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    (Original post by me!)

    But that's madness, I'm getting the same grades and I'm getting them for basically free!

    It's crazy, I don't even think my parents earn that much a year... (dad's retired and mum only works 1.5 days a week)
    Yes, they then complain when a person from a state school with the same grades gets in because they have more natural intelligence/personality etc.

    It's not even the kid's fault, the parents really.

    I went to two comprehensives. Hated one, loved the other, but that's irrelevant. In the second one I went to, I got in with a group of friends who liked me for who I was and weren't going to bully me for working hard. There were loads of people who would, but I managed to avoid them. I came out of that school with 6A*s, 4 As and 2Bs.

    My Key Stage 4 English class was a nightmare. The teacher was a lovely woman who just wanted to teach. When I spoke to her on her own, she was enthusiastic about her subject and desperate to share her knowledge with anyone who wanted to hear it. She was 58. During lessons, the class would make her cry and talk about how everything was different when she started teaching. They ran rings round her, and all she wanted to do was teach them. I lost count of the number of times she walked out of the classroom in tears and left us on our own for the rest of the lesson. This was a set 1 out of 5.

    In Science, we had a similar teacher. Admittedly, she was a lot more boring than the English teacher, but the class was so cruel. We didn't get to do any dissection because the first time she got the kidneys out, they were flying round the room in minutes. This was on a Monday. She took the rest of the week off sick, and clearly didn't do any marking during this time, because in the same lesson next week, she opened her pencil case to find a kidney in there that had been decomposing over all her pens for 7 days. Our other science teacher gave us worksheets at the beginning of every lesson and promptly fell asleep. This was a mixed ability class because none of the science department felt they could cope with teaching lower sets, so they mixed all the high fliers in with the morons.

    In IT, we were supposed to do a GCSE, and have 2 hours every 5 weeks or something, which came out of our other lessons. (Our English teacher was always thrilled when this happened because it meant she didn't have to teach us.) Our teacher made us do a huge coursework project and then forgot to enter us for the exam, which meant we ended up without a qualification of any kind.

    This was my good experience, of the school that I loved. I worked hard and came out with good results, but it was often a struggle. My brother is as intelligent as me, but has less willpower and the people he socialises with look down on academic achievement. He hasn't been stimulated in any subjects except maths, and in German, he had 11 teachers in one year before they couldn't find anybody and stopped teaching year 9 languages altogether. These 11 teachers included a maths teacher with a German A level, the headmistress' son, who was only 19 and not even a graduate, and a PE teacher with a German O Level. He has done nothing in 5 years, and he will get nothing.

    A family friend was told he was dyslexic after a test in Year 7. He has not received the help he was promised. In addition to this, the school has not been able to find his class an English teacher in Year 10, so they have been provided with ancient textbooks which are not relevant to the GCSE syllabus and sent to work in the study hall for a year. They sat the end of year exam with the rest of year 10. His parents then received a letter from the deputy head to say he was underachieving in English. When his mum rang up the school and raised hell, the deputy was not aware of the situation, even though he had written the letter personally.

    This comprehensive is the best school out of three in a middle-class town in Surrey, which gets between 65-70% A*-C. I can't imagine what the failing schools must be like.

    I left this school after year 11 and went to a huge sixth form which serves a large part of Hampshire, plus some of Surrey, Berkshire and West Sussex. We were expected to work for ourselves. Overall, students with certain grades from comprehensives have done much better than students with similar, or even higher grades from private schools. A lot of convent girls have discovered boys for the first time, and a few got pregnant. Out of all the people who have gotten involved with drugs, most were privately educated. In short, a lot of people went off the rails as soon as they had a bit of freedom.

    There are things to be said both for and against this argument. If you get top grades in a comprehensive, chances are you will do well in whatever you do, and be a more rounded person. Being educated in a mixed-sex, socially diverse environment is much more healthy than, say, a class of 9 rich, spoilt little girls and one scholarship pupil in a convent, or a class of arrogant, rich, sexually frustrated little boys in a boys school. But the comprehensive system does fail a lot of kids who should succeed, like my brother. OK, so he hasn't got much drive. But he's exactly like our cousin, who goes to a grammar school, and will come out with pretty good grades. My brother will go to sixth form and do non-academic, vocational courses, before getting a job at 18. My cousin will go to sixth form and probably get good grades so he can go to university and get a degree. Guess who will be better paid in the future? Of course it's not cut and dried, but it's undeniable that many people slip through the net in comprehensives who would be able to make something of themselves if they had had the opportunity to learn in a productive working environment, with teachers who were willing to stimulate and push them.
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    (Original post by mangomaz)
    i agree with grammar schools not being elitist. why should you be penalised for being clever? this politically correct society is pushing things a little too far...
    i agree that there are problems - parents paying to coach their children so they get into grammar schools. this pushes them into the same position as private schools almost - u can only geta place if ur parents can afford the tuition in the first place.

    however, for families that cant afford private schools, grammar schools are a godsend.the thing is, that depending on where you live and the actual school, theres either a really big difference between comprehensive school standards and grammar school standards. in my borough in london, the 2 grammar schools are miles ahead of the comprehensives in the league tables.
    but im aware that this isnt always the case so u cant generalise.

    oh bugger this my head is hurting from staring at the computer so long i dont no wat point im making!!!!

    ANYWAY! i used to go to a crappy comp now at top grammar. grammar has no money and were lucky if we have paint on the walls. main hall was unpainted for a year. nice.
    u can really tell the difference tho - attitude of students. just the desire to do well. and teachers like it as well cz even tho facilities are *shite*, students still want to do well so every1 is happy-ish.

    but wat i dont like is wen parents who cud afford to send their kids to private schools send them to grammars. it really pisses me off because theyr taking away places from students who want that standard of education but cant afford it. it makes me so angry!!

    ok im gna go rest my eyes now.. :P
    But if all those kids were in the comprehensives, would you not see more of that attitude in the comps and would push the overall achievement up exponentially?
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    To get into a grammar you have to pass the 11+ and if not chances are you'll get shoved into a not so great comp to put it politely. People slip through the net with the 11+. A guy at my school got 2 E.P's and one level 7 at ks3, surely that's higher than most at grammar schools, yet he 'failed' his 11+.

    Grammar schools are a good idea but the test to get into them isn't so great IMHO.
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    I think it's down to the teachers what grades the school gets. My school was funded by the convent and took any girl who wanted to go. I come from quite a bad area and believed I was a no-hoper like everyone else. My Maths teacher taught me that I was capable of achieving anything if I worked hard enough, 62% of the year achieved C's and above and most of the kids were working class. I think I shall always be grateful to my school for inspiring me to do what I otherwise thought was impossible, for me to go to go to Uni and I'll get there in the end!
    My school was very harsh on people who were disruptive also. I think splitting girls from the boys had something to do with it as well because the all boys school down the road did really well also but the mixed comp did terrible.
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    (Original post by me!)
    To get into a grammar you have to pass the 11+ and if not chances are you'll get shoved into a not so great comp to put it politely. People slip through the net with the 11+. A guy at my school got 2 E.P's and one level 7 at ks3, surely that's higher than most at grammar schools, yet he 'failed' his 11+.

    Grammar schools are a good idea but the test to get into them isn't so great IMHO.
    This is directed not only at the person I quote, but at the whole thread...

    What is wrong with a test based on academic ability?
    Surely, all we have to do to satisfy everyone, is to allow those who are academic to prove it (11+), and go off and thrive among others like them who challenge them etc. Grammar schools do this, and are proven to work. The current curriculum/examination system is suited to this, and only needs to be tweaked by raising examination standards to make A/A* grades something special.

    Then, to satisfy the non-academics, we simply have to make the alternative (comprehensives) muchmore palatable. We shouldn't try and engage them with a curriculum and style of learning that they will never benefit from, or respect, by making them plod slowly through the same work as the grammar schools kids.
    Those who fail the 11+ can be assumed to be better suited to more applied/vocational courses, which lead them into the workplace directly as they all leave the comps at 16 anyway. It is fine for their education to finish at 16, but it must be in a more positive manner than currently. For this to work, their curriculum must be vocational, but rigourous, from the age of 11 or so. There is no need for them to be doing nonsensical "key stages" until they are 14 or so, only to do "poorly" anyway.

    How do we make going to the comp a more "palatable" alternative?
    Simple, all we have to do is develop a coherent set of very high standard vocational qualifications that are then respected by both employers, colleges and society at large. We scrap "Not Very Qualifieds" (NVQs) and minimise disruption by extending decent schemes such as Modern Apprencticeships, and integrating them with schools etc.

    I don't have any barking suggestions about equivalance at all levels either, that might sacrifice the quality of either system. There would be sufficient parity for people to interchange if they were on the "wrong" path, but they would need to go into the year of a lower age-group due to the rigour of both systems. This is not as horrific as it sounds - it is common practice on the continent.

    So, if you're reading this and thinking I am endorsing a "two-tier system" - then you'd be right!
    Except, for the sake of being politically correct, I'll call it a "two-path system".

    One "path" would be of equal merit to the other, it would be much easier to fail or score badly in both systems, but a significant proportion who might fail miserably in the current system would excel under a decent vocational system, because they would be turned-off education for life between 11 and 14 as they weren't academically bright, because they would be able to appreciate the relevance and value of what they were being taught.

    Whatever the disadvantages, my idea is better than the current system, which is trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

    btw. Context: I have been to two grammar schools for my secondary schools, I have met many people who went to private school at my second grammar. I am still close friends with primary school friends who went to the local comp.
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    This is directed not only at the person I quote, but at the whole thread...

    What is wrong with a test based on academic ability?
    Surely, all we have to do to satisfy everyone, is to allow those who are academic to prove it (11+), and go off and thrive among others like them who challenge them etc. Grammar schools do this, and are proven to work. The current curriculum/examination system is suited to this, and only needs to be tweaked by raising examination standards to make A/A* grades something special.

    Then, to satisfy the non-academics, we simply have to make the alternative (comprehensives) muchmore palatable. We shouldn't try and engage them with a curriculum and style of learning that they will never benefit from, or respect, by making them plod slowly through the same work as the grammar schools kids.
    Those who fail the 11+ can be assumed to be better suited to more applied/vocational courses, which lead them into the workplace directly as they all leave the comps at 16 anyway. It is fine for their education to finish at 16, but it must be in a more positive manner than currently. For this to work, their curriculum must be vocational, but rigourous, from the age of 11 or so. There is no need for them to be doing nonsensical "key stages" until they are 14 or so, only to do "poorly" anyway.

    How do we make going to the comp a more "palatable" alternative?
    Simple, all we have to do is develop a coherent set of very high standard vocational qualifications that are then respected by both employers, colleges and society at large. We scrap "Not Very Qualifieds" (NVQs) and minimise disruption by extending decent schemes such as Modern Apprencticeships, and integrating them with schools etc.

    I don't have any barking suggestions about equivalance at all levels either, that might sacrifice the quality of either system. There would be sufficient parity for people to interchange if they were on the "wrong" path, but they would need to go into the year of a lower age-group due to the rigour of both systems. This is not as horrific as it sounds - it is common practice on the continent.

    So, if you're reading this and thinking I am endorsing a "two-tier system" - then you'd be right!
    Except, for the sake of being politically correct, I'll call it a "two-path system".

    One "path" would be of equal merit to the other, it would be much easier to fail or score badly in both systems, but a significant proportion who might fail miserably in the current system would excel under a decent vocational system, because they would be turned-off education for life between 11 and 14 as they weren't academically bright, because they would be able to appreciate the relevance and value of what they were being taught.

    Whatever the disadvantages, my idea is better than the current system, which is trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

    btw. Context: I have been to two grammar schools for my secondary schools, I have met many people who went to private school at my second grammar. I am still close friends with primary school friends who went to the local comp.
    But it is ridiculous to think that a child at 11 is anywhere near the finished product - at that age any reflection of academic desire or ability is likely to be wholly inaccurate.
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    (Original post by magicalsausage)
    But it is ridiculous to think that a child at 11 is anywhere near the finished product - at that age any reflection of academic desire or ability is likely to be wholly inaccurate.
    Look, you're not considering the wider context.

    a) No-one is ever a "finished product" - we all develop throughout our lives, whether we aim to or not.

    b) Whether they are a "finished product" at 11 or not doesn't actually matter, as many are going to leave school, and enter the workplace in just five year's time. It is the system's duty to gve them an education which is of value to them, and of value to wider society, and my ideal system I outlined does that far better than the current system, through selection at 11. I'm not saying it's ideal, I'm just saying it's the best we can currently do for the kids.

    c) There is plenty of evidence that where people have got to by age 11 is an accurate reflection of their likely later performance.

    I will expand upon my idea for the selection:

    I would keep the existing 11+ with its tests in core subjects; Maths, Science and English, and would also use a schools' reference, and a Cognitive Assessment Test.

    As there would be no absurd quotas, schools would not be under pressure in any way over who to recommend for grammar school.

    Of course, I would accept the necessity of an appeals system, in order to minimise the chance of a wrong decision - someone who is desperate to go to grammar school is likely to have the right work ethic. People won't try to get in "for the sake of being at a grammar school" under my system, because the alternative will be equally appealing, and the only decision will be what is appropriate for the individual.

    btw. I am fine with "comprehensive" primary education, as it is at this younger age that being with people from all social backgrounds will be most effective in instilling tolerance and respect for others in children.
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    (Original post by Invisible)
    £20 K is paid a year to be reared to get good grades, thats the reason.
    It's not. Independent schools don't just exist to produce good grades. They exist to provide a good education in the broadest sense of the word.
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    (Original post by d750)
    It's not. Independent schools don't just exist to produce good grades. They exist to provide a good education in the broadest sense of the word.
    But you must admit that includes good grades. I mean, I can't see any parents paying 20K a year for a broad education where their kids will get all Ds or worse.

    I do agree with your point though that - in addition to good grades - people at independant schools also get a whole lot of extra educational opportuinities, such as the chance to learn a musical instrument, horse ride, drama, all sorts of things like that. I know people who are at state schools do these things. I can horse ride myself. But it's often not included in the school experience in state school.

    There needs to be some ability selection in state schools because the current system fails everyone. It's aimed at the 'average' pupil. But no-one is average at everything! These people don't exist! so most students don't get help where they struggle or encouragement where they excel.
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    (Original post by babyballerina)
    But you must admit that includes good grades. I mean, I can't see any parents paying 20K a year for a broad education where their kids will get all Ds or worse.
    What's with the 20K, the perse in cambrisge (one of the best schools in the country) is 9'000 per year. The vast majority of public schools are not the famous "hogwarts-style" boarding schools which cost 29k
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    (Original post by babyballerina)
    But you must admit that includes good grades. I mean, I can't see any parents paying 20K a year for a broad education where their kids will get all Ds or worse.
    Yup, generally. But there are a lot of people at independent schools who don't get good grades, and won't be expected to. Their parents send them there to ensure they get a good, well-rounded education.
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    (Original post by babyballerina)
    But you must admit that includes good grades. I mean, I can't see any parents paying 20K a year for a broad education where their kids will get all Ds or worse.
    *cough* prince harry *cough*
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    This is directed not only at the person I quote, but at the whole thread...

    What is wrong with a test based on academic ability?
    Surely, all we have to do to satisfy everyone, is to allow those who are academic to prove it (11+), and go off and thrive among others like them who challenge them etc. Grammar schools do this, and are proven to work. The current curriculum/examination system is suited to this, and only needs to be tweaked by raising examination standards to make A/A* grades something special.

    Then, to satisfy the non-academics, we simply have to make the alternative (comprehensives) muchmore palatable. We shouldn't try and engage them with a curriculum and style of learning that they will never benefit from, or respect, by making them plod slowly through the same work as the grammar schools kids.
    Those who fail the 11+ can be assumed to be better suited to more applied/vocational courses, which lead them into the workplace directly as they all leave the comps at 16 anyway. It is fine for their education to finish at 16, but it must be in a more positive manner than currently. For this to work, their curriculum must be vocational, but rigourous, from the age of 11 or so. There is no need for them to be doing nonsensical "key stages" until they are 14 or so, only to do "poorly" anyway.

    How do we make going to the comp a more "palatable" alternative?
    Simple, all we have to do is develop a coherent set of very high standard vocational qualifications that are then respected by both employers, colleges and society at large. We scrap "Not Very Qualifieds" (NVQs) and minimise disruption by extending decent schemes such as Modern Apprencticeships, and integrating them with schools etc.

    I don't have any barking suggestions about equivalance at all levels either, that might sacrifice the quality of either system. There would be sufficient parity for people to interchange if they were on the "wrong" path, but they would need to go into the year of a lower age-group due to the rigour of both systems. This is not as horrific as it sounds - it is common practice on the continent.

    So, if you're reading this and thinking I am endorsing a "two-tier system" - then you'd be right!
    Except, for the sake of being politically correct, I'll call it a "two-path system".

    One "path" would be of equal merit to the other, it would be much easier to fail or score badly in both systems, but a significant proportion who might fail miserably in the current system would excel under a decent vocational system, because they would be turned-off education for life between 11 and 14 as they weren't academically bright, because they would be able to appreciate the relevance and value of what they were being taught.

    Whatever the disadvantages, my idea is better than the current system, which is trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

    btw. Context: I have been to two grammar schools for my secondary schools, I have met many people who went to private school at my second grammar. I am still close friends with primary school friends who went to the local comp.
    This system has been tried and doesn't work - it still isn't working in areas where there is wide-spread creaming off into grammars.

    It leads to a dilution of standards for the overwhelming majority - and who says they are not as able as those who go to grammars to be academic?

    It has been proved time and ago that 11+ 'failures' can achieve as much, if not more, that those who have been accepted at grammars.

    Grammars do not necessarily provide a challenging environment for their students and in fact, many of them have been accused of 'coasting'.

    Success in academic grammars is down to one thing only - intake. You put that same intake into a 'secondary modern' school and you will have the same results.

    How do we make the comps 'more palatable'? (your words, not mine!) We fill them with an 'all-ability' mix - not a few of the highest achievers - the most academic streams have an academic education along with vocational subjects. The middle streams have a smaller percentage of academic subjects along with some business subject and vocational ones as well and the lesser able study the compulsory core subjects to ensure they come out of school articulate and numerate, plus have the basic skills to commence either a vocational or apprenticed course.
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    (Original post by yawn1)
    How do we make the comps 'more palatable'? (your words, not mine!) We fill them with an 'all-ability' mix - not a few of the highest achievers - the most academic streams have an academic education along with vocational subjects. The middle streams have a smaller percentage of academic subjects along with some business subject and vocational ones as well and the lesser able study the compulsory core subjects to ensure they come out of school articulate and numerate, plus have the basic skills to commence either a vocational or apprenticed course.
    But it seems wrong to have such a mixture of abilities within the same school. It isn't elitist to say that there should be separate schools for different types / standards of education - it's quite the opposite. You can't administer those three separate streams within introducing some hint of value judgements, and without leading to some resentment / antagonism between the students in them. With separate institutions it's easier to present the streams as equally valid alternatives, and it leads to less antagonism, and doesn't produce low self-esteem among some and overly inflated egos among others.
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    (Original post by d750)
    But it seems wrong to have such a mixture of abilities within the same school. It isn't elitist to say that there should be separate schools for different types / standards of education - it's quite the opposite. You can't administer those three separate streams within introducing some hint of value judgements, and without leading to some resentment / antagonism between the students in them. With separate institutions it's easier to present the streams as equally valid alternatives, and it leads to less antagonism, and doesn't produce low self-esteem among some and overly inflated egos among others.
    I think seperate institutions is generally a good idea. Nearly all parents would be desperate for their children to do well, to get into the best schools which would be quite a first. Such pressures would hopefully allow children to push themselves more rather than messing around expecting another chance.

    Not only would the benefits come to the most able, but for the first time, the less able could not be put off by the high achievers. Also with the shortage of manual workers, practical work could be more encouraged (as I know those who really struggle with school but are like angels when given something they enjoy and can excel at).
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    (Original post by d750)
    Yup, generally. But there are a lot of people at independent schools who don't get good grades, and won't be expected to. Their parents send them there to ensure they get a good, well-rounded education.
    Depends what you mean by 'good'. I suspect that a C is a poor grade in a private school. Sure, in all schools some kids are going to fail. But show me an independant school propping up the bottom of any exam league table? (or even in the bottom half.).

    You really don't know what the 'culture of failure' is like is many state schools. That's not your fault, you're lucky. For example, my head teacher once gave an assembly on how 'I am proud of every pupil who leaves this school. Even those in jail have achieved something.....' so that people wouldn't feel bad about failing their GCSEs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If I was Prince Harry I probably wouldn't be motivated to work hard at my A-levels either! I mean, he doesn't really need to go and see a careers advisor about his grades does he? What is he going to do with his life? He's going to be a prince! All the kudos and cash without the responsibility of being king. Sounds like a great life to me, so why stress over exams?
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    (Original post by babyballerina)
    If I was Prince Harry I probably wouldn't be motivated to work hard at my A-levels either! I mean, he doesn't really need to go and see a careers advisor about his grades does he? What is he going to do with his life? He's going to be a prince! All the kudos and cash without the responsibility of being king. Sounds like a great life to me, so why stress over exams?
    Maybe it's more the fact he has no desire to go to university and wants to join the military, after Sandhurst mind. Thus he put very little work into his academic studies and worked more with the Eton CCF.
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    (Original post by yawn1)
    This system has been tried and doesn't work - it still isn't working in areas where there is wide-spread creaming off into grammars.

    It leads to a dilution of standards for the overwhelming majority - and who says they are not as able as those who go to grammars to be academic?

    It has been proved time and ago that 11+ 'failures' can achieve as much, if not more, that those who have been accepted at grammars.

    Grammars do not necessarily provide a challenging environment for their students and in fact, many of them have been accused of 'coasting'.

    Success in academic grammars is down to one thing only - intake. You put that same intake into a 'secondary modern' school and you will have the same results.

    How do we make the comps 'more palatable'? (your words, not mine!) We fill them with an 'all-ability' mix - not a few of the highest achievers - the most academic streams have an academic education along with vocational subjects. The middle streams have a smaller percentage of academic subjects along with some business subject and vocational ones as well and the lesser able study the compulsory core subjects to ensure they come out of school articulate and numerate, plus have the basic skills to commence either a vocational or apprenticed course.
    Of course, even in the vocational "path", a foundation in core subjects should be taught.
    Ideally, people become more articulate without having to be directly "taught" English, or whatever.
    "Literacy" and "Numeracy" are the responsibility of primary schools.

    You don't seem to be thinking through what makes an educational establishment attractive to people. It has to be offering what people want. For people to know what they want, and to make the right decision, the alternatives have to be clear, and their decision must be based solely on what their aptitudes are.

    As it stands, there is silly, counterproductive blurring of vocational and academic discplines that devalues both and does not equip people properly for their chosen lifestyle/career path. People allow this blurring, and mix discplines, simply because the system is a confusing mess, and they aren't able to see what kind of education best serves them.

    People who are academic want to go to an institution where they will taught at a level and pace appropriate to them, and they want to be taught in a way that leads naturally to A-levels, and then to university. This is the role they perceive secondary education should play.

    People who are not academic want to go somewhere where they won't find themselves disengaged from their lessons because they are studying something that they perceive to be irrelevant. They want that place to equip them with the skills to enter the workplace sooner rather than later.

    No educational establishment can cater for both these categories properly, and maintain a healthy ethos suited to both. It would not be possible to convey to the academic and non-academic students the equal worth of their respective areas of study.
    It would not be logistically practical for such a massive institution to avoid becoming impersonal, given the vast variety of discplines it would have to provide staff to teach. The alternative "blurring" devalues both academic and non-academic study.


    Wider social isssues (lack of respect for elders, betters and the value of education) are the reason why we can no longer realistically expect to teach academic subjects (in a traditional sense) to those who are less able. Also, Britain's skills shortage lies among plumbers etc. not media studies graduates from crap "universities"!

    Those who are not particularly academic should really focus on the vocational, there is nothing disrepectful in this. Many are wasting their time getting low level further education, and need to be told that they are better off getting a job, if they don't already realise this.
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    (Original post by magicalsausage)
    But it is ridiculous to think that a child at 11 is anywhere near the finished product - at that age any reflection of academic desire or ability is likely to be wholly inaccurate.
    thats true. i failed my 11+ for my school that im at now (i joined in 6th form) and to be honest, i do better than a lot of people who had passed the 11+. im glad i had the comp experience, my friends at the grammar have been a lot more sheltered and kind of in a bubble.
 
 
 
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