To think MNers are blasé about the biggest change to our children's education in decades?(18 Posts)
The government have proposed a return to the 11+. Comprehensive schools in every area will leap at the chance to convert to grammar schools and get easy A* results. These schools will snowball quickly. It won't be a grammar school here and there, it will be every single academy trust wanting one to boost results. It will be parents clamouring for a special premium school to increase house prices in their area and give a great school to bright little Johnny. If they have one in the next town we want one too, etc... This means the 50s back, this is the 11+ everywhere.
The results of all this overall are:
- Local comps get wrecked. A school lacking the usual 20% of high ability pupils is a dismal place. Less qualified teachers, less top sets, few results to celebrate, no triple science, a sixth form with more BTECs than A Levels. My daughter's been to two of these in Kent. There is no official name for them, if there was a name it would be 'secondary modern' but that's out of favour, but let's be clear they are not comprehensive schools. They do not represent a range of abilities, they are skewed to low/medium.
- You have to tutor. If you look around and the only good schools are grammar schools (see point above) you have the awful choice of deciding whether to enter your child for the 11+. And if it's the only way to be sure of a good school of course you do. It has eleven in the name but it happens at just ten. Most parents tutor for a year, at £40 a week that's £2000. It works, so you do it. If you have time you might do it yourself. But the pressure's on either way. So you and your 9 year old have to work for a year to get a good school. If you don't someone else will, if they score more points they take the place. If you can't get your 10 year old to excel at logic reasoning puzzles you get a bad school.
- You see the effect on your child. Mine failed. Perhaps it's all worth it if you win? I'm sure a child with 321 points feels like a genius and has confidence for life. Well mine had 319 and felt stupid. I told her it didn't matter. I did that thing, "You didn't pass." I hoped she wouldn't work out that meant she failed. Her self esteem was shattered. She had a choice of two requires improvement schools. Hurrah. The only good schools were faith schools and we wouldn't get in. Can you believe the government says this system increases parental choice, when it offers schools the majority are barred from entering?
- You are quite likely to need to move schools at 16. It turned out my 11+ failure daughter got straight As at GCSE. Some of this was due to YouTube lessons because she had so few knowledgeable teachers in some subjects. Who'd have thought a 2hr multiple choice quiz wasn't very accurate at predicting future ability? Her secondary modern school 6th form had 5 or 6 crap A levels (photography etc.) and a load of BTECs. So she had to move to a grammar school sixth form and leave friends behind. She didn't want to, but we had no choice.
This is Kent, the heart of eleven-plus country, but there are absolutely no safeguards in the current government plan to stop this awful two tier education returning throughout the UK.
Most people who support grammar schools think their child will get to one. Let's be honest we all think our child is smart. And if we have to give them a little tutoring boost, just to be sure, well we'll find the money... And we won't really consider that the place we win with effort & cash is a place denied to a bright child with parents who have no money, or just don't care about education... It's a competition for good school places using our children's test results. We line up kids by points scored and some are 'clever' the rest think they're not. If you actually look at a breakdown of points scored in an 11+ you see literally 1000s of children are 1 or 2 points around the pass mark, there is no real distinction at all.
Today in Kent a mixed-ability school that got BETTER results for its high ability kids than 2 local grammar schools said it would convert to be a grammar if the law changed. A school that was doing great for children of every ability, with no test for entry... But it's in an academy trust and it makes sense for business.
Schools are good and bad, I understand that, and we all want the best for our children... I think more could be done to fix admissions, and to hold schools accountable for bright children using the many tests we have now... But a return to grammar schools throughout the UK is such a backwards step. No modern education experts believe in fixed intelligence judged at 10. Most believe in learning from failure not one-shot chance at success.
I expect this post will attract comments from those who want 'special' education for their bright child, and those with kids in grammars already. No one denies grammars are good schools, though no one quite knows why segregation by ability gets good results. No one quite knows why the reverse is true, and why the schools they leave behind get worse results. But this is certainly the result of this system.
Give me a good comprehensive any day. In Kent we're doomed to have this system forever, but it disappoints me that parents in the rest of the UK seem ok with bringing back the 11 plus.
Come on Mumsnet, fight the government's plan for your child's genius/dunce cap at ten.
Totally disagree , our local comps are all shit so more grammars with give my dc a better chance at a decent state education.
Any of my dc that don't make the grade , or get into a church school , I will home school.
Well said. I couldn't agree more!
Biggest change-? Depends. In some places it won't make much of a difference.
In some areas the biggest change was the change FROM grammar to Comprehensives.
Academies and Free schools have made a huge difference but you might not realise it if it doesn't affect you.
Financing that means schools are paying off huge debts and selling off playing fields to pay them off.
I hardly think you can accuse MN of being 'blasé' about this - there are already at least 15 threads about it...
I agree with you entirely.
Also OP, I am sorry that your DD had such a bad experience at 11 but that is not exclusive to a grammar v non-grammar.
My DD had the same at the local Academy, (no grammar schools). She did a CAT test on the first day - they all do it apparently - to "assess" her and "find the best class" for her. She panicked and scored low. Found herself in a class of low-achievers and trouble makers. The school wanted results so the bottom class got no attention. And that was in a comprehensive academy.
Also agree with RustyBear that MN is hardly blase. Actually I think it is a bit of a red herring myself. If a school is shit and education is shit it is really not going to make a difference how the crap is organized.
YANBU. I used to live in Buckinghamshire where they still have the 11+. It's an awful system and I don't want my boys to experience that. I don't know which, if any, of them would pass the 11+.
What you are talking about (selection) already happens in a lot of areas, but it is by house price.
In London the majority of comprehensives are not true comprehensives, as they are divided very much into desirable and undesirable schools. Parents buy/rent properties at a premium for a good catchment. It's selection via the backdoor, but where the poor children don't have a chance.
Chikara, that is bad that the setting was so awful in the school. But surely there are more chances to move between sets than in a system that divides kids between buildings many miles apart? I think a lot more needs to be done to ensure schools help every child reach their potential... But we don't expect them to walk or talk at the same age, yet with an 11+ we expect a one off test at 10 to judge academic potential throughout secondary school.
Sadly OP there are too many misguided pointy elbowed me me me people who actually fall for this Tory nonsense. The assumption is one of the worst practices in English educational history will benefit them and fuck the rest.
DS went to a grammar. He wasn't tutored.
DD goes to a comp. She gets more attention as an average kid because the clever ones are elsewhere.
I don't believe in fixed intelligence at 10, 16 or 18. DD might be one of the cleverest at 18, but right now she isn't.
It isn't a one shot chance of success.
<stands up and applauds OP>
Couldn't have put it better myself. It's an awful, regressive move back to the 1950s.
see the hypocrites are about,Labour supporters that funnily want their dc's to attend a grammar
I don't applaud OP.
Because there have been do many threads about this in the last few days, that it's just plain wrong to even suggest MN is 'blase'
(Unless of course you're a journo hoping for fodder in one place, rather than going to the effort of reading - or at least skimming - the dozen or so recent threads).
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