Grammar Schools - Good idea or bad idea? Watch

Poll: Are grammar schools good or bad?
Yes (146)
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No (26)
15.12%
Smuke
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#81
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Many people have complained that it is unfair that they only get one chance at 11, but in my area where the 11+ still exists most people who fail the 11+, if they're bright enough they can usually transfer with good enough GCSE's at 6th Form.
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1.2.3.
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#82
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#82
I go to a grammar school now and I definitely think they're a good idea. The comps in my area are absolutely cr*p, and I know the argument is that kids do as well as they would do in a comprehensive anyway but I don't think this is true. The atmosphere at my school is really competitive and that's what gets better results imo - I need to be motivated and pushed to do work unfortunately. My grades would have been worse in a situation where it was down to me to do work outside the classroom. The problem here is the standard of comprehensives across the country.

About 40% of my school are from a working class background, so I think they do help with social mobility and providing better opportunities. In fact, it's many of these people who are going on to do Medicine and Dentistry at uni because they've had a better study environment arguably.

As for the 11+, I really didn't feel under that much pressure, but maybe that's down to my parents not being pushy and not making it seem like the be all and end all.
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DeeDub
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#83
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#83
(Original post by Maker)
Before trying to put words into my mouth, you should understand what I actually mean first.

What I am saying is grammar schools look as thought they are getting kids good grades by selecting kids who would have got good grades anyway, even if the teaching was average.

They are not adding any value, just maintaining it. Adding value would be to get kids who would not have got good grades, good grades. Its a far tougher job to add value than just to maintain value.

.
I think it is harsh to write off the work done in the seven years between 11 and 18 and say that the school has no effect.

Could it not be the case that as schools are not having to cater for such a broad spectrum of abilities they are able to focus there teaching more effectively.

It would be interesting to compare the overall attainment between two areas with multiple schools. One area with a mix of grammar and comprehensive schools and another purely comprehensive.
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Maker
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#84
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#84
(Original post by 1.2.3.)
I go to a grammar school now and I definitely think they're a good idea. The comps in my area are absolutely cr*p, and I know the argument is that kids do as well as they would do in a comprehensive anyway but I don't think this is true. The atmosphere at my school is really competitive and that's what gets better results imo - I need to be motivated and pushed to do work unfortunately. My grades would have been worse in a situation where it was down to me to do work outside the classroom. The problem here is the standard of comprehensives across the country.

About 40% of my school are from a working class background, so I think they do help with social mobility and providing better opportunities. In fact, it's many of these people who are going on to do Medicine and Dentistry at uni because they've had a better study environment arguably.

As for the 11+, I really didn't feel under that much pressure, but maybe that's down to my parents not being pushy and not making it seem like the be all and end all.
Having competitive enviroment at school may not be a good thing for kids in the long run. When they go to uni and start work, they have to be self motivated, not have people pushing them if they are naturally lazy.
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Maker
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#85
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#85
(Original post by DeeDub)
I think it is harsh to write off the work done in the seven years between 11 and 18 and say that the school has no effect.

Could it not be the case that as schools are not having to cater for such a broad spectrum of abilities they are able to focus there teaching more effectively.

It would be interesting to compare the overall attainment between two areas with multiple schools. One area with a mix of grammar and comprehensive schools and another purely comprehensive.

To be honest, grammars are not really that selective. They choose around the top 25-30% by academic ability which I think is a bit lax. If you have ambitions to get a job like dentistry or academia, getting into a grammar should be a walk in the park.

At my comp, we had streaming and we had 4 streams which we could go up or down in depending on yearly test results so the top stream would have been similar to a grammar intake. We had no grammars locally.
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cambio wechsel
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#86
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#86
Something very interesting here is the number of people who say "I go to grammar school, the comps in my area are rubbish" and think that's an argument for the grammar schools. It's definitely an argument for going to one, but it is as well the argument that got them closed down in most places.
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flying plum
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#87
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#87
(Original post by Maker)
Before trying to put words into my mouth, you should understand what I actually mean first.

What I am saying is grammar schools look as thought they are getting kids good grades by selecting kids who would have got good grades anyway, even if the teaching was average.

They are not adding any value, just maintaining it. Adding value would be to get kids who would not have got good grades, good grades. Its a far tougher job to add value than just to maintain value.

.
I appreciate this argument. What worries me is the bright kids who go to comprehensives and 'lose' value. It's only anecdotal, but I've heard it enough times to make me worry, of the number of people I know, or friends of friends etc., who just fall through the cracks. they're bright, but need the push - and in a comprehensive environment, unless there is a teacher like my mum who refuses to let them fail, they just sink without a trace. They get in with the wrong crowd, or they dont' want to seem 'uncool' by doing well.

and then there is the comment I hear a lot from people i went to uni with - they just don't have the same self-confidence that their peers from independent schools or grammars have; they have spent their secondary education working hard, but hiding it, and aren't used to speaking up in class with the right answer. again, it's anecdotal, but i think it's an important anecdote. the culture of the comprehensive school does seem to be failing students, at least at some level.

I'm in favour of grammars from that perspective, but I actually think a real revisitation of our educational culture is needed by people more learned than I. and I don't mean just instituting a gifted and talented register....
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py0alb
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#88
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#88
Arguing about whether grammar schools are a good thing is like arguing whether rich people are a good thing. Taken in isolation, everything seems great. In reality though, just as rich people only exist in comparison to poor people, the opportunities given to those at grammar schools only exist by denying those opportunities to those who didn't get in.

What we're really talking about is what would be better: a system where people are (pretty much arbitrarily) divided into the haves and have nots at a young age, or a system where everyone has the same opportunity to make something of themselves depending upon their ability and hard work.
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Manc990
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#89
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#89
Bad Idia I Think?!
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Maker
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#90
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#90
(Original post by flying plum)
I appreciate this argument. What worries me is the bright kids who go to comprehensives and 'lose' value. It's only anecdotal, but I've heard it enough times to make me worry, of the number of people I know, or friends of friends etc., who just fall through the cracks. they're bright, but need the push - and in a comprehensive environment, unless there is a teacher like my mum who refuses to let them fail, they just sink without a trace. They get in with the wrong crowd, or they dont' want to seem 'uncool' by doing well.

and then there is the comment I hear a lot from people i went to uni with - they just don't have the same self-confidence that their peers from independent schools or grammars have; they have spent their secondary education working hard, but hiding it, and aren't used to speaking up in class with the right answer. again, it's anecdotal, but i think it's an important anecdote. the culture of the comprehensive school does seem to be failing students, at least at some level.

I'm in favour of grammars from that perspective, but I actually think a real revisitation of our educational culture is needed by people more learned than I. and I don't mean just instituting a gifted and talented register....
Grammar schools is not a solution to low average educational attainment, they merely move the problem elsewhere. It would be like having a 2 tier health system.

One hospital where patients are selected because they are not too ill so will get better and another hospital where all the really ill patients end up. People will still end up dead but out of sight.

By having a school where all the kids are assummed to not benefit or need a good education, all the kids that would have benefited from a good education would not get the chance because they did not pass an entrance exam which sets an arbitary cut off.

So the argument that grammars aids social mobility can be turned on its head because having a grammar system must be definition also have a secondary modern part as well whether they are called that or not.

One of Britain's educational problems is not educating those at the top end of the academic range, Britain's higher education system is very good but its the people in the middle and lower end of the ability range that the British system does less well than many other countries like Japan and Germany. So more grammars are not needed because there is not a problem for them to solve.
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Rob da Mop
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#91
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#91
It's not a solution to the problem, that there are a lot of comprehensives that don't give students a good working environment, but closing them down would only worsen the situation. This way bright kids from poorer backgrounds can still get a decent education. While it is wrong that the children who do better aged 11 are guaranteed a better education for the next 5 years than those who've only reached there full academic potential come 14, it's better than some people get this improved education than none at all.
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lilahnurave
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#92
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#92
(Original post by stroppyninja)
I know... of it

The fact that all of the people who went to a grammar school are in favour of them must be saying something.
I went to one and it was awful. Facilities were ancient or non existent, we literally had nothing. The ceiling leaked all over the building whenever it rained. The teachers didn't give a ****, I don't blame them, as it was a grammar school it got no funding from the government so they probably got paid next to nothing. One of the huts (we had barely any classrooms) was so rotten that it collapsed during a lesson. I was so jealous of my friends at up to date schools with teachers that cared, who didnt have the CONSTANT PRESSURE and threat of being thrown out if you didnt meet the grades. Also, as someone has already commendably mentioned - LET ONLY BRIGHT PEOPLE IN AND YOU WILL GET GOOD RESULTS. Thats how they do it. We all taught ourselves most subjects because we cared so much about our education.
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flying plum
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#93
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#93
(Original post by Maker)
Grammar schools is not a solution to low average educational attainment, they merely move the problem elsewhere. It would be like having a 2 tier health system.

One hospital where patients are selected because they are not too ill so will get better and another hospital where all the really ill patients end up. People will still end up dead but out of sight.

By having a school where all the kids are assummed to not benefit or need a good education, all the kids that would have benefited from a good education would not get the chance because they did not pass an entrance exam which sets an arbitary cut off.

So the argument that grammars aids social mobility can be turned on its head because having a grammar system must be definition also have a secondary modern part as well whether they are called that or not.

One of Britain's educational problems is not educating those at the top end of the academic range, Britain's higher education system is very good but its the people in the middle and lower end of the ability range that the British system does less well than many other countries like Japan and Germany. So more grammars are not needed because there is not a problem for them to solve.
well, I don't think that bringing back the grammar system necessarily means that children who don't get in don't need a good education. But, like I said in my post, I think the main problem is that there lacks a good educational environment - and respect amongst the student body for achievement and academic success - in many comprehensive schools.

I agree that the 11+ is problematic, and if something like a grammar system was ever brought back, there would need to be something more flexible. But I do think we need to face up to the fact that not everyone is academic; some pupils need much more vocationally focussed education, and I'm not convinced that a unitary educational system suits. I think, at least as it currently is, it fails children of all abilities.

I'm not saying that grammars are necessarily the solution, but they are one solution. but, as I said before, i think a serious review of educational culture in our country is needed.
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username739587
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#94
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#94
(Original post by lilahnurave)
I went to one and it was awful. Facilities were ancient or non existent, we literally had nothing. The ceiling leaked all over the building whenever it rained. The teachers didn't give a ****, I don't blame them, as it was a grammar school it got no funding from the government so they probably got paid next to nothing. One of the huts (we had barely any classrooms) was so rotten that it collapsed during a lesson. I was so jealous of my friends at up to date schools with teachers that cared, who didnt have the CONSTANT PRESSURE and threat of being thrown out if you didnt meet the grades. Also, as someone has already commendably mentioned - LET ONLY BRIGHT PEOPLE IN AND YOU WILL GET GOOD RESULTS. Thats how they do it. We all taught ourselves most subjects because we cared so much about our education.
Grammar schools DO get funding from the government (albeit less than comprehensives). Sounds like a bit of a sh*thole :< what school was it? Name and shame. Surely you would have seen this, and not tried so hard to get in?
I do think you are the rare case of an unsatisfied customer - all of the Grammars in my area are light years ahead of the comprehensives, in terms of grades (obviously), teaching, and atmosphere.
Thank god all you bright people were able to self-teach, i bet you were all tempted to fail every exam, just to prove a point :P
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Helloworld_95
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#95
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#95
well the gov could say that people who went to comprehensives instead of grammar schools would get x amount off tuition for uni or their bottom 50% of grades will be increased by 1 when being considered by uni's to mix smarter people into the comprehensives
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Maker
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#96
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#96
(Original post by flying plum)
well, I don't think that bringing back the grammar system necessarily means that children who don't get in don't need a good education. But, like I said in my post, I think the main problem is that there lacks a good educational environment - and respect amongst the student body for achievement and academic success - in many comprehensive schools.

I agree that the 11+ is problematic, and if something like a grammar system was ever brought back, there would need to be something more flexible. But I do think we need to face up to the fact that not everyone is academic; some pupils need much more vocationally focussed education, and I'm not convinced that a unitary educational system suits. I think, at least as it currently is, it fails children of all abilities.

I'm not saying that grammars are necessarily the solution, but they are one solution. but, as I said before, i think a serious review of educational culture in our country is needed.
You don't need a separate school in a separate building to tailor education to different kids.

My school had streaming so kids of similar ability were taught together. The streams were flexible so people who were good at science were in the appropriate class but if they were less good in say history, they were in a lower class for that. You could also move up and down streams depending on your yearly exam results.

This is better than a grammar where if a kid was good at English but poor at maths, he may not get into a grammar because he did not pass the entrance exam due to his lessor ability in maths but also could not fulfil his potential in English because he had to go to a secondary mod where he wasn't taught English to the level that would have made the best of his ability.
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Bella Occhi
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#97
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#97
I think they're a good idea. Wish I'd had the opportunity to go to one.
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DeeDub
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#98
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#98
(Original post by Maker)
To be honest, grammars are not really that selective. They choose around the top 25-30% by academic ability which I think is a bit lax. If you have ambitions to get a job like dentistry or academia, getting into a grammar should be a walk in the park.
How selective a Grammar school is dependent on how many places they have and how many people sit the exam. For my school it was roughly 15%. If you do want to be a Doctor (for example) when you reach the highly competitive environment of medical school interviews you will need all the help you can get when competing against candidates from private schools.


(Original post by flying plum)
I appreciate this argument. What worries me is the bright kids who go to comprehensives and 'lose' value. It's only anecdotal, but I've heard it enough times to make me worry, of the number of people I know, or friends of friends etc., who just fall through the cracks. they're bright, but need the push - and in a comprehensive environment, unless there is a teacher like my mum who refuses to let them fail, they just sink without a trace. They get in with the wrong crowd, or they dont' want to seem 'uncool' by doing well.

and then there is the comment I hear a lot from people i went to uni with - they just don't have the same self-confidence that their peers from independent schools or grammars have; they have spent their secondary education working hard, but hiding it, and aren't used to speaking up in class with the right answer. again, it's anecdotal, but i think it's an important anecdote. the culture of the comprehensive school does seem to be failing students, at least at some level.

I'm in favour of grammars from that perspective, but I actually think a real revisitation of our educational culture is needed by people more learned than I. and I don't mean just instituting a gifted and talented register....
I broadly agree with this.


(Original post by Maker)
Grammar schools is not a solution to low average educational attainment, they merely move the problem elsewhere. It would be like having a 2 tier health system.

One hospital where patients are selected because they are not too ill so will get better and another hospital where all the really ill patients end up. People will still end up dead but out of sight.

By having a school where all the kids are assummed to not benefit or need a good education, all the kids that would have benefited from a good education would not get the chance because they did not pass an entrance exam which sets an arbitary cut off.
I don't this is the assumption being made. Each persons physiology doesn't vary all the much and neither does the presence of other patients in the hospital necessarily affect the treatment of others. In comparison people's academic ability can be vastly different from their peers and teaching occurs in groups.


(Original post by Maker)
You don't need a separate school in a separate building to tailor education to different kids.
Perhaps you don't need but I think it can help. As it can lead to completely different schooling environment which allows pupils to flourish who would otherwise suffer.
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flying plum
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#99
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(Original post by Maker)
You don't need a separate school in a separate building to tailor education to different kids.

My school had streaming so kids of similar ability were taught together. The streams were flexible so people who were good at science were in the appropriate class but if they were less good in say history, they were in a lower class for that. You could also move up and down streams depending on your yearly exam results.

This is better than a grammar where if a kid was good at English but poor at maths, he may not get into a grammar because he did not pass the entrance exam due to his lessor ability in maths but also could not fulfil his potential in English because he had to go to a secondary mod where he wasn't taught English to the level that would have made the best of his ability.
well, i did say that grammars aren't necessarily the solution. however, it still doesn't solve the problem that (at least in some of the schools i've worked in) there doesn't seem to be a good educational culture in our state system. i've been in top sets, and been shocked at the lack of classroom discipline, respect for the teacher, and general interest in school work.

don't get me wrong, they were all lovely kids, but i just felt that they could have achieved so much more in a different environment, that's all. there will always be the super-bright, who will achieve where ever they are, but it's the ones who are sort of average...I worry about them.

I have said time and time again, I'm not advocating a return to a system where you get written off at 11. but something's got to give, and I can see why people see grammars as a solution. at the moment, it's like everyone's being dragged down together.
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BadCoverVersion
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#100
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#100
The reality of Grammar schools tends to be that they are for the upper middle class who can afford to tutor their children into them.

However, no system is perfect- at least the Grammar School system allowed for the opportunity of children from less advantaged backgrounds to be given the chance to flourish.

The real issue is that of state secondary and primary education- scrapping Grammar schools hasn't and will not work. By lowering everything to the lowest common denominator, the state merely gives an illusion of fairness- in reality this discourages social mobility.
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