Why is academic selection at 11 wrong but sex, religion and class acceptable?

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Reformed2010
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I am hoping to be persuaded. On many things I am in agreement with the left/centre left in British politics of today. But why are so many fellow left/left of centre people against academic selection at 11? The response I usually receive is a usual wave upon wave of negativity regarding the 1960/70's Tri-partite system which 'doomed' kids at 11 who did not pass the test to failure. But from what I have read (so far) the Secondary modern schools were under funded, the children did not sit the same curriculum or exam as Grammar School children. Both were structural choices made by the governments of the day, both can and would be addressed today for example almost everyone sits GCSE's and A Levels in England and Wales.

As a working class boy without a religion I was automatically discriminated against the opportunity to attend the 6/8 best performing schools in my local borough due to being non religious and not female. The next best 2/8 were heavily oversubscribed and those with sibling relations or lived nearer were given priority, favouring those who could afford to move to those areas. The rest were poor performing for academic achievement and so on. Poor attendance and behaviour. The school I attended did not value Oxbridge, Durham, LSE or any other prestigious UK university. Becoming a Doctor, Computer programmer, Engineer, Architect or a Lawyer was certainly not on the agenda.

My question is this, if it's okay to discriminate on the basis of your sex (boy's and girls only schools), religion (Catholic, Sikh, Muslim and Church of England schools), class (fee paying schools and schools in middle class catchment areas) and 14+ academic selection (Class streaming, GCSE's, A levels and University degrees) why is giving a working class boy without a religion living in a 'doomed' catchment area the opportunity to attend a Grammar school inherently so bad?
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TheDefiniteArticle
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First, I don't support discrimination on the basis of sex or class in the ways you describe and I feel pretty strongly that all schools in the UK should be secular.

The main reason why I'm against full-blown streaming at that stage is that it's too rigid. Inevitably you get some in the 'non-academic' schools who are late bloomers and would have been better off in the other schools, and vice versa.
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cambio wechsel
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While some individuals will benefit by it, there is little evidence that the areas of the country which retain the grammar school system have better global outcomes than do the others. Which means that some people are suffering by it as well.

If someone could say "look at the overall stats for Lincolnshire and for neighbouring Nottinghamshire and then tell me selection doesn't work!" then that would be a powerful argument. But the argument isn't made because there's very little evidence in support of it.

Grammar schools have been pushed back into the discussion by the skyrocketing fees for independent education. If only there were a grammar school in the area, perhaps Marcus could be happy there and we could keep the gîte. But if Marcus were to fail the 11+ (improbable given the amount of tutoring he'd get for it) then the gîte goes and he's off to the independent day school as is presently the plan. For these people, then, it's a no-risk proposition.
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SBKA
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I have always been of the opinion that schools need to become more specialist. Why should someone who displays no aptitude or interest in Maths be forced into learning it beyond the primary school stage? Why should the more capable students be forced to follow a curriculum that is below their standards?

I feel that the grammar school solution that is often presented is like trying to plaster over a hole in the wall. Of course some children would now achieve more in their grammar schools, but what about all the children left to rot in the ordinary schools? What is needed is reform within the entire education system.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Reformed2010)
I am hoping to be persuaded. On many things I am in agreement with the left/centre left in British politics of today. But why are so many fellow left/left of centre people against academic selection at 11? The response I usually receive is a usual wave upon wave of negativity regarding the 1960/70's Tri-partite system which 'doomed' kids at 11 who did not pass the test to failure. But from what I have read (so far) the Secondary modern schools were under funded, the children did not sit the same curriculum or exam as Grammar School children. Both were structural choices made by the governments of the day, both can and would be addressed today for example almost everyone sits GCSE's and A Levels in England and Wales.

As a working class boy without a religion I was automatically discriminated against the opportunity to attend the 6/8 best performing schools in my local borough due to being non religious and not female. The next best 2/8 were heavily oversubscribed and those with sibling relations or lived nearer were given priority, favouring those who could afford to move to those areas. The rest were poor performing for academic achievement and so on. Poor attendance and behaviour. The school I attended did not value Oxbridge, Durham, LSE or any other prestigious UK university. Becoming a Doctor, Computer programmer, Engineer, Architect or a Lawyer was certainly not on the agenda.

My question is this, if it's okay to discriminate on the basis of your sex (boy's and girls only schools), religion (Catholic, Sikh, Muslim and Church of England schools), class (fee paying schools and schools in middle class catchment areas) and 14+ academic selection (Class streaming, GCSE's, A levels and University degrees) why is giving a working class boy without a religion living in a 'doomed' catchment area the opportunity to attend a Grammar school inherently so bad?
The question is whether you would have the realistic opportunity to attend a grammar school. In somewhere like Lincolnshire you would. It operates as grammar system should taking about 20-25% of the ability range.

However most surviving grammar schools and most plans for their reintroduction contemplate single isolated schools. Experience shows that they do not attract poorer parents because of the amount of (a) time and (b) money that needs to be invested to secure a place. These are schools that reject hundreds of pupils who pass the 11 plus every year because although they "pass" there is no room for them. Raw ability may get a child into top 25%; it won't get a child into the top 2-5%. Admission becomes no different to the King's Scholarships at Eton, theoretically open to all, but in practice not winnable except by the well prepared.

It is very noticeable that virtually no politicians with any serious interest in education on the political right favour more grammar schools.
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Reformed2010
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(Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
First, I don't support discrimination on the basis of sex or class in the ways you describe and I feel pretty strongly that all schools in the UK should be secular.
I respect your consistency.
.
(Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
The main reason why I'm against full-blown streaming at that stage is that it's too rigid. Inevitably you get some in the 'non-academic' schools who are late bloomers and would have been better off in the other schools, and vice versa.
But they are still in the same situation, the status quo punishes early bloomers and late bloomers. At least 11+ gives some people a chance. It's actually less rigid because at 11-16 you are at present restricting non religious working class children the opportunity to go anywhere but their local comprehensive for education until they are 16 (College) and 18 (University). Meanwhile upper and middle class religious children in good catchment areas are given the maximum freedom to pick any education institution. It's ****ing ridiculous.

(Original post by nulli tertius)
The question is whether you would have the realistic opportunity to attend a grammar school. In somewhere like Lincolnshire you would. It operates as grammar system should taking about 20-25% of the ability range.

...

It is very noticeable that virtually no politicians with any serious interest in education on the political right favour more grammar schools.
My vision of grammar schools would give heavy priority to children from low income households and other disadvantage backgrounds. So I don't think today's system is comparable?

Of course they don't favour it because they are afraid to tell the truth and the electorate is for whatever reason comfortable with their MP sending their sons and daughters to the local top performing religious, single sex, private school. if it's a non selective school it just so happens to be within a catchment area surrounded by unaffordable housing. While they are forced to send their child to low performing schools.

Why do you think 'free' schools have become popular with those on the centre/centre right/right? It's just a sophisticated way of saying, why should my child have to be in a class with that lazy child and rubbish teacher. Pushy parents and children don't want to make do with their non religious mix sex local schools.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Reformed2010)
I respect your consistency.
.
But they are still in the same situation, the status quo punishes early bloomers and late bloomers. At least 11+ gives some people a chance. It's actually less rigid because at 11-16 you are at present restricting non religious working class children the opportunity to go anywhere but their local comprehensive for education until they are 16 (College) and 18 (University). Meanwhile upper and middle class religious children in good catchment areas are given the maximum freedom to pick any education institution. It's ****ing ridiculous.

My vision of grammar schools would give heavy priority to children from low income households and other disadvantage backgrounds. So I don't think today's system is comparable?

Of course they don't favour it because they are afraid to tell the truth and the electorate is for whatever reason comfortable with their MP sending their sons and daughters to the local top performing religious, single sex, private school. if it's a non selective school it just so happens to be within a catchment area surrounded by unaffordable housing. While they are forced to send their child to low performing schools.

Why do you think 'free' schools have become popular with those on the centre/centre right/right? It's just a sophisticated way of saying, why should my child have to be in a class with that lazy child and rubbish teacher. Pushy parents and children don't want to make do with their non religious mix sex local schools.
I think you push the cynicism too far. Politicians understand the extent of "middle class capture" of schemes intended to prioritise the disadvantaged.





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TheDefiniteArticle
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(Original post by Reformed2010)
But they are still in the same situation, the status quo punishes early bloomers and late bloomers. At least 11+ gives some people a chance. It's actually less rigid because at 11-16 you are at present restricting non religious working class children the opportunity to go anywhere but their local comprehensive for education until they are 16 (College) and 18 (University). Meanwhile upper and middle class religious children in good catchment areas are given the maximum freedom to pick any education institution. It's ****ing ridiculous.
I'm not saying this isn't a problem, but investment in education rather than grammar schools is the answer. I'd like to see larger schools in general, with no private or religious schools, with streaming at all standards in all classes from the very bottom to the very top. There would be a focus from the age of 13-14 on allowing kids to do more of what they were good at, but always doing a core of some maths and some English, the latter being primarily based on communication skills rather than literature for those who were mostly doing more vocational courses.
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
The question is whether you would have the realistic opportunity to attend a grammar school. In somewhere like Lincolnshire you would. It operates as grammar system should taking about 20-25% of the ability range.

However most surviving grammar schools and most plans for their reintroduction contemplate single isolated schools. Experience shows that they do not attract poorer parents because of the amount of (a) time and (b) money that needs to be invested to secure a place. These are schools that reject hundreds of pupils who pass the 11 plus every year because although they "pass" there is no room for them. Raw ability may get a child into top 25%; it won't get a child into the top 2-5%. Admission becomes no different to the King's Scholarships at Eton, theoretically open to all, but in practice not winnable except by the well prepared.

It is very noticeable that virtually no politicians with any serious interest in education on the political right favour more grammar schools.
You might be strong on the ground where you have elected to fight, but why can't the government just adopt a policy of turning 25% of state schools into grammar schools?

Your belief in the inevitability of the failure of the grammar school system seems at odds with the experience of the Germans, from whom we copied it and who still use it.

(Original post by cambio wechsel)
But if Marcus were to fail the 11+ (improbable given the amount of tutoring he'd get for it)
Is there any evidence that tutoring has a significant impact on 11+ results? I took a similar test and it seemed to pretty much be an IQ test. Training can have an effect at the margins but Occam's Razor suggests that middle class kids do better on these tests for the same reason they still do better when they go to comprehensive schools: because they are cleverer.
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balanced
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(Original post by Reformed2010)

My question is this, if it's okay to discriminate on the basis of your sex (boy's and girls only schools), religion (Catholic, Sikh, Muslim and Church of England schools), class (fee paying schools and schools in middle class catchment areas) and 14+ academic selection (Class streaming, GCSE's, A levels and University degrees) why is giving a working class boy without a religion living in a 'doomed' catchment area the opportunity to attend a Grammar school inherently so bad?
Going round universities recently it does seem to me that me being white, middle-class, I have a worse chance of getting in. I hear multiple times of white students getting turned away and black students get in with worse results. I even asked the universities and they openly discriminate based on the colour of your skin (contextual data). If you're white, bad luck, you'll have a hard time! If your black, lucky you! You have a much easier route into uni and employment.

Racism in the UK is so open and must stop.
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billydisco
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
While some individuals will benefit by it, there is little evidence that the areas of the country which retain the grammar school system have better global outcomes than do the others. Which means that some people are suffering by it as well.

If someone could say "look at the overall stats for Lincolnshire and for neighbouring Nottinghamshire and then tell me selection doesn't work!" then that would be a powerful argument. But the argument isn't made because there's very little evidence in support of it.

Grammar schools have been pushed back into the discussion by the skyrocketing fees for independent education. If only there were a grammar school in the area, perhaps Marcus could be happy there and we could keep the gîte. But if Marcus were to fail the 11+ (improbable given the amount of tutoring he'd get for it) then the gîte goes and he's off to the independent day school as is presently the plan. For these people, then, it's a no-risk proposition.
You're wrong there, the Grammar school counties had (havent seen recent figures) better AVERAGE grades.....
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Observatory)
You might be strong on the ground where you have elected to fight, but why can't the government just adopt a policy of turning 25% of state schools into grammar schools?
Merely because this is politically unattainable.

Peter Kellner did a very good poll on this.

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/bl...rammar-schools

So long as grammar schools are simply a synonym for a good academic school the parents of school age children are in favour. As soon as those parents are asked about a sheep and goats entry system, they are against.

Ultimately, it was loss of local political support that resulted in the loss of grammar schools. As Margaret Thatcher would explain, delegates came to Tory Party conferences demanding grammar schools but went back to their councils to put together plans to go comprehensive.

I think it must be obvious that Conservative private polling continues to show the policy is toxic. Under successive Conservative Secretaries of State and shadows, it has never got near being adopted. That has to be more than coincidence. The policy is not ideologically opposed by Conservatives. There is a strong lobby in favour. However, in 9 national manifestos and innumerable local government election manifestos under 6 leaders, it has not been tried as policy once.
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Merely because this is politically unattainable.

Peter Kellner did a very good poll on this.

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/bl...rammar-schools

So long as grammar schools are simply a synonym for a good academic school the parents of school age children are in favour. As soon as those parents are asked about a sheep and goats entry system, they are against.

Ultimately, it was loss of local political support that resulted in the loss of grammar schools. As Margaret Thatcher would explain, delegates came to Tory Party conferences demanding grammar schools but went back to their councils to put together plans to go comprehensive.

I think it must be obvious that Conservative private polling continues to show the policy is toxic. Under successive Conservative Secretaries of State and shadows, it has never got near being adopted. That has to be more than coincidence. The policy is not ideologically opposed by Conservatives. There is a strong lobby in favour. However, in 9 national manifestos and innumerable local government election manifestos under 6 leaders, it has not been tried as policy once.
Forum ate my post:

If grammar schools are unviable in democracies, then why do they still exist in Germany, where they originated?

And if grammar schools are unviable in British democracy specifically, then why is there essentially no opposition to our grammar university system being selective not just in three discrete stages, but to the last decimal point of the league table?
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Observatory)
Forum ate my post:

If grammar schools are unviable in democracies, then why do they still exist in Germany, where they originated?

And if grammar schools are unviable in British democracy specifically, then why is there essentially no opposition to our grammar university system being selective not just in three discrete stages, but to the last decimal point of the league table?
There's nowt so queer as folk.

Politics is a matter of history ad culture as well as theory.

Labour remains committed to universal benefits notwithstanding that the policy amounts to taking money from the poor to give it to the rich because of a folk memory of the the 1930s means test.
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