Why is tutoring such a big deal with some people?

(302 Posts)
APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:05:14

We downloaded some past papers. We 'tutored' our DCs in standard test taking techniques ie watch the clock, skip a question if you are stuck and return to it later, recheck your maths answers if you have the time and so on. Now, if parents want to pay someone to tutor their DCs in such obvious exam techniques then my rates are quite reasonable smile

After listening to so many presumably working class parents harp on about middle class parents buying a GS place for their dim? DCs, I wonder if the said parents realise how stupid they sound.

I mean, there is no secret technique that is known only to the Secret Brotherhood of Tutors. Some parents haven't the inclination to do the above and so they hire someone to do it for them. This hardly gives their kids an advantage over yours.

I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?

Arisbottle Sun 02-Dec-12 23:15:00

I would and have refused to tutor my children , they spend enough time doing homework as it is. They also need time for their hobbies which make them rounded individuals and time to be children.

APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:39:04

Mine study hard AND they have the time and the energy to be 'rounded individuals'.

Kind of silly to rant about GS kids and then confess that your kids can't handle a bit of tutoring without their social lives coming to halt.

The parents got their places, not because they bought the GS place, but because they don't have your attitude.

Elsewhere I see that you mentioned that you are a state school teacher. Given your attitude towards pushing your own children, are you surprised that some parents want an academic environment for their DCs where the teacher doesn't think that teaching exam technique is worth his/her time?

Some posters complain about whatever, not realising that THEY are the problem. Teachers with YOUR attitude is why I got mine to take the 11+.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 00:15:39

Gosh , not sure there is any need to be quite that personal.

My older children already do 1-2 hours a night of homework, my eldest son has a commute to and from the grammar and he has extra curricular activities a couple of nights a week too, he has no time for any kind of tutoring. My second daughter does homework every night for a similar number of hours and does sport a few evenings a week. My three eldest children all sail for at least one full day every weekend from spring time until the winter.

My third child is in year 6, she does about 30-45 minutes of homework every other night. She reads every evening ferociously . She dances three times a week for between one and three hours and sails at the weekend in the summer.

I have to work long hours during term time and therefore we are very protective of family time.

My eldest three also come to the gym with me a few times a week. The older two also do voluntary with my husband and I . My third child is something of a business geek and is forever dreaming up businesses, some of which work.

We also have a pony share, so that also takes time.

I didn't say they could not handle tutoring, I said I did not want it for them. I also have a child in a grammar school, who was not tutored, so it would be daft for me to feel bitter about other parents who have their children in grammar schools. However if I had been given a free choice I would have made a different choice.

I do create/ facilitate an academic environment for the children I teach. I am part of our school Oxbridge team which works with sixth formers getting them ready for the process. Where have I said that teaching exam technique is not important? There has to be more to teaching than exam skills but itis vital. For the past three years a student from one of my ALevel classes has gone on to Oxford or Cambridge, many go on to top universities. I als run special sessions for our gifted and talented students . You could not be more wrong . Not your fault, that is the drawback of an Internet forum.

Silibilimili Mon 03-Dec-12 00:28:53

It really is the grades grades that employers look at first.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 08:00:39

They are not doing activities to make them more employable. I expect my son will get straight As and A* to be honest anyway. My second child , not quite as well.

cory Mon 03-Dec-12 08:25:05

"I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?"

Isn't that a bit mean towards parents that haven't got the means to pay for a tutor?

No personal axe here, I don't even live in a grammar school area, but the one objection that I think can reasonably be made against tutoring is that it divides children not into the bright and not-so-bright, but into the Bright Enough To Cope On My Own and Not Bright Enough But With Well Off Parents. In other words, if Child A and Child B are on exactly the same level of moderate brightness, and Child B's parents are poor, grammar school will only be on offer for Child A. Then again, if Child A's parents are also poor but well educated, the same unfairness would prevail and you can't stop people from being educated.

But I do think it's nasty to suggest that parents who can't afford to pay for tutors are failing as parents. One more reason I am glad I don't live in a grammar school area.

mam29 Mon 03-Dec-12 08:55:14

APMF-feel bit harsh on some of your response to Arisbottle, I dont know how she manages it fulltime job, lots kids, some kids can make it without tutoring the very bright guess depends how superselective the grammer is. I do agree in the sense that kids need a rounded education with extra curricular and academic work sometimes hard to strike the balance but I agree with some of ops comments but her frustration was vented at wrong poster never see arisbottle on grammer school posts moaning her dd dident get in .

Most areas dont have grammer schools my nearest one is hour away few counties over. we dont have mujc real choice here its sink/comp academy, private or faith so sometimes envy people having something to work for.

I only have 1 school age primary child who does afterschool activities a week old school used to give hours homework a week keystage 1 new school only reading.

I have 3kids so know juggling all their homework be a challenge as see freinds who do. But will do my best to ensure help them any way I can.

I have done what some people would call extra help.

enrolled dd on maths programme online in summer as she was struggling.

Try to do lots reading

Try to get her writing.

We do education day trips, mini projects/arts/crafts at home.

I dont know if that would be considered tutoring.

As for what job market wants well thats a tricky one.

with grade depreciation and so many getting a and bs?
how does an employer decide?

extra curricular?
experince.

Also one of sucess of private education can be the networking with inflential people or parents of - so xs daddy can get boy b an internship at his city office that kind of thing.

Some activities by their very nature can be limited due to costs and whats needed hence why can network with wider variety of people. Private schools themselves can ofer much wider variety of sports

sailing/horseriding included in that -of course there be exceptions but both are expensive hobbies.

When applying for uni lots people do extra to diffentiate themselves from others with same grades.

Having never been through 11+or with kids I must say if I chose to enter child then yes I would tutor as know most are unless child was very bright as think the dissapointment of failing something they could have passed would upset me and the child.

I forsee me doing a lot with eldest she can do it but needs to ork at it, responds better one to one, shes behind so recently moved schools but shes year 2 so not too confident will get great sats-not end of world I know just dident wnat her playing cathcup every year, want her to start juniors leveled with everyone else . Did worry old school may have already labelled her at slow kid therefore her not achiving level 5/6s in yera 6 sats.

As for middle dd shes very differnt personality. shes just missed school cut off so maybe do more academic stuff with her next year as she loves reading books, shes good with numbers/shapes and colours.

Hope for all mine to have good education and hobbies and hope its possible to balance them both.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:02:13

I think that people who don't understand why tutoring, or selective schools generally, are a bad idea will never understand.

This is because they have the "Look after Number One-Devil take the hindmost" attitude that does not care about inequality or unfairness just so long as they and theirs are OK.

Sad, and dispiriting, but true.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:03:50

@Cory - I downloaded some past papers and I got my kids to familiarise themselves with the different types of questions. We then spent the summer working on basic exam techniques like checking answers and not getting bogged down with questions that they are struggling with. Hardly rocket science.

If, after this, my kids failed then I would accept that they were better off at an non selective school. I certainly wouldn't be going on how some well off parents are buying a place for their DCs by employing professional tutors.

And if I didn't even bother to do something as basic as familiarizing my kids with the 11+ because it interferred with their social lives then I would see myself as having failed them.

mercibucket Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:58

We don't live in a grammar school area. I went to grammar school so used to do the bond papers etc. You do need a bit of exam practice and a tutor can make the difference for 'tim nice but dim' types. That's why grammar schools end up crammed with mc types: either they tutor the kids themselves (as I would) or they pay someone else to do it.
People object to the unfairness of a grammar school being really a 'middle class' school by default. That is a political objection not a personal objection.
I have never liked the grammar system as I hated the secondary modern system - seen too many people's lives destroyed by the second-rate education on offer there for it to be balanced out by good grades for those at the grammar.

mercibucket Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:58

We don't live in a grammar school area. I went to grammar school so used to do the bond papers etc. You do need a bit of exam practice and a tutor can make the difference for 'tim nice but dim' types. That's why grammar schools end up crammed with mc types: either they tutor the kids themselves (as I would) or they pay someone else to do it.
People object to the unfairness of a grammar school being really a 'middle class' school by default. That is a political objection not a personal objection.
I have never liked the grammar system as I hated the secondary modern system - seen too many people's lives destroyed by the second-rate education on offer there for it to be balanced out by good grades for those at the grammar.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:12:40

@Arisbottle - I am receiving conflicting information from you. You don't believe in tutoring your own children even though you are a teacher. The fact that your eldest is at a GS without tutoring kind of proves that professional/home tutoring is a bit irrelevant.

So why are you on a thread going on about how the well off are buying a place oft their DCs through tutoring? Yours got in with no tutoring but others are not getting in because they don't have access to professional tutors?????

LettyAshton Mon 03-Dec-12 09:18:56

I never understand it either. People say they're too poor, well, how much are Bond papers? We don't live in a grammar school area, but I bought some 11+ papers just to see if ds could do them. Unless you are extremely badly off then I think you could find £10 from somewhere, especially if you feel the result is so important.

And some of the questions you could never tutor for. I remember one question where you had to make a word out of others and the answer was "dace" as in the fish. I'm sure that even the most comprehensive of tutoring could not hope to impart a full knowledge of British wildlife. This must have been the tie-breaker question!

BeckAndCall Mon 03-Dec-12 09:22:15

I think the rest of us may have missed something here.

OP posts her post and Arisbottle replies with a short reply with a different view. OP responds with very personal comments far more detailed and presumptive than anything in the original reply could warrant. Aris comes back with a full explanation, very calm in the circumstances, IMO.

Next morning OP is back laying into Aris again. What on earth did we miss - what is the back story here? Second thoughts I don't want to know.

Would just say APMF that you appear to have a personal axe to grind here with Arisbottle and you look like you're giving her a hard time for no reason.

APMF, you might want to make your comments less personal in Orr to get your point across, because I, for one,have lost sight of what exactly your point is.

BeckAndCall Mon 03-Dec-12 09:26:12

Ah, there's another thread. And the OP is having the same personal debate wtih Arisbottle on there too.

I'd ask for the thread to be pulled, Aris, if I were you before it gets silly here.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 09:27:34

Seems to me the homework's the problem for middle class, state educated children at primary level, then!... Without that, they would have time for lots of hobbies AND parental home tutoring in 11 plus exam technique... grin

mam29 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:28:36

Seeker im aware of you veiws but even you who disagreed decided to enter an exam you despise.

As I explained we have no grammers/selctive schools here so I dont have the choice that some counties do thats hardly fair is it, I know you like idea of comprehensives but ones in my city are some of worst in uk.

Dd does to state primary. she started off rc and now smaller coe.
so selction by faith seems far more unfair than ability.
catchment is who can afford the house prices near the best schools.

What im saying is there are oads of inequalities within the uk education sytem . grammer\11+ just small minority

think 3%grammers
7%private

which leaves 90%in state educational system.

Even with state schols there are good ones and bad ones.

Most of the really clever ones go private here as we have so many thriving independant schools.

we are i guess middle class in terms gross income.
But always feel skint.
we looked ta explore and kumon but just sheer cost.

I dot think it just needs money parents can tutor.

I see nothing wrong with familierising self with formats.techniques surly schools do that when it comes to gcses/alevels.
Its about increasing childs confidence settling their nerves so they can succeed,

Who doesnt want the best for child?
you wanted a grammer school.
doesnt make people selfish.

I ill continue to support my dds where and when they need it as the worlds competative priciples will only hurt my child.

look at labour mps sending their kids private even diane abbot.

When I was in secondry bog standard quite crap comp predicted e gcse french had free totoring from cousins wife french teacher got c my teacher was shocked she had written me offsmile

I met one lady recently child in junior state but quite academic school 97%sats pass rate who used tutor as said as the cohort class/year he was in they worked at higher level so he wasent confident and needed extra help. She agrees if he was in lesser schol be be considered very bright wheres hes just average its raised him higher then he may have done otherwise.

I guess grammer schools are perceived to be like that.

When I was in comp the groups and sets rarly changed.

if you were top you stayed top
if you middle you had occasional chance
if at bottom you stayed at the bottom

in 2subjects I put my failure down to

teaching
disruptive class rarly learn anything, wasent cool to learn
I

I so dont want that for my dds.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:28:41

@merci - a tutor cannot make a middle class nice but dim DC past the 11+. The expression about silk and some creature's ear springs to mind smile

Sometimes parents can't accept that their child, while possibly the smartest in his/her Year 6 class, may not be among the smartest kids taking 11+. So when the kid fails they look for someone to blame.

Bonsoir Mon 03-Dec-12 09:29:54

Life isn't fair. It won't actually become fairer by preventing people who want to get on in life from doing so.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:30:59

It's not a matter of being well off. It's a matter of being from a middle class/professional/educated family who understqnd how the system works and how to get what they want.

I remember a mother coming up to me in the playground and asking about how to get the practice books. Her son was very bright, but the mother concerned had very little education and the family circumstances were very difficult. I said that a bookshop in town had them. I asked her a week or so later whether she had got them and she admitted that she had gone into the shop, not seen them and had been too intimidated by the staff to ask. She had never been in a bookshop before. So think about that, all you, oh, it's easy, anyone can tutor their child brigade. I suspect women like her are so far below your radar that you don't even notice them! But that's OK, because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her kid in your kid's school anyway!

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:32:38

"Life isn't fair. It won't actually become fairer by preventing people who want to get on in life from doing so."

No it won't. It's a good thing nobody is talking about doing that, then isn't it?

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 09:37:48

I think the internet has democratised information to a certain point.

Any parent can now access a heap of help if they go looking for it. Tutoring is probably unnecessary these days.

However, there are DC who have parents who will not access and use this information. They are the ones who have the rough end of the deal IMVHO.

Whether the system should be changed to protect those DC is a different matter.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 09:40:39

Life's not fair and everyone is selfish, so let's not try to change that, shall we? Who wants to work for any kind of greater good when they don't believe in it? We shouldn't really have moved away from an inherited aristocracy.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:41:21

@seeker - You want to deny people a choice in which school their kids go to because some mum doesn't know how to download free past papers from the Internet? Is that really the crux of your argument?

Also, as some other poster has pointed out, if your DC had passed the 11+ would you still be here today going on about how bad the GS system is?

ChristmasIsAcumenin Mon 03-Dec-12 09:42:05

But seeker why is it fairer for bright children to have no education at all? That's the part I don't get about comprehensive schooling. I went to five comprehensives and had absolutely no education at any of them. It was a waste of time and it made me properly mentally ill. Why is that fair? When I was at school I wasn't allowed to read interesting books because they were not on the reading scheme. I arrived being able to read and write and so I just had to sit around for five years until I was supposed to be at my entry level. I generally completed any levels in the first term and then I had to do the most pointless busy work because there was nothing left for me until the next key stage and we weren't there yet. For two whole years my teachers just gave up and sent me to the library, where I sat, on my own, reading, until it was time to take tests (oh they loved me for those). And those were the good years! In the special school it was just crayons and telly and no maths at all. Literally no maths or science teaching was available.

I am not a genius; I am an ordinarily bright person with quick uptake in systematic analysis. My brothers, very similar, who went to grammar school, were encouraged to do programming and advanced mathematics and subsequently had highly successful and contented lives. I had a nervous breakdown. How is that fair? And more importantly, how is that a good idea for us, collectively, as a society? I work now, in a technical field, but I spent over ten years on the dole. That's such a waste of resources. And you know, my experience is not wildly rare.

You can't say things like this because you're accused of...idk, it's not allowed to admit you're clever at things. It gets people's backs up. You learn you'll get battered if you're seen to like success or achievement or work. Simply existing and not being on the proper level is an affront and unfair to other people and oppressing them so you don't get anything: no education, no teaching, no help. I needed help because I was a child and although I understood calculus I did not understand life, but there was nothing for me and from my friends I hear that there still is nothing for bright children in state school who do not have the attendant confidence and social ability to push on through regardless. You just have to feel bad about how you're such a rotten freak for the rest of your life, if you ever let on, even subtextually, that you find schoolwork absurdly easy.

I would not send someone I loved to a comprehensive in this country. I would do everything I could to get them into a selective system. They might still bomb but at least I would have tried.

I realise this is highly personal, but I do think unless we talk about real experiences, not just theoretical positions, in education, we'll never understand why people make the choices they do. In theory comprehensives seem like the best and fairest way. But if you're living collateral damage of that theory put into practice, it's almost impossible to ignore your own life in favour of an idea.

mam29 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:46:22

Add message | Report | Message poster mercibucket Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:58
We don't live in a grammar school area. I went to grammar school so used to do the bond papers etc. You do need a bit of exam practice and a tutor can make the difference for 'tim nice but dim' types. That's why grammar schools end up crammed with mc types: either they tutor the kids themselves (as I would) or they pay someone else to do it.
People object to the unfairness of a grammar school being really a 'middle class' school by default. That is a political objection not a personal objection

Couldent agree more.

if dont support grammer make stance and dont enter 11+send elsewhere.

if you do then prepare them and fully commit to supporting them to pass.

to enter and then for personal political reasons do not prep therefore allowing your own child to fail-bit unfair on poor child they not political footballs.

you either in a system or youout.

Im sure most of us are out as we dont have grammer schools and get quite bored about hearing

If i detested the system which i appreciate in kent is 25%grammer then I would move away or try send private.

Even in normal comps in non selective areas can ruin a child education if they poor.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:54:39

@word - Re your comment about how the Internet has democratized education, I totally agree. We googled for free 11+ papers. We went to various school websites and got past papers from there as well. We found the elevenplusexams website and that was great for getting advice from other parents. Free Internet access is available at public libraries so one can't argue that only well off people can surf for 11+ resources.

I have a friend whose DC is at Watford GS and she was saying that the school is substantially working class Asians and that many of the mums can barely speak English.

This is why I 'laugh' to myself whenever people here or in the Real World go on about how the 11+ is biased towards well off middle class people.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 09:57:27

Except of course there are people without access to the internet. It will generally be the poorest and most disenfranchised.

The children of these people will be highly prejudiced. As they will in respect of most aspects of life.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 10:07:26

Seeker - i like the example of the mother at your school. I would have been delighted to know that the mum was obviously being proactive in looking for past papers for her ds, I would have also "offerred" to go and buy them for her! Then got back to my tutoring.

"because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her son in your kid's class anyway

Based on what you've told us, why on earth would people not want her son in their kid's class that ? It seems it is you who just never seems to understand why people turn to selective schools. Its been explained to you many times before so i'm not going to go into all over again.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Mon 03-Dec-12 10:10:52

I read that as 'what's the big deal with torturing' and thought WTF?! grin

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 10:12:53

I think most parents with a modicum of intelligence andthe will to find out...will easily find out what's needed.

However, there are some parents with neither. And their DC suffer.

Though to be fair those DC suffer within the comprehensive system too.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 10:21:48

"Also, as some other poster has pointed out, if your DC had passed the 11+ would you still be here today going on about how bad the GS system is?"

Yes.

bemybebe Mon 03-Dec-12 10:26:54

"But that's OK, because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her kid in your kid's school anyway!"

Utter Rubbish.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 10:32:47

To summarise, you want to deny other people's DCs the opportunity to sit for an exam that your DC sat and failed. Great attitude.

[files seeker in folder marked 'bitter and resentful]

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 10:38:27

@seeker -

If you tutored your DC and DC didn't pass then maybe you should accept that your DC wasn't GS material instead of blaming others for having professional tutors.

If you didn't tutor your DC yourself then stop blaming everybody else for your DC failing.

Either way, stop blaming others and take personal responsibility.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 10:54:23

AMPF- I will be kind and prevent you looking more of an idiot than you do already. I have been an active and vociferous ant grammar school
campaigner both in real life and on here for many years. Since before I had secondary age children. Since my daughter went to grammar school. And since my son didn't.

You may find your posts are taken more seriously if they
were slightly less "ad hominem".

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 11:01:55

Seeker - when you see charity adverts to give money to starving orphans, do you then deprive your own children of food ? Perhaps not, perhaps you just deprive them of the any extras instead, the cheapest value vegetables near you (even though you can afford to buy from a farm shop instead of tescos), buy your burgers "tesco value, "nice n greasy"' instead of the good quality ones from the butchers, NEVER buy the odd chocolate, ice cream, no fuit juice ever, just water etc, because its simply not fair to those starving kids sad, because your ideals should perpetrate every area of life really if we are to follow your example.

To buy quality food you first must have the knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet, the effects of poor nutrition, you then must Know where and have access to buy these quality foods and be able to afford it. Many parents do not have this understanding for pretty much the same reasons why some don't undersand about 11+ preparation. English may not be their first language, so even when the information is there they can't read it or simply don't understand it.

Would you abolish access to all good quality foods and leave us with the bare minimum to survive so we can all be on a level playing field ?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 11:09:33

Are you saying comprehensive schools are 'nice 'n' greasy'? shock

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 11:11:18

why is it fair for bright children to have no education at all?

It wouldn't be. But nobody has ever suggested that, so don't worry. I'm sorry, Christmas, that you had a bad time at school - my own school left a lot to be desired too - but to say then that years on, you wouldn't put anyone you loved in a comprehensive school as a result seems a tad extreme.

I had a nasty parsnip as a child, but nowadays there seem to be much more interesting ways of cooking and serving them....

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 11:16:02

I lived in Kent for the best part of a decade and I cannot even begin to explain how fairer the education system is when you live in a county without grammars. I know people will disagree with me, that's fine, but I feel happy to live in a county where my children are not written off at 10 years old if they fail the 11+.

Lots of 'bright children' fail the 11+, which goes some way to explain my discomfort with it.

cory Mon 03-Dec-12 11:20:17

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:03:50
"@Cory - I downloaded some past papers and I got my kids to familiarise themselves with the different types of questions. We then spent the summer working on basic exam techniques like checking answers and not getting bogged down with questions that they are struggling with. Hardly rocket science."

Well, not for you and me, who are familiar with exam techniques. But would have been well beyond the scope of my bf's parents, who were factory workers and struggled with reading. So does that mean they had failed as parents? Or that their perfectly bright children deserved less of a chance than I did?

We live in the comprehensive, non-grammar part of the country and my children are getting an excellent education from their comprehensive school. As are their mates, whose parents are not degree educated.

A comprehensive school system doesn't have to involve everybody being deprived. In dc's case nobody is being deprived. I like it that way. smile

And doesn't Finland, the country with the best educational results in the world, have a comprehensive school system? As did Sweden in the days when they led the world in education (in the case of Sweden, the results started dropping with the introduction of the free schools).

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 11:23:18

Are you saying comprehensive schools are 'nice 'n' greasy'?

Some are and some are not. The ones in my catchment definitely ARE.

lopsided Mon 03-Dec-12 11:24:43

seeker has talked about this many times.

I doubt she seeks to deny any children a good education, its just an opinion, just like yours.

However it is of note that areas in Kent with gs do no better than mixed comprehensive schooling areas.

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 11:25:14

We live in the comprehensive, non-grammar part of the country and my children are getting an excellent education from their comprehensive school. As are their mates, whose parents are not degree educated

completely agree

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 11:26:12

@seeker - you come across as a 'do as I say and not as I do' kind of poster so do I really care if you or your supporters take me seriously?

ByTheWay1 Mon 03-Dec-12 11:26:17

I have one foot in each camp here - my girls are bright, but... both of them are the type who are better off as the top academic tier of a good secondary school rather than middle to bottom tier of grammar.

We are very lucky in our geographic location in that both local secondary schools are good schools. My eldest is in Y7 and - so far - thriving, her confidence and self esteem are boosted daily by being "excellent" academically. Her school is bringing her out of her shell, progressing her in her music, uncovering her talent for language and making her feel GOOD about herself.

One of her friends (around the same academic level in Y6) went to the local grammar and is bottom tier there academically and constantly worried about her performance, being overloaded with homework - to "bring her up to scratch" -( an actual quote!!! - how demoralising is that to a child!) She was tutored from start Y5 to get her through the test.

BUT - I tutor in my spare time - some for home educators (much more fun) and some for grammar school entrants - it is what pays for my girls' piano and karate lessons.... especially at this time of year when the penny drops with parents that the school doesn't do 11+ practise.

The only students I now tutor for that are the ones who need pointing in the right direction, who are a solid level 5 in Maths/Reading in Y5 (but, to be honest, here in Gloucestershire they are numerous) , others -the parents want me to up their maths 2 or 3 sub-levels, get them used to verbal reasoning tests and through the 11+ in what amounts to 25 - 30 hours of tutoring if I am lucky... (I was the mug who tried that for a year - it gave the parents someone to blame I suppose... not everyone CAN be tutored to pass....)

difficultpickle Mon 03-Dec-12 11:27:54

I suppose it is about wanting what you perceive as best for your dc. I went to grammar school. My parents left school at 14 and came from a disadvantaged back ground. Ds is at prep school and I fully expect him to go on to public school for his senior years. I nor anyone in my family has any experience of private education so it is a steep learning curve. Just because we have no experience doesn't mean I consider myself at a disadvantage and I don't berate those who do have experience. I never understand the comp v grammar school debate.

Houseworkprocrastinator Mon 03-Dec-12 11:30:59

I think the problem is that EVERY parent wants what is best for their child. I have no experience of grammer school. i didn't go to one and my children wont either.
BUT there is the perception that you have to be middle class and have money in order to get a place.

I think if you have a bright child from a well off family and an equally bright child from a not well off family then the one that can afford the tutoring is more likely to succeed. It isn't just about intelligence it is also about knowledge and access to that knowledge. (which a tutor can provide more)

difficultpickle Mon 03-Dec-12 11:35:13

But the middle class money thing is a very recent internet age invention. If my parents knew then what I know now I would have walked in to an independent school on a full academic or music scholarship. However in their day they didn't know such things existed. With the internet loads more people know what is available and what they have to do to access it.

We are in a grammar school area but ds won't be doing the 11+ as he is at a school that finishes at 13 (and isn't allowed to leave before then!). I'm relieved at not having to deal with all the angst that seems to building up with friends whose dcs are only in year 4 (and some have had tutors booked since year 2).

lljkk Mon 03-Dec-12 11:45:03

Snurk @ seeker's "supporters". Don't think I'm in that camp. Can't remember the last time Seeker said anything nice to me.

I enjoy (my perverse sense of humour) the alacrity with which OP has labeled other people as "dim" "resentful" and "bitter".

If I called OP those things (not to mention "elitist", "obsessed" or "smug") my post would get removed by MN as a personal attack.

Pyrrah Mon 03-Dec-12 12:08:21

We live in a global society, our DC will be competing with people from across the world for jobs not just with the people in the same town as them.

In the same way that I try to give my DD the best start in life in terms of looking after her health (vaccinations, good food etc) and giving her a safe, warm house, I will look after her educational interests.

I don't see that making every possible effort to get the best education for one's child means that you wish a lesser one for other people.

When it comes to tutoring, I imagine we will probably find the money to pay someone - not because DH and I couldn't tutor her ourselves in terms of knowledge, but because she is unlikely to enjoy being taught by her parents are vice versa. I imagine I am not the only parent who feels that.

Regarding the woman who was too embarrassed to ask in the shop... perhaps it would have been a kindness to offer to get them for her. Or perhaps state primaries should all start being a bit more supportive of children sitting for the 11+ and help the parents out a bit.

It is not helpful when schools put obstacles in the way of children because of the particular HT or other teachers political opinions. Why wouldn't parents look to the prep school system or tutoring when there are HTs in the state system who are happy to refuse to write reports or give any help in sitting tests?

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:09:52

@lljkk - I have been called all those things and those posts are still online smile

IMO we 'elitist snobs' have thicker skins. I even venture to say that it is a badge of honour for some. However, when we call someone dim we get reported to MNHQ.

ChristmasIsAcumenin Mon 03-Dec-12 12:09:56

TheOriginalSteamingNit, indeed, my point was that these decisions are highly subjective and informed by experience. That's how most humans form opinions and build up an understanding of the world: by experiencing things. I don't think it's very likely that we can understand why people act as they do without accepting this. After all, we all went to school.

And hey: your "nasty parsnip" analogy was hurtful in the way it trivialised what I told you, which I guess was your aim so just letting you know you scored your hit.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:14:49

I agree with your op but Arisbottle didn't deserve that. She's very peaceable and reasonable.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:25:12

@Cory - Are you seriously arguing that parents should be denied the choice of a GS education for their kids because some parents aren't capable of finding and downloading practice papers for their kids?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:32:48

"I remember a mother coming up to me in the playground and asking about how to get the practice books. Her son was very bright, but the mother concerned had very little education and the family circumstances were very difficult. I said that a bookshop in town had them. I asked her a week or so later whether she had got them and she admitted that she had gone into the shop, not seen them and had been too intimidated by the staff to ask. She had never been in a bookshop before. So think about that, all you, oh, it's easy, anyone can tutor their child brigade. I suspect women like her are so far below your radar that you don't even notice them! But that's OK, because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her kid in your kid's school anyway!"

This whole thing has no relevance. Because child A won't get educated to level X, should child B not get educated to level X?

What you should campaign for and argue for is improved, rigorous education at primary level. The problem is many people who are of the "just let them be them" family of thought also believe that children shouldn't be oppressed by learning their times tables.

They don't want it for ANYBODY.

What do we do? We can't give everyone the highest level of education (though Gove is trying) so we just give everyone the lowest level - in order to be fair?

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 12:38:28

Seeker - I'm still interested to know wether you actually offered to help this woman buy these practice books ? or you just felt sorry for her.....hmm

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 12:39:04

APMF, you presumably believe that what you did for your son helped him in his eventual test performance, is that right?

Do you also accept that there are some parents who don't have the educational background, life skills or intelligence to do the same thing for their children (hint: they are unlikely to be on MN)? Or that there are children from troubled home backgrounds who aren't getting their physical and emotional needs met, let alone given help with entrance tests?

If so, surely you can see that there's an issue there in that a test supposed to identify the brightest children with academic potential is instead to an extent measuring those with the most supportive home environment?

If not, then I think we've identified the crux of the disagreement here (there are, of course, other arguments for and against selection at 11, but those aren't generally relevant to the tutoring-focussed nature of this thread).

(For the record, I don't live in a selective area (grew up in one, though), my children are too young to take the 11+ even if we did, and I disagree with seeker on a whole raft of issues)

LaVolcan Mon 03-Dec-12 12:39:47

ChristmasIsAcumenin You say you learnt nothing and your comprehensives and your brothers at grammar school did. Were they at school at the same time? If so, and if you are in an area like Kent/Bucks which still have grammar schools then it sounds as though you actually went to a Secondary Modern rather than a comprehensive. Calling schools comprehensive doesn't actually make them so.

Your experience is exactly why so many people disliked the Sec Mod/Grammar system - far, far too many children were written off by the age of 11.

BTW my mediocre girls grammar school changed into a comprehensive and it's now far, far better - gets people into Oxbridge, managed an olympic rower - none of these happened during my years there.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:40:18

@Bryce - I agree that my words were a bit personnal and for that I would like to apologize to Arisbottle for the words used but not the sentiment.

During my time I have met people who have come to this country, penniless and speaking no English. Many of their children have go onto GS, uni and the professions. So you can imagine my lack of empathy for people who blame The System for their failures.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:41:10

Casey: you're missing the point. Should all children therefore be educated to the level of those with "parents who don't have the educational background, life skills or intelligence to do the same thing for their children (hint: they are unlikely to be on MN)? Or that there are children from troubled home backgrounds who aren't getting their physical and emotional needs met, let alone given help with entrance tests?"

Weird point of view if you think that: if you don't, then campaign and argue for improvements in state primary education and the national curriculum rather than other children being taught more by their parents.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:48:55

@Casey - We don't live in a utopian society. All we can hope to do (at the moment) is to ensure that everyone has access to education and that as many people as possible, regardless of colour and social class, has access to GS and/or Oxbridge.

Is it fair that some bright kid living with druggie parents don't have the same opportunities as your DC or mine? Of course it isn't right. But not having a 11+ is not the flip side of the same argument.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 12:51:25

APMF -I couldnt agree with you more.

What should be happening is lobbying the government or LEA for better education for children from bottom up. If education standards were high, there would be no need for grammars, and large numbers of independent school parents will go back into state.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 12:52:56

I'm not sure why people seem to think that there will be no education for bright children if grammar schools were abolished! Education seems to happen in the vast majority of LEAs where there is no selection.

I don't want to deprive bright children of their education. I just don't want them to be creamed off to another building to have it, and I don't want the creaming process to label the other 77% of 10 year olds (in my area) as failures. I don't want this education to be available almost exclusively to the professional middle classes. I don't want access to "the higher things in life" (please note the ironic quotation marks) like music and drama to be tqrgettted at the 23%. I don't want there to be no movement- once you're labelled you're labelled. If you're one of the 77% at the age of 10 you have no chance of being a late developer, or somebody who might realise that they love learning at the age of 13. Or even at 11- the test is irrevocable. The majority of the children who go to high schools come from families where the parents are not well educated. What hope have these children got if they are confirmed as academic failures at 10?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:54:45

"What should be happening is lobbying the government or LEA for better education for children from bottom up. If education standards were high, there would be no need for grammars, and large numbers of independent school parents will go back into state."

Yes, and yes again.

Seeker you aren't reading. You're writing without reading.

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 12:54:58

All children should be educated to fulfil their potential so far as possible, which I think means improved primary teaching AND not sending them down a grammar/secondary modern route based on a snapshot at the age of eleven.

In fact, sod it, YES. Yes, all children should be educated to the level of those with parents lacking educational background, life skills or intelligence or who are from troubled home backgrounds. Because if we're going to have a state education system at all those children ought to be getting (or at least being offered and given support to effectively access) a first class education, and I'd be very happy for all children to get that.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:56:11

Your post doesn't make sense Casey.

What do you think should be done to improve primary education?

I'm guessing you are about to say "more money". Please prove me wrong.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 12:58:04

Seeker - but in order for the bright children not to be creamed off to another building i.e Grammars, education standards will need to be raised within comprehensives first.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:00:01

"Seeker - I'm still interested to know wether you actually offered to help this woman buy these practice books ? or you just felt sorry for her....."

Of course I bloody did! I assumed that went without saying. Although, thinking about it, I suppose many grammar school supporters would have rubbed their hqnds with glee at the prospect of one less competitor. The point of the anecdote was not to show myself as a good Samaritan, but to illustrate to the "oh anyone can do it if they care about their children" brigade that it is not that simple.

Saski Mon 03-Dec-12 13:00:38

Recently, the parents of year five at my son's school had a group meeting with the headmistress of the school re: 11 plus.

During this meeting, she stressed mightily how much she disagreed with tutoring. She recounted a dinner she had recently attended with other headmasters/mistresses who were for the first time having to make "difficult choices", dismissing students who were not performing as you would expect based on their test results.

Of course, tutoring will persist.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:01:35

"Seeker - but in order for the bright children not to be creamed off to another building i.e Grammars, education standards will need to be raised within comprehensives first."

Why? In non grammar areas the children who would have gone to grammar form the tops sets of comprehensives and do just as well as they would have done qt grammar school.

ChristmasIsAcumenin Mon 03-Dec-12 13:02:45

No, my brothers have a different dad and went on schol to MGS. My dad did not believe in private or selective education so I took no selection exams and went to the comp. Again, I do agree in theory, but both my parents went to very nice grammars themselves and say now that they benefited.

I went to five different comprehensives in Manchester. Two of them have pretty good results. My sister also went to a comp and did quite well, though not as well as our brothers, but she had the attendant personal strength. I am a weaker and less successful person than her. I admit that and agree I am not as worthwhile or attractive a person, but I still think that unprepossessing and unimpressive people ought to be allowed some education. And I think The System matters and has real effects and could be changed.

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 13:03:13

"Is it fair that some bright kid living with druggie parents don't have the same opportunities as your DC or mine? Of course it isn't right. But not having a 11+ is not the flip side of the same argument."

No, it isn't, or not entirely. But at the beginning of this thread you appeared to be asking why people were complaining that it's unfair and to say that it must be because they are inadequate parents or because their own children aren't clever, and now you are saying that "Of course" the current system isn't fair.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 13:05:46

Those who don't want to be dragged down by the lowest common denominator and do want grammar schools to cream off the top 2-25% (depending on whether you have a super-selective grammar school area/area with a tiny number of grammar schools, or are living in Kent/Bucks...) clearly think either that at least 75% of people are dragging everyone else down, or that they don't care about the fact that a substantial proportion of the 75+% are actually being dragged down themselves and don't like it, either, because all the tutoring in the world is still not getting their kids into the grammar schools. Are only 2-25% of children worth educating and the rest can get cr*p? Because the evidence seems to be that you get more cr*p, not less, in terms of volume, in grammar school areas, even if as a pay off you get a marginally (and it is very marginal) higher proportion of definite successes. Because in areas like Kent, the "High Schools"/"Secondary Moderns" do tend to be failing schools/forced academy schools more often than bog-standard comprehensives in the rest of the country are, so isn't that disenfranchising a much larger proportion of the population than the comprehensive system? And if so, is it worth supporting by anybody, or is it just the last resort of the desperate?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:07:47

Yes there could be more extreme setting in comprehensives - all very good. Doesn't alter the fact that so many children are getting a poor primary education so they'd be in the lower sets without a chance of being in the higher sets. What's the difference?

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:08:56

A point of clarification- do people think that "comprehensive" means "mixed ability teaching"?

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 13:09:30

Brycie, you told me I shoukd argue for better primary education, and when I agree with you I don't make sense?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:10:02

"cream off the top 2-25%"

cream off is such a perjorative term

I love an elite, myself. Thank God for elites, for heart surgeons, bridge builders, nuclear scientists, chemical engineers, the brightest academics in the humanities. Pick them out and make the best of them. We all benefit.

april1st Mon 03-Dec-12 13:12:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 13:12:17

Seeker - "Of course I bloody did! I assumed that went without saying"

Next time you need to bloody say so, it is not a given as you rightly pointed out:
I suppose many grammar school supporters would have rubbed their hands with glee at the prospect of one less competitor.

You are a grammar parent so what was I supposed to think

Why? in non grammar areas the children who would have gone to grammar form the tops sets of comprehensives and do just as well as they would have done qt grammar school.

See this is another stupid myth perpetated over and over again on MN, how excatly do you know what might have been ? are you a soothsayer ? how excatly could one measure or study or do a survey of wether child A would have obtained the exact same standard of education at the grammar as they would have had they gone to the local comp, any local comp ?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:12:22

You said, in effect, that lots of children have a poor education and in the next post that everyone should have that education.

I agree: the same high standards should be offered to all and expected of all. But a lot of anti-grammar/selection types are also anti the kind of rigorous more exciting education that can achieve these standards. Are you like this?

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 13:16:43

@seeker - Putting aside your hypocrisy (trying to get your DC into a system you despise) why do you insist on wheeling out this caricature of a 'typical' GS parent?

If your DC had passed the 11+ YOU would be one of these GS parents that you persist in ridiculing.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:18:43

She does have a child at GS. Presumably seeker imagines there's only one nice decent parent in the whole school and everyone else is smug, self-serving, snotty-nosed and complacent.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:18:48

"See this is another stupid myth perpetated over and over again on MN, how excatly do you know what might have been ? are you a soothsayer ? how excatly could one measure or study or do a survey of wether child A would have obtained the exact same standard of education at the grammar as they would have had they gone to the local comp, any local comp ?"

Because if you compare the results of a comprehensive school to the results added together of a grammar and a high school in a similar catchment, they are very similar. And in some cases the comprehensive does better. I'll find a link to some Sutton trust stuff this evening.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:20:59

What the caricature of the middle class, professional educated parent? That's me! it's not a caricature. it's observable measurable fact.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:22:30

"the middle class, professional educated parent"

is not necessarily gleeful at the exclusion and poor education of others, drawing in their skirts if a poorer family passes them in the playground

which is what you assume with many of your posts

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:23:24

not "necessarily" gleeful?

is never, in my experience, gleeful - more sad and worried

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 13:28:50

No, I said that everyone should have as good an education as those children who don't (for whatever reason) have good parental support because the children without parental support should be getting a really good education.

Your question appeared to assume that obviously those poor souls were condemned to a crap education, and the only question was whether all other children should be condemned to it along with them or not.

I do agree with rigorous education, but suspect we might differ on some of the details of what we mean by "rigorous" (for example, I am very pro early learning of times tables and number bonds and think more time should be spent in school on that, but I am anti homework in primary schools).

Do you really feel that a child just above the cutoff for selection at the age of 10 is "elite" and should be made the most of, and that a child just below the cutoff at the same age is "other" and doesn't need to be developed in the same way? At a good comprehensive school the two might be in different sets but woukd have the flexibility to move up and down over the months and years across a range of different subjects; under a grammar system they would be irrevocably split for the rest of their school careers into different institutions with different priorities.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:29:27

""the middle class, professional educated parent"

is not necessarily gleeful at the exclusion and poor education of others, drawing in their skirts if a poorer family passes them in the playground

which is what you assume with many of your posts"

No. I agree. And I don't think I have assumed anything of the kind. But supporting the grammar school system as vociferously as many on here do does imply that they are motivated by at the very least, self interest. Particularly when that support insists that nobody is damaged or disadvantaged by the system.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 13:29:58

Sutton trust will be able to tell me that my niece who was bullied horribly at her local comp for being bright and eventually "dumbed" down so she could fit in and came out with poor GCSE's, would have had the exact same result if she had gone to a fantastic grammar school or a lazy but bright child who got into the fantastic grammar and had to pull his socks up and came out in the end with brilliant results would have done just as well if he had gone to niece's sink comp.

And as for results being very similar that means a few numbers out therefore proving my point to degree ? well those few numbers are somebody's child, nobody's parents wants that number to be their child.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:34:45

What about the child "condemned" to a secondary modern school and coming out with poor GCSEs who would have flown at a comprehensive?

You have no way of knowing that your niece would not have been bullied at a grammar school- they are by no means immune. I don't think we can debate about individuals, I'm afraid.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 13:35:41

and to add, if the results between the comprehensive, grammar and high school in a similar catchment are similar and in some cases the comp is better and this is is a sustained result, i'd probably agree with you to shut the grammar school down, its a waste of space.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:37:20

Yay! Bulletpoint's joined the campaign!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:39:16

"I am very pro early learning of times tables and number bonds and think more time should be spent in school on that, but I am anti homework in primary schools".

Me too! I bang on about it every opportunity.

"Do you really feel that a child just above the cutoff for selection at the age of 10 is "elite" and should be made the most of, and that a child just below the cutoff at the same age is "other" and doesn't need to be developed in the same way?"

Grammars are the same as rigorous, proper selection in comps, that's if you want selection in comps to achieve the same results. Same separation, same higher expectations. The truth is it doesn't work that way.

What we have right now with this super-importance of grammars, private education and selection is a direct result of the downgrading of state education and nothing at all to do with the actual existences of grammars, private education and selection. To get rid of the problem, get rid of the downgrading.

Seeker:" I don't think I have assumed anything of the kind"

yes you have - "you'll all be delighted her child is not in your class" etc etc yawn

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:40:40

Bulletpoint hasn't joined any campaign hmm unless you don't understand her posts. Sometimes you don't seem to read what other people write, Seeker. No offence.

LaQueen Mon 03-Dec-12 13:41:30

We are having our DD1 tutored, purely because neither DH or I are patient enough to do it ourselves, and I honestly think we would end up un-nerving/stressing DD1 more than helping her.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 13:42:41

@Casey - I was addressing my comments at the parents who were complaining that The System discriminates against them. I wasn't directing my comments at the druggies who probably don't even know what day it is let alone spell 11+

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 13:45:44

What about the child "condemned" to a secondary modern school and coming out with poor GCSEs who would have flown at a comprehensive?

Yes and that too, does Sutton say this child will do just as well as he/she would have at the Comprehensive ?

You have no way of knowing that your niece would not have been bullied at a grammar school- they are by no means immune. I don't think we can debate about individuals, I'm afraid

Yes Seeker there are so many unknown factors arent there ? how do you know wether the poor child you speak of wouldnt have got run over by a bus on their way to the lovely comp ? and walk safely to and from to the modern every day instead ? hence why the Sutton report you talk of in this case is rubbish as far as i am concerned on this particular matter, (they have many other fantastic results).

All we can do as parents is try to obtain the best education that we can for our children (it is not my responsibility to provide an education for other people's children, that is the responsibility of each parent and role of government) just as in my example of food, I may know what is better to eat but can't force it on other people, but that doesnt mean I dont want the best for others, but my "best" may not be everyone's best. The rest is an unknown, but at least we each would have tried our best.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:46:39

"and to add, if the results between the comprehensive, grammar and high school in a similar catchment are similar and in some cases the comp is better and this is is a sustained result, i'd probably agree with you to shut the grammar school down, its a waste of space."

Well, this is what she said, Brycie, and as that actually is the case, then it's reasonable to assume she's on board!

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:49:49

Do you not want an end to GS and selection when results are uneven? Is it not your point that removing GS and selection will bring about an "evening out" of results?

I thought you did and I thought this was your campaign. Rather different from saying there's no point in selective schools if the results are the same.

If Bulletpoint agrees that removing GS and selection is a good thing whether or not results are the same then she might have joined your campaign. Perhaps she will let us know.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 13:50:56

Brycie - lots of people love an "elite," but from amongst that group there is disagreement as to how such an elite should be chosen, what characteristics they should have, at what stage in their lives they should largely be picked out and whether you can join their ranks at a later date, or whether it's OK to be labelled at one point in your life and then keep that label. There is also disagreement on how ruthless you could be in kicking people out of the "elite" if they turn out to be bright but lazy, or not as clever as you thought... There is also disagreement as to what to do with and for the "non-elite" - those who are actually essential to keep the elite propped up while they do their important work instead of the immediately essential work without which we might all starve, freeze or die of nasty infections, for which "elite" skills are not necessarily required. Elites need everyone else just as much as everyone else needs an elite, yet we don't seem to pay much attention to "non-elites" and their needs and skills, despite their huge numbers...

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 13:51:19

Why do some MNetters like seeker insist on making this a middle class thing. You don't have to be MC to download free past papers from the Internet.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 13:51:56

Christmas - I certainly didn't mean to be hurtful, and I'm sorry that I was. My point was just that things can change from our own childhoods and school days - I too went to a bloody useless comprehensive school, but have emerged with different perspectives informed by now, rather than then.

I could say, of course, that it's a bit hurtful to people like me to read things like 'I'd never send anyone I loved to comprehensive school'!

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 13:52:35

and grammar schools don't really solve many of those issues.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:53:29

Seeker:" I don't think I have assumed anything of the kind"

yes you have - "you'll all be delighted her child is not in your class" etc etc yawn"
Ah, yes. I shouldn't have said that. A rare moment of petulance. I just get very angry at the "anyone can do it" line that is always trotted out. Anybody can't. This child's family couldn't. You need to have confidence, education, time and understanding. And many families just don't. And the ones that do are largely middle class.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:54:48

I'm beginning to wonder in the light of your post whether or not you know what your campaign is to be honest.

Is your campaign only to shut down grammar schools in areas where comps achieve the same results?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:57:12

"I suppose many grammar school supporters would have rubbed their hqnds with glee at the prospect of one less competitor."

another rare moment of petulance?

What is your campaign exactly?

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 13:58:09

@rabbit - I don't know about you and the others but I'm talking about my DCs getting a good education and a good job as an lawyer or an architect. You seem to be talking about world domination and the 'elite'. This isn't the friggin Hunger Games.

Of course the top levels of society is heavily biased towards Public school educated upper class white people. But that is a long long way from discussing whether some bright working class kid with dim parents should be at a GS.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 14:07:41

Seeker - Grammar school are normally where people send their children to if their child is bright, it is also very selective. So logically you would expect the results of the grammar to be the bext in the area baring any selective or superslective indies.

If the local high school results are better over a sustaaned period (there can be glitches some times) and in some cases even better than the grammar, then i would wonder what is the point of the grammar school ? the mind boggled at why parents would put their children through an exam for a school whose results are worse or on par with the local comp.

So I am not advocating for shutting down grammars but where the grammar is underperforming, then surely it should be closed.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 14:12:11

Comp educated here and had an excellent education. Would always live in an area without grammers. Comps are now even better for brighter kids. When I was there we were only set for Maths, Languages, Science and English. Now streamed for all subjects and have much higher expectations. Those saying they would never put a child in a comp go ahead and go through the stress of the 11+ with your kids but don't assume that your opinion of comps is correct.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 14:13:47

Ah. I didn't explain myself clearly.

Research has shown that if you have two similar catchments, one with. Comprehensive school, and one with a grammar school and a high school, then if you aggregate the results of the grammar and the high school, they will be similar to the comprehensive results. And often the comprehensive will do better. Obviously the grammar will do better than the high school.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 14:15:15

Or on second thoughts may be not "closed" because where would all those children go ? but it needs to go and see what the local comp is doing to get such good results and implement changes immediately and also have its status changed to non selective.

The grammar school should be the trailblazer when it comes to academics not the other way round.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 14:18:30

""I suppose many grammar school supporters would have rubbed their hqnds with glee at the prospect of one less competitor."

another rare moment of petulance?"

If you read the thread, Brycie, you will see that I had been accused of doing just that. I am, presumably allowed to defend myself a little?

Where there are grammar schools, there are no comprehensives. By definition. Except in some areas where there are only super selectives- in those areas the remaining schools are as near comprehensive as makes no difference. A school which only takes the lower 77% academically is not comprehensive.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 14:20:02

I think we are talking at cross purposes, bulletpoint. Where there is a grammar, there is no "local comp"

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 14:24:09

You don't think then that they would "rub their hands with glee"?

What is your campaign seeker - is it just to get GS closed down where non GS results are comparable or better? That's what you seemed to indicate when you agreed with bulletpoint.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 14:26:59

Where there is a grammar, there is no "local comp"

Yes of course! i meant high school.

ReallyTired Mon 03-Dec-12 14:29:46

Making exams untutorable is next to impossible. Prehaps it would be easier and cheaper to pay for a low income child to have ten sessions with a tutor. The pupil premium could be used to pay for this. Thankfully we don't live in a comprehensive area. There are grammar schools in the neighbouring county, but the logics of getting my son there is a sticking point.

My son goes to a tutor. He is in a group as we cannot afford individual. I am doing it to make sure that my son leaves primary school with excellent maths and english skills. Extra tution gives him the attention that his teacher does not have time to give him.

Why don't I tutor him myself.

a) I am not familiar with the methods that school uses for maths. I do not want to confuse my son teaching him the methods I did at school.

b) It is very hard to teach your own children anything.

Maybe all children should have an hour a week in a small group with teacher. Prehaps this would be a better use of taxation than some of the stupid things that schools spend money on.

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 14:30:47

Seeker I entirely agree with you. Not sure what the other posters are missing?

Grammar schools breed inequality. Resources to help parents to tutor are freely available on the web etc but critically a large section of society simply won't access them. Not because they are inherently bad parents but because it won't occur to them to do so. Not everyone has the same cultural capital as I imagine the majority of mumsnetters do.

I can't see how it is fair then that children from such families are disadvantaged by the grammar school system and the tutoring that underpins it? Not even taking into account late bloomers. How can you write off a child at such an early stage? My brother would have certainly failed the 11 plus but,through the comprehensive system we have in our county, later found his stride gaining a 1st from a Russell Group university.

As I mentioned, I do not live in a grammar school area. I went to a good comprehensive which did well for all students from the not so academic to the high fliers. Many of my peers went on to Oxbridge and a large proportion to Russell Group universities - I can count doctors, barristers, bankers, journalists and diplomats amongst my old school friends. From a comprehensive - who knew?

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 14:33:40

In fact, many people round here have the financial means to privately educate their children but choose not to. Because the comprehensive school is that good. Get rid of the grammar schools and I'd imagine this could be replicated around the country.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 14:43:01

"You don't think then that they would "rub their hands with glee"?

What is your campaign seeker - is it just to get GS closed down where non GS results are comparable or better? That's what you seemed to indicate when you agreed with bulletpoint"

Bulletpoint and I misunderstood each other. Sadly, she hasn't joined the campaign. There is nowhere, as far as I know where the high school outperforms the grammar school. I was saying that if you compare the aggregate results of a grammar and a high school with the results of comprehensive in a comparable catchments they will be very similar and in some case the comprehensive outperforms them. This shows that abolishing grammar schools would not deprive bright children of an education. Bright children do just as well in a comprehensive school.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 14:43:18

OBface - are you saying your comprehensives are good becuase you dont have grammars ? we dont have grammars and the comps except one Cof E are all crap!

In fact, many people round here have the financial means to privately educate their children but choose not to.

you're clearly not living in a deprived area then!

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 14:47:34

I would say it's mixed. I live in a village where the majority of people are mc but the school is a much bigger town a few miles away with a very mixed intake.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 14:54:09

APMF - I'm not talking about world domination and an elite, except to the extent that I was, as I made clear in my post, replying to Brycie's comments about an "elite." She defined it, not me. I disagree Grammar schools are the way to find and train up the "elite" she is thinking of and disagree that they ever were set up to find such a group of people. They were just a cheap way of providing a more academic education for a minority of people, as cheaply as possible (academic subjects aren't actually that expensive to teach well) while giving no proper consideration to what to do with the rest - probably largely because the people who conceived the idea were largely privately educated and had no idea how to educate anyone in any way other than in a way which mimicked what private schools had done for centuries. Grammar schools therefore continued to reinforce the perceived superiority of private schools by aping what private schools did. If all children should receive this same sort of education, regardless of ability, as they do in private schools, then why have grammar schools at all? Why not have comprehensive schools with rigorous assessing and setting, enabling progress up and down the sets depending on genuine merit, rather than the passing of an exam at a particular age? And if some children should have an entirely different sort of education, then when is someone going to give some proper consideration to what that ought to look like?

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 14:58:07

Bulletpoint - what are you saying? That you would like a grammar school for 2% of children in your area, because the local comprehensives are crap? Wouldn't you rather the local comprehensives weren't crap? Or are you happy with crapness for 98% of people in your area? What exactly is your point?

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 14:58:48

On threads like this someone invariably post that they can't see what is wrong with comprehensives. After all, the local rich folks send their kids to their comp.

If you have rich folks as your neighbours then something tells me that yours isn't a typical comprehensive.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 15:00:27

Bulletpoint- define "crap"

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 15:02:41

All highly selective grammar schools can teach comprehensives is that putting mainly clever, well behaved children from supportive family backgrounds in a class together is beneficial for those children and makes life easier for their teachers. I don't think that's trailblazing, exactly.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 15:07:18

APMF - all you seem to think is that only crap comprehensives are typical comprehensives. What makes you think that is justified as an opinion? Isn't that just a feature of the area in which you live, just the same as the good comprehensives are a feature of the area in which other posters live?

LaVolcan Mon 03-Dec-12 15:07:35

If you have rich folks as your neighbours then something tells me that yours isn't a typical comprehensive.

What is a typical comprehensive?

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 15:43:02

In some non-grammar areas the difference between two comprehensives can be as if one were a GS, the other a secondary modern.

The idea that in non-grammar areas all comprehensives are bastions of equality and egalitrianism is pretty misplaced.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 15:54:12

Of course it's misplaced to believe that if you set up comprehensive schools everywhere, they will all be equally good. It's as misplaced as believing that if you have grammar schools and selective private schools in an area, you won't be making any difference to the state provision for everyone else. It's not quite as misplaced as thinking that having grammar schools and private schools in an area is a good thing for the other local state schools, since it clearly hasn't been a good thing to date.

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 15:55:09

Yes what is a typical comprehensive?

As I've previously mentioned the school I've referenced has a very mixed intake. It does well for both those at the top and bottom of the academic scale. There are much worse schools in the county (my DM was a teacher at one with particulary low results) but these tend be in areas with high levels of deprivation coupled with a real lack of interest in education from parents. My DM had regular visits from aggressive parents for daring to discipline their DC. But I don't think that is representative of where most people on this board live.

In an area with a diverse social makeup there is no reason comprehensives can't succeed. Cream the 'best' children those whose parents have a keen interest in their children's education/appropriate cultural capital off at an arbitrary age and send the rest to a secondary modern (which is distinct from a comprehensive) and you are creating inequality.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:00:58

Well my niece attends a school in a non grammar area. In fact it is considered a reasonably good school.

Yet last year out of 225 students, only 6 got an A*in English at GCSE.

If there was a grammar school and the top sets had been creamed off I'd assume far more able students would have got that grade.

What the school is good at is getting the maximum number of average studebnts to pass their GCSEs. It really isn't good at challenging the top sets.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 16:01:29

APMF - if you had grown up in a poor area with grammar schools and had failed your 11 plus, do you think you would have been better or worse off in the Secondary Modern than you were in your comprehensive school?

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 16:01:56

And it's an entirely different discussion on how to engage children living in areas of high deprivation where there is not the parental aspirations for them to succeed in education... Just not particularly relevant to this thread grin

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:04:47

And before anyone thinks the English was anomoly caused by the marking debacle, other subjects didn't go well either. 5 A*s in history. None in music. I couldgo on.

Yet the the score for pupils getting 5 GCSEs are great ergo this is a good school.

So it seems the average and lower ability students are being very well catered for but the higher ability students not so much.

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 16:09:46

Wordfactory - but that is down to the individual school. Just as you get good and bad private and state schools.

Many comprehensives are very good at stretching bright pupils, I know mine was. If I recall 30% of English Lit A level students in my very mixed year achieved an A (and this was before A grades were ten a penny grin)

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 16:11:52

This is backed up by the school's 'programme' for helping pupils apply to Oxbridge (interview training etc). Certainly very supportive of brighter students.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:14:20

But that's my point ob.

Provision is patchy.

The idea that simply removing the grammar situation resolves all problems isn't true. And whilst to be frank it's lovely for you that your school was good it doesn't help my niece or any of the other able DC within it?

Actually it's worse than I said as 275 students took GCSE english!!! Out of 60 taking french 6 got an A*, out of 81 taking german none did. And this is supposed to have a language specialism.

But this is not a bad school. Because it succeeds absolutely with its average ability students.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 16:18:28

Now come on word.... You're always telling me that the fact that comprehensive schools I know and use do a bloody good job is unhelpful and irrelevant and I shouldn't say it.....!

LaVolcan Mon 03-Dec-12 16:24:14

Provision is patchy.

Provision has always been patchy and probably always will be. In the old days there were good secondary moderns and some were absolutely diabolical. Some grammar schools were good, and some were like mine, which had a good opinion of itself but wasn't really all that much to write home about.

I don't know what the solution is; I am not sure that anyone knows.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:31:54

The reason I say it TOSN is that you use that information to assert that comprehensive education is generally working well in the UK. Its not irrelevent to you or your children. But it doesn't help my niece. What would help? Possibly access to a grammaer school?

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 16:34:56

Agreed provision is patchy but there are good and bad schools in every sector. I'm guessing your niece has supportive parents anyway and will achieve wherever she goes to school (and let's be honest GCSE results are meaningless once you get to higher education).

IME A level classes at comprehensives are very different from GCSE as you are only left with those choosing to be at school and even schools 'educating' to improve on league table rankings will be more focussed on the number of students achieving A*/A.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 16:36:38

Well, I think I tend to use it in direct contradiction to being told 'state schools don't do x or y' if I know that such a blanket assertion is not true.

I don't know - should your niece be getting an a*? What's she predicted? Or is it too soon for that yet?

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:38:33

She has fairy avergae parents tbh. Not educated or professional. And looking at those stats sshe will not get the grades she would have got anyway not unless you believe that out of 275 kids only a handful are bright.

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 16:39:34

Wordfactory but if a small number of pupils are achieving A* it shows it's not impossible at the school and that they are obviously teaching up to that level? Perhaps your niece wouldn't get into a very selective school?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 16:39:50

Are these the same branch of extended family who disapprove of too much homework?

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 16:42:36

In my year of 500 students a relatively low percentage will have achieved A* simply as a result of the makeup of the school. Nothing to do with quality of teaching.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:44:29

TOSN I don't know her predicted grades. But she was always extremely bright. Top marks at KS 1 and 2. Primary teachers commenting etc. But her comp seems to put its energy into getting everyone 5 GCsE

Bonsoir Mon 03-Dec-12 16:46:55

wordfactory - "But her comp seems to put its energy into getting everyone 5 GCsE."

Schools, like many organisations, respond to whatever stick or carrot they are presented with by whomever is in authority.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 16:48:10

Which I would say is a pretty noble aim, actually! Someone's got to.... And as OB says, if some are getting a* it is clearly possible and the teaching is clearly going up to that level.

I don't know: it might be that the school is lacklustre and doesn't care at all about its brightest students; I'm not ruling it out, but nor am I ruling out the possibility that actually that's not really the case.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 16:55:19

To be fair, if they were churning out more a*s but not getting the magic five for most pupils, one could probably make an argument for them not being a very good school in other ways, and say they obviously focused all their time on the cleverest whilst leaving the rest to fester....

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 16:58:41

But how can it be that so few children manage an A*?

How can that be anything other than evidence that the bright are not being properly challenged?

I'm seriously failing to find any other explanation since this school has below average stats for FSM and SEN.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 17:01:10

You know the intake though, and I don't: can't sensibly say much about it, can I?
The stats for 'high achievers' starting year 7 are useful. Although they do include level 4 SATS as 'high achievers', so might bump up the numbers rather more than one might expect.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 17:08:46

The OFSTED report states that the number of students on FSM is 'well below average' so this is not a disadvantaged intake at all.

A nice cohort I'd say. A faith school too.

It does very well by its pupils with SEN and brilliantly well with its average student. But the top end are simply not catered for. There'sno doubt they'd do better in the grammar school inthe neighbouring county grin.

LaVolcan Mon 03-Dec-12 17:14:35

I think you highlight the problem with some schools wordfactory - some of them rest on their laurels and don't add the value that they should.

Bonsoir Mon 03-Dec-12 17:15:46

I think it is very difficult to cater in a single establishment (let alone a single classroom) for the full range of abilities and do them all justice and take them as far as their potential allows. Certainly in France, where education is comprehensive until age 15, many so-called surdoués (gifted) children are bumped up a year as that is the only way the system allows for them to be stretched.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 17:20:11

No, I didn't mean disadvantaged so much as the 'high achiever' 'middle achiever' bit on the new pages for schools, but I found it through quite a convoluted web trail and can't remember the link.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 17:31:36

Thing is I'm not some rabid supporter of the GS system. I can see its draw backs and divisiveness. But I just remain unconvinced that provision for able children in the comprehensive system is consistently good. I wonder whether it can be on a macro level?

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 17:38:13

I'm not sure I agree Bonsoir.

You certainly can't cater for all abilities in a single class but is very achievable through streaming at school level. The majority of the country is without grammar schools and still produce high achieving students.

Are those in favour of the grammar system happy to live with the fact that there will be a large proportion of children (having failed a single test at a particular age and who may not have had parents who were engaged enough to adequately prepare them for it) being channelled into a school where it is already decided they are not high achievers and not given the support to be one in the future?

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 18:18:08

Failing a child at 10 and let's face it, hardly any children will be 11 takes no account of late developers or those who plateau. I know many bright people including lawyers who failed the 11+ but went on to do well academically later and many bright kids at 11 who went on to completely mess up their A'Levels after only doing averagely well in their gcse's. comprehensives allow changes between streams. A system based on an exam at ten offers bright late developers or those who are average but really hard working sweet FA. My mom was a kid who was bright at 11 going to grammar school and lost all interest at 14, my dad failed, fourth kid of single widowed mom who had no time to spend helping him ended up at secondary modern and only when he got to an apprenticeship did his intelligence come through and he got an HND. So his mom should have sat down with him in between cleaning jobs and do lots of practice papers. Come on folks real world. Comps give all kids a chance. Grammar schools only have kids whose parents are bothered or who have the time to do it which writes off many future lawyers and doctors. My family all comp educated in different areas and leas so no one bias include consultant doctors, lots of chartered accountants, pension manager, bbc director, NHS Managers, teachers. This thread has discussed one school that did not get many A *s. the point is one school which is being shown as an example of why comps are failing. It is just a waste of time discussing it and Word on another thread you said how uninterested those parents were so hardly representative. Look at some of the excellent comps in deprived areas that have been mentioned on previous threads for all those who say that middle class area comps and faith schools do better. Often those schools rest on their laurels. The faith school near us is nowhere near the best academically. Look at an example such as Waverley School in Birmingham. Lots of fsm and their high achieves average gcse result is A which is better than many in the suburbs.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 18:41:08

Just in from work and have not read all the thread but firstly I have not failed my children and it is an oversimplification to say that I put their social life before their school work.

We all make a judgement on what is best for our family and include in that our own moral compass. My children are lucky that they live on the edge of the grammar system and have access to a secondary school that offers them as much if not more than the grammar. So I have looked at what would give my children a richer experience and greater opportunities in life. That could be dedicating few hours of week and a lump of money to tutoring or allowing them to indulge their passions of dance, rugby, sailing, drama, horse riding etc. I think they are served better by dedicating that financial pot and time to the things that they are truly passionate about. I also think that my children already have a great deal of advantage in life, they don't need an extra boost from tutoring.

My eldest son has aspergers and is in a grammar school not because it offers an elitist form of education but because I wanted to get him away from a group of boys who were bullying him. He wanted to go to the grammar , solely for this reason. In some ways I was lucky that he did not need tutoring as he is off the scale clever because he is often locked in his own world of books and study rather than socialising. However there are two things that my son enjoys doing, sailing and painting and these are a huge emotional release for him. Therefore I allowed him to continue sailing and going to his art group rather than tutor him. I knew that he was likely to come near to top of the test and that if he didn't we would get him in on appeal because of the bullying which was making him feel suicidal. So again it made little sense to waste time tutoring him.

My second daughter is not as academic, I think she will come out with mainly A and B grades at GCSE. She did not really ever seriously wanted to go to the grammar however she is very competitive and I think that she wanted to know if she was clever enough to get in. She sat the test out of sheer curiousity and managed to my surprise get an offer which she did not accept. She again was too busy to be tutored and I knew that a grammar would not suit her. She likes male company and she is something of a Mummy's girl and I knew that she wanted to come to school with me. I knew that she would probably make it into top sets and would be served well at the comprehensive. She also does a lot of sport with local teams and I knew that she would not want to have to commute in and out of school because that would eat into her sport time.

My third child is in year 6 and had no interest in the grammar at all and did not even want to sit the test. She is hoping for level 6 in Maths and English and a high level 5 in science and therefore I suspect that she will go into top sets. She is something of a madam and therefore she was told at the start of Year 6 that it she did not work harder and achieve levels I knew that she could I would get her a tutor and she would be entered for the grammar. The thought of the grammar was enough to get her working at full throttle.

We all make decisions for the children that we have , with the time and financial resources that we have.

I guess I am lucky that with one exception it practically suited me to put into action my beliefs about educational selection. I do think that in an ideal world we should try and think of the greater good as well as our own children . The grammar system round here is divisive and again I am lucky that I have been able to blend the greater good with the needs of most of my children .

As an aside, my son continued to be bullied at the grammar school, the only way we managed to solve it was by widening his social circle through sailing .

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 18:44:36

For all those who talk about no need for tutoring and it is easily done speak now if you are a single mother working full time with more than one child.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 18:51:10

My cousin left the super selective in Birmingham only about nine years ago so fairly recent due to bullying. It was rife. He did get a first from Bristol uni and therefore moving away from the grammar to the local comp did him no harm at all. Psychologically though it was far better for him to go to the local school with no traveling across the city. Sometimes local school environments do suit a lot of kids. It is not lazy parenting or kids but the time spent traveling can be spent working and having a social life to achieve the same resukts happier. Again anecdotal so I do apologies but then there have been a lot of anecdotal comments on this thread. I went to a crap vino so they are all crap. I went to a good one so they are all good.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 18:51:47

APMF my son got in with no tutoring because he is exceptionally clever and is often locked in his own world of study. That is why the extra curricular activities are so important .

I think the year that my dd entered the cohort may have been a little weaker . My son also told her what to expect and she comes from a family with lots of typical "middle class" advantages . She was also under no pressure at all as beyond wanting to match her brother she had no interest in doing well,

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 19:05:17

Am catching up with the thread and thankyou for your apology LMPF.

Education is something that we all care passionately about and to be honest I would rather have a passionate discussion with someone about education even if we disagree than have a bland one with someone that agrees with me,

As I have dealt with my brighter pupils today I have been asking myself am I giving you as good an education ( or even better ) as you would get in the grammar. That is because of this thread , so thankyou

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 19:08:46

Brycie I am something of a confusion because I anti selection but have a reputation at work as being an elitist . I think you can be anti selection but still push academic achievement.

LaQueen Mon 03-Dec-12 19:17:42

Okay - so if you do away with GS and have properly setted comprehensives (with sets for all core subjects) - you are still going to find that, most likely, the children of graduate, professional parents will still all be in the top sets, anyway.

And, the children who struggled through primary school, and have parents who don't value education very much are going to remain in the bottom sets.

So what will have been achieved? And how will this be magically better hmm

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 19:38:45

LaQueen perhaps yes you may see a bias towards children of educated etc parents in the top sets but critically no-one will have been written off labelled a success or failure at the age of ten and there is still the opportunity to move up sets if you show the necessary progress.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 19:38:49

Because its relatively easy to move sets, you can still be in a form together, you can still sing in the choir and play hockey together, and you don't have a school where you go if you fail and where there's no expectation of academic success as something which anyone you encounter in your school will achieve. I like that model.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 19:40:15

Hello arisbottle smile
"I think you can be anti selection but still push academic achievement."
So do I but while we're stuck with poor standards in many areas in the early years and upwards, selection is the only option if you want a sustained focus on academic achievement. And I don't think you can do anything about the freedom of choice involved in private selection.

The focus should still be on raising overall acheivements for those without natural advantages - not lowering them for those with natural advantages.

Seeker:"in some cases the comp is better and this is is a sustained result, i'd probably agree with you to shut the grammar school down, its a waste of space."

not difficult to understand at all , and I think your "campaign" is misguided, but probably well intentioned

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 19:40:28

LaQueen, that is partly going to be true whatever system as there is likely to be a genetic influence as well as nurture. A mom with a high IQ more likely (but not always to have a child with high IQ). This would also have more involvement at primary school level so potentially in the first year at a comp that would be the case. However, the kid may not work very hard and be passed by a child who works hard and does not have as high an IQ as the other one but hard work means they do better. Surely you saw that happening when you were a kid. I did all the time and I was good at 11 but overtaken as I got older by those who worked harder. If the school was purely based on an exam at 10, the second child would have been written off, told he was thick basically compared to the other child and not choose an academic career. This is what happened in the times when 11+ was rife. In a comp he could move up to the acadamic stream and potentially go to a much better uni that the child with a high IQ because he deserves it, the other doesn't. This is when the child makes the decisions more themselves and not the parents. Would you rather employ somebody that grappled to achieve themselves or benefitted from an over involved parent. I know who I would respect more and employ due to their hard work.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 19:42:44

Brycie there are so few areas where the 11+ is common in this country that your point is a bit mute in the UK. As there are so many more comprehensive schools in the UK in my opinion more government resources should be spent on improving those that fail rather than introducing any more grammar schools and less on the grammar schools in existence which should be gradually closed.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 19:43:59

Because its relatively easy to move sets, you can still be in a form together, you can still sing in the choir and play hockey together, and you don't have a school where you go if you fail and where there's no expectation of academic success as something which anyone you encounter in your school will achieve. I like that model.

Really good point!

orangeberries Mon 03-Dec-12 19:51:00

But the reality in many non-grammar school areas is that comprehensives are still not truly comprehensives but selective by postcode or faith.

Where we live is a typical example of this; there are faith schools which do well and select by faith AND catchment, one comprehensive that does extremely well but has a tiny catchment where house prices are hugely inflated and the other 2 comprehensives do very badly indeed. Anyone who can moves, gets a faith or goes private. Hardly the shiny fair system that we would all love to have...

LaQueen Mon 03-Dec-12 19:58:04

Even at a comprehensive, I still believe that the students in the bottom sets are going to feel like failures compared to the clever kids in the top sets.

They will be compared to/compare themselves to these more clever children. Sharing a form with them, or doing PE with them isn't going to make them feel academically equal to the students in the top sets.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 20:00:00

I grew up in the Midlands. Towns like West Bromwich is predominantly working class. The middle classes live in Sutton Coldfield while the rich live in Solihull. This was 20 years ago so things might have changed. So, to me a comprehensive that has a diverse wc/mc/rich people catchment is not 'typical'. That is all I meant by that.

As for comps being 'crap', it wasn't me that said that. My position is simply that the GS system is a good system which is not the same as saying Comps are 'crap'.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 20:01:02

But I still believe that even if those feelings are there to an extent, it's still better than keeping them in a separate building. More civilised.

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 20:01:25

True orangeberries though some schools do take from a very mixed area and are still successful.

Not sure how to tackle that one...

LaQueen Mon 03-Dec-12 20:01:49

"This is when the child makes the decisions more themselves and not the parents. Would you rather employ somebody that grappled to achieve themselves or benefitted from an over involved parent."

losingtrust the parent doesn't have to be suffocatingly involved. All they need to do is pass on their IQ and provide an environment where education is valued, where books are freely available and where intelligent conversation flows around a wide variety of subjects.

piggywigwig Mon 03-Dec-12 20:03:35

Arisbottle

May I make a few comments?
You say..
"My third child is in year 6 and had no interest in the grammar...therefore she was told at the start of Year 6 that it she did not work harder and achieve levels I knew that she could I would get her a tutor and she would be entered for the grammar."

I admire your courage for what is potentially a high-risk strategy on many levels. Most importantly, the 2012 closing dates of the first week in September would be well-known/common knowledge and I have to say even the children in DD2's class were talking about it...a lot! wink

With your eldest son, who you state is "off the scale clever" you mentioned that you

"... knew that he was likely to come near to top of the test and that if he didn't we would get him in on appeal because of the bullying which was making him feel suicidal."

I mean no offence to you or your son, but may I clear something up, in case anyone reads this and feels it's easy to win an appeal for a place at GS?

Even with supremely intelligent children (and I respect your rationale re: Aspergers) the 11+ is a gamble interms of how well the children perform on the day - it's a well known fact. There's no guarantees. In my area, the GS are superselective - hardly anyone wins an appeal. Of course different areas may have varying success rates but one aspect appears to be consistent throughout: extenuating circumstances alone are not necessarily enough to convince an appeal panel to offer a place. An appellant has to have incredibly compelling evidence of academic prowess to show why the 11+ was a blip. The focus of an appeal should not be on the extenuating circumstances but on evidence to prove what was happening academically, both before and after the exam.
Apologies if you already knew this, but others may not and it's vitally important if parents are considering an appeal for an 11+ result.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 20:06:18

And you're less likely to feel a failure in set three for maths if you can see that your friend in the top set isn't hockey captain, and your friend in set two might not be a soloist.... Etc. rather than not being allowed in the same school building or environment as them ever again.

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 20:06:50

I'm not so sure LaQueen. In my year of 500 or so pupils no one really knew where everyone sat in terms of sets. And even if you had an idea from the lessons you shared (RE etc) it wasn't really a big deal in terms of friendship groups.

LaQueen Mon 03-Dec-12 20:07:49

Nit but is it really more civilised?

Every day...every single day...Child A will be rubbing shoulders with Child B who effortlessly excels at lessons which Child A struggles hugely with, and will continue to struggle with for their entire school career.

At the end of school Child A at best can hope to acheive a small handful of low grade GCSEs (if that) and a lifetime of low paid jobs. Child B is off to university, with a professional career ahead of them earning an average £500K more over their lifetime...and Child A knows that.

In what way has Child A benefitted academically/psychologically from being under the same school roof as Child B for 5 years?

BellaVita Mon 03-Dec-12 20:08:38

You sound delightful OP.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 20:10:32

It is a high risk strategy with our daughter, I know . Our closing date was after the one you quote . She also knows that we could apply to send her in Year 8 and therefore the threat is a rolling one!

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 20:15:20

We are not in a super selective area and therefore it would come as something of a surprise if ds did not get a place , I knew that if did not perform on the day, ( which was very unlikely ) he would be on the cusp of getting a place and it would be very out of character .

I am reluctant to say more as I am very easily recognisable with my brood of children , late entrant to teaching and son with special needs . But we were not taking about mild playground banter here, but serious prolonged bullying which necessitated involvement from CAMHS and the police .

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 20:16:44

La Queen, you have taken extremes but that Child B could be brilliant at art or drama and be able to achieve really good marks in these. You are looking at a minority going to get a handful of low grade GCSEs and the school could direct them to a career such as a mechanic which could actually earn them a lot more money than an Oxford student who decides to concentrate on drugs rather than studying. People change.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 20:20:25

losingtrust the parent doesn't have to be suffocatingly involved. All they need to do is pass on their IQ and provide an environment where education is valued, where books are freely available and where intelligent conversation flows around a wide variety of subjects.

So are you saying no child with parents who are uninterested is ever going to join a library, join the debating society etc because that is just not true. The IQ does not necessarily achieve high results. Also APMF, I grew up in the Midlands, went to school in Birmingham and my Ex in Dudley. We both got degrees from Russell Group unis after comps and that was 20 years ago+. The Solihull schools are beginning to lag behind some of the inner city schools now.

piggywigwig Mon 03-Dec-12 20:26:42

Arisbottle
"It is a high risk strategy with our daughter, I know . Our closing date was after the one you quote . She also knows that we could apply to send her in Year 8 and therefore the threat is a rolling one! "

The 28th September was the last deadline date for any 11+ exam - still a short window and even more time for the chance to talk about it in class grin

Hmmm the 13+ ...it's allegedly as hard to get a place at GS with this, as it is to actually win an appeal and then actually get a place. Many pass the 13+ - few actually get that elusive place. You must have sphericals of steel, is all I can say wink

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 20:36:21

LaQueen My mother hated education after her grammar school experience, did not want us to go to uni and I cannot say we had lots of intellectual conversations. We had all meals apart from Sunday dinner infront of the TV. All three of us though really appreciated education and enjoyed learning. Our parents did not check our homework books or ask us if we had studied. We did it all ourselves. We watched all the soaps and I did my homework infront of the TV. Fortunately I am a visual learner so learnt a lot from TV and from School. I watched a film, read the book, school introduced me to the classics etc. My mom never read. We and the schools taught us to love education.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 20:39:24

Yes the deadline wasn't much after the one you quoted which is why the threat has extended into Year 8! But it was sufficient to give her a crisp start to Year 6 and end to year 5. Dd is also keen to get into top sets in the comprehensive and she knows that will only happen if she ends Year 6 with at least straight level 5s.

We are on the edge of the grammar area and we feed into a very good secondary so it is not that unusual for a very bright child to go to the comprehensive rather than the grammar . Therefore in some ways the children do not gossip about who is or isn't going as they may do in schools in the heart of town . Having said this my dd was the only one out of her level 6 group at her primary that did not apply for the grammar although from what I have been told they did not all get places . But I am not certain.

She has also been warned as I said that if she does not end this year well or make a crisp start to secondary school we will make a Year 8 application . This threat is a two fold one, because I teach at her intended secondary in quite a senior position and therefore she knows that I will know what is going on.

I have known some successful late applications to the grammar ( as in a later year) however I am giving my dd the impression that it is easier than it actually is.

It is risky and I do have balls of steel. Unfortunately so does she! grin

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 20:48:49

All the rich living in Solihull. Tell that to the residents of Chelmsley Wood (also part of Solihull and the area that Solihull LEA is investing lots of resources into rather than the parts of South Birmingham where there are still some kids living in rough areas but do not have as much money spent on the school. This is the area where last Wednesday I said you could buy a house in the catchment of a real well respected school for £160k) so actually Solihull is more diverse than you think.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 20:52:23

Some of you posters paint such an attractive picture. Let's take a school where people feel like failures and where the parents are apathetic about education and where the teachers aren't inspiring. Let's then close down the GS, send the kids to the secondary modern and call it a comprehensive. Kids at the former sec mod will no longer feel like failures. The influx of pushy mums will be good for the school PTA etc. But what does the ex GS kid get out of the deal?

It's like at our former state primary school. The girls were selected for the school netball team and although they weren't great they won more than they lost. Then some of the mums complained about the lack of inclusiveness. Consequently any one who wanted to play became a team member and the girls would be swapped in and out so that everyone got to play. We started to rapidly lose every game we played.

The two left footers no longer felt excluded so they (and their mom's) were happy but what did my DS get out of it?

Similarly, if we got rid of selective education your DCs may no longer feel like failures but what does my DCs get out of it?

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 20:53:45

@losing - like I said, it was 20 years ago so I don't expect things to be the same.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 21:02:24

APMF that is exactly what happened in my area. I went to a former secondary modern and all the pushy parents improved the chances for all the kids and still managed to produce Oxbridge candidates and with competition for neighbouring schools education went up for everybody.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 21:07:38

I think your child a and b are unrealistically binary, laqueen.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 21:09:29

APMF - do you not think that the pushy mums will ensure that their children do well whatever school they end up in? And that in a large comprehensive, you could get around the netball problem by having different teams playing at different levels? What's wrong with an A team and a B team? Or a 1st team, 2nd team, 3rd team, etc? Why assume people cannot be streamed for sport if everyone accepts that people can be set for academic subjects?

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 21:09:56

"Similarly, if we got rid of selective education your DCs may no longer feel like failures but what does my DCs get out of it?"

It won't make any difference to your dc- they will carry on exactly as before but in the top sets of a comprehensive school, rather than in a grammar school.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 21:12:12

I guess in a really small school, you could have too small a number of really talented children to fill the top sets? So how worthwhile is it to get some people to travel very long distances to get to a super selective school, rather than go to the local, small comprehensive?

OBface Mon 03-Dec-12 21:12:46

I wondered how long it would take before the 'teachers are less inspiring in a comprehensive' line would be trotted out... Simply isn't the case. In fact, IME weaker teachers have ended up at private/grammar schools as in some ways it's a much easier ride.

APMF if grammar schools were closed down wouldn't the mix of the school that replaces them include both engaged ex grammar types and (as you termed them) apathetic pupils? With streaming in place both groups could succeed.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 21:13:04

Can small schools adequately cater for all ranges of ability?...

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 21:29:31

Seeker. Somebody in top set for Maths is not necessarily in top set for English. My DS is top set for English not as good at Maths. There are 200 per year in that school and they manage 8 different sets including an accelerate set for A*, one for A, B, C etc in each subject. Considered a small comp.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 21:31:39

I spoke to an ex grammar school teacher recently who had been really frustrated that those in the neighbouring secondary modern school did not have the chance to join as he felt some were brighter and worked harder but just failed on the day. There was no movement then though. Within sets or streams there is movement as this is the key difference. Putting somebody back a set can actually make them work much harder.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 21:33:33

Losingtrust- agreed. But realistically when the barricades come down and the grammars and high schools have been closed down and reemerge as a new comprehensive, the former grammar school pupils are likely to be in the top sets of that new school. So their mummies don't need to worry about them

Houseworkprocrastinator Mon 03-Dec-12 21:35:13

The problem i see with the grammar school system is, if they pick off all the 'brightest' children from an area then of course they are going to get the better results at the end of it because their starting point was so much higher. This leaves the comprehensive schools with all the rest of the children who didn't get in so their end results are bound to be lower. but then parents will look at the end results as an indication of how good the school is.
And as i said previously all parents want what is best for their children so they will do everything they can to help their child get into that school, be it paying for a tutor or tutoring themselves. These parents obviously care about their children's education but who is to say that with their natural intelligence and that level of parental support they wouldn't have done just as well at a comp? There is no way you can prove or disprove that so parents continue to fear that if they don't get into the grammar they are doomed.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 21:42:21

Only the large three form schools fields more than a team A (we were a one form school)

As for the academics, things will not be the same for my DCs. Take the discussions we've been having recently about my DCs. Shock, horror at the two hours of homework per night. Oxbridge? Jeeze you have an unhealthy obsession with Oxbridge. And these are comments from MNetters who are teachers at comprehensives.

I am not saying that I am right and these other people are wrong. I am just saying that my DCs are currently at highly academic schools where the emphasis is on being a winner, where striving for Oxbridge is encouraged and is not seen as an obsession on the part of the parent. This ethos is contrary to that at your bog standard comprehensive. After years of coasting at their state primary they are both thriving so how can anyone say that my DCs won't lose out?

Houseworkprocrastinator Mon 03-Dec-12 21:53:11

but APMF my point was that with intelligence and a diligent enthusiastic and encouraging parents who is to say that they wouldn't be thriving at the comp. Also maybe the local comp does not have the ethos "lets all go to oxbridge" because all or most of the children capable of that have gone to the grammar.

I am not saying you decision is wrong or that they don't deserve the best education but what i am saying is that with all the potential A/A* students going to grammar this fuels the reputation of the comps not achieving and the grammars being better.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 22:13:43

As I have said I do teach in a comprehensive or strictly speaking a half way house between a secondary modern and comprehensive which has staff whose role includes encouraging and guiding those who want to apply to Oxbridge. We have visiting lecturers from universities including Oxford to work with our able students. I am not saying we have got it right. I agree with you AMPF that comprehensive schools need to do more to encourage students to apply for top universities .

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 22:16:56

@house - Sounds a bit Me Me Me I know but my obligation is to my children and their education and not to other people's.

To go back to my netball analogy, I would rather have my DD in a non inclusive team that won than in a losing team where everyone, regardless of ability, gets to play.

Like I said, my personal ethos is not the right fit for a comprehensive. The reason why I like where my DCs are now is that the parents and the school share my ethos.

Now that I see my words on my screen I can see why some people regard people like myself as 'elitist' smile

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 22:17:52

"So their mummies don't need to worry about them"

jeezus is it at all possible for you to stop with the patronising shit

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 22:19:30

I actually think it is quite a good thing for my girls to go to school where not everyone shares their ethos. If their ethos is strong enough and genuine, it will survive it, and they should see that not everyone shares it, and it should be robust enough for that. Which is has been.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 22:20:54

Housework procrastinator: your arugment is sightly self-contradictory. The argument against GS is often that they DON'T pick off the brightest, that they take the most tutored. If that is true, then comprehensives-high schools must have their fair share of "the brightest" at the moment and have every opportunity to bring the best out of them and have great results.

So you can't have it both ways: you can't say that tutoring means grammars don't take the best, just the best tutored: and at the same time say that grammars shouldn't be creaming off the best. Because according to the other side of the argument, they're not creaming off the best.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 22:27:34

It's not that simple, Brycie. Because if it is the case that the grammars take the most tutored (and personally I'd say it's a combination), then they are also taking the children with the most academically supportive families, the children who've been taught to work and to aspire. Who are already prepared to do well.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 22:30:01

It makes me laugh that there is at least one poster on this thread telling the plebs that grammar schools are better when their kids are actually at private school.

LaVolcan Mon 03-Dec-12 22:36:49

Er, is that someone whose children didn't pass for the grammar school? (Or sorry, were selected as being non-academic and despatched to a Secondary Modern.)

I am arguing for comprehensives, and my children did go to comprehensives.They both certainly got as good an education as my husband and I did. I suspect my son would have been a borderline case for the grammar school - he's now the only one of my immediate family with a masters degree.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 22:37:26

Brycie-people on here are saying that they don't actually care what happens to the 77% so long as their child is OK. Perhaps you could try having a go at them and their self centred looking after number one shit rather than scouring my posts for occasional bitchy moments.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 22:40:15

"Like I said, my personal ethos is not the right fit for a comprehensive"

Have I missed the post where you explained this? What is your "personal ethos" which is not the right fit for a comprehensive?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 22:43:58

Of course one of the very lovely things about a comprehensive is that there is no personal ethos that is either a right or a wrong fit. Unless your personal ethos is that children ought to be segregated according to wealth or ability at age 11, I suppose.

losingtrust Mon 03-Dec-12 22:58:14

It would be quite interesting to do a survey on who went to comprehensives and how well they did. It always amazes me that nobody in the whole of the area that I live in seems to have this obsession with passing the 11+ because there are only one or two superselectives and places for these predominantly go to those who went to private preps. It is only really on mumsnet that I have come across such negative comments about comprehensives and the comments seem to be along the lines of knowing one child that goes to one or not wanting to risk it or based on their experience many years ago so no real experience of comprehensives. As mentioned all of my extended family went to comps because in most of the Midlands (except Lincoln) all children go to comps and all have done well. I never even questioned it when my DCs were going to seconday and I do consider myself quite a pushy mom. My friend's son has just gone to Oxford from an inner Birmingham comp and I cannot believe that he would have done any better in a grammar school, however, as one of a twin, the possibility was that one could have gone to one school and one to the other. How divisive would that have been?

I went to two comps, the first one streamed from Day one into three streams, good, average and not very clever, exactly what some people have mentioned early. I was in the top stream and we had all our lessons together, it was awful and nobody interstream talked or mixed (It was an ex-grammar). We then moved and the second school had mixed forms and then setting for different subjects. This for me was a great system and I had friends in each group, nobody really talked about what sets people were in. To me this was the best form of comp and people did move between sets every year. This is the sort of system my DS is at and the top set are told that your place is not secure and you need to keep up because there are some very good people in set 2. Those in the bottom group can move up if they work hard. This seems to keep everybody on their toes and does not lead to a general reduction but competition means overall it is a much better system. I had an interesting discussion actually with a woman my age who went to the girl's private school and she claimed that not many people from our age went to university did they? Nearly all of my friends went on to HE. One who was really good at Art and only average in other subjects got to HE and studied graphic design, now with a good job. Who knows whether she would have been encouraged to go had she gone to a secondary modern school.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 07:36:27

@losing - In the words of Al Pacino - Are you talking to me?

We don't have GSs in my area. The comprehensives aren't that brilliant hence mine going private. You don't really think that I would be shelling out school fees if we had access to a GS do you?

Houseworkprocrastinator Tue 04-Dec-12 08:01:25

Brycie.
that was actually my point that the parents that do everything to get their children in to these schools would be the same that would do anything to support their education anywhere.

"that with intelligence and a diligent enthusiastic and encouraging parents"

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 08:12:29

@seeker - Aren't you being a bit hypocritical (again)?

You want to deny parents the opportunity to choose a selective education for their DCs. Why? Because you consider the system is unfair to your DC. You want to do what is best for YOUR child. And the difference between you and a GS parent is.......?

You don't care about the 23% so please don't lecture them about how they should care about the 77%.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 08:32:52

TOSN - Of course mine or the children's ethos will survive but returning to my earlier question, what do my children get out if it? I mean, how will my DCs be better people for this?

This forum is full of people who go on about GS/indie parents being snobs and who think that these parents 'gleefully' rub their hands at the plights of the poor. They roll their eyes at what they see as OTT parenting and a unhealthy obsession with success. AND then they go - send your kids to our school. it will make them more rounded???

Also, elsewhere we have MNetters going on about how their kids were picked on because their kids were considered to be different. Do you want to tell those parents that mixing is good for their kids?

Houseworkprocrastinator Tue 04-Dec-12 08:33:22

Sorry i sent that without adding. I think that parents have a very big role in how much their children succeed no matter what sort of school. Where i live i have seen a few parents with the attitude of contempt towards the teachers and school they don't see the value of education because "it never did anything for them". these parents probably did not have a great education themselves but this attitude rubs off on their children, so i would have thought that a good encouraging attitude at home, nagging to do homework checking if homework is done etc gives that child a sense of the importance of education.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 04-Dec-12 08:59:12

1. yes, I do think they would be better people
2. must everything always be about what's in it for your children?

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 09:00:23

Good point Brycie - Similarly one particular MNetter is particularly proud of the fact that despite failing the 11+ she/he went on to Oxbridge so obviously the 11+ is not a true predictor of ability, goes the argument.

That is true but it also proves that failing the 11+ is not the first inevitable step towards a lifetime of disappointment and failure.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 09:14:14

TOSN - Replace the question with - must it always be about what is best for my children? - and the answer is Yes.

If you and I were to take ALL the money we spend on treats for our children and donate it to some Third World charity we could save a lot of lives. You might surprise me and say that you do.

You and me are letting children die so that DC can have a nice birthday party with lots of presents that they will probably lose interest in after a few months. So, in the grand scheme of things, me wanting a selective education for my kids doesn't make you markedly a better human being.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 04-Dec-12 09:17:59

Well I wasn't having a competition about Who Is The Best Human, and I think 'you and me [sic] are letting children die' is a bit of an emotive and silly argument, to be honest. I don't disagree with selective education because I think it makes me a better human, though I do recoil from the 'me first, you last, out of the way, it's all about my children' mentality suggested here.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 09:47:30

Thank you for pointing out my I/me mistake. It adds a lot to the conversation [inserts sarcasm emoticon].

The whole thing is like the 'joke' - would you sleep with me for £10m? Yes. For £100? No. We've established what you are so it's just a matter of degree.

We are all focused on doing what is best for our children. Your DCs, sod the poor and the starving, are going to get their birthday parties so please don't lecture other parent about their non-lethal choices for their DCs.

This is what I don't understand about some people. They aspire for their DCs to go to a RG university or Oxbridge even. Using their arguments against selective education, shouldn't their DCs be going off to Thames Valley? Diverse crowd there unlike the highly selective universities. The presence of your academic DCs will pull up standards etc etc.

How come I never hear people make that argument? It's as if they are against a selective education at secondary because they feel that their DCs are at a disadvantage but come university time they aspire for their DCs to get into a highly selective university.

Brycie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:01:53

Actually I think the GS argument is focussing on small numbers of children without looking at the bigger picture. It's a total distraction. It's very much about the "my child, my child" point of view.

What you should all be campaigning for is better education all round. The reason people are so desperate for GS's is because non GS education is not as good as it should be; the reason why tutoring is such a big deal is that primary education is not as good as it should be.

Hence why you are all flailing around when it's pointed out that if you believe that GS's don't take the bet, only the best tutored, then why aren't high schools and comprehensives doing much better with the "bet" children that have apparently been missed.

This is why I think it's absolute rubbish about the not caring. MY children go to a private school. Do I care about the 93 per cent that don't? Damn right I do. It affects us all when national education levels are so low. I argue time after time after time that primary education needs to be brought up to the rigorous and exciting standards offered by preps and private tuition.

But a lot of lefty anti GS types are exactly the same people who don't want that, they think it's oppressive, and they want us all to learn through play until we're about 21, and that we shouldn't be mean and boring by making them spell properly and listen to them read in school and making them learn their times tables.

But you all put your halos on and say "I care I care". It's in large part just the politics of envy. If I can't have it, no one can have it. Dogs in the manger attitude.

Brycie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:18:00

And that, seeker, is why you make your snide, sneering patronising comments and why I pick up on them - because your (confused) campaign is not about the facts of what is going on - it's about a nasty attitude towards the parents of grammar school children.

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 10:27:53

The reason people are so desperate for GS's is because non GS education is not as good as it should be;

Is that so? I don't see any move in my area to bring back grammar schools.

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 10:30:37

Living in a non grammer area I rarly meet many parents with same opinions as mumsnetters.

Its bit diffferent here though im outer city suberb different lea to all the sink comps.

The choice here

is nearby academy-short bus ride 83% 5 GCSES a -c-most peoples prefered option was good comp pre academy my worry now is how huge it is.

2local comps ie can walk to

nearest 43%pass rate, rumours its changing to science academy has new head and new uniform ties and blazers, its in affluent catchment yet not many local people go.

one of 3faith schools miles away from us and selection on faith means not many go even catholics dident get into rc secondry one of best in city.

3academies 2which were private select 10%then rest lottory and again all 3 a distance.

The best performing normal comp within city is in very affleunt area and tiny catchment

Or several independants top results in city every year.

doesnt leave much choice of you non faith wanting well performing academically good school its based on faith or luck not effort or money.

The leas no longer pay bus travel.
one know lady who managed to get son into nearest lottory academy its £60 a month imagine ones further away be more.
Some schools have very expensive uniform too.

All of these are barriers to a lot of people.

Spoken to few parents last couple of years and their priority seems to be local school one they can walk too.
Had conversation last night about the nearest comp and was saying new heads fab and I thourght but head doesnt do the teaching if less than half the year passed gcses thats dismall in my book plus i witness their poor behaviour outside the school so was amazed its on her list. Then another mum said ahh its becoming a science academy like it would have some sort of major advantage over other schools seems barmy.

Most parents want school not too big, good behaviour,, good results, no bullying, nice facilities finding all that from one school that can actually get into in some areas can be hell especially within cities.

I agree ethos is important and aspiration.
I like extra curricular and enrichment so team sports ect.

Im trying not to stress as my dd year 2.

I will do my best to get one of our 4choices and hope for best.

but its really hard and realise even if dont go private their will be significant cost to get my 3kids into one of the better city secondries.

But I try to keep open mind as hopefully in few years some pooor perfoming schools can become good.

I know if we had a grammer most people would least try.

I dont see how banning them and reducing everyone down to lowest denominater will help.

There are good comps out there but think if you check postcodes and catchments of them you will realise they still had to be wealthy middleclass

The debate should be about improving uk education for all.
so every area has decent comp.

my ex and couple of his freinds went to independant school on assisted places scheme which labour scrapped in 97 they all went onto russel group unis.

There was something in the news about private schools opening up more places .

Also so many against free schools but toby youngs free school west london sounds amazing yet people slate him for teaching latin and trying to be a grammer school.

Free school opened here sounds good sadly miles away and out of catchment.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 10:34:44

TOSN - I got a spare few minutes smile

My DS and his school mates do a lot of homework 'collaboration' (ok, copying to you and me) so that everyone gets a good mark. There is healthy competition but when one gets the top mark the others are happy for that kid.

My point? The flip side of my parenting perspective does not by default result in a child that goes me me me, sod the rest, out of my way, which is what you seem to be suggesting.

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 10:36:27

seeker how do you manage daughters schools parents evening /social events when you despise and judge most of the parents in the room? Does you daughter like her grammer is she doing well?

Think your son started september? hows he doing is he happy?
is he in top sets and doing well academically?

If you reallly felt that strongly i dont get why when they were primary you dident seek to relocate?

So many people travel across counties hour+each day to get into grammers means

very tiring
very expensive
sacrafice social life for child and parent
parent becoming ataxi service
freinds far away from each other.

its a sacrafice -hardly being selfish people do it for the reason that some things in life are worth the sacrafice.

If child bs parents cant give a toss about child bs education then yes ist sad but can see how i can influence that or deny my child chance of something better.

Brycie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:42:10

"Is that so? I don't see any move in my area to bring back grammar schools."

Surely everyone knows that more grammars are not going to happen? That's why free schools were so popular when they opened up, that's why people flock to anything outside the "traditional" comprehensive ideal, the academy, the faith school.

Brycie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:46:48

"Actually I think the GS argument is focussing on small numbers of children without looking at the bigger picture"

by this I mean the argument against GS, this argument here, that comes up again and again and is running on mn all over the place at the moment

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 10:51:49

Brycie - it must depend where you are because I haven't seen that happening. Most people seem to want a decent local school, and we are fortunate because we have some of those locally. I don't think any are academies yet, but one is planning to convert - the one which happens to have the least good reputation. It will be interesting to see what happens.

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 10:53:24

I think brycie right

its fair to say no political party supports more grammers.

In areas where grammer sytem remains kent/essex, ni then the secondry moderns be considered the lesser schools.

There are others ares like gloucestershire that has grammers but good comps.

A good comp can exist when only small perecentage go grammer as not aall the top performing pupils will be creamed off would be small %of secondry intake within that county.

But in areas where there are no selectives.

There are dire comps not all comps work well yet they held to be the best model.

we need a 3rd way-not sure what.

Im not sure here why faith schools get the best results?
Just because someones religious dont see how that makes them clever?

Unless you live in nice cathment the choices can be dire.

its sad that most of top jobs go private school which only accounts for 7%of population-how to redress this balance?

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 10:57:58

Brycie - you also said that people flock to the faith school. The only non-independent faith school locally is an RC school 8 miles away. I know lots of Catholics who go to the three local comprehensives which are aren't faith schools but which are within 3 miles rather than travel.

A local independent school is RC, but seems to have as many Anglicans, Methodists and Baptists on the roll as Catholics.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 11:09:14

The top jobs at my company are filled with Oxbridge/Harvard MBA types. Even if I introduced a rule smile that the company can only employ senior execs from red bricks that wouldn't help me since I'm not the high flyer type sad

So to me, complaining that the top jobs go to the select few is like complaining about the high taxes being paid by people earning a million plus. That is not me. Never will be.

So unless you have a brilliant DC who could be the next Foreign Secretary if only he was privately educated then what do case about the 7%?

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 11:10:25

Mam29, I don't despise most grammar school parents- which you would know if you read what I say rather than what others think I say.

I won't go into the reasons why moving is impossible for us- but moving is impossible for us.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 11:12:35

"But a lot of lefty anti GS types are exactly the same people who don't want that, they think it's oppressive, and they want us all to learn through play until we're about 21, and that we shouldn't be mean and boring by making them spell properly and listen to them read in school and making them learn their times tables.

But you all put your halos on and say "I care I care". It's in large part just the politics of envy. If I can't have it, no one can have it. Dogs in the manger attitude."

Oh this is such a silly thing to say. Nobody has said anything of the sort.

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 11:16:32

I just wondered seeker as you make assumptions about grammer parents.

Essy to make if you not in the system but are with dd1

is the mix of parents from diffrent socio-economic groups?
do some come from state som eproivate do you know %split|
Do the parents to you seem nice, supportive of school ie attended events , sucessful pta that sort of thing?

Does the grammer school offer

more subjects than comp?
better facilities?
afterschool slubs/sports?
small classes?

what attarcted you and yoir daughter to this school over your sons school?

are you and son happy with his school?

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 11:23:40

"@seeker - Aren't you being a bit hypocritical (again)?

You want to deny parents the opportunity to choose a selective education for their DCs. Why? Because you consider the system is unfair to your DC. You want to do what is best for YOUR child. And the difference between you and a GS parent is.......?

You don't care about the 23% so please don't lecture them about how they should care about the 77%."

I think the system is unfair for all children. My children are both doing fine, thank you. But they would both do equally well in a proper comprehensive school. This is not about my children.I just don't understand why people think having the top sets in a different building to the other sets is better for the top sets? They would still be there in a comprehensive, the only difference would be that some of the 77% might be able to join them.

I find it interesting that the pro grammar people have failed to address the point that, with a comparable catchment area, a comprehensive school and a grammar plus a high school will have very similar results- with the comprehensive frequently doing better. Two people, I think, replied with accounts of their child being bullied at a comprehensive. But there is bullying in all schools- any school which says it has no bullying is lying.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 11:36:46

"I just wondered seeker as you make assumptions about grammer parents.
I don't, you know. Most of the parents I am making assumptions about on this thread are not grammar school parents. I have made q couple of comments about the looking after number one attitude- but only whennpeople have displayed it

Essy to make if you not in the system but are with dd1

is the mix of parents from diffrent socio-economic groups?
do some come from state som eproivate do you know %split|
Do the parents to you seem nice, supportive of school ie attended events , sucessful pta that sort of thing?

No- practically no socio-economic mix at all. overwhelmingly professional middle class. Yes they are nice and supportive. Don't know about the private/ state split- in dd's circle of friend's I would say it was about 25% from private schools, but I don't know if that's typical
Does the grammer school offer

more subjects than comp?
better facilities?
afterschool slubs/sports?
small class
*are you asking me to compare dd's grammar with ds's high school? There's no comprehensive in the equation.
The high school has fewer subjects, comparable facilities, significantly fewer after school clubs. But the classes are about the same size*

what attarcted you and yoir daughter to this school over your sons school?
She passed the 11+- he didn't!

are you and son happy with his school

Academically he's doing well. He's reasonably happy. He is very sporty, and the sport is good. However, he is also musical, and there is very little drama or music- there is loads of both at the grammar school, so he does get dispirited when he hears about his friends in choirs and orchestras and plays.

Is that what you wanted to know?

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 11:47:20

Aplogies seeker if upset you and being nosy just trying to understand your veiws but its hard.

When parents look around schools grammer or comp they make a decisions based on facilities, subjects, ethos pastoral care , distance ect on if it appeals and it if be suitable for their dd before applying and sitting the 11+.

So what im asking is what attracted you to grammer even before the 11+? assumed you looked around and liked the school?

Doid you look around all local schools?
how much choice did you have?

was it grammer or modern?

are you near the border of lea that does have true comp?

Do you have privates that offer scholarship or bursary if hes very talented at sports/music and academically bright?

Glad to hear your sons happy and doing well at his new school.
Is their option for him to do drama/music locally outside of school as our local church has a choir.

I cant speak about secondrys as mines in primary no 2 but both have been leafy affluent areas with mostly middleclass parents-nothing special about just grammers. Also as you dont have playground so much possible you not seen all the parents maybe more even mix than you think.

25%private mean 75%state schools get in sounds good.

Do you regret now not tutoring do you think the margin of error was small or big? did sons freinds all get tutored?

orangeberries Tue 04-Dec-12 11:53:59

I agree with Brycie that we should all want to improve education for all children.

As I said in this thread already, we are not in a grammar area and the local school are terrible. When they abolished grammar schools here, many moons ago, the following happened: the ex-grammars became very good comprehensives and house prices doubled and tripled all around the catchment.

The ex-secondary moderns remained sink schools with bad ethos and very little aspiration. We are all amazed that decades later the situation is still the same. It is indeed very sad and it is hard to break the cycle as middle class parents will continue to avoid the local sink and so will I.

Spockster Tue 04-Dec-12 12:01:26

A good friend of mine who lives in Kent sent both her DDs to an independent primary, where they received an excellent education in small classes and loads of extracurricular wot not.
Her eldest also had tutoring, and has a place at a super-selective state grammar. Little sis is likely to follow. She is a great kid and will do really well, but it makes my raw inside with rage, which I am careful not to show .
I feel angry and dreadfully sad on behalf of the other kid; the one who is equally or more bright, went to the state primary and had no tutoring, "failed" to get into the superselective and is at the iffy comprehensive skewed towards the lower achievers, purely due to the fact that the brightest and richest kids got creamed off. That system stinks. And I don't blame the other kid's parents for not downloading papers off the internet! Or really my friend. It is the shitty system.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 12:03:03

Not upset at all- I'm always delighted to answer questions!
"Aplogies seeker if upset you and being nosy just trying to understand your veiws but its hard.

When parents look around schools grammer or comp they make a decisions based on facilities, subjects, ethos pastoral care , distance ect on if it appeals and it if be suitable for their dd before applying and sitting the 11+.

So what im asking is what attracted you to grammer even before the 11+? assumed you looked around and liked the school?
*yes we looked round. Dd is also musical and theatry- so that was important.
And as she is a top set person academically, I wanted her to have the opportunity to be in a big enough top set to make learning challenging and interesting*

Doid you look around all local schools?
how much choice did you have?

was it grammer or modern?

Yes, we looked round all the local schools. We had a choice of 2 grammars and 3 high schools

are you near the border of lea that does have true comp?

No. That would have been our choice had it been possible.

Do you have privates that offer scholarship or bursary if hes very talented at sports/music and academically bright?

* Yes, but not an option for us*

Glad to hear your sons happy and doing well at his new school.
Is their option for him to do drama/music locally outside of school as our local church has a choir.

he is about join a youth theatre, and he plays the guitar. It's just sad that other children at the school don't get, as the do at the grammar, the opportunity to try out things that they might not even know they are interested in. The grammar is good at this, the high school isn't. And in most cases, it is far more important for the high school kids, whose parents might not be in a position to show them new things.

I cant speak about secondrys as mines in primary no 2 but both have been leafy affluent areas with mostly middleclass parents-nothing special about just grammers. Also as you dont have playground so much possible you not seen all the parents maybe more even mix than you think.

*It isn't. We've been at the school for 5 years now- and it holds lots of events parents come to. There is a practically 100% Boden quotient.

25%private mean 75%state schools get in sounds good.

Do you regret now not tutoring do you think the margin of error was small or big? did sons freinds all get tutored?

I don't rationally regret it. But I do kick the sheets in frustration at 4 in the morning sometimes! No, only ones of his friend's who passed was tutored. Several of the ones who failed were though. My ds failed so catastrophically that I don't think tutoring would have helped him on the day- it was just one of those things

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 12:04:44

@seeker - You may want to deny people a choice but they don't need to justify WHY they want that choice.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 12:07:27

'm sorry, APFM- I don't understand your last post.

bulletpoint Tue 04-Dec-12 12:11:38

Seeker - just out of interest was your ds ill on the day of his exam ? when he came out how did he say it went ? i'm asking because grammar sch. debate aside it sounds really odd that a boy deemed very bright would then fail catastrophically, it just doesnt make sense. I dont live in a grammar area but do you get to see his paper's at all if requested ?

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 12:12:33

Thanks for claififying.

I assume out of 3high schools you picked one you liked best and academically do well?

Do the other high schools have music/drama?

Reason I ask is is it worth the high schools working together in partnership to try and provide more for the 3high schools?

Have you spoken to head of your school, made suggestions.?
Thourght about joining pta pt govereners and trying to improve provision at the high school?

Any musical parents who can volunteer their time?
any outside providers? even for small cost some parents maybe interested maybe questionaire to parents what provision they want.

We have parent volunteers doing clubs at dds primary.

music itself is expensive as instrument lessons are private and cost of instrument so immediatly excludes some I wanted to but my single parent mum said no couldent affoird it yet my younger sister could yes im bitter about that.

how many of sons primary year went to grammmer ? do a lot go hih school.

As for the test sounds like wasent meant to be and grammer wouldent have suited him academically even if did have better extra curricular activities.

Have you wrote to your mp?
set up a campaign pressure group?

if you so anti grammer what you doing to change the system?

could any parents set up a free school?

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 12:20:58

A good friend of mine who lives in Kent sent both her DDs to an independent primary, where they received an excellent education in small classes and loads of extracurricular wot not.
Her eldest also had tutoring, and has a place at a super-selective state grammar. Little sis is likely to follow. She is a great kid and will do really well, but it makes my raw inside with rage, which I am careful not to show .
I feel angry and dreadfully sad on behalf of the other kid; the one who is equally or more bright, went to the state primary and had no tutoring, "failed" to get into the superselective and is at the iffy comprehensive skewed towards the lower achievers, purely due to the fact that the brightest and richest kids got creamed off. That system stinks. And I don't blame the other kid's parents for not downloading papers off the internet! Or really my friend. It is the shitty system.

I think the issue here is independant primarys are relativly cheap compared to senior school.

nearest prep here £1400 a term =£4200 a year
£29400 over course of 7years per child of course fees may go up so round it up to £30k for entire primary.

independant senior £11,000 a year
£77,000!

so 30k to get child into selective free grammer looks like money well spent.

If had one child and worked fulltime I could have gone down that private primary route.
I know a fe normal not very wealthy familes who opt private primary as copared with private day nursery fees of 800-1000 a month its cheap as was paying £9000 a year when worked fulltime just on nursery.

So only real alternative for level playing feild for state school is tutoring sad but true its lots more compatative these days.

Spockster Tue 04-Dec-12 12:27:39

That's the point. The playing field will never be level. That's why changing the system is the answer, not tutoring or private primaries. Or both...how ridiculous is that?!

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 12:43:13

I have no problem with selective education from age 14 on as as at this age, the parental influence is less apparent. Kids have made their own minds up whether they want to work or not and exams (rather than an exam) at this age would have much better merit along with a report from the school on attainment and behaviour (all along a governed format and not a written reference. What I object to is an exam (one exam that can be tutored for) at 10 which is too young to start splitting children up from each other. I would rather see an elementary, middle and high school system with a choice of high schools. Basically they could use the existing structures with comprehensive until 14 and have technical colleges, sixth form colleges and grammar schools providing the 14+ education. By 14, you know whether someone has a good IQ and is going to use it whereas at 10 a high IQ could be there but no work ethic and it is too young to see this.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 12:54:04

Oh and to avoid the private school advantage at 14 I would do what the NHS does when you start going private and then want to opt back in you go to the back of the waiting list. Therefore all of the local schools would have first choice at each of the three alternatives at 14 from within a set area, then children from state schools outside the area and then private school children living in the area. Really by this age kids have a better idea of what they want to do and which career path to follow and proper LEA funded career advice should be given at this age when choosing their GCSE or vocational qualifications with more input from the school than the parents to give wc kids the advantage of having proper advice from people who know the system.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 12:55:58

By the way Mam those fees are reasonable. For preps near us it is about £9500 per year and therefore with more than one child out of reach for most. Plus the ones I looked at were not that great. Thought about it when DS (only child at the time) still in full-time nursery. We seemed to be paying only for small classes which is not the best idea.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 12:59:57

@seeker - to use your word, I was being a bit 'petulant'. You was asking someone to justify why they were choosing a GS. The way that I see it, if someone wants to take away my right to choose I would rather that THEY justify why I shouldn't have the choice.

Hamishbear Tue 04-Dec-12 13:00:33

Good point about work ethic up thread. Some Grammars select just on VR. So, you could have a bright, articulate child with a wide vocabulary (who will likely pass easily) that's also likely not to bother to work very hard and who is disruptive. Why do they deserve state funding for an academic education ahead of a child with a smaller vocab - perhaps less well read, English a second language etc? This child could fail. This child might also have an incredible work ethic.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 13:12:02

@losing - We considerered 13+ as a means of saving money by delaying the crossover to private. Then we looked at the test papers. At 11+ they test ability as opposed to subject knowledge. Is that a true test of ability? The jury is out on that one. But at 13 they just wouldnt be able to compete against those that were attending highly academic prep schools.

If you think that the odds are stacked against a 10 year old that is not at prep school or an academic primary then the odds will be even worst at 14.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 13:19:55

Hence why private kids would go to bottom of the list.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 13:29:28

"@seeker - to use your word, I was being a bit 'petulant'. You was asking someone to justify why they were choosing a GS. The way that I see it, if someone wants to take away my right to choose I would rather that THEY justify why I shouldn't have the choice."

I don't think I was, was I? I try not to let this be about individuals.

mam29 Tue 04-Dec-12 14:28:44

I think private fees depend where in country you live.
we have loads of independants and drives down price.
Also I suspect that private preps grammer areas may charge more as people use it as shortcut to passing 11+.

Privates doable for us just with 1 at prep but would struggle with senior fees. we have 3 so have to play the state system.

dd used to go rc primary only small %went onto rc secondry as so far away from where we live our lea has no faith secondries so kids have to travel long distances.

Find it slightly comical that we in non grammer area that seeker may consider it educational nivarna/mecca we have proper comprehensives but we also have some of worst secondries in uk and I dare say compared to some of inner city academies the secondry moderns probably quite nice in comparision.

Unless we very wealthy , bursary then couldent afford private and we not rc so wont get that school. The 3weel performing academies are chance, the new free school out catchment and miles away and the coe would need to go church more to stand a chance.

out of interest whats the gcse pass rate for both schools seeker?

whats the value added and %of brightest cohort?

losing trust -interesting idea-maybe we need a middle school as some areas like windsor have them.

or maybe we need entrance exams at 11, 12 and 13 so people get extra chances?

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 15:10:05

@losing - Your solution is to leave kids in an all ability school and then at 14 select the smartest for GS just in time for GCSES???

Do you really think that after coasting for the last couple of years, two years in an academically demanding GSs is going to have a measurable affect come exam time?

The reason why the selective school model works so well from an exam passing viewpoint is that the hard work starts at aged 11 and not at 14.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 15:15:32

Comprehensives are all ability schools, but they do not teach in all ability classes. I think this is where the misunderstanding is coming from.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 15:19:19

@seeker - I think that most people are aware that comprehensives don't teach all 100+ kids as one.

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 15:19:30

I think some are deliberately choosing to misunderstand, seeker.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 15:30:01

Oh of course all children in comps are coasting and to be honest under the system there need not be gcse's

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 15:49:22

losing - You are in favour of GSs but with selection at 14. Implicit in that is an acceptance that comprehensives aren't as academic as they could be. Otherwise, why bother transferring to a GS at 14?

The bright kid will therefore be 'coasting' because he won't be challenged.

Anyway, if at 14 the kid is clever enough to pass the test for GS then isn't that proof that the school he is already at is a good school?

It's a Catch 22 situation. You should only be offered a GS place if you pass the test at 14. But if you can pass the test then the school you are at must be good so you don't need a place at the GS so the place should be awarded to someone with a greater need. But that kid must first pass the test.......

Sorry losing. Back to the drawing board.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 15:53:48

Go back and read. My issue is with selection at 10. No account for late developers or hard workers.

LaQueen Tue 04-Dec-12 16:01:46

"La Queen, you have taken extremes but that Child B could be brilliant at art or drama and be able to achieve really good marks in these. You are looking at a minority going to get a handful of low grade GCSEs and the school could direct them to a career such as a mechanic which could actually earn them a lot more money than an Oxford student who decides to concentrate on drugs rather than studying. People change."

Losing actually a large proportion of students are only going to leave school with a handful of low grade GCSEs regardless of whether they're studying under the same roof as academically able students/or not.

This is because a good percentage of people simply aren't academic no matter how you try and paint it otherwise.

A non-academic student could just as easily be directed into learning a trade, if they attended a secondary modern style school, than if they attended a school with academically able students.

It's a numbers game... most university graduates are going to carve out professional careers, even the ones who spend a goodly proportion of their time doing recreational drugs wink

And, a very large proportion of people are always going to leave school with a token few GCSEs, and will spend their lives doing low paid jobs.

I agree people do change...but, their capacity for academic ability very rarely does.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 16:31:47

@losing - I did read your post. If you had your way and selection was at 14, my skinny white graduate affluent ass would ensure that my DS is better tutored than the bright working class kid. So back to square one ie bright kids being pushed out by well off tutored kids like mine.

At least at 11+ the bright kid isn't at such a big disadvantage as at 14. Does testing at 10 mean late bloomers are overlooked? Yes but it's not going to get any easier at 14.

IMO testing at 7+ is much fairer. You can tutor a 6 year old in maths as much as you want but your returns will be negligible smile

But, even if 7+ testing was acceptable,once again your typical MC toddler will probably be more literate and be better at maths (according to various studies) so back to square one ... again.

Instead of pulling down selective education shouldn't people focus on making non selective schools better?

All I hear is that by having pushy parents like me and bright kids like my DC at your school everything is going to improve for you. That is not a solution.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 17:27:21

"@seeker - I think that most people are aware that comprehensives don't teach all 100+ kids as one."

So why are people persisting is saying that bright children will coast at a comprehensive? Some people earlier were even saying that bright children will not get an education at a comprehensive!

LaQueen Tue 04-Dec-12 17:48:31

"By 14, you know whether someone has a good IQ and is going to use it whereas at 10 a high IQ could be there but no work ethic and it is too young to see this."

As far as I understand these things, your IQ is pretty much hard-wired - and can be demonstrated from a very young age.

I don't think it likely that a child at 10, with a below average IQ is going to be able to develop a high IQ by the age of 14, are they?

And, as far as I also understand these things from the GS teachers I know (and that recent article I read on MN), GS don't particularly want children with an average IQ, but who are very diligent and hard working with a sound work ethic.

What they want are the inherently bright children, with the high IQs and the ferocious intelligence, that can race through lessons and produce exceptional exam results without too much effort.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 18:10:05

I'm done with this. Since when people start saying that just because they are white they will tutor more and others that a high iq will always be the one that gets the results even though they may get into drugs, mix with the wrong crowd and get into trouble. Yes before you say it grammar schools do have drug issues. There is no point.

losingtrust Tue 04-Dec-12 18:15:08

All I can say is when my dc's go to as good a uni as I did from a comp once previously a secondary modern and get nice professional jobs then I will be comfortable with the decisions that I made and that is important to me but I also care about the other kids having a chance too and my lefty view that selection at 10 and even 7 great for summer borns by the way have not yet been changed.

Brycie Tue 04-Dec-12 18:58:46

Seeker: it's absolutely not silly - it's evident throughout the thread, not least in your own sneering attitude.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 19:04:35

Brycie- I can't remember what I said was silly. But I absolutely reject that I have a sneering attitude. I have made a couple of slightly bitchy remarks- but that is nothing compared to the accusations and insults that have been chucked at me!

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 19:53:59

@seeker - Ok it was a primary school and not a secondary school but DC was at one rated as excellent by Ofsted. He found Year 6 so boring. The work he was given was pitched too low. When we got him to complain the teacher's solution was to give him same level work times 2 or get him to do same task but faster. He basically ended up 'coasting' Year 6.

At the end of Year 7 he had a get together with his primary school friends who had gone onto comps. They discussed school and what the lessons and teachers were like and DC was roughly a term ahead of them. Their schools don't set until Year 9 so DC would have 'coasted' for another 2 year's.

I obviously can't claim that ALL comps are like this but why would I chance it?

LaQueen Tue 04-Dec-12 20:08:27

"and that is important to me but I also care about the other kids having a chance too"

But losing children at secondary moderns are still getting an education, which is, in the vast majority of cases, perfectly suitable for the ability level of the children at that school.

A grammar school style education is going to be inappropraite for a huge number of children - they just wouldn't be able to cope with its demands.

LaQueen Tue 04-Dec-12 20:10:37

And I agree with APMF. I have worked in GS and worked in comprehensives...and I'm just not prepared to chance my DD's education, on the hope that their local comprehensive is going to be as good as their local GS.

Houseworkprocrastinator Tue 04-Dec-12 20:38:20

I have read all the posts here and do find this interesting, i can see both sides of the argument and have mixed feelings about the whole thing (my bum is sore from sitting on this fence) and am very relived i am not in a position where this will be an issue, but if i were i think i would have to say that i would probably push my child to take the 11+ well the clever one anyway grin because as much as i would like to say it isn't a fair system and it is elitist when it comes to my children they are number one priority for ME.

Can i just say that it must be very hard on the children who don't get into these schools, sometimes only just missing the mark and i am assuming that they take the top % of the grades rather than there being a pass/fail situation? But everyone one on here has being talking about the children failing the exam which i think is a wrong choice of words and could be really damaging to their self esteem and future motivation to do well.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 04-Dec-12 21:22:53

If you have a local gs, you don't have a local comprehensive.

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 21:50:45

...children at secondary moderns are still getting an education, in the vast majority of cases, perfectly suitable for the ability level of the children at that school.

Personally, I would say perfectly suitable for about half the children. For the very brightest in the grammar schools yes,the Kent/Bucks system is OK, for the less academic in the Secondary Modern yes, but there are vast numbers in the middle, where I don't think there is all that much to choose between them in terms of ability.

Now if we really did have tripartite system, which the old system was supposed to be, but wasn't in most places, with technical schools in the middle, with say the top 20% going to the grammar, the bottom 20% to the secondary modern and the 60% going to the technical schools I think you would have a decent system which served the majority without the same tag of failure.

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 21:54:21

But everyone one on here has being talking about the children failing the exam which i think is a wrong choice of words and could be really damaging to their self esteem and future motivation to do well.

Yup, so in my day, when the letters were given out the headmaster gave a little homily about how we had been selected for the appropriate school. Next morning in the playground was it 'which school have you been selected for?' Was it heck- 'have you passed?' was the question.

APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 22:14:50

@LaVolcan - So instead of going to the 2nd best school in the area, the child will now be going to the 3rd best school.

Yup, I can see why you think that the tripartite system avoids the 'failure' tag grin

LaVolcan Tue 04-Dec-12 22:29:28

@LaVolcan - So instead of going to the 2nd best school in the area, the child will now be going to the 3rd best school.

Umm, sorry, I don't follow you. Who exactly is going to the 2nd best or 3rd best school?

Yermina Tue 04-Dec-12 22:39:17

Am I the only one here who coasted, dreamed and lazed all the way through secondary but still managed to pass my GCSE's and A-levels, get a reasonable degree and a decent job at the end of it?

For goodness sake APMF - you're DESPERATE about your children 'pushing' themselves academically. If I'd had a parent like you I would have wanted to chuck myself off a cliff. :-(

APMF Wed 05-Dec-12 00:17:20

@LaVolcan - You was singing the praises of a tripartite system where the top % go to a GS, middle x% to tech college and bottom % to sec mod. I was just making the observation that the sec mod kid will now have another school above him in the pecking order.

APMF Wed 05-Dec-12 00:33:59

@Yermina - To each his own. Just because you was happy to 'coast' doesn't make me a bad person if I want more for my DCs than just a 'reasonable' degree and a 'decent' job.

DC wants to be an architect designing large glass tower blocks like the Shard. Well, a 'reasonable' degree isn't going to get him that job.

LaVolcan Wed 05-Dec-12 00:48:07

I wasn't singing its praises APMF, but a system which rejected only 20% would have been, in my opinion, an improvement on one which rejected 75% which would appear to be the system that you find preferable. It's irrelevant because that system won't come back but it's something of a pity that it wasn't implemented after the 1944 Education Act.

Just because your son's friends went to comprehensives, (let's assume that they were genuine comprehensives) which didn't set until year 9, by no means says that all comprehensives don't set until year nine. The ones that I had direct experience of set for maths and English after the first half term. Modern foreign languages weren't set then because they were a new subject for most people.

Brycie Wed 05-Dec-12 01:17:03

AMPF - I'm with you.

Copthallresident Wed 05-Dec-12 08:48:27

APMF No, a "reasonable" degree is not going to get him that job. He is going to have to get into one of the top architecture courses like UCL or Cardiff, and get at least a 2.1. He won't actually need top grades at A level, AAB will do, but he will need to show outstanding flare and creativity in his art portfolio to get on to those courses and then he is going to need even greater flare and creativity (some might say way out wackiness) to get that 2.1. or first. Which is why, at UCL and Cardiff at least, they have one of the highest proportions of state school pupils, because the art departments in schools with a traditional ethos are not always very good at preparing their pupils for way out wackiness. It is why they are at the forefront of access schemes to enable applicants to apply from disadvantaged backgrounds.

And with his first if he is very lucky he will get a placement with one of the big firms and get to spend years doing the boring stuff like designing the loo pods for big buildings like the Shard

I really wish your son well, but hope he understands what he is letting himself in for, and that there are no fast tracks for coming from a particular background or school.

LaQueen Wed 05-Dec-12 08:52:19

Yes, totally agree with the three-part system LaVolcan.

And, the secondary modern wouldn't be the third best school in the area. If you have a local sports academy and a music school...does that mean the local comprehensive is suddenly only the third best school?

The secondary modern would be the best school for those children who went there, because it would be tailored specifically for them, and their needs and their abilities.

If those abilities and levels, academically speaking, aren't as high, or as fast as the kids at the local GS...well, that's just life.

We can't all be academic...just like we can't all be musical or artistic...and we can't all have good pratical skills. My DH has aced every exam he has ever sat...but there's no way he can put up a level shelf, or change a tap-washer.

APMF Wed 05-Dec-12 09:12:18

@Copt - Thanks for the info. A short while ago DC wanted to be a games developer so I suspect that his dreams of becoming an architect will go the same way smile

I coasted and got myself a 'reasonable' degree and promptly found that all the dream jobs that I wanted asked for a First. Looking back, I wish that my parents had pushed me. Don't get me wrong. I'm in a position where I can afford to privately educate my DCs so I'm obviously doing well but I want my DCs to be doing great as opposed to 'doing well'.

ReallyTired Wed 05-Dec-12 09:49:16

Our local comp/ academy has a four part system and even a unit for childen with speech and language difficulties. There are four different pathways during keystage 3 dependent on the level of support needed for literacy. Children also start GCSEs at different ages depending on which pathway they are following. There are also a range of vocational courses for children who want to do them.

Sometimes children who have failed to learn to read at primary have social issues rather than intelligence issues. I think its good that children who are level 3 at the start of secondary can still access GSCEs/ A-levels, but they need an extra year of keystage 3 learning to get there. The children have extra numeracy and literacy lessons so that they can function in the adult world whether they choose a vocational or academic route for key stage 4.

Conversely the children who arrive with level 5s across the board in year 7 will be ready for GCSEs a year early.

All the keystage 4 classes are mixed age. It will be interesting to see what affect this has on discipline. There may well be three years difference between the youngest and the oldest child in the class.

I feel its better that children make the choice to do a vocational course rather than doing a vocational course because they were deemed thick at the age of ten or eleven. Unlike a grammar school/ secondary modern system no child is written off as useless or denied opportunties. There is also flexiblity between the pathways for at least the first year of secondary.

Brycie Wed 05-Dec-12 11:37:58

REallytired: sounds like an interesting approach.

Copthallresident Wed 05-Dec-12 16:42:53

APMF Nothing wrong with wanting the best for your child and supporting them to achieve their potential and get where they want to go. Most of us know instinctively how to do that, or our child makes it clear to us, without pushing them too hard or damaging their confidence. The problem is that it isn't a case of whether you do or don't "tutor". It's a big deal for some people because of all the manifestations of that word, and the way that parents best instincts about their child get hijacked by the parental angst around exams for selective schools. Around here we have a tutoring industry that reminds me of nothing so much as Victorian quack doctors. Tutors cash in on the desperation, anxiety and competitiveness of parents by allowing them to think they have some sort of inside track on success in selective school exams. They allow parents to think that by word of mouth they are gaining admission to their exclusive services, reinforced by having selection tests for their tutoring (so it is pretty much a self fulfilling prophecy) and even bringing out books. What they are actually getting exclusive admission to is being crammed around a kitchen table with other children doing endless repeat papers, and if they are lucky getting some of the feedback and advice on exam technique you mention. Tutoring can be a positive experience but often it isn't. What your child will need most to achieve their potential is confidence, and parents who become so desperate that they are prepared to go through whatever hoops are created by Chinese whispers in the playground tend to lose sight of that, and regret it later. It really is true from DD's peers that where children go to university is in the end pretty much in line with what you would expect from their ability regardless of where they went to school (though we have excellent comps and sixth form colleges around here). I am very glad my DCs got to the selective schools they wanted, and I did help them with that, but I was never under any illusions that we were buying some sort of fast track to the top, just the benefit of the facilities and a culture that suited them .

It is also a big deal because some children that don't have the benefit of parents who are able or willing to support them. Private schools have bursary and access schemes, if not arising from their ethos, then to retain charitable funding. Yet with state funding the Grammar Schools around here appear to have no obligation to enable access, as indeed Universities do as a condition of their state funding, or even ensure an even playing field in their exams. As long as they get a cohort of bright students who will pass exams they don't put themselves out in any way to neutralise the tutoring culture, or facilitate bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds to have the opportunities they offer. They should be governed by the same moral framework on their admissions as exists in the rest of our Education system.

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