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

piggywigwig Thu 06-Dec-12 18:40:22

"It's not compulsory to put your kids in for the 11+... "
Pah, that's far too sensible and logical! wink

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:40:22

Tantrum exactly (again).

We live right on the border between GS Lincs and Comprehensive Leics.

Our nearest comprehensive (Lecis) has an Outstanding Ofsted, and I hear it is ranked just about top (infact I think it is top) in the county for GCSE results.

Last year, 76% of its pupils got 5 GCSEs, grades A*-C.

5 miles over the border in Lincs, 100% of pupils at the GS got 5 GCSEs grades a-C (and infact, the overwhelming majority got 10 GCSEs, with massive amounts of A*).

The top sets were just wall-to-wall A*.

NewFerry Thu 06-Dec-12 18:41:10

Ref the streaking ahead in maths, once you've got your A*s in maths and further maths A levels, what else are you going to do?
As a mum with older teenagers, I really wouldn't have liked them going to uni early. And nor, I suspect, would they.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 18:43:24

Nit, I'd like to hear some arguments against grammars which don't change with the slipstream and aren't self-contradictory. The most interesting conversation so far has been with Boschy on the end of the last thread (for me anyway) . A lot of is about whether the benefit of "mixing" is matched by the cost of academic stretching - if indeed, there is such a benefit and such a cost.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 18:45:08

Really exceptional mathematicians will be alone in most cohorts or in pairs if they're very, very lucky. They are streets ahead of the others and even in LaQueen's top GS set they would stand out from the rest. They are well above A* standard.

NewFerry, it is a problem if they get too far ahead, but just one year leaves room to do Additional further maths A level, work on STEP (for Cambridge entry) and Olympiad style problems.

And both grammar schools here set the students for every subject. They also offer twilight classes for languages so in theory a year 11 student could do all 3 language options offered. At the comp there are no twilight classes and you aren't allowed to do more than one language option.
The difference is phenomenal and anyone trying to pretend that top set students at the comp have the same opportunities and the same level of education are sadly mistaken.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:45:35

"And have we changed the argument against comprehensives from 'clever children get their heads kicked in' to 'some only rather clever children hold back the very very clever children in maths'?"

No, both scenarios will still occur depending on the schools, obviously. My argument hasn't changed.

Please don't get snitty Nit just because I decided to take the gloves off, and stopped pandering to the faffy-daffy liberal sentiments of some posters on here.

The top maths set in a good GS will rip the shit out of achieve higher exam results than the top set in a comprehensive.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:49:23

laqueen Well I think what I object to,and what might be making me sound snitty, is that you seem to be telling me what is the case in top set maths in a comprehensive, and it's completely at odds with what I know and see to be the case!

Brycie, which arguments do you perceive to be changing with the slipstream?

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:51:03

Agree with gelo still plenty of scope for gifted mathematicians, even with an A at Double A Level Maths under their belts, well before they leave school. DH got his Double Maths A Level just after he turned 17...so he went on to do an S Level (I think) in Pure & Applied Maths.

I don't think they still do S Levels, do they?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:51:05

And YES the top set in a grammar will get better results than the top set in a comprehensive, but if the children in the comprehensive top set who would have been at a grammar if there was one are still getting top marks, then what is the problem? Especially if some of the children at the lower end of the comprehensive top set get an a rather than the b they might have got in a high school, which could very well also be the case?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:52:33

And you cannot really have it that you get to 'take the gloves off' but no one can get snitty in return! Snitty is just an iota away from my own gloves off!

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:53:39

Okay, Nit so in the top maths set in your comprehensive, do all the pupils take GCSE Maths a year early, and is an A* basically a forgone conclusion?

Because that's what happens in the GS maths top set here...I know, because my friend teaches maths there.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 18:54:35

"The top maths set in a good GS will rip the shit out of achieve higher exam results than the top set in a comprehensive"

If they are set then yes, I daresay. But if the individuals aren't achieving any better then so what?

Also, some dc will do better when they are not completely outshone by incredibly bright children.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:56:19

Well it's not my comprehensive, it's my girls', but in the case of year 11 dd, they have essentially finished the GCSE curriculum and are doing a 'bridging' further maths which will be of use to anyone who wants to maths and/or further maths to A level. I shouldn't think an a* is a foregone conclusion for all of them, but it is for anyone who would have got one anywhere else, I would have thought.

They don't sit the whole exam a year early, but I believe doing that is not considered a necessarily good idea by most experts in the field.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:57:35

"And YES the top set in a grammar will get better results than the top set in a comprehensive, but if the children in the comprehensive top set who would have been at a grammar if there was one are still getting top marks, then what is the problem?"

The problem is that even in the top set in a comprehensive, they won't be being pushed as hard, or as fast or as high as they could and should be...because at the very next desk will be pupils who aren't quite as good, who need things explaining twice, rather than once...or take up a higher proportion of the teacher's time. The lessons is slightly slower...the exceptional pupils finish their differentiated work, and have to wait a little while while the teacher deals with less able pupils.

We have to push the exceptional, and not hold them back in anyway...because Asia is doing exactly that. And the UK is lipping down the academic ladder per capita.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 19:01:09

I should add that the maths teacher doesn't share her grade predictions for the whole class with me. But I've certainly heard some compelling arguments from admissions tutors that they aren't usually impressed by early GCSEs in maths.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 19:01:49

Sooooo...Nit at your DD's comprehensive, the maths top set don't sit Maths GCSE a year early, as a matter of course...and grades A* aren't a forgone conclusion...well, it's just not comparable to a GS maths top set, is it?

And, why on Earth shouldn't mathmetically gifted children not take Maths GCSE a year early? How ludicrous...are we meant to pretend now that it's going to somehow damage them spiritually, or something hmm

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 19:04:00

Nit: quickly, just a couple of examples of contradictory claims are: that those denied access to grammar are/are not denied access to a better eduction - that those given access to a grammar are/are not the brightest - that the 77 per cent and their schools would benefit/not benefit from the inflow of the 23 per cent. Those are the sorts of thing.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 19:04:35

"But I've certainly heard some compelling arguments from admissions tutors that they aren't usually impressed by early GCSEs in maths."

Yep, I bet they're actively dismayed by pupils who took GCSE Maths a year early and got an A*, and who them went on to get an A at Double Maths when they were only 17...

I mean what sort of Admission tutor would want that sort of Muppet on their Maths degree course hmm

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 19:04:45

Yes, they don't sit the exam a year early. Not sure why that matters. No, they won't all get an. A*. But children who would have got one in a grammar will, and children who wouldn't have got into a grammar might well do.

What am I actually supposed to feel has gone wrong for dd here?

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 19:06:52

TOSN it's true. Early maths GCSE is often a bad idea. Many schools that do it either make an early start on A level, which then causes problems when the new intake of sixth formers arrive who haven't, or mess about with GCSE statistics which isn't a good preparation for A level and means that the students have effectively had a year off 'proper' maths when they start A levels which is not good.

Taking the exams at the normal time is absolutely fine LaQueen - we don't need to push them through, when they get to Cambridge or Oxford to study maths the course picks up (albeit at a very very rapid pace) from where A levels leave off.

Well dd is doing GCSE maths this year, a year early and also French.

LeQueen is exactly right, surely we should be pushing the exceptional students to fulfill their potential? Exceptional students, even in a top set comp won't get that to the extent a grammar top set will.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 19:08:54

Thanks Gelo.

Im leaving this a while I think.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 19:10:49

Admissions tutors will be more impressed by BMO or even IMO medals than early A levels LaQueen. The early exams won't worry them as long as there hasn't been a recent gap in actually doing maths though, but what about taking them a year later and achieving a perfect score? (Cambridge not only want A*s but prefer very, very high UMS as well)

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 19:11:13

Sitting the exam a year early, means they can get it under their belt, and then move onto higher study, and explore further and faster - it means they are being properly challenged and stretched all the time, and not just coasting, waiting until they are the average age to take the GCSE.

DH took his O Level Maths a year early. He could then race onto higher maths which he loved and which challenged him. He'd have been bored shitless waiting an extra year to take his O Level when he was 15.

Everyone in his top maths set took O Level Maths a year early, so they could move on as a group, and achieve more and faster. And DH could continue studying with his friends who challenged him , and they could support each other.

A few of them went up to Oxbridge a year early, because they had completed all they could do school, and they were bored and wanted to move on to higher things.

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