Michael Gove and "Elitist" Grammar Schools

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bookbreaker
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As has been in the news recently, Michael Gove refused permission for the expansion/construction of a jointly owned grammar school in Sevenoaks, Kent, because "Middle Class Kids" swarmed them, "depriving" less better off children of getting a good education.

Well, as this topic has many opinions, please feel free to vote in the poll as set up:

Now, time for me to start the rant!

I believe that Grammar Schools are NOT ELITIST IN TERMS OF CLASS, and that they do provide a greater scope of opportunity for school children in the areas where they are present. And there are several reasons for this...

1) Grammar schools provide excellent standards of education to everyone irrespective of wealth. I am myself a student of the upper sixth at a Grammar School, and can be considered in most ways to come from a working class background, yet I have quite clearly made huge progress due to the opportunity to succeed that has been presented before me (Getting offers from Russell Group universities is not bad going). My mum is an assistant in a local school and my dad is a factory worker in a local business, so anyone who automatically thinks "Working Class" students are deprived of opportunity need to actually meet some Grammar school students.

2) I believe that the segregation of students at different socio-educational standards is a good thing, as it removes those who don't wish to work from dragging down the standards of those who do, which yet again, I have experienced myself when moving from a Comprehensive to a Grammar School. It means those who are capable of achieving very well, are empowered to take opportunities and relish them rather than being subjected to peer pressure which outcasts them from the majority of the school population. It's a bit like having a bowl of 30 oranges, where half the oranges are ripe, and the other half are mouldy. Keeping the mouldy with the ripe will lead to an overall worse outcome, whilst if you segregate, the ripe will remain ripe and the mouldy could be treated.
Crucially, curriculums can be moulded to a much better extent as in grammar schools, A-levels of lots of disciplines can be offered whilst in comprehensives, B-techs can be available, thus harnessing each child's potential from their socio-educational work ethic.

I look forward to hearing some vibrant opinions in the near future!
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India2013
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This is a hard question and I am never really sure what my opinion is but I find it hard to agree that someone's intelligence and possible future attainment can be succesfully estimated at age 11. I know plenty of people who have achieved highly, despite not being overly academic at 11. The real losers with a grammar school system are those on the cusp - not quite able to get into a grammar school and so get tainted with being less intelligent and are therefore less likely to succeed, even though they may have thrived with the input of other intelligent students and the confidence in ability that many grammar school students possess.
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bookbreaker
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(Original post by India2013)
This is a hard question and I am never really sure what my opinion is but I find it hard to agree that someone's intelligence and possible future attainment can be succesfully estimated at age 11. I know plenty of people who have achieved highly, despite not being overly academic at 11. The real losers with a grammar school system are those on the cusp - not quite able to get into a grammar school and so get tainted with being less intelligent and are therefore less likely to succeed, even though they may have thrived with the input of other intelligent students and the confidence in ability that many grammar school students possess.
But in my case, I got into Grammar School at a later stage. I agree that the selection process to get into grammar schools is a bit flawed, as I know a few who quite simply don't deserve to go to a Grammar school, however, the actual idea of grammar schools in my opinion is still a great idea.
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by bookbreaker)
But in my case, I got into Grammar School at a later stage. I agree that the selection process to get into grammar schools is a bit flawed, as I know a few who quite simply don't deserve to go to a Grammar school, however, the actual idea of grammar schools in my opinion is still a great idea.
The idea works for academics, but schools also have DT, PE, Drama, Music, Art etc. as classes, do you also have elite schools for them? I went to a comp where everything was setted, that meant the fact I was good at English and PE resulted in me being able to learn with the best at those subjects, but the people in each class were very different, whilst my inability at art could be reflected in a lower set for that subject where I wasn't holding back those who were talented at it.

Also, even within academic subjects there are variations, someone who is of grammar standard at English may not be so at Maths and vicea versa. I would have been bored out of my mind in set 3 English (of 19) but I was suitably challenged in my set 3 maths lessons. Even ignoring the class thing of tutoring getting people in, grammars seem a very blunt instrument.
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bookbreaker
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(Original post by Le Nombre)
The idea works for academics, but schools also have DT, PE, Drama, Music, Art etc. as classes, do you also have elite schools for them? I went to a comp where everything was setted, that meant the fact I was good at English and PE resulted in me being able to learn with the best at those subjects, but the people in each class were very different, whilst my inability at art could be reflected in a lower set for that subject where I wasn't holding back those who were talented at it.

Also, even within academic subjects there are variations, someone who is of grammar standard at English may not be so at Maths and vicea versa. I would have been bored out of my mind in set 3 English (of 19) but I was suitably challenged in my set 3 maths lessons. Even ignoring the class thing of tutoring getting people in, grammars seem a very blunt instrument.
Your assumption that grammar schools are only for the academic is understandable, but it is simply NOT THE CASE! At my school, the art department has enhanced the lives of students who got fantastic pieces of art into various Galleries (Even the Tate modern), and the music department has had many students play across the country in venues such as the Royal Albert hall. DT has been undergoing heavy investment, with students now able to excel with tools such as laser cutters etc. Drama has been a major part of the school too, with pantomimes constantly being presented for the benefit of students.

This proves quite evidentially, that grammar schools aren't just "Academic" institutions, but also locations where talent in all disciplines can thrive.
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by bookbreaker)
Your assumption that grammar schools are only for the academic is understandable, but it is simply NOT THE CASE! At my school, the art department has enhanced the lives of students who got fantastic pieces of art into various Galleries (Even the Tate modern), and the music department has had many students play across the country in venues such as the Royal Albert hall. DT has been undergoing heavy investment, with students now able to excel with tools such as laser cutters etc. Drama has been a major part of the school too, with pantomimes constantly being presented for the benefit of students.

This proves quite evidentially, that grammar schools aren't just "Academic" institutions, but also locations where talent in all disciplines can thrive.
But the idea is that you end up there because of your talent in academic disciplines, there is nothing in the 11 Plus that test your ability in those fields. So although grammars provide perfectly good instruction in those disciplines, for those particular classes they are essentially comprehensive, the talent level is broad, the students in them are not the top 5-10% ability wise of sports people, artists, musicians, actors or whatever in the same way they represent the top 5-10% ability wise of scientists, historians, mathematicians or geographers.

Grammar schools are predicated on an assumption that students thrive best in an atmosphere where they learn alngside those of the same elite capability, but then throw that all out of the window for any subject that is not academic. There may be students who are very talented in those areas, but that is by accident and not design and the cohort as a whole does not represent the most talented at the discipline. By contrast with setted comprehensives, you can have the top 5% ability making up every top set, regardless of subject, as all students are on the same site.
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tory88
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Traditionally, grammar schools did an awful lot to help the poor man move up the class ladder. The only reason the middle classes tend to dominate is there are so few of them - so those who can send their children to a private tutor/secondary school are bound to dominate the few remaining places.

Aside from that, the answer to the education problem is to make comprehensive schools better, not remove their superior competitors.
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Ripper-Roo
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The only people who really benefit from grammar schools are private tutors because snobby, aspiring middle class parents couldn't possibly send their children to a state school, but they're not quite wealthy enough to pay for a private school. :rolleyes: Regardless of whether that child is actually intelligent or not.

And you can't determine a child's future from the age of 11, it's very unfair.
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Simi_xoxo
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(Original post by Ripper-Roo)
The only people who really benefit from grammar schools are private tutors because snobby, aspiring middle class parents couldn't possibly send their children to a state school, but they're not quite wealthy enough to pay for a private school. :rolleyes: Regardless of whether that child is actually intelligent or not.

And you can't determine a child's future from the age of 11, it's very unfair.

I have to say that I strongly disagree with your opinion. I too come from a working class background and this is simply not the case. Grammar schools are perceived as an excellent opportunity which aids in building a strong foundation for your education, so those who do aspire to fulfilling their dreams see having a grammar school education as a pathway to their desired future. The whole point of doing the 11+ exam is to test the child on skills which are useful in all subjects - including subjects like art, drama, etc. (for example, the observational skills required to answer questions in the non-verbal reasoning section of the exam).

Also, choosing to try and get admission into great schools such as a grammar schools DOES NOT mean that you are determining a child's future from a young age, but are helping them to become independent so that they are able to make strong decisions for themselves which will be beneficial for their own future.

I hope I have made you somewhat rethink your opinions on grammar schools.
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themedicalgeek
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I'm a little confused, if you follow your 2nd point that schools should be segregated on grounds of SEC then surely you wouldn't be at a traditionally 'middle class' grammar school since you describe yourself as 'working class'?

You kind of contradict yourself as you describe working class people as 'spoiling' the rest - are you an exception?
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DaveSmith99
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Kids who aren't doing as well at the age of 11 need more help, not less.
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felamaslen
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The main problem in this country is idiotic parents not valuing education and enlightenment.
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Commercial Paper
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I disagree with Grammar Schools just from personal experience.

I was always very average at school but really started working in Year 11 and aced my GCSEs and A Levels, got a scholarship and now go to a very good university and applying for extremely competitive jobs.

All of this would have been beyond reach if Grammar Schools segregated at age 11.

I find it horrifying to think I could have ended up in such a low-paid job compared to now if that had happened.

The issue is the culture in state schools, nothing wrong with our actual education system.

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Ripper-Roo
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(Original post by Simi_xoxo)
I have to say that I strongly disagree with your opinion. I too come from a working class background and this is simply not the case. Grammar schools are perceived as an excellent opportunity which aids in building a strong foundation for your education, so those who do aspire to fulfilling their dreams see having a grammar school education as a pathway to their desired future. The whole point of doing the 11+ exam is to test the child on skills which are useful in all subjects - including subjects like art, drama, etc. (for example, the observational skills required to answer questions in the non-verbal reasoning section of the exam).

Also, choosing to try and get admission into great schools such as a grammar schools DOES NOT mean that you are determining a child's future from a young age, but are helping them to become independent so that they are able to make strong decisions for themselves which will be beneficial for their own future.

I hope I have made you somewhat rethink your opinions on grammar schools.
Why do you assume I am from a working class background just because I disagree with middle class parents who use tutors to prop up their children and send them to superior schools? Not that it matters because I don't believe in social class, but my parents are fairly well off and they sent me to a state school and I did reasonably well.

I'm not changing my view because I think a child can do well whether they are as long as they apply themselves. However I am opposed to grammar schools, more so than private schools, as I have seen how they work in practice, by tutoring. It creates a divide from an early age and how can anyone actually say it separates the more able pupils from the "dossers" when they are still children at the age of 11. I believe the limited govt resources should be spent on improving all state schools than creating unnecessary divides just to spare the feelings of smug parents.
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myblueheaven339
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(Original post by bookbreaker)
As has been in the news recently, Michael Gove refused permission for the expansion/construction of a jointly owned grammar school in Sevenoaks, Kent, because "Middle Class Kids" swarmed them, "depriving" less better off children of getting a good education.

Well, as this topic has many opinions, please feel free to vote in the poll as set up:

Now, time for me to start the rant!

I believe that Grammar Schools are NOT ELITIST IN TERMS OF CLASS, and that they do provide a greater scope of opportunity for school children in the areas where they are present. And there are several reasons for this...

1) Grammar schools provide excellent standards of education to everyone irrespective of wealth. I am myself a student of the upper sixth at a Grammar School, and can be considered in most ways to come from a working class background, yet I have quite clearly made huge progress due to the opportunity to succeed that has been presented before me (Getting offers from Russell Group universities is not bad going). My mum is an assistant in a local school and my dad is a factory worker in a local business, so anyone who automatically thinks "Working Class" students are deprived of opportunity need to actually meet some Grammar school students.

2) I believe that the segregation of students at different socio-educational standards is a good thing, as it removes those who don't wish to work from dragging down the standards of those who do, which yet again, I have experienced myself when moving from a Comprehensive to a Grammar School. It means those who are capable of achieving very well, are empowered to take opportunities and relish them rather than being subjected to peer pressure which outcasts them from the majority of the school population. It's a bit like having a bowl of 30 oranges, where half the oranges are ripe, and the other half are mouldy. Keeping the mouldy with the ripe will lead to an overall worse outcome, whilst if you segregate, the ripe will remain ripe and the mouldy could be treated.
Crucially, curriculums can be moulded to a much better extent as in grammar schools, A-levels of lots of disciplines can be offered whilst in comprehensives, B-techs can be available, thus harnessing each child's potential from their socio-educational work ethic.

I look forward to hearing some vibrant opinions in the near future!
Are you saying that you feel that poor children are the only ones that misbehave and cause problems? If I have misunderstood what you have written forgive me, but you seem to be suggesting that poor pupils are only capable of btecs while those with more money should be offered GCSEs or a levels.


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Le Nombre
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(Original post by Simi_xoxo)
I have to say that I strongly disagree with your opinion. I too come from a working class background and this is simply not the case. Grammar schools are perceived as an excellent opportunity which aids in building a strong foundation for your education, so those who do aspire to fulfilling their dreams see having a grammar school education as a pathway to their desired future. The whole point of doing the 11+ exam is to test the child on skills which are useful in all subjects - including subjects like art, drama, etc. (for example, the observational skills required to answer questions in the non-verbal reasoning section of the exam).

Also, choosing to try and get admission into great schools such as a grammar schools DOES NOT mean that you are determining a child's future from a young age, but are helping them to become independent so that they are able to make strong decisions for themselves which will be beneficial for their own future.

I hope I have made you somewhat rethink your opinions on grammar schools.
Really? Having experienced setting in a comp the top set for art was very different to the top set for English or Maths, I'm not sure how many of the former would have passed the 11 Plus. In terms of sport whenever we played grammars at either rugby, football or hockey we absolutely creamed them, usually pulled the 1s off at half time. Are you genuinely claiming that you are better at all those sorts of subjects than someone at the local comp in the same way as you are better at academic subjects?

I would also ask where your grammar is? If it's in Kent or Bucks that's a very different thing to, say, Surrey or Birmingham, where the numbers passing (sometimes lower than 2%) mean it's pretty much essential to receive private tuition, which at 30-40 quid an hour is not much of an option for the working classes.
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Padwas
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i failed the 11+ and attended a state school after finishing my gcse iwas accepted to the grammars ( thank god ) and can honestly say there are only a few noticeable disadvantages

1- there are still the bad students
2- there are spoilt students

BUT the garner schools have some major advantages

1- they will give support to the top academic students forcing you to get top grades
2- better all round students who are aademic

also at a grammar the MAJORITY are academically driven this in turn motivates you to study unlike state schools where they are the minority
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Maid Marian
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Absolutely ridiculous. There is not a SINGLE decent argument against grammar schools.
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ThatPerson
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Grammar schools are good. There are 2 problems however:

1) The 11+ selection test is pure bull****
2) Single-Sex Schools are bad in terms of social development.

Performance in the 11+ test doesn't correlate to performance in GCSEs and A-Levels and is open to abuse as richer parents can send their children to tuition for the 11+, which is bad for both the child who is forced to go and for the other children who can't afford it.
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by Maid Marian)
Absolutely ridiculous. There is not a SINGLE decent argument against grammar schools.
Some kids blossom later than the age of 10/11?

I was academically average at primary, but I'd back my GCSE or A Level results against most grammar school kids.
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