Changes to 11-plus to stop middle-class parents 'buying' access to grammars by hiring tutors

(1000 Posts)
breadandbutterfly Sat 01-Dec-12 21:48:28
OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 12:35:48

And now the last word

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 12:35:33

By disruption I don't just mean bad behaviour, I also mean the perceived negative effect of having lower ability children in (or lower motivated one).

Example of such a post on this page (there are others on other pages):

AMPT "What I do mind is my kids being in the same building with teachers or kids with parents that go on about how homework is bad for children and that aiming for Oxbridge is an unhealthy obsession and that wanting a successful well paid career for DC is me living my life through my children."

The implication here (actually, she is express) and elsewhere is that it is to avoid the wrong types of pupils that makes the likes of AMPT want their DCs to go to grammar. So for these people at least its the behaviour/disruption issue.

For the others (once the behaviour/disruption is sorted), why can't stretching and stretching then occur in a comprehensive (if truly one). If 25% of the creamed off kids in Kent, say, where in a stream in a school with those not - there would still be a suitably academic environment - it would just allow flexibility of movement which the rigid divide at 11 does not.

gazzalw Thu 06-Dec-12 12:30:17

Thanks Marnie23 - I was expecting to be shouted down but glad to see some of the posters are bickering amongst themselves wink

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 12:28:42

Sorry to use up an extra post: April1st I think quite a lot of what you say is true, and I think one of the answers is to "rigorise" state primary education and bring it up to the level of private prep education, as far as possible.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 12:26:43

It really is Ohdear: otherwise you're just demanding that grammar students also suffer disruption just because everyone else has to. If there is a disruption problem it needs to be sorted out - not just to attract "grammar kids" and remove the parental desire for grammars - it needs to be sorted out for everyone of every academic level. Remove grammars from the conversation completely and you still need to resolve a disruption issue. Unless you're suggesting it only needs resolving in order to remove the need for grammar schools (I'm sure you wouldn't say that tbh.)

"People want to cling onto grammars precisely to avoid disruption"
I dont' know if this is true, a lot of posts here would suggest it's definitely an element, but I don't know if the main driver is that that they want their children to be tested and stretched.

april1st Thu 06-Dec-12 12:17:24

I believe tutor proof exams will disadvantage the ordinary working class and lower middle class families even more. I believe this will more likely to benefit the children from private schools as it already is the case. In general private schools teaching are always ahead from the state schools. I know many parents with ordinary income will scrap money to buy books and tuition to give their children just that little support as they cannot afford private school fees. I believe GS are more and more becoming free private school for the very well off. As many people know the 11+ no longer serve the original purpose so why hold on to it.

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 12:16:08

Brycie I disagree its not a different debate. People want to cling onto grammars precisely to avoid disruption as many of the pro-GS threads above illustrate. If people were confident (I think there is no need not to be confident, but that is another debate) that their academic kids would not be disrupted (or have the affect of a negative ethos or whatever) and that there was a sufficient critical mass in a comprehensive, there wouldn't be such a vehement debate for the split at 11.

Marni23 Thu 06-Dec-12 12:06:53

Great post gazzalw.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 12:04:39

"And I just can't see why those not academically inclined should be subjected to the largely mythical in this day and age (but we all know it was different in our days) hoards of disruptive kids that the GS-lobby would seek to want to avoid. "

The same for your post OHDear. This is not an argument against selection - it's an argument in favour. You want your children selected away from those hoards of disruptive kids - it's just the bar level at the moment doesn't allow that. (I don't mean you personally - I don't know your situation).

Again, this is an argument about inclusion, exclusion and discipline, not grammars.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 12:01:05

"why should those not academically inclined (or who just have a bad day at the 11+) have to suffer what gazzalw doesn't want her children (passing the 11+) to suffer ie "not to have classes disrupted by lots of disruptive, turned-off-education children" ? "

This is a different question to the grammar question. This question is: how should we deal with disruptive children and are exclusion / inclusion policies dysfunctional. No child who wants to learn should have that degraded by a child who doesn't. Whatever level they are at.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 11:59:22

Seeker: the seeds are laid well before the age of ten. This is why primary education needs to be so much more rigorous and exciting, and why children from disadvantaged homes shouldn't be further disadvantaged by primaries relying on parents for half the bone work.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 11:57:48

Boschy: "I think fear actually drives a lot of those parents who are desperate to get their child into GS, so they can be 'protected' from these gangs of feral teenagers who apparently run rampage through every non-selective school in the country.

Because clearly if you are not 11+ material you are a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who likes nothing better than beating up a geek before breakfast and then going to score behind the bike shed before chucking a chair at the maths teacher and making the lives of the nice but dim kids a misery."

I think this is an interesting post, also the post from AMPF suggesting lowering the bar of the 11+. I don't think your idea is the answer AMPF because firstly, there will always be people who think the bar should be lower, however low you go, while lowering the bar over the last 20-30 years, the "no one should fail" philosophy isn't generally considered to have been a success. And I still think there is the elite question to consider - across all walks of life the excellent have an advanced education and I think that's right.

I was from a comp, and would have done better at a grammar: I was in classes where chairs were thrown and children ran out of classrooms. I did OK but I'm glad my children don't have this - they are doing their best at everything because of it.

Also I don't just mean an "academic" elite - I also mean an engineering elite, a medical elite, a design elite, a manufacturing elite. We need all of these. Design and technology should be an elite subject in my opinion - physicists and chemists as well as art students and "handy" students should see it as an aspirational option.

Hamishbear Thu 06-Dec-12 11:56:00

Playing devil's advocate a bit, OhDear - there too. I've not met a head teacher yet (and I've met a few) who thinks academic ability can develop very much. You've either got it or you haven't and in the majority of cases you can tell relatively young. That's the consensus it seems...

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 11:54:21

And here's a radical thought. Maybe being publicly labelled as a failure at the age of 10 is likely to turn you into a disruptive turned off education child?

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 11:49:17

Not sure you did get the wrong end of the stick, Hamish said "Therefore 11 is a good as age as any to draw a line in the sand and make decisions about academic potential" implying it is fixed at that age - but glad we now agree its not.

And even it it was, why should those not academically inclined (or who just have a bad day at the 11+) have to suffer what gazzalw doesn't want her children (passing the 11+) to suffer ie "not to have classes disrupted by lots of disruptive, turned-off-education children" ?

bowerbird Thu 06-Dec-12 11:39:46

Sorry Hamish, got the wrong end of the stick. Sigh, I hope you're wrong, but I fear you may be right.

Hamishbear Thu 06-Dec-12 11:35:30

I agree Bower but let's face it the majority think that the 11 plus and IQ tests are a crude measure of innate academic ability whether we like it or not.

bowerbird Thu 06-Dec-12 11:33:37

Hamish, I do hope you're wrong that the majority think IQ is largely fixed, as, er... it isn't.

IQ tests measure current academic abilities, not any sort of fixed, innate intelligence. They can change dramatically.

gazzalw Thu 06-Dec-12 11:21:09

I think this is such a difficult debate I am not sure where to start.

DS is bright and got into a grammar school in a super-selective part of the Country. He actually passed all three he took. He didn't have a tutor per se but we did run through practice papers with him for the six months leading up to the 11+ exams. We don't live in an exclusively grammar school dominated area and there are some very good comprehensives fairly locally which effectively have a grammar school stream.

DS is bright but always coasted at primary school. For us (and it was primarily his wish to try for the grammar schools) and for him the choice to put him in for grammar school exams was based on wanting him to achieve his best, to be stretched and to compete with like-minded children. We were keen to look at schools where he felt comfortable. He would probably equally felt at home at some of the comprehensives in our area but not all of them.

I come from a working class background but went to a grammar school. Even all those years ago there weren't many children in receipt of FSM (I was one of them). I recall that even in "those days" some of the middle-class children in my primary school had tutors to help them pass.

I sit slightly uncomfortably in this debate having been a life-long Labour Party supporter. Whilst I agree with comprehensives in theory it is only where they truly have a real cross-section of abilities, socio-economic demographics and cultures that they are really fulfilling their potential and that of their pupils.

We don't live in an affluent area and we neither considered the primary or secondary schools in our locale as viable options for our DCs. I'm sorry but I want my children to go to school to learn and develop a love of learning, not to have classes disrupted by lots of disruptive, turned-off-education children and to effectively be studying in an anomolous mono-cultural environment. I know that a lot of the comprehensives in neighbouring Boroughs are very good but due to catchment area restrictions we wouldn't have got him into one of those.

If you had the choice would you opt for a grammar school or a comprehensive that has gangs?

But you are right that the grammar schools seem to be the preserve of the middle-classes. You can just tell by the rather limited range of traditional boys names. DS is one of three with his name in his class and there are others in the year group too!

A lot of DS's primary school classmates did apply to grammar schools even though they are out of Borough. In essence the ones who passed were all middle-class, although the others all have non-UK born parents (but all are degree-level educated).

I do think there is a bit of a sour-grapes thing going on here though. There are aspirant working class families who will encourage their children to the nth degree and we have friends who would fall into this category. Equally though there are middle-class parents who can't be bothered with it all (hence the tutors in some cases!) or who will change their views about grammar schools if their DCs haven't made the grade.

I think that this Country does need to stimulate its intelligent youngsters wherever they are educated. We are lagging behind and we need to prevent the brain drain once these highly intelligent youngsters have completed their studies. Yes, many people at the top of their game did so without the benefit of grammar school education but looking at my own experience, my grammar school cohort are certainly all in 'leadership' roles. It is almost a given that the pupils will achieve whereas in some comprehensives the pupils' aspirations are stifled.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 11:14:02

That should read- I'm not sad if they don't.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 11:12:06

I want my children to get distinctions in their music exams too ( yes, non grammar school children do them too). The difference is, I'm not sad if they don't.

Hamishbear Thu 06-Dec-12 10:59:06

OhDearConfused - I think the majority think IQ is largely fixed, you can tell reasonably early who is academically inclined and late developers are largely a myth. Therefore 11 is a good as age as any to draw a line in the sand and make decisions about academic potential.

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 10:57:48

I understand now, seeker. You should petition MNHQ for a sarcasm emoticon. God knows how many times I have wished for one.

The partially selective school I have in mind has a very pushy ethos. This partially explains why it is ranked in the top 100 UK schools (Sunday Times). Not bad, bearing in mind it is partially selective.

I do not mind my kids being in the same building as the 75% non selected kids because the school and its teachers share the same ethos as me.

What I do mind is my kids being in the same building with teachers or kids with parents that go on about how homework is bad for children and that aiming for Oxbridge is an unhealthy obsession and that wanting a successful well paid career for DC is me living my life through my children.

Slightly off topic anecdote but I recall talking to a primary school mom about DS' upcoming Grade 7 violin exam (he as 10 at the time) and how I hoped that he would get a Distinction (he didn't sad ) The mom launched into a speech about how it was unhealthy to push such a young kid and that a Pass is just as good as a Distinction.

Basically, I don't want my DCs educated in an environment, whether it is said or inferred, that striving to be a winner is not what nice well rounded people do or that their problems or lack of success is because of other people which is basically your philosophy.

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 10:47:25

The great thing about this thread is you go away for a few days and you come back and the same things are being said by the same people.... smile

Still almost at a 1000 (i think the max posts). Who will get the last word? Seeker or APMF

I'm with Seeker! I just can't see why a decision as to academic inclination needs to be made at 11 when everyone knows DCs develop at diffent paces. And I just can't see why those not academically inclined should be subjected to the largely mythical in this day and age (but we all know it was different in our days) hoards of disruptive kids that the GS-lobby would seek to want to avoid.

april1st Thu 06-Dec-12 10:43:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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