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Grammar schools [why don't labour like them?] watch

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    It really does sicken me that so many who purport (with passion) to be in favour of equality and opportunity etc should place compliance with their ideology above reality and the welfare of the children affected.
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    (Original post by an Siarach)
    It really does sicken me that so many who purport (with passion) to be in favour of equality and opportunity etc should place compliance with their ideology above reality and the welfare of the children affected.
    I quite agree. At a time when the UK is falling behind other nations in terms of intellectual achievement. Reducing the number of good schools where bright children can be given an opportunity to shine seems utterly rediculous for me. I'm all in favour of increasing access to these schools from poorer areas (many grammar schools actually have their own schemes to do this) as long as academic standards are not compromised.
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    I thought the whole point of a Grammar school was for the whole of society especially the working classes to have access to these schools as they cannot afford to send there kids to private schools. Additionally, the 11+ exams were neutral in that you didn't have to go to a private or top primary school to pass the test, rather it testing general intelligence and intellectual ability. Today, i asscociate grammar school with droves of middle class families taking advantage of the situation and moving next ot the bloody school so their kids can go there, whereas other families cannot afford this, furthermore, the bright children from those classes do not have their opportunity to excel and rather those middle class parents who's children may not be gifted or as intelligent, every opportunity to improve.

    There was a BBc documentary on this issue a while back. Also, that educational stimulation starts from an earlier age, between pre-school and lower primary school so the better the education, the increase in his/her potential.
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    (Original post by sayed_samed)
    I thought the whole point of a Grammar school was for the whole of society especially the working classes to have access to these schools as they cannot afford to send there kids to private schools. Additionally, the 11+ exams were neutral in that you didn't have to go to a private or top primary school to pass the test, rather it testing general intelligence and intellectual ability. Today, i asscociate grammar school with droves of middle class families taking advantage of the situation and moving next ot the bloody school so their kids can go there, whereas other families cannot afford this, furthermore, the bright children from those classes do not have their opportunity to excel and rather those middle class parents who's children may not be gifted or as intelligent, every opportunity to improve.

    There was a BBc documentary on this issue a while back. Also, that educational stimulation starts from an earlier age, between pre-school and lower primary school so the better the education, the increase in his/her potential.
    One must remember that some 'grammar' schools are actually fee-paying so you can't really include them (although many people do).

    All I can say is that my school had the vast majority of its pupils from local primary schools, just like all the other schools in the area. Many of my friends went to local comps, and we were all from similar backgrounds, however many people saw me as 'posh' by the simple virtue that I went to the grammar school. I feel that that prejudice is quite prevalent across the board and as no real direct studies have been publicised we don't really know what the state of play is here.
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    (Original post by danjc)
    The bottom line is that no matter which school you go to, you only get what you put in.
    Allelujah!!! Well said imo.
    At the risk of sounding like an "old fart", I went to grammar school before most of you were born, and this is how it was.
    There were no class distinctions between grammar or secondary modern. Selection was based on the 11+ results purely on abilty - nothing else. Teachers in the secondary modern schools were just as committed as teachers in grammar schools, pupils from both types of school did well and won uni places - pupils from both didn't do so well. I'm not prepared to wax political here, but the idea of "class distinction" did not stem from pupils or parents or teachers. So where did it materialise from?
    If anything, low achievers in the secondary modern schools were given more help than low achievers in grammar schools, but nobody was "abandoned".
    I seriously doubt the commitment of some teachers today, but given the conditions under which some are working, am I surprised? No, I am not.
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    (Original post by bodhisattva)
    I'm not prepared to wax political here, but the idea of "class distinction" did not stem from pupils or parents or teachers. so where did it materialise from?
    From a progressive socialists behind.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    From a progressive socialists behind.
    Progressive?????
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    One must remember that some 'grammar' schools are actually fee-paying so you can't really include them (although many people do).

    All I can say is that my school had the vast majority of its pupils from local primary schools, just like all the other schools in the area. Many of my friends went to local comps, and we were all from similar backgrounds, however many people saw me as 'posh' by the simple virtue that I went to the grammar school. I feel that that prejudice is quite prevalent across the board and as no real direct studies have been publicised we don't really know what the state of play is here.
    yes i know some are fee paying schools but the majourity, well i assumed that the whole poitn was being non-fee paying.

    There was an article on the BBC education web page about this issue.

    Well that is a prejudice because of many years of recent unfairness and bad publicity in grammar school admissions, i am not saying you or many other got there unfairly, but the system has failed for many other children out there. Additionally, many people have unfairly took advantage of the situation.

    Btw i got to a state comprehensive, which is average by all means. I am going to try to enrole my sister who is currently in year 5 into "Sutton Coldfield grammar school for girls" (non-fee paying) as i feel she will get a better education and be in a more stable and safe environment then i was, my school is getting progressively worse. At the moment in her primary school, she is top of the class, however she is not being pushed to her full potential and i am affraid the same may happen in secondary school, as it happened to me.
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    (Original post by danjc)
    The bottom line is that no matter which school you go to, you only get what you put in.
    I went to a middle of the range Comprehensive and a middle of the range FE College. I got 3 A's a A Level.

    My beliefs are moulded by my own experiences. Kids from any background CAN do well no matter which school they attend.

    This view my appear simplistic - but sometimes things in life have a habit of being overcomplicated!
    That highlighted line is perhaps one of the most importnat things to remeber.

    People only do well if they put the effort in. Seriously I don't think the problems with our schools are as bad as some people make out. The problems with schools aren't all the schools faults, but the faults of the people who go there. A lot of it can be classed as an attitude problem.

    There are far too many people in society who have families who don't care about education. They don't encourage (and I don't me force) their children to do well and in return that attitude passes to their hildrena nd their chidlren don't care to do well.

    This is exactly what I've seen around me growing up in what was, at my time of school education (and I believe still is now) one of the worse LEas in the country in terms of GCSE results. Too many people who you can tell have the ablity to do well actually fail or only get average results because their atitudes to eductionw ere all wrong.

    So rather than having a big debate on the schools system and talking about possible changes at 11 years above, I think a better disscussion would be to look at the education system as a whole, right from birth and about how one can ensure the right attitudes about education can be placed oin chidlren from a young age, perhaps even pre-school.

    Maybe it should be the parents that are focused on first for the pre-school years and then we should look at how the schools system can be designed to get the best out of all children, once we know they have the right inital mind set.

    Also, I'd like to point out that I believe the current Grammar schools have major flaws in them. I might go some way to agree with what some in this thread have been saying in support of Grammar schools. But that support only goes part of the way into the theory of Grammar Schools. What we actually see in reality is a system where those with the know, those with the money and those with the right attitudes take advantage of the system at the expense of those students who might have a greater natural ability to do well, but for some reason don't have the knowledge to know how to get into G.S. or who might not have the money to afford to move near a G.S or pay for the 11+ tuition and, perhaps most importantly, they or their parents choose not to go to a G.S. they ahve the wrong attitudes to education and think it is 'stupid'.

    One final point, again about attitudes...I think that if everyone had the right attitude about education then there probably would be no need for Grammar Schools and a simple 'streaming' or 'setting' system within each school would be all that is needed.

    Sorry for the long post
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    (Original post by an Siarach)
    Depressingly yes.


    What nonsense. How on earth can it not be a 'leg-up' to go to a decent school rather than be condemned to whatever decrepit institution you happen to have the misfortune to leave near? Grammar schools provided good education regardless of personal background/social status whereas Labour ensures that it is as hard as possible to make your way up the social ladder/escape from whatever situation you were born into.
    Is it nonsense to say that poor children are not getting the 'leg up' by way of a selective education because they are not in those schools? As I said, the deprivation index for education is measured by receipt of free school meals. The percentage of children receiving free meals at selective schools is far less than those in non-selective schools.

    We must also remember that it is the Tory party who have oversee'd the greater number of grammar schools. We must also remember that Labour have made it practically impossible to demand a ballot of parents in any LEA to decide whether to keep selection or not - as evidenced by the attempts to get 20% of total number of qualifying parents in Kent (wholly selective LEA)to provoke a ballot in the first place. The attempts to get the addresses was impossible, thereby making the procedure impossible. The government know this and have not addressed it in any shape or form.

    They are therefore, in my opinion, complicit in allowing academic selection to flourish! I can only guess that they are hoping to convince everyone that academic selection is not a prize to be sought because they will be providing an enhanced education in local specialist schools. Unfortunately this will take time, and in the meantime, the majority of students (particularly in Kent) are in essence, attending secondary modern schools - as without the top 25% of students they cannot be considered 'all-ability'.
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    In Kent (wholly selective as mentioned before) you can see children going in to the homes of people who charge for private tutoring to get them through the 11+ exam. These are not children who are entitled to free school meals!

    Also in Kent, the league table results (which I abhor as I think they are iniquitous and do not tell the whole story about a school - but as long as they remain...) show that grammars are, in the main, failing the children they educate. Out of 33, only 2 or 3 each year manage to get all their students passing 5 A*-C grades. Considering they are supposed to have the brightest children they are not achieving as well as one would expect. After all, if a comp which comprises (ideally) one quarter of the top 25%, one half of the middle range and one quarter of the bottom 25% can get 60% or more of their kids achieving 5 A*-C grades we can see that they are doing much better in providing a good education to all their children than grammars do for theirs.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    Is it nonsense to say that poor children are not getting the 'leg up' by way of a selective education because they are not in those schools? As I said, the deprivation index for education is measured by receipt of free school meals. The percentage of children receiving free meals at selective schools is far less than those in non-selective schools.
    And I have pointed out flaws in that method of measurement, i.e. it is not direct.

    We must also remember that it is the Tory party who have oversee'd the greater number of grammar schools.
    The same Tory party that has "oversee'd" the greatest reduction in grammar schools as well?

    We must also remember that Labour have made it practically impossible to demand a ballot of parents in any LEA to decide whether to keep selection or not - as evidenced by the attempts to get 20% of total number of qualifying parents in Kent (wholly selective LEA)to provoke a ballot in the first place. The attempts to get the addresses was impossible, thereby making the procedure impossible. The government know this and have not addressed it in any shape or form.
    I for one, don't believe that the education of a children should be merely left to democracy in this manner, where is the attempt to inform parents about the various benefits of the systems, how do we know that the vote won't be based on ignorant prejudice?

    They are therefore, in my opinion, complicit in allowing academic selection to flourish! I can only guess that they are hoping to convince everyone that academic selection is not a prize to be sought because they will be providing an enhanced education in local specialist schools. Unfortunately this will take time, and in the meantime, the majority of students (particularly in Kent) are in essence, attending secondary modern schools - as without the top 25% of students they cannot be considered 'all-ability'.
    Quite true, but many people don't see this as a problem.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    And I have pointed out flaws in that method of measurement, i.e. it is not direct.
    Perhaps you need to demonstrate a more definitive way of deciding on an index for determing deprivation and let all the political parties know because they have all agreed that free school meals entitlement is the clearest indicator of poverty.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    Perhaps you need to demonstrate a more definitive way of deciding on an index for determing deprivation and let all the political parties know because they have all agreed that free school meals entitlement is the clearest indicator of poverty.
    Certainly, an index actually based directly on household income (including child support payments) would be free from regional bias for a start. Such information would have to be obtain specifically from parents, which would be too much of an inconvenience for the government especially as it might actually show a different picture to the current. To be fair I couldn't care less what the Commons has agreed upon, that is hardly a seal of approval I trust.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)



    I for one, don't believe that the education of a children should be merely left to democracy in this manner, where is the attempt to inform parents about the various benefits of the systems, how do we know that the vote won't be based on ignorant prejudice?
    To enable a vote on retention/abolition of selective education in any given LEA, there first has to be a ballot calling for the voting procedure to take place. At least 20% of eligible parents have to sign a declaration sent through the postal system to agree to a vote being undertaken - and there is a very limited time frame in which the ballot can be finalised.

    I would suggest that those who could be bothered to vote on whether to retain selection or abolish it would be those who are sufficiently interested in the perceived benefits/disadvantages of either system and the effects thereof, on their own children, since only those who have children of school age would have entitlement to a vote. Do you seriously believe that in the event of a vote of this nature, both sides of the argument would not do their utmost to ensure that the potential electorate are very well informed on the merits or not of their particular stance?
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    Certainly, an index actually based directly on household income (including child support payments) would be free from regional bias for a start. Such information would have to be obtain specifically from parents, which would be too much of an inconvenience for the government especially as it might actually show a different picture to the current. To be fair I couldn't care less what the Commons has agreed upon, that is hardly a seal of approval I trust.
    No - this is not a good way of determining poverty! Income alone is not indicative as some people do not have as high expenditure as others.

    The best indicator is whether a family is in receipt of means tested benefits - the government would have this information at their fingertips and this is why they have all agreed on entitlement to free school meal as currently the best indicator. Even if the indicator was changed to 'post code' determination, there is always the case that not all of the people living in that particular area would be considered poor.

    All this discussion just to illustrate that the old fallacy that grammars give the best educational opportunities to poor but bright children is just that - a fallacy! :rolleyes:
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    I believe in a meritocratic society - people SHOULD get benefits for being intelligent. Well, the only benefit they get here is that they get to excell their intellectual ability further. Similarly, I think that they should bring back the emphasis on specialist schools - your kid likes to take apart radios? Send him to technology school. She likes crosswords? Send her to an English specialist school. Likes maths based stuff? Etc.... And for those with a thirst for academic study, there is the grammar schools.

    I think the system should go like this. Identicle to how it is now, up until Y6 - you carry on at the same school, however, till Y9 (14). THEN you change school to a specialist one for your GCSE's - by that point you should know your strengths and weaknesses, and you can chose a school accordingly. However, for grammar school to make a difference, you have to catch the kids when they're young. Keep the 11 plus, and those that pass and get into grammar schools can leave at Y7 and go to a grammar school. If a person "isn't developed" enough by then, well, they'll just have to do their best at the school they're at. Social darwinism.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    I would suggest that those who could be bothered to vote on whether to retain selection or abolish it would be those who are sufficiently interested in the perceived benefits/disadvantages of either system and the effects thereof, on their own children, since only those who have children of school age would have entitlement to a vote.
    Parents acting in the interests of their own children never consider the greater good. The chances are the vote would be passed simply because the majority of parents have children in secondary moderns and would like to see the perceived advantage removed from brighter children.

    Do you seriously believe that in the event of a vote of this nature, both sides of the argument would not do their utmost to ensure that the potential electorate are very well informed on the merits or not of their particular stance?
    But is it the case that opinions will be based more on the perceived current situation of the children concered (as you have suggested), rather than any rhetoric from either side.

    The fate of education should be formulated by experts and passed through government, such direct democratic actions seem to negate this, in my view, neccessary process.
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    I'm biased, as I go to a grammar, and have loved it. Its worth pointing out that my school does the 11+, and those who don't pass can take a 12+ and a 13+. We also get a few people transferring in years 10 and 11, and at 6th form the school becomes 'open' i.e. letting in anyone with 6 A*-C grades at GCSE who has an ok interview. So we're hardly a closed insitution.

    If I had children to bring up in the city I live in, I would send them to the local grammar (assuming they got in) because its GCSE results are always overing at around 99% pass rate. Compared to the local comprehensives, there's honestly no competition. If the comprehensives were as good then I'd be happy for my kids to go there, but they just aren't. Its a shame, but its the way the city is.

    I'd have hated to go to a school where I was held back and wasn't challenged. I like having teachers who (mostly) know their subjects very well. If grammars were completely abolished (and honestly, there aren't that many left in the great scheme of things) then I don't think the general system of education would change. Those who could afford it would go to privates, and comprehensives would stay pretty much the same. At least, that's the way I see it.
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    The academic success of schools is almost entirely down to intake - not better teaching nor better facilities.

    Ask any educationist!
 
 
 
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