstacles largely imposed by successive governments over the last 50 years. Let comprehensives thrive; encourage them and stop this nostalgic grammar school nonsense. They played their part as monasteries did in the middle ages, but their day is done.
Offwidth - on 10:09 Tue
In reply to neilh:
I know such good companies as well: really good intentions and good at times then a periodic downturn hits and who gets laid off and struggles to find a job? The people I worked with included some of the best schemes in blue chips in the UK, who sadly had periods of letting technicins go. Time after time the brighter young apprentices I knew chose to keep studying to become fullly qualified Engineers to recession proof themselves better. Even then only a minority of UK Engineering grads go into UK manufacturing... other jobs taking highly numerate graduates are usually a good bit more lucrative.

It is not totally bleak because whats left of our engineering is so good at getting along without the help it deserves and currently we can employ non UK engineering grads and technicians to fill skills gaps. Just imagine what it could be like with German levels of support in the education system, finance etc.

I've also worked alongside good colleges, including some quite recently... they do what they do despite the qualifications and the system not because of it. The UK college sector as a whole has never been in such a parlous state.
Post edited at 10:13

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