The Student Room Group

Is grammar school actually better?

I failed my 11+ exams years ago but I was still smart and it felt like such a let down. Now I’m constantly surrounded by people who don’t take learning as seriously all because I couldn’t pass a test when I was 10. I feel like it’s so unfair that a test determines your intelligence and if you don’t pass exactly then you’re stuck in average schools. Nevertheless, I’m still smart but I don’t want being in a comprehensive school to affect my grades.
Reply 1
Original post by idonnnttcaree
I failed my 11+ exams years ago but I was still smart and it felt like such a let down. Now I’m constantly surrounded by people who don’t take learning as seriously all because I couldn’t pass a test when I was 10. I feel like it’s so unfair that a test determines your intelligence and if you don’t pass exactly then you’re stuck in average schools. Nevertheless, I’m still smart but I don’t want being in a comprehensive school to affect my grades.

I can't imagine at 11 years of age being so articulate and so politically astute to create a politically motivated post like this one? Do you post on behalf of Labour to support their ethos of destroying grammar & private schools?

:confused:
Original post by Muttly
I can't imagine at 11 years of age being so articulate and so politically astute to create a politically motivated post like this one? Do you post on behalf of Labour to support their ethos of destroying grammar & private schools?

:confused:

they said they sat the 11+ years ago so I would assume they're in their teens.
depends how good the grammar is. in my area, the facilities were actually quite a bit worse than the comps, though there was a far better selection of academic GCSEs/A-levels. If you are able to focus in lessons, then the only problem would be possibly not learning high-grade topics in e.g. maths and sciences or not learning them well, (since they might be focusing on getting people to just pass) where you'll just have to make up the shortfall yourself. Once you're done with GCSEs, you can change to a school you prefer. Plenty of people came from those comps to do A-levels. (one decided to cut science A-levels at the last minute, or something similar)

This aside, I think you are probably overestimating how academically engaged most people are. Troublemakers usually disappear after GCSE or mellow out, but you will be surrounded by people who "just get on" and are not particularly interested for a while longer, definitely still in A-levels and perhaps into university as well. (many people go to university as a natural progression for school and just pick their best A-level subject) I think you mainly find the environment you're seeking at very high-flying selective schools, and hopefully at university if you choose to go.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 4
Of course grammar schools are good. They take the best, or those who can afford to mentor their kids for the 11+ and throw all that is wholesome and good at them.

But when compared against the whole, grammar schools do not work. Setting is done in many schools has also been shown to only benefit those in the top set only and even they often aren't pushed.

The best system is actually counter-intuitive but if done well produces the best outcomes for all. That is mixed ability teaching done well and with process.
Reply 5
Original post by hotpud
Of course grammar schools are good. They take the best, or those who can afford to mentor their kids for the 11+ and throw all that is wholesome and good at them.

But when compared against the whole, grammar schools do not work. Setting is done in many schools has also been shown to only benefit those in the top set only and even they often aren't pushed.

The best system is actually counter-intuitive but if done well produces the best outcomes for all. That is mixed ability teaching done well and with process.

All schools should be good - whether they have taken the 'best', the not so 'best' and the severely dysfunctional. What should not happen is that everyone be 'lumped' together in the misguided belief that this works. Works for who? Pulling the average 'Jo' along at the expense of dumbing down the pitch at the brightest This is ideological educational theory that just does not work. Everyone who is not an educationalist knows it doesn't work and it only those same people who keep religiously defending it that hold all of our children back. This puts huge stress on teaching staff.

Of course we should benefit the top set - absolutely. If we don't extend and push the brightest from all walks of life we are losing our ability to run this country effectively and well with intelligent thinking. That should be done by creaming off the brightest in a grammar or any other name you wish to give it. That is the best chance for all the brightest from across the board at sink estate level to get into the best government jobs. Stop pretending otherwise.

Why shouldn't the children in between still have an exceptional education? Equality at all costs has cost this country its once brilliant education. The severely dysfunctional should be removed from classrooms. Teachers are not security staff.

Those with special educational needs should also be educated in specialist units where the best one to one and experienced staff can cope with the needs of their children. It is not helping pupils or staff to bump along in a cobbled make do system.

So yes Grammar's can be better at teaching very bright children and stretching their potential from every walk of life. We need that 'every walk of life' experience in politics, planning and policy at Government. But trashing Grammar and private schools at the expense of what? Leave them be. If we are afraid we are giving these schools an unfair advantage, they didn't used to. This is now stoking the disingenuous politics of envy. Get our education system back to where it should be. High ranking in the International leagues. The Emperor with no clothes on is surrounded by Educationalists. Our failed comprehensive system is holding us all back and the educationalists now want to defend it and destroy any competition because it keeps highlighting their own system failures.

It doesn't take a Grammar school to teach kids to read and be numerically literate.
Original post by idonnnttcaree
I failed my 11+ exams years ago but I was still smart and it felt like such a let down. Now I’m constantly surrounded by people who don’t take learning as seriously all because I couldn’t pass a test when I was 10. I feel like it’s so unfair that a test determines your intelligence and if you don’t pass exactly then you’re stuck in average schools. Nevertheless, I’m still smart but I don’t want being in a comprehensive school to affect my grades.

Hi, I did a project on this a year or two ago. In my area, in terms of facilities, the local comprehensive state is better than the two high-achieving grammar schools. The teaching is slightly better at the local comprehensive state, which is backed up by one of my friends who initially went to my school (grammar) for sixth form only to leave to go back to the local comprehensive state since the teachers are better. Grammar schools seem to produce good results by selecting students with the initial promise of high performance thanks to their parents promoting a learning environment and tutoring. It seems to be a more severe version of sets, just like how any school may have several maths sets according to ability.

People can thrive at either school depending on what learning environment best suits them. At grammar schools, I have known many people who have been bullied in sneaky underhand ways. There can also be a lot of competition where other students put you down. At some schools, teachers can be the one to inflict pressure, whereas at others it is mostly the parents or other students. I often wish I wasn't surrounded by overly competitive peers who are fixated on nothing but grades, but I understand that not everyone has had the same experience as I have at a grammar school.

You are honestly not missing out on anything at all by not going to a grammar school. The system here is patchy: teachers, knowing their students get tutored and care about their education, slack, leaving them to self teach themselves, even if they are in their GCSE year or A Level year. A lot of the time you will have no teacher, or your teacher changes around 3 times every year (this is the experience of my friend in her A Level year). One of my mum's friends has two kids of similar age: one goes to my school, a grammar school, and the other goes to a local comprehensive state school. She believes her son's state school is better than her daughter's grammar school in terms of pastoral support, teaching, environment and organisation.

State schools, grammar or not, are more or less the same: lack of funding, teachers that leave, patchy organisation from the school, little pastoral support, etc etc. We can only make the most of what we have by taking responsibility for our grades, instead of looking to the school to provide everything, or at least that's my key takeaway after 6 years of a grammar school. I believe you have dodged a bullet.

Don't beat yourself up for not going to a school where they expect you to teach yourself. There are some very smart people I know who are thriving at non-selective state schools: my friend, who went to one before coming to my school for sixth form, is literally top of our maths class.
Reply 7
Original post by Muttly
I can't imagine at 11 years of age being so articulate and so politically astute to create a politically motivated post like this one? Do you post on behalf of Labour to support their ethos of destroying grammar & private schools?

:confused:

😂😂 No, I’m not 11 years, I’ve done the 11+ test years ago. Thanks for the flattery though. And no, I don’t support grammar & private schools being demolished, however I do find it unfair.
Reply 8
Original post by Muttly
What should not happen is that everyone be 'lumped' together in the misguided belief that this works. Works for who?

The current "trend" in education at last is called Evidence based practice. The idea that things you do in the classroom are informed by research.

Benefits who? Everyone is the answer. If you take a cohort of students and send a third to grammar school most of them will do very well. The two thirds who don't go to grammar school do worse.

If on the other hand you put them all in mixed ability classes, the lower abilities do better whilst the high abilities still do just as well. This is born out in numerous research papers and my own experience of teaching sets and mixed ability.

However there are some caveats. Behaviour has to be on point. You can't teach if there is poor behaviour going on. This is why some schools struggle because a majority of children attending don't know how to behave due to disrupted home lives.

You also have to use the correct approach to teaching mixed ability using carefully thought out seating arrangements and frequent assessments so that you can support struggling students and push high achievers.

It does work. More info here. The EEF is a go to meta analysis page for teachers. This is their view of setting or streaming which has no positive impact on outcomes
https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit/setting-and-streaming
(edited 8 months ago)

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