Genuine question - why do some people have a problem with the grammar school system thread 2

(382 Posts)
octopusinastringbag Tue 29-Oct-13 10:04:21

Original thread full so here goes.

I think the people who are concerned about aspirational/non-aspirational need to trust their DCs to select friends who are like minded. Generally it is my experience that they find their own groups who are similar to them, especially with setting and especially once the GCSEs have started.

Talkinpeace Tue 29-Oct-13 11:20:11

I have to agree with that.

DD is in year 11 and is revising like fury for her mocks after half term.
Some of the other kids are out breaking branches off trees at the supermarket
but those who are motivated motivate each other
and tend to avoid the lazy ones.
DS is in year 9 and is half way through the process of self filtering his friends.

WooWooOwl Tue 29-Oct-13 11:35:38

I thought we'd finished - but ok! smile

I disagree with that, it's not that simple.

It can be very difficult for an 11/12 year old to find the people most like them when they are put into a huge year group (at my dcs comp there are 200 per year) when they might not be placed in classes with similar people just through chance.

It can be especially difficult for children that are slightly awkward socially, or who are quite shy or who have low self esteem for whatever reason, and there are many many dc like that.

If my child was struggling socially, I'm afraid it wouldn't be enough for me to say 'oh well, they can just be a bit miserable for three years because when they start GCSEs they are likely to find a group they are happy with'.

It's our job to guide them socially as well as academically, and in my experience you can teach young children what makes a good friend and they can make good choices through primary school. But when they big wide world of secondary school opens up for them at just 11 years old, they might need to re learn that lesson because the environment is completely different.

WooWooOwl Tue 29-Oct-13 11:36:38

Also should have said that this is just as relevant for children in grammars as it is in comps.

kitchendiner Tue 29-Oct-13 11:38:29

You have might have a scenario where a quirky, unusual child of average ability is best mates with another quirky, unusual child of high ability. It's not just the high ability kids that can struggle socially or be shy.

kitchendiner Tue 29-Oct-13 11:43:08

Actually, my DS's comprehensive school friends do actually range through top to bottom groups (I literally do mean that - from G&T Group kids on Level 7s to 2 best friends in bottom group English).

abbiefield Tue 29-Oct-13 11:44:13

I have arrived rather late at this thread. I am not sure I have anything valid to offer except my personal opinion and experience.

I work in an independent school in an area where selection still takes place. Leaving aside our boarding pupils. Many parents send their DC to our prep because we have a reputation for being able to get children through the 11+

Those that do not get through the 11+ generally stay with us into senior school. This last year a number remianed with us anyway, having passed the 11+ because it seems local gossip is that the grammar schools are not what they should be. I dont know I dont work in them or know anyone who does.

Many parents who transfer into our senior school are 11+ failures whose parents are avoiding the local "comprehensives". The comprehensives all have reputations that I would not envy. I wouldnt send my own DC to any of them.

That said, I wouldnt send my DC to any of the comprehensives in my own area either and I live in a fully comprehensive LA. Schools can only be as good as the kind of pupils they recruit. That is determined by the kind of area or catchment they have. My LA believes in mixing things up ( social engineering) so none of the schools have a consistent type of student. The idea of course is to provide diversity and to level the playing field. What it does is generally lower standards all round.

I dont want that for my own DC.

Summerworld Tue 29-Oct-13 11:50:26

it depends on the child. Some children pick like-minded "boring swot" friends, like I did. I just was not interested in trouble-makers. But some children want to associate with somebody who is more fun in their eyes, like my DH did at school. He now looks back and wishes he hadn't. But it was a lot more fun for him as a kid, there is so much more excitement about somebody who breaks the rules, not follows them.

It is about the child's personality. Some are leaders, some prefer to follow. I personally would not want to leave the choice of friends completely up to my DC. I suspect many other parents wouldn't want to either blush. Who has not told their child, well, so and so is a nice lad, but made a very different comment about the other so and so. Of course, kids can always choose to ignore, but I do think it sinks in on some subcontious level. I would want to hope so anyway...

soul2000 Tue 29-Oct-13 11:52:00

hi were back then... I have to say that the comprehensive school my
Nephew was so worried about, is in fact a grammar lite. It has the same
dress standards at 6th form and probably achieves the same grades as his school. It is filled with "Conscientious Objector's" Children it has 7% low
attainers on its roll that are dumped at 6th form. It has 4.3% FSM ...
It is one of those very middle class comprehensives that people on here think are typical comprehensives. I was actually shocked about my nephew's attitude.

The sixth form college in my time from the comp i went to was seen as the
"HOLY GRAIL" well done you've got in there.

A funny story is that an ex friend was teaching at a inner city school and he asked me (TRUE I DON'T KNOW IF I WAS CRB checked) could i drive
some of his pupils to the "Posh 6th form college . When we got there i kept hearing his kids calling them "SNOBS" and POSH.

So the sixth form college is Posh to the inner city kids but full of "shell
suits" to the grammar kids.

WooWooOwl Tue 29-Oct-13 11:53:10

Good to finally hear a teacher with the opinion that comprehensives are not the holy grail of education, but they can't really be comprehensives in any sense if they are in a selective area.

Have to say, I wouldn't want that for my child either though.

Xoanon Tue 29-Oct-13 11:59:14

Kitchen That's right. It's also worth remembering that ability and performance level aren't always matched (not necessarily through the fault of a school not helping a young person fulfil their potential either). but this is a problem for all schools not just comps - grammar schools don't teach kids in 120 or 150 person classes. Even the superselectives don't have a majority of quirky geeky kids (speaking as the quirky geeky (back from when it wasn't trendy, kids today don't know they are born ) mother of quirky geeky kids). Not surprisingly there seem to be roughly the same number of quirky kids at DS's comp as there are at DD1's Grammar.

Although I have issues about school SIZE, because of my DD1's SEN issues, I don't think the environment other than that relating to academic issues is noticeably different between DS's comp and DD1's Grammar.

It is possible that where I live is just odd (well - it is, I reckon, but that may be irrelevant) and it's also possible that the situation is unusual because of the fact that the grammar is superselective, and that far more kids are sucked out of the system round here by the posh schools. It might also be affected by the fact that there are thriving city and county wide 'things' which ensure that many young kids mix outside school no matter which school they go to - for example, my kids go to a theatre group which has loads of kids from the comps and from the posh schools, as well as several from the grammar, it's the same with the dance school - and for these kids, being in the theatre/dance thing is more important to their sense of self than the school they go to. I know there are similar sporty things too. Especially to do with the rugby and swimming and gymnastics.

I know that Curlew, for one, has posted in the past about a real sheep and goats situation where she lives - kids going to different schools never speak again. That doesn't happen here (I think the fact that we have a local sixth form college where many of the comp kids go and some of the posh ones too, while other cpm kids go to the posh schools for sixth form, and some go out of the city, means that few people see their school at 11 as a definite forever choice). and most kids' social lives really don't revolve exclusively round their school.

I didn't think the comp was the right school for DD1 or DD2 but that had nothing to do with the potential friendship opportunities (because DD1 is still really good friends with many kids from that very school and does out of school activities with them all the time).

soul2000 Tue 29-Oct-13 12:03:02

Summerworld. Thanks for the encouragement. I have known kids who have
passed the 11+ and gone to the "High School" because of better sporting
teams more suited curriculum and better pastoral care. The school i am talking about has its own 6th form that's good . There are also the Grammar school/ F.E and comprehensive options available to them .

For the record it achieved 73% A* to C Maths/English this year....

jeee Tue 29-Oct-13 12:04:49

Because ultimately it's not a 'grammar school system', but a 'secondary modern system'. The majority of children won't go to the grammar school.

And I'm sure people said this on the previous thread.

WooWooOwl Tue 29-Oct-13 12:06:30

I know that Curlew, for one, has posted in the past about a real sheep and goats situation where she lives - kids going to different schools never speak again

This doesn't happen in our area either. The children still see each other because they live near each other, and there are lots if active community things going on like Guides/Scouts, youth clubs and that type of thing.

Summerworld Tue 29-Oct-13 12:20:27

^jeee Tue 29-Oct-13 12:04:49
Because ultimately it's not a 'grammar school system', but a 'secondary modern system'. The majority of children won't go to the grammar school. ^

ok, so you suggest that everybody should be made to go to a secondary modern and thus, we can rename it into a "comprehensive". Shame, the not-so-excellent standards will have remained, and now even the bright kids are denied opportunity. Fortunately, the well-off are out of it and can still send their child to a school of their choice which has the academic standards they are happy with.

It is not the good schools which are the problem, it is the poor schools.

WooWooOwl Tue 29-Oct-13 12:32:00

I agree with you summer, but I think the argument for getting rid of the grammars and turning the SMs into comps would be that standards would improve if the sec mods became comprehensives because the motivated and high achieving children would be there.

The thing that makes me uncomfortable about that is that children should not be used as a tool to improve things for other children. That is the job of schools and parents.

abbiefield Tue 29-Oct-13 12:47:11

Unfortunately WooWooOwl, it doesnt work that the motivated and high achieving pupils push things forward for the others. This is because they are actually in a minority in a comprehensive school. The majority being the 80% who would have been de selected in any SM system (I agree it is an SM and not a grammar school system - in fact back in the old days we used to call it a "sponsored mobility" system - sponsored in that a few were enabled to move up the social ladder by academic ability).

However, more than that for me is the issue many schools have with lack of discipline. This is caused by mixing populations and putting able but highly disruptive pupils into classes with high achieving and well behaved pupils ( something common in the comps in my LA) believing that the well behaved ones will clam the others down and offer a role model for behaviour. What happens is that it goes the other way instead and well behaved children drop their standards, oft timestoget attention which they are not getting because teachers are busy dealing with disruptive pupils.

Unfortunately it seems this has now started to spread to grammar schools too if what I have been told is true.

Its that I do not want for my own DC.

Xoanon Tue 29-Oct-13 12:54:40

abbiefield Even if what you have been told (whatever that is) is true, it won't apply to all grammar schools.

Xoanon Tue 29-Oct-13 12:56:06

Having said that clearly grammar schools aren't immune to disruptive pupils (as I know only too well). But that's because they have human kids as their pupils and some kids are disruptive and being disruptive can apply to any kid anywhere.

abbiefield Tue 29-Oct-13 13:01:37

Nothing ever applies to ALL of any kind of school. However, I have heard it about local ones.I have heard from a friend about a similar thing in schools in another part of the country, so it may be part of some policy or other.

I wont say specifically what it is because I am not going to spread gossip. Certainly though it has had an effect on my own school of increasing numbers as parents choose to move out of the state system.

Interestingly at least where I am, the largest occupational group sending day pupils to us are state school teachers.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Tue 29-Oct-13 14:48:49

"The thing that makes me uncomfortable about that is that children should not be used as a tool to improve things for other children."

I agree with this ^ ^ ^ ^.

DD1 has just passed the 11+, and DD2 is a dead cert' for it, too. I don't think they should be parachuted into low achieving schools to provide a good example to other children.

Obviously, there will be a (very, very limited) amount of potentially disruptive pupils at our local grammar (children will be children, even if they have high IQs).

But, as yet they've never had any violence, or needed to call the police on to the school site - which were quite common occurances in the several comprehensives I have worked in.

Xoanon Tue 29-Oct-13 16:44:50

LaQueen Most parents of children at a school wouldn't know if there was a violent incident. And most violent incidents don't end up with the police being called (whether that's the right thing or not). Speaking from experience here. sad

I don't think you can possibly say with certainty that there will be a very, very limited number of potentially disruptive pupils at your DD1's future school. In one sense, they are all potentially disruptive!

Talkinpeace Tue 29-Oct-13 16:47:56

anyone who thinks that sending their DCs to segregated schools (state or money) will keep them away from unpleasantness is very naive

WooWooOwl Tue 29-Oct-13 16:55:08

It's not always about whether unpleasantness exists at a school or not, it's about whether you trust the school to deal with it effectively when it does happen.

Some schools can be trusted, some can't.

soul2000 Tue 29-Oct-13 16:55:26

On here .... We the normal people are discussing the best way to educate
the masses by using state schools.

On the other mumsnet "IS ETON THE RIGHT SCHOOL FOR OUR DSs"
Or would they be better going to "HARROW/WESTMINSTER.

I Would love an "SOS", DS has failed Eton, Is it possible to get an education in a state school

Will my Ds go to a Comprehensivegrammar.... Ha Ha Ha..

There really is two types of people on this site.......

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