Middle class access to grammars via tutorproof 11+ part 2

(1000 Posts)
boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 13:27:32

May I do this? only there were some contrasting views at the end of the last thread which I found interesting.

One was mine (sorry!): "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."

And one was from gazzalw: "If you had the choice would you opt for a grammar school or a comprehensive that has gangs?"

Soooo, do people really think that all comprehensives have vicious gangs, and all GS children are angels? Or that only those of academic ability adequate enough to get them through the 11+ should not have to face behavioural disruption of any kind? If you are borderline, or struggling but still work hard, should you just have to put up with disruption because let's face it you're not academic?

PS, re the knuckle dragging Neanderthals I mention above, should have said - "and that's only the girls" grin

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 13:13:52

The only way round it is to create huge schools, I guess, so that there is a reasonable cross section of all types of ability for setting purposes.... and then we wouldn't need as many headteachers, which is good, because there aren't enough to go round. But do people want huge schools???? Also, something would need to be done about transport to and from such schools...

seeker Thu 13-Dec-12 13:15:48

Why on earth would the presence in the bottom literacy set of a school a child still reading Biff and Chip have any impact at all on a child reading Lord of the Rings in the top set?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 13:24:02

rabbitstew
nothing wrong with huge schools.
Remember, Eton is 1300 pupils in five year groups

my DCs comp is 1500 pupils - ie 300 a year ; split into ten classes of 30, two of each of five sets
only at kicking out time on a non orchestra day do you realise how big the school is - and as the catchment is 9 miles across, the kids are bussed in from the far away bits.

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 13:30:10

I haven't said I think there's anything wrong with big schools, but I know some people don't like the thought of them. The comprehensive nearest to us is bigger than your DCs' comp, TalkinPeace2, and has an excellent reputation for pastoral care and at the top end of the ability range produces A-level results that match or exceed the local private boarding and day schools, with these students generally getting places at Oxford or Cambridge.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Dec-12 13:30:23

Large schools don't mean that management:teacher:pupil ratios can be reduced.

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 13:31:28

(By that, I mean results that match or exceed the very best results in the private schools, not match or exceed the more normal results of those schools...).

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 13:32:13

Tell that to the government, Bonsoir, that thinks that one super-headteacher can run a whole chain of schools.

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 13:32:54

In addition, of course, to advising other headteachers in other schools how to be equally fantastic...

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 13:33:41

bonsoir yes they do.

A school with 300 pupils still needs a head, a deputy, a bursar and all the heads of department - funded out of the per capita pupil share for 300 kids
A school of 1500 pupils spends a much lower proportion of its costs on admin.

This was exactly the problem with the London LEAs
Some of them only had 30 schools to look after - but stll had all the director and admin posts.
Hampshire had 680 before academies came in - so the admin cost per school was lower

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 13:36:33

Now that Local Authorities are withdrawing more and more of their support as a result of the cutbacks, smaller schools are being advised to work in federation with each other to make economies of scale. Big schools have less of a problem here - so it is the tiny village primaries that are likely to be suffering the most.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Dec-12 13:42:37

Where did I mention "admin"? Management is not admin.

APMF Thu 13-Dec-12 13:46:10

seeker: the people in charge of the primary schools that are churning out kids who can barely read will most likely be the people in charge of your shining new comp. That is why it matters that Year 7 kids are reading Biff.

You ask how this affects the kids in the top sets. I am not saying that it does. It is you that is arguing that these lower set kids will be affected (in a positive way) by being at the same school as the kids in the top set.

You keep offering sound bites that mean nothing. Now that you have offered up a specific, I would like to know why you think these kids will do better because elsewhere in the building there are kids reading lord of the rings.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 13:47:33

Curriculum planning / student services / IT / grounds / welfare / SEN provision / purchasing / attendance / exam entries / maintenance / staffing

all admin~management tasks that are better with economies of scale - freeing up the teaching staff to teach

APMF Thu 13-Dec-12 14:02:32

.... as for your standing argument that not going to a GS damages the self esteem of the kids that don't get in, it's like saying that people without decent clean warm clothes are feeling inferior because they aren't wearing Prada.

It is barely being able to read that is damaging their self esteem and not what badge is on their uniform or whether there is a decent orchestra at school.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Dec-12 14:04:00

Those things are not management (apart from curriculum).

seeker Thu 13-Dec-12 14:07:40

"seeker: the people in charge of the primary schools that are churning out kids who can barely read will most likely be the people in charge of your shining new comp. That is why it matters that Year 7 kids are reading Biff."

Really? I was sort of imagining that my shiny new comprehensive would have a Secondqry school Head. Possibly even the Head of the grammar school....not sure why Primqry schools should be involved.

And the Primqry schools are not "churning out" children who can barely read. You might as well say they are "churning out" children who go to grammar schools! Certainly my ds's "satisfactory" primary had about th same number of each.

There will always be children who struggle with literacy. Some will have AEN. Others will be children who for whatever reason didn't "click" at Primqry school. Often, but not always because of lack of support from home. Those children can be helped with careful intervention- they are the one's I was talking about in my description of the programme at my ds's school

I am hqppy to explain again why I think that a comprehensive system, while far from perfect, is better than allocating children to different schools based on a test at 10. The trouble is, I have done it so many times before, and every time you decide that the reasons I am giving are not my real reasons and go off on a riff about me being jealous, or being a case of sour grapes or something. So might I suggest you go back through the thread and read some of my past posts if you really want to know what I personally think? Otherwise, there are several other posters on here who have expressed the same opinion much better than I can. Why not read one of thm? I'm having a mental block about their names- I'll pow

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 14:17:50

Bonsoir
In an academy, 'free' or private school, the Senior Management Team (ie the head and deputies) are responsible for every one of them - so the size of the school will directly affect how much head teacher time is devoted to leaning and how much to admin/management

APMF
The best way to drive up standards in a school (or workplace) is to have something to aspire to.
In a comp, that is {academically} the top streams who will go to top universities.
So even the slowest starter with the most fuckwit parents could work hard and rise through the sets by the time they leave.
If that same child has at age 10-13 been segregated into a school without high fliers, they will never reach their full potential.
The high fliers' performance - so long as setting is run well - will not be affected by the fact that there are less able children in other rooms.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Dec-12 14:25:13

You are talking about bureaucratic details, TalkinPeace2.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 13-Dec-12 14:33:14

bonsoir
No, I'm talking about what makes a state school "work".

If the SEN provision is out of kilter, then kids get disruptive. If the buildings are damaged and leaking, they are not a good teaching environment. If student services do not know where all of the children are, they could be truanting or ill or being bullied
The best schools take a holistic approach to the whole environment in which pupils learn so that every child can do their best.
There is no point timetabling tennis if the tennis courts are not fit for purpose.

A secondary school is actually a multi million pound business and to make it glide like a swan on top involves a lot of paddling like fury underneath.

Class teaching works best when the teachers have the facilities and support to get on with their bit.
Big schools have the resources to provide that while leaving as much of the budget free for front line services as possible.

APMF Thu 13-Dec-12 14:37:41

seeker: you said that your school had a lot of children joining your Year 7 with poor literacy. Not a few, not some but lots. Yes, all schools have kids with literacy problems but if they have 'lots' then there is something seriously wrong with the school. Or are you suggesting that it's the catchment?

And why do some people blame the politicians but when it suits them go on about how it is the headmaster that determines whether the school succeeds?

Anyway, let me get this straight. You aren't happy with your SM but you envisage have its HM as maybe being the head of your shiny new comp???

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Dec-12 14:44:08

something seriously wrong with the school - what, if it has lots joining year 7 with poor literacy? Impossible to make such a statement, surely, unless you know they're leaving year 11 with it! What should the school do better - not let them in at all in year 7? Oh wait, that's what the grammar does....

people blame the politicians but when it suits them go on about how it is the headmaster that determines whether the school succeeds? hardly mutually exclusive - politicians are important, so are HTs. No contradiction there.

You aren't happy with your SM I haven't seen Seeker say this? She's said she's unhappy that it is - and that any school is - an SM. Not that she thinks the school itself is a poor one or not doing as well as it can by the pupils it gets sent.

seeker Thu 13-Dec-12 15:37:24

The high school draws from 8 primary schools- and is going by definition to get the least able readers from those schools.

And I am
Not unhappy with the high school. That is one of your little flights of fancy. It

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 15:50:24

I'd like to know what Bonsoir's view of "management" is if it has nothing to do with student welfare, SEN provision, G&T provision, ensuring premises are fit for purpose and contain the facilities needed to function as a successful school, etc. Does Bonsoir therefore think that a lot of a Headteacher's job is admin and schools only share admin resources? And is Bonsoir adding in here the thought "only" admin??!!!!!! What IS management if all it is is curriculum? And what's the difference, then, between management functions and teaching functions? Seems silly to pretend they are all clearly separate.

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 15:51:27

If wouldn't view myself as an admin assistant if I were a premises MANAGER, for example.

rabbitstew Thu 13-Dec-12 15:58:24

Besides which, if you make economies of scale in your admin costs, then you have more money to spend on management and curriculum...

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