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Grammar schools and social mobility watch

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    (Original post by Vinchenko)
    I think this is a disingenious and unfair response to chemistBoy's argument! His point was that after reading the original report and comparing it with the article, that the Guardian seems to have taken a very political stance on the issue! Which I would agree with. The grammar school system as it was in the 50s and 60s did have significant problems with it, because people dumped in underfunded secondary moderns suffered hugely from the lack of investment and interest in their education, whilst their grammar school peers had university to look forward to almost as a given.

    However, this is not a problem with grammar schools per se, but the system as it was then, an entirely different thing. Look at current results in Kent and Lincolnshire, the only areas to have a full grammar school system using the standardised PESE test, and tell me they are not markedly better than neighbouring and otherwise similar counties! There is still more work to be done with comprehensives in these areas, and in making them offer more non-academic qualifications as well as academic ones for those who later turn out to be best suited to them, but a very good proportion of them are still pretty decent. Of the 3 nearest my (Kentish) super-selective grammar school, I would be more than happy to go to 2 of them, which are adequately funded, have decent facilities, and seem very nice places. Both of them also have significant numbers of oxbridge places every year, so clearly having a grammar school in an area does not destroy attainment in other schools!
    No, please read the source article before making judgements. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...0.01346.x/full
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    So many idiots in this thread refusing the believe that Grammar schools provide a better education (in general) than the comprehensive system. Case point: Northern Ireland. Here, we have a great deal of grammar schools and no private ('public') schools - so when you take your 11+ (or whatever the equivalent is now), you are deciding whether to go to a Grammar or a comprehensive. Let me just say...those who go to a Grammar are a great measure more likely to go to university, to not be a chav, to know how to dress themselves in such a way as to not look like a piece of rubbish pulled through a hedge, to know how to be articulate, and all of the other properties one would expect of an educated person.

    Just accept it: regardless of how socialist you are, or how (pathetically) you cling to this idea that children develop at different rates and so we should never segregate them by ability, when you put children with similar ability together in an environment which promotes education rather than just baby-sitting future knife-offenders until 3.30pm, you get better human beings out the other end.

    I really pity the English mentality when it comes to education - the predominant mindset says that you ought to throw all children together into the education system and hope for the best. You certainly can't admit that some children are more able than others, and you most definitely can't admit that some children are just plain scum who aren't interested in being educated and are only interested in holding other children back. And then you wonder why your education system is so abysmal by comparison to other counties'.
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    (Original post by coffeym)
    rant
    Um, this thread is about grammar schools and social mobility, not the 'quality' of the education they provide.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    He did not address my points, he suggested the Guardian article was biased and dismissed it without providing any evidence to the contrary. He read the source article and interpreted in a way that is at variance to the authors.

    He is simply saying his own opinion carries more weight than evidence which of course is nonsense.
    You're confusing your points. He said the guardian article made reference to the combined effect of secondary moderns and grammar schools, yet portrayed the failings to the grammars only.

    Ie if grammars are x and secondary moderns are y, guardian article referred to X + Y as just X. But what chemistboy is saying is that there are no need for secondary modern sink schools full stop. That we can have grammar with other comprehensive schools which are not poorly funded sink schools. This occurs in the local authority of Redbridge in Greater London which has two selective grammar schools alongside nearly a dozen comprehensives many of which are high achieving. Indeed Redbridge has the third highest A Level as a local authority in England.

    Is this clear now, that grammars themselves were not the issue but the secondary modern sink schools? I argue that setting may be a superior model to grammar schools but that's another issue entirely
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    wouldn't worry - whatever you may or may not gain from being in grammar schools, you lose in social skills. exhibit A: Me - I spend my free time on TSR.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    You're confusing your points. He said the guardian article made reference to the combined effect of secondary moderns and grammar schools, yet portrayed the failings to the grammars only.

    Ie if grammars are x and secondary moderns are y, guardian article referred to X + Y as just X. But what chemistboy is saying is that there are no need for secondary modern sink schools full stop. That we can have grammar with other comprehensive schools which are not poorly funded sink schools. This occurs in the local authority of Redbridge in Greater London which has two selective grammar schools alongside nearly a dozen comprehensives many of which are high achieving. Indeed Redbridge has the third highest A Level as a local authority in England.

    Is this clear now, that grammars themselves were not the issue but the secondary modern sink schools? I argue that setting may be a superior model to grammar schools but that's another issue entirely
    The fact the Guardian article concentrates on grammars does not change the conclusions of the source article. Please read the source article.

    If you have grammar schools, you will de facto have secondary moderns. You can call them comprehensive if you want but changing their name does not change what they are. Of course a grammar/secondary modern school system does not imply the SM will be bad but that has historically what has happened.

    CB is assuming things about the future which the article obviously cannot cover.

    I think you are assuming the existence of the grammar/"comprehensive school in Redbridge is the cause of its exam results or at least not detrimental to them. But you are confusing correlation with causation.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    The fact the Guardian article concentrates on grammars does not change the conclusions of the source article. Please read the source article.

    If you have grammar schools, you will de facto have secondary moderns. You can call them comprehensive if you want but changing their name does not change what they are. Of course a grammar/secondary modern school system does not imply the SM will be bad but that has historically what has happened.

    CB is assuming things about the future which thne article obviously cannot cover.

    I think you are assuming the existence of the grammar/"comprehensive school in Redbridge is the cause of its exam results or at least not detrimental to them. But you are confusing correlation with causation.
    You are still ignoring what secondary moderns were. They were chronically under invested sink schools which deliberately taught at a lower standard and even prevented students from taking higher level exams. If you were in a secondary modern you couldn't take O Levels which were meant you had highly limited opportunity to get high paying professional employment. By definition secondary moderns had in place features which curtailed social mobility, features which are not present in any current comprehensive. Thus to equate secondary moderns to comprehensives is simply wrong.

    Moreover I've noticed another misconception in your posts and indeed in the guardian article. That is to say that having grammar schools is the same as having a grammar school system. Redbridge has grammar schools, Southend has a fully selective grammar school system. These are not the same thing. It is perfectly possible to have one or two grammar schools in a local authority alongside comprehensives. And the comprehensives will Infact have top sets working at the same level as the grammar schools.
    Arguing for more grammar schools in general ie in local authories which don't have any is completely different from wanting a return to a fully selective grammar system. In such situations, the best students don't all go to the grammar school, some do, others go to the comprehensive where they are placed in the top sets.

    Note I personally believe that setting is superior to grammar schools end of but I am also in favour of more diversity and choice in education and more grammar but not a fully selective LA system would promote this.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    No, please read the source article before making judgements. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...0.01346.x/full
    Is this the conclusion you are trying to highlight from the report?

    Finally, however, the selective system as a whole yields no mobility advantage of any kind to children from any particular origins: any assistance to low-origin children provided by grammar schools is cancelled out by the hindrance suffered by those who attended secondary moderns.

    Overall, our findings suggest that comprehensive schools were as good for mobility as the selective schools they replaced
    .
    A conclusion that seems pretty straightforward to anyone taking the time to read it. But as I pointed out at the very beginning of this thread, those proponents of grammar schools won't want to acknowledge the conclusion, as much as if the research concluded that grammar schools did afford social mobility to the less socio-econically disadvantaged would go unacknowledged by opponents of grammar schools.

    Such denial, despite the evidence, is part and parcel of human frailty.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    You are still ignoring what secondary moderns were. They were chronically under invested sink schools which deliberately taught at a lower standard and even prevented students from taking higher level exams. If you were in a secondary modern you couldn't take O Levels which were meant you had highly limited opportunity to get high paying professional employment. By definition secondary moderns had in place features which curtailed social mobility, features which are not present in any current comprehensive. Thus to equate secondary moderns to comprehensives is simply wrong.

    Moreover I've noticed another misconception in your posts and indeed in the guardian article. That is to say that having grammar schools is the same as having a grammar school system. Redbridge has grammar schools, Southend has a fully selective grammar school system. These are not the same thing. It is perfectly possible to have one or two grammar schools in a local authority alongside comprehensives. And the comprehensives will Infact have top sets working at the same level as the grammar schools.
    Arguing for more grammar schools in general ie in local authories which don't have any is completely different from wanting a return to a fully selective grammar system. In such situations, the best students don't all go to the grammar school, some do, others go to the comprehensive where they are placed in the top sets.

    Note I personally believe that setting is superior to grammar schools end of but I am also in favour of more diversity and choice in education and more grammar but not a fully selective LA system would promote this.
    I think the grammar school issue is confused by people who want to bring back the grammar school system but with a better funded secondary modern system as well. But all the research can only be done on what has happen, not what may happen.

    Whenever you have a selective school system in a locality wherever you call it a grammar or not, you will siphon off a percentage of those who can pass the entrance exams and are regarded as the most able.

    This will leave the schools that don't have entrance exams with a lower proportion of the ablest students.

    I think you have to consider what are the aims of a local authority and the council tax payers in wanting to fund a 2 tier school system and what are the costs and benefits.

    To be honest, grammar schools are not very selective. I think it takes around 30% of the ablest students. I think to make it worthwhile, much more stringent requirement should be used such as the top 5% of students.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    I think the grammar school issue is confused by people who want to bring back the grammar school system but with a better funded secondary modern system as well. But all the research can only be done on what has happen, not what may happen.

    Whenever you have a selective school system in a locality wherever you call it a grammar or not, you will siphon off a percentage of those who can pass the entrance exams and are regarded as the most able.

    This will leave the schools that don't have entrance exams with a lower proportion of the ablest students.

    I think you have to consider what are the aims of a local authority and the council tax payers in wanting to fund a 2 tier school system and what are the costs and benefits.

    To be honest, grammar schools are not very selective. I think it takes around 30% of the ablest students. I think to make it worthwhile, much more stringent requirement should be used such as the top 5% of students.
    All very true. But by siphoning off the most able does NOT mean that the rest should get a poorer education, in fact, if the system is properly funded and designed they will be educated better than in a comprehensive system. This is because they will be being taught with people at their level, so teachers can go at a pace more suited to the class ability rather than trying to both stretch able students and support those who are struggling. In addition, these schools may decide to offer more vocational qualifications better suited to their students. Vocational needn't mean worse if it's done right! It's just different, for different people. Comprehensives are a one-size-fits-all solution, a system involving grammars enables students to be taught more as individuals and thus should enable EVERYONE involved to do better.

    The bit in bold - some areas have super-selective grammars such as mine, which take only around the top 10%. 'Normal' grammars in such areas set a pass mark at around the top 30%, and then take the students exceeding that who live closest, whereas superselective schools take the people with the highest 11+ scores regardless of where they live, which works out at the top 10% if not less. This means we have a 3 tier system, with the non-selective tier subdivided into religious and secular schools, of which the religious ones are doubtless better, though that's a different debate!
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    (Original post by Maker)
    He did not address my points, he suggested the Guardian article was biased and dismissed it without providing any evidence to the contrary. He read the source article and interpreted in a way that is at variance to the authors.

    He is simply saying his own opinion carries more weight than evidence which of course is nonsense.
    I'm saying no such thing. Please stop being so hypocritical.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    You're confusing your points. He said the guardian article made reference to the combined effect of secondary moderns and grammar schools, yet portrayed the failings to the grammars only.

    Ie if grammars are x and secondary moderns are y, guardian article referred to X + Y as just X. But what chemistboy is saying is that there are no need for secondary modern sink schools full stop. That we can have grammar with other comprehensive schools which are not poorly funded sink schools. This occurs in the local authority of Redbridge in Greater London which has two selective grammar schools alongside nearly a dozen comprehensives many of which are high achieving. Indeed Redbridge has the third highest A Level as a local authority in England.

    Is this clear now, that grammars themselves were not the issue but the secondary modern sink schools? I argue that setting may be a superior model to grammar schools but that's another issue entirely
    Exactly my point.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    I think the grammar school issue is confused by people who want to bring back the grammar school system but with a better funded secondary modern system as well. But all the research can only be done on what has happen, not what may happen.
    Ergo, why using historical data from that period of UK education is flawed in assessing the benefits of a different selective education system. This is why the study can't be used to generally bash people who support selective education and why its usefulness is limited when you don't consider the effect of grammars in isolation. It simply isn't correct to state that 'Grammars don't improve social mobility' when you are considering the whole system and comparing it to comprehensives - all you can state is that 'The historical system of Grammars and secondary moderns overall shows no improvement to social mobility over the comprehensive system'. Even that isn't very fair because it ignores the fact that the comprehensive system came after the grammar system and was supposed to address the failings in it, not vice versa.

    However, like I said before, bearing in mind the chronology of these two systems, the other way to look at this is that the comprehensive system was put in place to correct the perceived wrongs (including lack of social mobility) of the previous selective education system. The fact that the comprehensive system then failed to deliver any change in social mobility is a far more damning verdict for the efficacy of that system than of the one that preceded it.
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    (Original post by jaydoh)
    I know, Alan Sugar's dad was a market trader iirc.
    So was David Cameron's. Not quite the same market though. :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by yawn)
    And not because of a grammar school either.

    And all it shows about Branson and Green is that independent schools don't always produce academically able students.
    Well exactly - it just shows how irrelevant they are to this debate. On the other hand, it's interesting to look at the many famous people who used to go to grammar schools but were from very poor backgrounds and who have succeeded because of this. Andrew Neil's excellent programme a few weeks ago gave many of these examples, and you just have to look at the alumni of any grammar school to see much more of this; my schools Old Boys' newsletter is literally a list of grammar school successes! You could argue that some of these people would have done well anyway, but I honestly don't think a lot would have done without the superior education and support offered to those who were academically able enough.
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    (Original post by Vinchenko)
    Well exactly - it just shows how irrelevant they are to this debate. On the other hand, it's interesting to look at the many famous people who used to go to grammar schools but were from very poor backgrounds and who have succeeded because of this. Andrew Neil's excellent programme a few weeks ago gave many of these examples, and you just have to look at the alumni of any grammar school to see much more of this; my schools Old Boys' newsletter is literally a list of grammar school successes! You could argue that some of these people would have done well anyway, but I honestly don't think a lot would have done without the superior education and support offered to those who were academically able enough.
    You are confusing corralation with causation. You find succesful people and you discover they went to a grammar. Does that mean the grammar was the cause of their success or they were successful and the grammar was incidental?

    Could you not find a similar number of successful people who went secondary modern or comprehensives schools?
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    (Original post by Maker)
    You are confusing corralation with causation. You find succesful people and you discover they went to a grammar. Does that mean the grammar was the cause of their success or they were successful and the grammar was incidental?

    Could you not find a similar number of successful people who went secondary modern or comprehensives schools?
    Fair point. Since it is hard to 'define' success, and since no two people are the same, it is incredibly hard to prove causation in this situation. I am no sociological academic, so I am unlikely to be able to do so! However, I would certainly say that there are a great deal of people from very deprived backgrounds who contribute their success to their grammar school education. Very few people who went to grammars say they would have done equally well at a comprehensive (from personal experience) and surely they are some of the best-placed to judge? I certainly don't feel I would have got into Cambridge had I gone to any of the non-grammar schools around me.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    Its often been written on threads on TSR and in the media that grammar schools were an engine of social mobility in the 1950s-70s and the reason why we have lower social mobility now is because there are very few grammar schools.

    This is false as proved by research by Oxford and Bath Spa universities. There were no difference in social mobility of working class people between those who went to grammar schools and comprehesives. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...ocial-mobility
    And? The point is grammar schools give people a chance. They're also better for middle class pupils who don't want to go to private school but don't want to be surrounded by ignoramus' at state school.
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    (Original post by Vinchenko)
    Fair point. Since it is hard to 'define' success, and since no two people are the same, it is incredibly hard to prove causation in this situation. I am no sociological academic, so I am unlikely to be able to do so! However, I would certainly say that there are a great deal of people from very deprived backgrounds who contribute their success to their grammar school education. Very few people who went to grammars say they would have done equally well at a comprehensive (from personal experience) and surely they are some of the best-placed to judge? I certainly don't feel I would have got into Cambridge had I gone to any of the non-grammar schools around me.
    People can't know if they would have turned out differently if they had not gone to a grammar school unless they have access to some sort of parallel universe where they can see what happened to their parallel selfs that went to a none grammar.

    I wish people would use some intellectual rigour when they are using anectodal evidence.
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    I don't think one rather small (3300, most of which won't be working class anyway) is really a fair measure of social mobility. I'm a bit torn though, on the one hand i agree with everyone having access to the same standard of education, and on the other hand, i don't like the idea that some more able students will be intellectually 'handicapped' by the pace of learning which has to accommodate the least able students. I think most people would rather have grammar than private schools though.
 
 
 
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