Middle class access to grammars via tutorproof 11+ part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

thezoobmeister Thu 06-Dec-12 13:35:29

Yes of course social class comes into it. This is Britain after all ...

Too often, I find those who didn't themselves go to a comp think children with working class accents = gangs. There is a lot of fear caused by ignorance. Actually my DH used to have this attitude until I enlightened him smile

Marni23 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:44:58

I don't think anyone thinks that 'all comprehensives have vicious gangs' and that's not what gazzalw said. But I suspect that gazzalw lives very close to me. And there are comprehensives in the area that most definitely do have gangs. And I wouldn't send my DC to some of them if you paid me. There are other comps in the area, however, that are very good.
That's the problem with this debate; we're not dealing with absolutes when it comes to educational choices, because the educational provision available to people varies so much in quality.

dashoflime Thu 06-Dec-12 13:46:52

Obviously most working class teenagers aren't in gangs.
There are some serious problems with school provision in London and the south east though. If someone from there tells me there are no decent comprehensives in their area, I generally believe them.

On mumsnet we tend to see the hand wringing middle classes desperately chasing grammer school places or considering private.

What we don't tend to see, but which also certainly exists are working class parents who have been offered no school place, or a school place miles and miles away that they cant afford transport to, or a place in a badly failing school and can do nothing about it.

Until a lot more investment is put into the comprehensive system, especially in densely populated areas, there will be this scramble to escape the worst options.

I agree that children of all abilities need a good learning environment.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 13:52:56

Hmmm, I didnt actually mention class in my OP! But yes, this is Britain...

There are no decent comps in my area of North London. Literally none.
My DCs are at selectives but my youngest (9) will not be going for a grammar school place, its not for him.
So he will be going to ds1 old school which is in cheshunt. We have to go out of london to find a comp we would even consider.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 13:55:14

But fair enough, it is in the title, which was carried forward from the previous thread.

I just dont think it is only the middle classes (whatever that means) who want and deserve a good education for their children via the state.

Pinning my 'truly comprehensive' system colours to the mast here I think.

Marni23 Thu 06-Dec-12 14:00:25

Of course not, I think most people want that. But unfortunately, unless you can access a good 'true' comprehensive (which I agree would be the best system) then the debate is academic and parents will understandably try to get the best education they can for their DC, including grammars and indies if they are available/affordable.

gazzalw Thu 06-Dec-12 14:07:41

Thanks for fighting my corner Marni 23 and if my memory serves me correctly we are 'close neighbours' in London termsgrin.

And no I didn't mean all children at comprehensives (or indeed hale from working class backgrounds) are in gangs. Honestly! I was one of those working class kids once and I was definitely not in a gang and I didn't ever get into any type of bother at all. There are lots of perfectly decent working class children in all schools just as there are nasty middle-class children too. I was not making any distinction along class lines at all and if you had read my comment you could not possibly believe that I would betray my class by birth in making such a sweeping and ignorant comment.

But there are two boys comprehensives that my DS could have applied to (quite apart from the mixed ones virtually on our doorstep about which I know little except by bad reputation, albeit word-of-mouth), one of which educated the gang member killed in Oxford Street last Christmas and the other of which is renowned for its gangs.

My DS is quite self-contained and to date has been lucky enough not to be bullied but put him near a load of overly street-wise kids and you can see him visibly cowering. For sure he would not have thrived in such a secondary school environment. This despite being happily educated in primary school amidst a real cross section of Society!

However that is not likely to be the scenario in other parts of the Country at all.

Having looked at the Secondary School State League Table published in The Sunday Times t'other week, there were some comprehensives which just missed the top 100 (including St Philomena's in Carshalton which is a true comprehensive except in religious terms) in the UK, beating some of the lesser grammar schools hands down....

dashoflime Thu 06-Dec-12 14:11:46

"I just dont think it is only the middle classes (whatever that means) who want and deserve a good education for their children via the state."

Yes, totally agree. I was responding to the mention of class in the thread title.

Also to the fact that mumsnet seems to see a lot of debate over the legitimacy of various "middle class" solutions to the problem e.g: spending money on tutors, private schooling, moving catchment area etc...

The wider issue of course, is the much larger numbers of children who's parents are unable to access these solutions. These children are really on the sharp end and it isn't fair sad

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 14:22:49

Surely the correct punchline about knuckle-dragging neanderthals is 'and that's just the teachers aaaah' wink

Were I in a GS area, I am sure I wouldn't be happy about my children not passing the test: I can see how in that situation you'd want the better end of what the state was offering. What I wouldn't do based on that is think that the system was right, fair or equitable, or that clever children can't thrive near less clever ones.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 14:25:34

gazza I was unfair to quote you like that, because it was selective (ha!) so my apologies for that.

But I do get this feeling of drawbridges being raised, for protection against the 'thick' or the poorly behaved - and both those categories actually form a pretty small percentage of the population of most non-selective state schools.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 14:27:04

boom boom TOSN! Nah, the teachers are the ones doing the dealing behind the bike sheds, obv, coz they couldnt get a job in a GS innit?
(That is a JOKE before anyone tries to decapitate me).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 14:28:58

Some posters have repeatedly suggested that less academic children are prone to bully and threaten anyone who does well academically. I don't see this, to be honest - but I can see that if you fail a certain hurdle, and are educated in one place because of it, you may well become disaffected and resentful toward anyone who seems better at the thing you failed at, iyswim.

It's probably quite a human response: oh, stupid am I? well who wants to be clever anyway?

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 14:31:34

I'm fairly sure there aren't gangs at my local comp. But a child starting there relatively recently witnessed a fight in the corridor, a child absconding down the street with a teacher in full pursuit and was given advice on how to shoplift lunch from the local supermarket without being caught - all on the first day there!

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 14:44:44

TOSN you say "Were I in a GS area, I am sure I wouldn't be happy about my children not passing the test: I can see how in that situation you'd want the better end of what the state was offering".

I am in a GS area, and actually I dont think the GS are all that tbh. Much narrower curriculum; much more static teaching and less involving lessons; ongoing truly appalling behaviour at one (boys) GS in particular. Our SM results are on a par with and in some areas exceed the GS.

DD1 didnt do the 11+, there's no way she would have passed. DD2 did it because she wanted to, but we didnt tutor her or even spend much time looking at previous papers, and she did not pass. We were actually delighted - we knew that she would love the school she is at now, where DD1 is - and I was terrified that she would pass, want to go to the GS and that it was completely the wrong place for her personality and talents (even though she is pretty much top set in the SM).

Anecdotes do not = data, I know...

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 14:49:15

The bottom line for menus that in grammar school areas ( not in suprselective only areas, obviously) 75ish% of children AF publicly told they are failures at the age of 10. Nothing is worth doing that to a cohort of children.

gazzalw Thu 06-Dec-12 14:55:09

I don't think it is necessarily the less academic children who bully (DW was badly bullied - only it wasn't called that then it was teasing - at a grammar school) but I think most of us would probably admit that the few memorable bad eggs can do an enormous amount to harm the reputation of any school. But it does tend to be the disaffected ones with chips on their shoulders who are prone to pick on the 'good/clever/sporty' ones IMHO.

Plenty of DS's lovely classmates went to comprehensive schools but it's not without significance that virtually half the class elected to go out of Borough to super-selectives, steamed comps or better comprehensives with a more mixed intake than is possible locally.

Bonsoir Thu 06-Dec-12 15:00:17

My DSS1 was in his local state school, in a comfortable suburb very close to Paris, from age 3-15. We changed him to a private school for lycée, which he immediately found a hell of a lot more comfortable. But sadly a lot of damage has been done to his personal development by spending so long in a system where he was not stretched or challenged in any way.

dinkybinky Thu 06-Dec-12 15:05:17

In our area it’s the GS children who deal/smoke drugs at 14/15. There are also lots of children doing drugs at Private schools so it’s unfair to paint a bad picture of a child at state school.

dinkybinky Thu 06-Dec-12 15:09:19

75ish% of children AF publicly told they are failures at the age of 10. Nothing is worth doing that to a cohort of children.

There has to be a cut off somewhere

Its up to the parents to put their egos aside and decide whether GS is suitable for their child. Most children are not cut out for selective schools despite what the parents think. Personally I think it is more detrimental for a child to be tutored all through school just to keep up with the rest than fail one test at 10 years old.

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 15:11:57

dinkybinky there is another alternative .....

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 15:15:44

Those panicking about school entry have to remember that the London system is much more broken than the rest of the country.
In London, 1/3 of kids do not get their first choice school
elsewhere its as low as 5%

and at the school Carol service in the Abbey with the mayor and local bigwigs there, I saw no evidence of gangs at my kids comp grin

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 16:36:43

Look...I hate to be blunt, but the huge elephant in the corner of the room here, is that even if you have a comprehensive, that is setted for core subjects...the top set in the comprehensive still isn't going to compare with the top set in a grammar school.

Our local GS creams off the top 25% - and then has 5 sets for core subjects. This means that the top set in the GS is the top 5% of the hihest ability pupils.

The comprehensive doesn't cream off the top 25% ...so, even if it has 5 sets for core subjects, those 5 sets are going to have to incorporate 100% of the pupil range, regardless of their ability.

So...the top set at a comprehensive is going to have to contain a larger range of pupils, from the very high achievers to just farly high achievers. The top set at a comp would probably only be comparable to sets 1 & 2 (possibly with the top half of set 3 thrown in?) at your average GS.

In contrast the top set in a grammar school is only going to contain the very, very highest achievers - just the very top 5%, of the already top 25% of pupils selected for academic ability.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 16:41:16

"The bottom line for menus that in grammar school areas ( not in suprselective only areas, obviously) 75ish% of children AF publicly told they are failures at the age of 10. Nothing is worth doing that to a cohort of children."

No...they are told they have failed a test for academic ability, that's all. It's not like they have been officially informed they have failed as human beings, or anything.

FFS 75% of pupils fail it...it's not like failing the 11+ is marking them out as outcasts, for goodness sake. They are actually part of the large majority which do fail it.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 16:44:07

Locally, and through school children have try-outs for football, rugby, cricket, hockey and tennis clubs. They have tests for local orchestras and choirs, auditions for the local drama and gym clubs, try-outs for the local swim clubs...it's endless.

Many, many children fail to get in. That's life.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 16:45:25

But academic ability is not all there is in life.
Sport, Art, music, drama, travel are all things that enrich the learning experience
that and an understanding of the thought processes of those who are not academic

something that is SEVERELY lacking in our politicians who have never set foot outside a selective environment in their gilded lives
hence why they make such crap decisions about people they do not comprehend

it may be that the bottom of the top set at DCs comp are thick by your standards, but they seem to do pretty well at University and onwards.

Well surely the parents putting their children through the selection process know the success-failure rate.
If you choose to put your child into a process knowing that 75% of children don't make it, you can't possibly complain that the system makes them feel like failures.
Surely we all go into this with our eyes open and the correct info?

Ds2 will not be doing the selective process because the grammar is not a good fit and he would very much struggle to be in the top 25%
It's doesn't mean he is a failure.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 16:51:00

Talkin I'm sure they do do well at university. I'm not convinced I would have been GS material, myself...but I got a good degree, anyway.

And, neither am I saying the bottom half a top comprehensive's set would be thick - far from it...I'm just saying they won't be of the very highest ability which you find in a top GS set. How can they be?

Marni23 Thu 06-Dec-12 16:51:12

That's an interesting pointLaQueen and I was thinking about it in relation to my own secondary education earlier today.
I went to a comprehensive, in quite a nice area. It was unusual in that it streamed quite rigidly and there were only 15 of us in the 'top' class (we did Latin grin.)
Even so, the outcomes in terms of OLevels differed a lot within the 15 of us. Some of us got 9, all/mostly As. Some got 6-7 mostly Cs and some Bs.
So there's no way that the class was equivalent to Grammar School.

I guess the next question is, does it matter? The top of the top set still got great results, so I'm not sure what difference going to a Grammar would have made

Marni23 Thu 06-Dec-12 16:52:56

Mind you, the teaching was pretty uninspiring

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 16:54:43

Exactly Tantrums ...there's simply no way on Earth I would be entering our DDs into the GS system if I didn't have an awful lot of confidence that they would thrive at a GS, backed-up by positive encouragement from their teachers.

I want my DD to enjoy going to school, and I'm confident that they would enjoy the educational environment at the GS smile

Personally, I don't think GS would have been ^ a good fit^ for me, actually. I was always gifted at English...but maths and the sciences? Meh...not so much. I was arty, and creative and thrived at my bohemian Steiner school, instead smile

Exactly, that's ds2. Creative, arty and I'm sure he will do well but not at a selective.
People cannot blame the process if they are still willing to take the chance, knowing that there's only a 25% success rate.

If you believe your dc is in the top 25%, and you believe in the grammar system then go for it.
But if in actual fact they do not pass, they certainley haven't become failures at 10.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 17:02:22

Marni well, exactly...it's not exactly rocket science, is it...but, it's the elephant in the room on MN...we all have to pretend that the top set in a good comprehensive is the equal of the top set in a GS FFS...how the Hell can it be?

In a GS you're selecting the top 5% of an already academic elite of the top 25%...in a comp you're selecting the top 20% of everyone ...do the numbers, please hmm

My DH went to a GS. He was in the top set for maths, so the top 5%, of the already top 25%... everyone in his maths set took O Level Maths a year early, they all got As...the next year his top set took A Level Double Maths, they all sat the exam a year earlier than regular pupils...they all got an A.

This was absolutely expected and standard practice, year in and year out, for the top maths set at his GS. Every year at least 1, if not 2 pupils went up to Oxbridge a year early.

This doesn't happen in the top maths set in a comprehensive.

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 17:29:44

Got a maths degree, but am confused by your maths LaQueen. smile I think you didn't mean top 5% of the top 25% - but in fact meant the top 25% of the top 25% (meaning the top 5% of the original cohort across the GS county).

Anyway, not convinced that is an elephant in the room that people are worried about (the spread of abilities in the top set). First I've heard of this concern on the many, many, many debates on MN on these issues.

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 17:32:32

tantrums I'm not in a GS county, but it seems to me that if you do live in one you really don't have any choice but to go for a GS and risk the failure (and I do believe it will feel like a failure to a 10 yr old however you dress it up). Most people on here want to avoid the neanderthals mentioned (here or the original thread, can't remember), and it seems you need - if I understand people correctly - to get into a GS to avoid them!

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 17:35:01

Like I said Ohdear I was always meh when it came to maths wink

Yes, I basically meant that - rather than in a comp, the top set being just taking 25% of everyone IYSWIM?

I've read many, many of these GS threads, and the observation that the top set in a comprehensive is comparable to the top set in a GS has oft been mentioned, honest wink

PlaySchool Thu 06-Dec-12 17:36:51

I'm just wondering why people think grammars are populated by nicer children. There are some pretty obnoxious rich, clever kids too.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 17:42:41

I'm puzzled. People are saying that the top set of a comprehensive is not the same as a grammar school.

In areas (the majority) where there are no grammars, where do the people who would have gone to the grammar school if there was one go? Presumably to the comprehensive school to populate the top set?

PlaySchool Thu 06-Dec-12 17:45:06

Seeker agreed. Totally illogical argument.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 17:45:17

Can I ask- have the people who are saying that children do not feel failures if they fail the 11+ ever seen a year 6 class on results day? Or live in a town where this "sorting" happens?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 17:47:30

But so what if it isn't, laqueen, if the members of the comprehensive top set are still there doing what they would have, and some other people get to be in the top set who might have been set two in a grammar, who loses?

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 17:49:32

LaQueen meh likewise for me too on the maths. Top 25% of top 25% is not 5 but the top 6.25% of the overall. wink

You might be right (ok, you are) but do people really care about the extra concentration / smaller spread of abilities? If the DCs are amongst bright kids, does it really matter if they are all as bright (as in the more concentrated streams in the GS) with a spread of say 2% "brightness" rather than some 10% brighter others 10% thicker not so bright.

Not sure I would care to be honest.

Once you get the behaviour sorted out of course so the culture of learning is there .... as pre the discussion at the end of the last thread.

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Dec-12 17:50:47

TOSN exactly!

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 17:55:27

Yep, seeker of course, what you say is true. In a comprehensive top maths set, you will find exactly the same pupils who would have been in the top maths set in a GS.

However - at the comprehensive they have all abilities to cater and stream for. This means that in the comprehensive top set they will have a mixture ranging between the exceptional to the very good.

In a GS you don't have to make that distinction between exceptional and just very good - in the top maths set you can just have the very top elite. So, the lesson can be directed faster and higher to cater for only them, no need to explain anything more than once for the pupils who are only good. IYSWIM?

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 17:56:57

So in LaQueens example the top GS set is the top 5% of the entire cohort and in her comp it's the top 20%. So 4x bigger ability range in the comp which is noticeable, but not too bad, and actually it will be less than this since the ability spread in the top 5% is greater than for each of the half deciles below it (think of the shape of the bell curve).

In any case, all the GSs I've ever encountered don't set since they claim to already have a highly selective intake which leaves a class ability spread about the same as the comp, but without the ability to move the low performers down. Actually it will probably be much bigger in this GS, since they can't set by subject, so within the able overall cohort there will be some who are lower at maths or english, but got in on the strength of their other subjects.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 17:57:00

Well, as someone with a child in top sets, at a comprehensive, I haven't found that to be the case. Maybe they could go faster, I suppose that's always possible, but I can't really see to what purpose.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 17:58:17

Also, not all teaching is 'whole class teaching': you can differentiate so that the exceptional can move on whilst the merely very good thrive also.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 18:00:18

I teach at a comprehensive and the top of our top sets are comparable to a grammar school , possibly because we are in the edge of the catchment and our parents seem to want a comprehensive . Last year we had students achieving top national marks in exams and every year we send students to Oxford and Cambridge . We also pick up some grammar students at A level and they are rarely at the top of our class .

So if parents value a comprehensive education it is simply wrong to say that it necessarily offers lower academic standards than a grammar.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:00:53

Because Nit the very highest achieving pupils in the top maths set will be pulled back (even if only slightly) by having lesser able (but still good ability) pupils in their set - the teacher has to repeat, has to explain more etc.

Look at the difference between the expected (and pretty much guaranteed) results in my DH's GS top maths set, and the results of your average top maths set in a comprehensive. They don't compare.

Now...maybe, my DH and his mates in his top maths set at GS would have done equally well in the top set of a comprehensive - but I'm not so sure. The lessons simply couldn't have been driven so fast, or so far, or so high because the teacher would have needed to cater for the pupils in the set who weren't quite as good.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:02:14

Ohdear of course I am right...I usually am wink

But very few on here are going to thank me for being so smile

78bunion Thu 06-Dec-12 18:02:56

Most of the country has no grammar schools so children will be gong to comprehensives. Surely the top sets of those should be the same as the children at grammar school. If you have say 100 children in area A which has grammars and 25 go to grammar school those 25 willdo wel. I fyou have 100 children in area B with just comps then the top 25 of those 100 should do as well as the 25 who to go grammar school.

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 18:05:12

One or two posters wanted their DCs to go to the local GS because their LOCAL comprehensives had gang/bullying problems.

Yet when their points get summarised it becomes - MC parents think that bullying and gangs are rife in comps. Only an idiot would think that or summarize a point like that.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:05:24

Aris I'm not just talking about your regular GS pupils...I am talking about the top set GS pupils. The best of the best, so to speak smile

Do you pick up many maths top set GS pupils and find that they don't especially shine at your comprehensive hmm Really?

And, whilst you may have some students who achieve top national marks in exams...do you have everyone in your top sets achieving top national marks?

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 18:06:04

"In a GS you don't have to make that distinction between exceptional and just very good - in the top maths set you can just have the very top elite. So, the lesson can be directed faster and higher to cater for only them, no need to explain anything more than once for the pupils who are only good. IYSWIM?"

Well, you do, actually. My dd went into a grammar school a level 4 in maths- she was neither exceptional nor very good and they had to cater for her!

I don't actually see why it's important to separate the exceptional from the very good- in a subject like maths, the exceptional will be streaking ahead anyway wherever they are. In any case, it does strike me that there won't be very many of the exceptional- structuring an entire educations system to cat for them strikes me as a little unbalanced.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:09:58

I'll tell my daughter she's being pulled back then, but I'll really struggle with the examples and the facts as to exactly how that's happening.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:11:18

Laqueen you've completely contradicted yourself: you're saying not all the top set will get a* in a comprehensive top set, but you've already said they're not all exceptional, so no, probably that won't happen, for the reason you've just used to explain why the most able will be held back!

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 18:17:42

Jolly good boschy smile

"I just dont think it is only the middle classes (whatever that means) who want and deserve a good education for their children via the state. "

Neither do I but one of the reasons people give for abolishing grammars is that grammar schools are not better, and there's no difference in the level of education offered.

Surely we need some clarity on what the objections to grammar education are.

I think all children deserve an excellent education through the state, it is THE most important engine of social mobility, the most important road to social and professional opportunity.

If non-grammar schools are poor IMPROVE them. Do not dismantle the better school. (and, wearily, again - if they are no worse than grammar schools then there is no problem, surely).

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 18:21:14

"I don't actually see why it's important to separate the exceptional from the very good- in a subject like maths, the exceptional will be streaking ahead anyway wherever they are."

Across the world, across the professions, sports, music, the exceptional ARE trained/educated whatever separately to provide the focus that creates an elite . An element of this could apply to grammars.

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

"If non-grammar schools are poor IMPROVE them. Do not dismantle the better school. (and, wearily, again - if they are no worse than grammar schools then there is no problem, surely)."

What people re saying is that a comprehensive is the same as a grammar and a high school. Are you making the mistake of confusing high schools and comprehensives?

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 18:25:05

"Across the world, across the professions, sports, music, the exceptional ARE trained/educated whatever separately to provide the focus that creates an elite . An element of this could apply to grammars."

As far as I aware, most grammars only set for maths.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 18:29:15

No all of our top sets will not achieve the top national mark in an exam. Most will achieve an A* though, which is not the same thing. Not all the top set of a grammar will achieve the top national mark either .

Bonsoir Thu 06-Dec-12 18:30:43

seeker - "in a subject like maths, the exceptional will be streaking ahead anyway wherever they are"

You can only "streak ahead" if you are taught new things.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 18:30:49

I don't teach maths , I do have ex grammar school pupils in a number of my classes . All the ones I teach are in the middle of their class . One is second in a group of 12.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 18:30:57

No, I'm not - I understand that point. I did ask about this quite a lot on the last thread and didn't get answers.

It's clear some people believe comprehensives offer the same level of education as grammar schools, and that league tables don't represent their respective levels of education. It's also clear that many people disagree with this profoundly.

What was confusing was whether people believe high schools offer lower levels of education. One person said the only difference was the opportunity to learn an extra language. People were asked, specifically (and tiresomely often!) what the difference is, what they felt was missing. It was very hard to get a clear picture from some of the contradictory answers.

But whatever is missing, should be offered. There's no reason why education offered at a secondary modern should be lesser; why the teachers should be worse; why the exam and subject opportunities should be diminished.

This of course isn't an argument for abolishing grammars - it's an argument for improving the level of education in secondary moderns or high schools.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 18:31:41

Sorry that should read all but one .

Sorry my head is not in the right place to discuss this. Am going back to bed I thinkshock

Bonsoir Thu 06-Dec-12 18:31:42

I went to grammar school (briefly) in dim distant past and we were definitely set for both maths and French from Y8, and for all languages thereafter.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:32:16

"I don't actually see why it's important to separate the exceptional from the very good- in a subject like maths, the exceptional will be streaking ahead anyway wherever they are"

seeker - we do need to separate and encourage the exceptional from just the merely good - because the rest of the developing world are in particular Asia, and the UK is already dropping far behind in terms of academic results, per capita.

And, whilst the exceptional will still excel if placed in a top maths set in a comprehensive, they will still also be working next to pupils who are merely very good. They will be sharing the same teacher...it stands to reason, that even with differentiation in the top set, the lesson isn't going to move as fast or as furious, if the teacher only has the best of the best pupils to teach.

We don't live an an actual GS area, there are 2 selectives within the borough. These schools get, year after year the top results, 99% a*-c compared to the best comp at 79%
So how can you say the top set at these comps are the same as top set grammar classes when it's clear that's not the case?

Bonsoir Thu 06-Dec-12 18:33:25

I'm competitive and a high-achiever and I work very hard and get results, ergo I expect my DC to be the same and we therefore like selective education. is that a crime?

piggywigwig Thu 06-Dec-12 18:33:55

gelo
"In any case, all the GSs I've ever encountered don't set..."

Stinky pedant that I am, I have to say that my GS did set in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and French. Whilst it may be irrelevant that my experience was some years ago, they did set, none-the-less. I would find it hard to believe that no GS sets today...but I'll happily stand corrected wink

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 18:34:18

seeker my DH's GS setted for maths, English, French and Greman and the three sciences (30 years ago).

It's exactly the same at our local GS today.

Phineyj Thu 06-Dec-12 18:34:36

"The bottom line for menus that in grammar school areas ( not in suprselective only areas, obviously) 75ish% of children AF publicly told they are failures at the age of 10. Nothing is worth doing that to a cohort of children."

That might be true if 100% of the eligible age range took the 11+. I'm not sure that's correct. As other posters have pointed out, as this is particularly a London/SE issue, I imagine a lot of parents have hedged their bets already by applying for every vaguely suitable school whether that be grammar, good comp or bursaries/scholarships for independent (plus maybe considered moving). It's not compulsory to put your kids in for the 11+...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:37:17

So what should the top set in maths in a grammar school be looking to achieve for each child?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:40:19

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

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

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

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

Tantrum exactly (again).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Gelo.

Im leaving this a while I think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don't believe that every child who would have got an A* at a grammar will get it at a comp. I simply don't believe that's true.

It's simply not the same environment. The expectation at a GS is that all students will achieve an A*
That expectation is not there for all students at a comp.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 19:13:37

gelo I know what you're saying...but, I'm not talking about just your averagely bright GS pupil. I'm talking about the top sets, the best of the best...it's unfair and unecessary to hold them back just to conform to the average age of a pupil when they take the exams.

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 19:18:11

@seeker - Your DD got selected by the GS with level 4 maths? Isn't that the national average?

It doesn't sound as if your GS is particularly selective. I mention this because you are essentially a one-issue poster ie bright son had an off day and failed 11+. DS now consigned to an inferior education at Sec Mod.

Exsqueeze me for being blunt but if your DS couldn't get into a relatively non super selective then should you really be spending the last couple of years going on about how your bright boy is not getting a GS education because the 11+ is not a true test of ability?

And before you start with the how dare you rant - Confucius, he say, MNetter who not want DCs discussed , should not regularly cite them in posts.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 19:22:24

Tantrums, depends on the schools and the children. Some children actually do better in an environment where they are near the top rather than where they are muddling along. I have seen a child move from selective (second set) to non-selective and achieve A* (higher than expected at the selective).

Oh of course I know it's possible. I know my ds2 will achieve better grades at the comp than if we somehow got him into a selective.
It's just not the expectation at the comp is it? So whilst some children honestly do a lot better in that environment, there's also a lot who don't reach the grades they would be expected to achieve at GS

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 19:29:52

Nit, if you wanted to clear up some of those claims, I'd still find it helpful.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 19:31:01

I can list from the top off head about a dozen children who got level 4s in one of their SATS and managed to get a place at the grammar. Not that unusual.

This further serves to make the point that not all grammars and not all comprehensives are the same and therefore to be told by a random stranger on the Internet that my children are doomed to failure because they are in a comp is a tad ignorant.

To then be told with great glee that their children could "rip the shit" out of my children and the other 90% of children in country is... Well it's the kind of nonsense that only gets spouted on this website.

As someone battling with real problems this thread is starting to get to me and i am usually an oasis of calm. And yes, before people spot someone a thread they can all leap on and rip to bits, you are quite right, I do not have to post on here. I am off to take another sleeper in the hope that this time it actually does make me sleep.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 19:36:54

LaQueen, ds is a biit like the students you are talking about I think. He went to a selective independent, but nowhere near as selective as a grammar. It bothered me a bit at the time that he wasn't able to take his exams early, but with hindsight it did him no harm at all. His end of year 10 exam was an iGCSE paper for which they had only been taught 70% of the syllabus - he scored 100% (having figured out how to do the calculus questions from first principles without ever being shown). He didn't sit the exam until the following year. When it came to A level, his school only did 5 modules instead of the usual 6 in year 12 and then 7 in year 13, quite a long way behind your GS top set schedule. I worried this might disadvantage him for Oxbridge interviews - it didn't. All along he just found other ways to extend himself it was never an issue. He's now keeping up happily with the top people at university.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 19:36:55

Be right with you Brycie... Just going to click back, don't want you to think I've forgotten, and have now had a meal and chance to stop being so annoyed ....

losingtrust Thu 06-Dec-12 19:42:12

In an area where there are no gs the top set would almost certainly be as high as a gs because what you forget is that where there are no gs there are a lot more comps and more sets than just five. At ds's school there are 8 sets for 200 kids but there are plenty of comps each with a top set and therefore the top set would indeed be the top few in the area and be on a par.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 19:44:57

that those denied access to grammar are/are not denied access to a better eduction - that those given access to a grammar are/are not the brightest - that the 77 per cent and their schools would benefit/not benefit from the inflow of the 23 per cent. Those are the sorts of thing.

Right. I am not sure I've ever said any of those things, and would ask for indulgence from anyone opposed to selection at 11 for whom I might be thought of as setting myself up as spokesperson..... However.

I think those denied access are denied a better education in the broader sense of the word, although I am sure there are some incredibly dedicated and talented teachers in secondary moderns/high schools, the main issue they are facing, I would think, is that they're teaching a group of children who've been told at 11 that they've failed.

I would imagine that those who pass the 11+ are more or less the brightest in their year group, but with the obvious caveats about coaching.

I do not think that the 23% themselves as human beings and individuals are personally and individually capable of turning a school around, but I do think a school that's missing the top .25 (give or take) is going to struggle with its aspirations and its sense of what is possible or realistic. A school you go to if you fail is clearly, to my mind, going to face different challenges from the school you go to if you pass.

losingtrust Thu 06-Dec-12 19:47:17

Interestingly here parents use their pushy was to help their kids get into top sets and therefore important to get 5s to get into these. To give you an example ds in year 8 and is not in the top set for maths but is a 7b and therefore top set minimum 7a which is very high and that is an accelerator group. I went to a comp and behavior even in mixed ability was determined by the control of the teacher and not by the kids in the group. I was in top sets for everything apart from maths which I still managed an A. All of my peers got minimum 9 O'levels.

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 19:49:01

Not read the whole thread, but the point about the 'top set' seems to me to be a red herring.

A GS top set will have in it a collecton of the individuals who, in a true comprehensive system, would be in thtop sets of several comprehensives.

Those individuals would almost certainly get the same results in either type of school system.

Whether the other individuals in the top set in the comprehensive would get as high results is not relevant - they wouldn't be in the top set in a grammar school, and so their results are not relevant to the discussion.

The discussion has to come down to: would invididual a, with the strengths and weaknesses they have, get the same results in a GS as they would in a comprehensive? And that depends on many more variables than simply 'academic' ability. (Home background, parental education, character, friends, housing, out of school interests, SEN, colour, race, to name a few)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 19:53:50

My daughter left primary with a not very striking level 5b in maths, she's never got higher than bronze in the UK junior maths challenge: she's not one of nature's mathematicians. But she's in a group that's working beyond the GCSE maths syllabus, she's predicted, and almost got, already an a* in maths. You can argue from that that a* in maths is too easy, but not that she's been held back, or that she would have been better either in a grammar or a high school, I don't think.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 19:59:31

"Some children actually do better in an environment where they are near the top rather than where they are muddling along

Gelo yes, I'm sure that's true for some children.

But, I'm not really talking about the benefits to all children here. I'm taling about the top 5% - and I really don't think they will do better if they are placed in a class of other pupils who are merely very good. I think, with the best will in the world, they simply won't be pushed as hard or as fast.

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 20:00:06

DS is at the local comprehensive (technically a secondary modern, as we have superselective grammars).

Their end of term 1 maths assessment test in Year 7 had a top mark of 7b or so ... certainly no evidence that they are 'holding back' their most able mathematicians by giving them tests and tasks with an artificially low ceiling...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 20:01:18

I think if you feel like that, laqueen, you might need somewhere more specific than a Lincolnshire grammar.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:04:42

There's is such a lot of bullshit ignorance on this thread.

We are very lucky to live in a comprehensive only county. DDs have gone to the local comp, both have done extremely well, (with not one bit of tutoring) both accepted at their first choice of RG uni on very competitive courses.

DD1 even has an A* in Maths and get this, she isn't really that great or even interested in it, she wasn't even the near the top of her setshock. Two from her GCSE set were accepted for places at Oxbridge.

12 miles down the road, in another county, we have a super selective grammar, as my DDs are bright it was assumed that they would be tutored and be put in for the 11+, like several of their friends. Well they weren't and it has been extremely interesting to see what has happened to their friends who did go to the grammar. My DDs have done just as well, if not better, than those at grammar. They got the same GSCE and A level results and are now at or going to the same group of unis. So what is the point of a grammar school?

Just make every comp as good as my local one and there is no need for grammar schools.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 20:05:18

The very top ones work at their own pace - they don't need the push. They are already ahead of the rest so it doesn't actually matter (within reason) what the rest are doing.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:05:46

"To then be told with great glee that their children could "rip the shit" out of my children and the other 90% of children in country is... Well it's the kind of nonsense that only gets spouted on this website."

I'm not saying this with great glee Arisbottle - it's just an observation. There are always going to be a top 5-10% of pupils who are leagues ahead of the rest of the pack.

And, neither was I using my own children as examples. So, I'm not attemtping to make this personal, either.

I just get a little weary of people toe-ing the party line of 'Well, a comprehensive top set is easily equal to a grammar school to set. When it simply isn't...and can never be.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:07:46

I don't think a Level 4 is your average grammar school pass, is it.

Our local GS isn't a super selective, but good Level 5s are basically the minimum level.

It isn't. And the teachers do not have the same expectations for the students as GS teachers.
There will of course be students that do exceptionally well at a comp but they are IME the exception rather than the rule.
There is a big difference in the oppourtunities and expectations and a grammar school and a comp.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:10:19

Nit yes, it is how I feel. But, I'm perfectly happy with the local grammar - I'm not that bothered about super selectives for my own DDs. That would entail moving, and a whole load of upheaval which I don't want.

But, that doesn't mean I won't always argue that there is a place in our education system for super selective grammar schools, for the pupils who can attain those places.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:16:25

Tantrums your last post is utter rubbish.

The teachers of the top sets in comps do often have the same expectations as a grammar. How the hell do the dc in the top sets at comps manage to get straight As at A level if their teacher don't have high expectations? confused

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:16:48

It's true Tantrum the expectations at a GS are set far higher than at a comprehensive. The environment at a GS is different to a comprehensive. The very atmosphere feels different.

I know, because I have worked in both. And, I have teacher friends who have worked in both.

And, while I fully accept QLB's example of her own children - I would suspect that they were in the relative minority of pupils at their comprehensive...and that the majority of pupils actually got inferior exam results to the local selective schools.

At our local GS (and it's not even a super selective) the expectation is that every pupil will take A Levels, and that the overwhelming majority will go on to study at a RG university - with a higher than normal national average of pupils going to Oxbridge.

As I understand it - this is basically normal for a GS...but it certainly isn't normal for comprehensives.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 20:19:20

"My daughter left primary with a not very striking level 5b in maths, she's never got higher than bronze in the UK junior maths challenge: she's not one of nature's mathematicians. But she's in a group that's working beyond the GCSE maths syllabus, she's predicted, and almost got, already an a* in maths. You can argue from that that a* in maths is too easy, but not that she's been held back, or that she would have been better either in a grammar or a high school, I don't think."

This is at a comprehensive, right?

Utter rubbish? Oh but it isn't.

Top set GS teachers expect every single student to achieve an A*
Top set comp teachers do not.

And if you don't accept that, it's up to you.
But it is true.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:19:43

Tantrums
How many schools have you worked at / seen children at to make such a sweeping generalisation?

just that DH goes to all sorts of schools and his reply to your post would be codswallop

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:20:22

They are normal expectations for able pupils in many comprehensives and I also say that as someone with experience of both sectors .

Perhaps we are forgetting that we are talking about people's children, I have one son at a grammar and be at a compreheive and soon will have 2 at a compreheive. My children are not being failed by the comprehensive system

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:20:42

^Top set GS teachers expect every single student to achieve an A*
Top set comp teachers do not.^

BOLLOCKS

that may be the case for the one comp you seem to have experience of.
It is patently not the case for all comps - as shown by the DFEE data.

qlb grammar school-100% A*-c at A level

Best comp in the area-83%

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:22:37

Tantrums you are quite right, out of my top set of 25 students , I expect only 20 to get a* ( roughy) the others will get A grades .

I do expect every single child to fulfill their potential.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:22:38

"How the hell do the dc in the top sets at comps manage to get straight As at A level if their teacher don't have high expectations?"

QLB Yep, I'm sure that there are some children in the top sets in a good comprehensive, who get straight As at A Level. But is it the expectation and is it basically a forgone conclusion? Because that's what it is in our local GS top sets.

And, I would hazard that more pupils in a GS top set, get straight As at A level, than they do at a good comprehensive?

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:24:22

Surely if the pupils are all so amazingly bright, so bright that they can't be educated in the same building as people who are just merely very good, they should be getting 100% A*

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:25:03

LaQueen and, while I fully accept QLB's example of her own children - I would suspect that they were in the relative minority of pupils at their comprehensive...and that the majority of pupils actually got inferior exam results to the local selective schools.

Well of course you would be correct in assuming that, because the comp doesn't select children. If you compared the top 20% of a comp with a grammar school, you would get very similar results.

I dont have experience of comp.

I have experience, personal and professional of the borough I live in.

If you are actually going to sit there are tell me that the north London comp expects every single student to achieve an A* you are wrong.

If your theory is correct, that top set comps achieve the same results, have the same expectations and oppourtunities, why on earth are 1145 students battling for 138 places?
Why do parents pay for tutoring, for years, why are parents so desperate to get their children into a GS if there's no difference in the level of education?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:26:02

LaQueen
Your understanding of the statistics of the normal distribution of grade scores is spectacularly poor.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:26:38

Gosh LeQueen, I k ow you joke about your inability to do Maths and your proving it on this thread.grin

You aren't comparing like with like so your statements don't make sense.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:27:25

x-posted Talking!

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:27:39

"Surely if the pupils are all so amazingly bright, so bright that they can't be educated in the same building as people who are just merely very good, they should be getting 100% A*"

Aris of course they can be educated in the same building as other pupils...but, I doubt the exam results would be quite as impressive.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:28:56

Tantrums
North London Borough "Comp"
Except its not a "Comp" is it.

What proportion of pupils go private in your borough? In my county its 4%
What proportion of pupils go to selective state? In my county its under 1%

So our comps cater for 95% of the kids : so their top sets are pretty top.
As evidenced by the results.

But the top set of a super selective is made up of amazingly bright children. What's the issue with that?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:31:21

Tantrums
That is not the answer to the question I asked.
What percentage of children in your borough do not attend the "comp" schools?

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:31:23

tantrums- grammar school-100% A*-c at A level

Best comp in the area-83%

Your grasp of maths seems to be in the same league as LaQueens.

If you took the top 20% of the comp's children and compared them to the grammar school results( because the grammar has selected the top 20%) you are comparing like with like. The comp results would be as good as the grammar school's.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:32:33

Ah...so is the tactic now to try and muddy the waters a bit, with a few aspersions about my maths ability (which is I fully admit spectacularly weak, and ever has been) in the vain attempt it will undermine my point that the top set at a comprehensive isn't going to be equal as the top set at a grammar?

Because that's fine, obviously...but, well...it's just a bit silly isn't it? But, hey go ahead, if you want.

All good comprehensive offers as equally high standard of education, with equally impressive exam results, as any grammar school hmm

Yeah, right, okay, I guess.

As I said before, we don't live in a grammar school area. There is one selective in the borough. There's one in a neighboring borough.
So yes, the local comprehensive schools cater to the majority of the borough.
Which would make our top sets pretty top as well.

However the results speak for themselves.

100% GCSE A*-C.
Best comp school in the area doesn't come close.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:35:20

LaQueen, could you please point out where anyone has said All good comprehensive offers as equally high standard of education, with equally impressive exam results, as any grammar school

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:35:30

You are right QLB in that the top 20% in a GS selection would compare to the top 20% in a non GS area.

But, the top 20% in a comprehensive school is being educated in a different enviornment to a GS one, and I think that impacts on the levels achieved.

LaQueen you'd wonder why anyone chose grammar schools would you, given that it's exactly the same as a comp?
Top sets get the same results, teacher expectations the same, who on earth would bother with the GS then?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:37:32

LaQueen
Many years ago, when League tables first came out, I wrote to the BBC, a couple of newspapers and the DFE, asking for them to produce a league table of the top 60 children in every school.

This would instantly show how schools performed with their best pupils, regardless of selection.
I was told that the data was available but would not be 'informative'

Yeah right.
More to the point, the results would have shown that a lot of parents are wasting a lot of money on tutoring and fees.

My kids school is a true comp.
If you "selected" its top 25%, you would have 100% A-C and around 60% A/A*
and I've spent the tuition / fees money on riding, swimming, tennis and fine dining.

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:37:34

Of course comprehensive schools don't have the same exam results as grammar schools - grammar schools select the top whatever %, and comps take everyone. So the top set of a grammar school will contain the top of 20% or whatever and the top set of a comprehensive school will contain the top of 100%. You're not comparing like with like.

Whether they offer an equally high standard of education depends on the comprehensive and depends on the grammar.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:37:35

QLB I thought the point you were making was that a good comprehensive top set is easily the equal of a GS top set? And that a good comprehensive offers as good an education as a GS?

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 20:38:01

All this top set stuff depends a lot on the size of the school and on its intake. If it's a big comprehensive school with a good reputation and a leafy catchment area with ten sets per year, then the top set and the expectations for its members are going to be very high. Probably about the same as the top set in a small grammar which takes 30% of the ability which has 3 sets per year.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:38:43

Tantrum and LaQueen, you still aren't getting it.

No one is saying the grammar = the comp.

We are saying:
Top set of a good comp=the grammar.

If you compare these results they will be the same, because YOU ARE COMPARING CHILDREN OF THE SAME INTELLECTUAL ABILITY.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:38:50

It would so interesting to compare the exam results from the top sets in GSs to the top sets in comprehensive schools (which are in non GS areas). But I don't suppose this is possible, is it?

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:41:03

gel but what if you compared two equally sized GS and comprehensive, both in leafy catchment areas, and both had 10 sets...do you think the exam results in the top set of the GS would be the same as the exam results in the top set at the comprehensive?

So is that in terms of results? I don't buy that but obviously there's no statistical evidence to prove or disprove so we will have to agree to disagree.
GS offer the oppourtunities that comps do not. The environment is far removed from the local comp.
And IME the expectation for students achievements are vastly different.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:42:41
LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:42:58

Yes, they will have the same intellectual ability QLB, but they won't be being educated in the same enviroment, or the same atmosphere.

Discipline/truancy/behavioural issues are higher even in a good comp, than they are in your average GS. Even if your child is safely in the top set at the comprehensive, these issues will change the environment and atmopshere of the school overall.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:44:18

Another comp at the other end of the county
(the one that lady in the Daily Mail who lost her house refused to send her kids to)
www.bohunt.hants.sch.uk/Downloads/Performance%20Reports/Exam%20Results%202012.pdf

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:45:51

I am interested in whether children will achieve the same results, I can say hand on heart that the able children I teach get as good an education, if not better, from me as a teacher in a comp as they would have got when I worked at the grammar.

Tbh I do wonder why in some cases parents choose a grammar when there is a perfectly good compreheive. That is why most of my children are at a comprehensive and if I could go back and redo some things differently my son would also be at the comprehensive.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:46:09

LaQueen
How many comps around the country have you actually spent time in?
100?
200?
300?
as that is what DH has done and you are talking utter carp

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:47:20

Talkin that is clearly a good comprehensive smile

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:48:47

Laqueen that is the point that people have been trying to make, not all comprehensive and not all grammars are the same. There are some poor grammars and some outstanding comprehensives and in the real sense rather than the OFSTED sense.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:48:48

Talkin I have worked in about a dozen, or so locally. Between them, my friends and family probably work in about half a dozen more?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:49:21

which one?
shall I get you more?
Hampshire has many like it, as do other counties
DO NOT judge all schools unless you have worked in many.

kilmuir Thu 06-Dec-12 20:49:35

i live in a grammar school area.
the top set of comp does not equal grammar. Majority of grammar school pupils were in top 15% of local primaries. That said I know that going to grammar is not for everyone, regardless of ability. One of my DS goes to comp, doing vvery well and predicted 10 good GSCe's. Her sister goes to grammar, she is more academic and can cope with the volume of work and "pressure".

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:50:18

Aris yes, I realise that smile

But, as good as Talkin's school is (which it obviously is)...its results still aren't as good as our local GS, and our local GS isn't super selective, at all. It just takes the top 25%, I think?

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:51:01

To be fair to Lequeen a dozen schools is more than most teachers! I can think of very few teachers who have worked at that many schools, even those about to retire. I cannot even name a dozen local schools!

Not as good as our GS either.
And it isn't comparable.
There's a reason so many parents try to get their children into GS.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:52:13

But talkin's school is taking in the whole spectrum of abilities. I am not very impressed by a grammar school getting 100% A* to C.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:52:36

Talkin I shall make judgements based on the schools I have worked in, and from the experiences of the schools my friend teach in - ta very much.

It's not just one or two rum un's...it's 16-17 schools, in total, I think...spread across 3 counties. Fairly indicative, I would say, enough to form an opinion.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:53:27

But there are also valid reasons why lots of parents realise the the grammar school may not be the best option, regardless of their child's abilty . I made a huge mistake putting my very bright son in a grammar, a mistake I have t live with

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:53:55

Aris I worked for an agency as a TA/CS...some weeks I'd see 3 different schools!

But, I basically shunted between the same dozen or so schools.

It's not impressive for a grammar to get 100 A*-C
It's normal, it's expected, anything less is unacceptable.
That's the point.
That is the norm at GS. That's why there is such competition for GS places.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:54:17

LaQueen
but neither of those schools are selective AT ALL
they have SEN kids and thick as two short planks kids - which NO GS will tolerate.
So there is no way that they would get the same results as a comp - because they take the kids who would not even be entered for the 11+
and still get those results with all their kids.

kilmuir
if you live in a grammar school area, you do not have 'comps' you have secondary moderns.

Aris exactly. GS are not the best schools for every child. My ds2 won't be applying for a GS place. He wouldn't thrive in that environment and like I said up thread, I think he will get better results and a better experience overall at a comp.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:56:00

Again Tantrums you still don't get it.

You cannot compare a comp with a grammar.

You can only compare the top 20% of the comp with the grammar.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:56:26

If my son gets a single grade C or even a B at his grammar school I will be convinced that they have failed him even further. I sincerely hope they are not expecting him to be getting anything other than A*, that would be our expectations of him at the comprehensive.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 20:56:27

No I wouldn't LQ. But if it was a good comp. (and I do accept that not all are by a long way) then I would still expect the ones that would have been in the top set of the GS under that system to achieve the same. And by the same token, the whole top set of the comp should achieve broadly the same as the top 3 sets (or whatever) at the GS.

Would this actually work? Hmm. For a really good comp then probably it would (just about), for an average or lower one then probably not. One reason is that comprehensives tend to focus more (provide the best teachers, more interventions etc) to those at risk of missing C grades rather than those who may miss out on A*s, though this situation is improving with the revised school targets. I also do think that grammars probably are a bit more geared up to suggesting/providing more extension work for the very most able.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:56:31

GS aren't for everyone Aris. I don't think I would have done well? I thought long and hard about sending DD1 for 11+ tuition, but she is enjoying it and her tutor is very pleased with her.

What don't I get QLB

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 20:58:13

I have never ever had a teaching assistant in one of my top set classes, I find it ate astonishing that you have been in the top set of 18 different schools as a TA.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 20:58:52

Talkin yes, I know, which is why I'm saying it's clearly a very good school smile

But, regardless, its results aren't anywhere near as good as our local GS. They just aren't.

And, I think a GS needs to be available for those children who shouldn't be held back, in any way, for any reason.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:03:12

No, not 18 different schools Aris only about a dozen. In that 18, I included the schools my friends/family teach at.

As a TA and a Cover Supervisor, I have worked in top sets (and plenty of bottom sets) in about a dozen. I don't think it's that astonishing, is it?

What is astonishing, is that I was allowed to be a Cover Supervisor, for a few top sets (in sciences FFS) when my degree was in English, and I am shit at anything to do with maths/science.

I took one top set physics class for a whole week. It was dreadful, and an absolute nightmare - totally pointless, and I was neither use nor ornament, if any pupil had a question which wasn't covered in the tecaher's notes.

Totally inappropriate.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 21:04:42

*Tantrums-It's not impressive for a grammar to get 100 A*-C
It's normal, it's expected, anything less is unacceptable.
That's the point.
That is the norm at GS. That's why there is such competition for GS places.*

It is also the norm to expect 100% A-C in the top sets at a comp.
You seem to think this isn't so, as you compare a grammar to the whole comp, which isn't a fair comparison.

As I've already said you can only compare the results of the top 20% of a comp with a grammar.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:05:15

Yes, I agree with you gelo about the efforts in many comprehensives are geared to tasking students to achieve that all important C grade...at a GS, that's not an issue, obviously.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:05:57

It is not actually permitted for you to teach a class after so many days so you certainly should not have been taking a physics class for a week. What an astonishing school, to not pay for appropriate cover and yet have money to throw around putting TAs in top sets.

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 21:06:50

LaQueen,

I think the whole discussion around grammars is a discussion about the balance between meeting the needs of those - very few, probably far less than 5% - children who can ONLY access the education they need via some kind of 'speical school for the very able' - and the needs of the vast majoity who can access the education they need via a properly comprehensive system.

If we look at the other end of the bell curve, nobody argues that there are some children who do need education in the non-mainstream setting of a special school.

However, the argument at both ends of the curve is where the line is drawn. Over the last 30 years or so, the number of children who would once have been in special schools who are now successfully educated in mainstream has grown enormously - which would indicate that there are many fewer children than we once thought who could not thrive in a mainstream school as long as there was suitable differentiation and support.

Similarly, at the top end of ability, the number of exceptionally able children who cannot successfully be educated in a mainstream comprehensive is very small, certainly fewer than attend grammars in any but the most superselective systems, and very, very much smaller than the number of children who go to grammar schools in counties like Kent.

Is it fair to deny c.50% of children in countries like Kent the type of school that they coulddo best in - good comprehensives - in favour of the c.1% or less of children who can ONLY get the 'special education' they need in a hhighly selective environment?

The other point is that comprehensives are hugely variable. In my own town, we have one that does much better than many grammars and all the private options open to boys. However, a relative works in one elsewhere in the country that although it is technically the same 'type' of school, is a wholly different institution in terms of intake and output. It makes it virtually impossible to generalise at a 'sector' level.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:07:04

QLB but what about the difference in environment between a GS and a comp.

Yes, the top set in a comp might well be expected to achieve high results. But, that simply isn't the expectation for the whole school is it? Not like it is at a GS?

And, I really believe that the difference in enviroment impacts on the pupils.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:07:10

LaQueen
which one of those two?
or how about this one
www.kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/11-12-results1.pdf
and I still have not linked my own kids school ...

the results CANNOT be as good as GS because these schools are NON SELECTIVE
but with the kids who would have passed the 11+ they are clearly getting totally comparable results.

And BTW - neither of my kids has ever had a TA in their top set classes - the TAs are used in lower sets exclusively.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:07:37

But we do not try and help A* students get C grades. Teachers are judged against the target trade of every individual child, if I just focused on my C / D borderliners I would get sacked. I might have to go back to working in a grammar.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 21:08:06

LaQueen But, regardless, its results aren't anywhere near as good as our local GS. They just aren't.

Oh dear LaQueen, you STILL don't understand.

No QLB that statement was nothing to do with which results are or are not achieved at a comp.
A poster said it was not impressive that the grammar got those results. And I agreed. It isn't impressive. It's standard.
And I can categorically state that the comps in our area at least do not expect their top set students to achieve a minimum of an A grade. The GS does. You may have different experiences with comps and I would not presume to argue that with you.
But that is most certainley not the case here.

kilmuir Thu 06-Dec-12 21:10:24

No talkin i was wrong its not a comp, but not a secondary modern either, its an academy

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:11:07

Aris I tool 3 physics lessons in one week...and took Domestic Science lessons for about 3 weeks (both equally pointless for me).

There were people working as CS, who had taken a class for the best part of a term! This was 7-8 years ago, so maybe rules have changed?

This happened all the time, at many of the schools. Even more odd, was that many of the agency TAs, had been at various schools for months even a couple of years in some cases. And, yet the schools didn't employ them directly (which would have been cheaper surely, than paying agency fees).

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:13:09

And again that is exactly the point tantrums, there is no one here saying that all comprehensives are the best environments for bright pupils . However it is wrong to say that a comprehensive will fail bright pupils just because it is a comprehensive,

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 21:13:12

Exactly Arisbottle.

Also the environment at my local comp was good enough for my DDs to get the same results as friends in a grammar, and be accepted into RG unis, so it really couldn't have been that bad.

The difference in environment is a factor, I agree with LeQueen

There are many more oppourtunities for GS students which I can imagine contributes to parents choice of schools.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:14:04

kilmuir
Academy is a meaningless term : if its a school that takes the kids not entered for / who failed the 11+ it is by definition a secondary modern (unless its a technical school - but only parts of Lincolnshire use them)

laQueen
I can see why you have such a dire view of those comps then - the sooner those SMTs were replaced the better.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:14:15

Yes the rules have changed lequeen. Not sure when though, am not sure it was permitted even then

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:14:25

No QB I do understand perfectly.

It's great that there are some great comps. But, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't also have some superb GS that can cater for the academic elite.

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 21:15:03

LaQueen,

Imagine a comprehensive school.

It takes in children across the whole spectrum.

All those children make great progress from their starting points, and achieve their full potential as measured by GCSE grades.

Because children are taken in across the whole spectrum of abilities, the average level of attainment at the end will be lower than in a grammar school which only takes in the top few % BUT that does not mean that the most able didn't achieve exactly what they woiuld have done at the grammar. It just means that the average is 'brought down' by those who entered at lower levels.

And which is the more impressive school? The one that can take in a lot of very different children and get them ALL to achieve their full potential, whatever it might be, or the school that only achieves that for a narrow band of very bright children? The latter is, in fact, relatively easy .....

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 21:16:16

Aris, I know teachers have appropriate targets for all their children and that now the right amount of progress for all students has to be made, but it's still true that the major target the schools fear to miss is the % getting 5 A*-C inc maths and English which is the headline figure most widely reported on which they are judged. For maths and English especially, borderline children are taken out of other lessons for extensive interventions quite routinely.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:16:46

Aris it was certainly the case 8 years ago. I was vehemently opposed to being a CS in any science/maths related lessons. It was pointless for me, and for the poor pupils.

I can wing my way through any humanities subject...but not maths/science.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:16:59

It really would be a very very small number of children who would need a separate education, we would be talking about 1%.

I agree aris I dont think all comps fail bright children. I suspect a number of the brightest children at comps could have either achieved better results, or more oppourtunities at a grammar.
I think there is quite a big difference between what is on offer at a GS compared to a comp.
I also think that in my area at least the comps are not best equipped to motivate and inspire some of the brightest children in the school which is a shame and I also know there are other factors that influence why some children who would have excelled at a GS do not do so well at a comp.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:18:11

LaQueen but you ARE missing the point

My kids play music with great musicians (some of whom are not academic) and play sport with fantastic athletes (many of whom are not academic) and do art and drama with highly creative (but often non academic) people.

Why on EARTH would I want their horizons narrowed by missing out on that before they go towards RG Unis?

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:19:01

I feel under far more pressure about my A* rate than the C/D rate.

In fact in recent Management meetings new we have discussed two groups , A * targets and B targets , no mention of the C/D borderline

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 21:19:23

LaQ,

I accept the 'special education' model of education for the exceptionally able - but I would argue that the proportion of children who need such 'special education' institutions is as small, and probably smaller, than the proportion who are in SEN special schools at the moment. Certainly not as large as the proportion who are in grammar schools in grammar areas.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:19:53

teacher yes, that type of comp school is to be lauded.

But, I still believe that there needs to be schools that purely cater for the narrow band and that pushes them faster and further, in a concentrated enviornment that doesn't have to take into consideration much else beyond pushing the pupils above and beyond.

talkin are you implying that isn't the case at a grammar?
That there are no talented musicians (unlikely as this is a school that offers music places)
That there are no actors, athletes etc?

There's a wide range of extra curricular activities at a GS as well?

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 21:22:16

Tantrums,

Do you live in an area with GS? Then the other schools that you refer to are ot comprehensives - they are secondary moderns (despite sometimes misleading names) and therefore, BECAUSE they have the brightest children sliced away from them, they are not always best equipped to educate such children to the best advantage.

True comprehensives in true comprehensive systems do not have their biright children removed, and thus cater for them better IYSWIM?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:22:29

LaQueen
so no space for art, music, sport, languages, travel - breadth of education and understanding
just narrow academic subjects?
yeuch

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:23:00

Well, I'm off to bath/bed now...but thank you everyone for a very good discussion, I've really enjoyed it smile

I think you have a point teacher about the percentage that is really necessary. Food for thought.

Talkin all those things which you list, are available at our local GS, too?

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 21:24:17

LaQ,

I agree with you - but such in the same way that SEN special schools cater for a few hundred children over a very wide area, special schools for those so unusually able that they cannot be effectively educated in mainstream would only need to be of that scale.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 21:26:36

Brycie This is at a comprehensive, right? yes.

Its a selective school, no catchment area.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 21:29:18

Nit: I didn't see your reply before - sorry just posted that rude-looking question. Thanks - am going to go back and read your response to my questions.

Actually on the way I saw this:

"Tantrum and LaQueen, you still aren't getting it.

No one is saying the grammar = the comp."

Actually some people are saying that, and some are saying comps are better because they progress their children more.

Going back again to find Nit's post.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:29:41

I have also enjoyed our conversation , well almost, and would like to apologise for being so touchy in the middle. Being put on bed rest leaves me grumpy and bored.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 21:31:35

Which post are you trying to find? I might be able to help...

I've enjoyed it too. I am absolutely shattered now though so am going to sleep.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:34:05

Brycie
Statistically, Grammars do get less progress out of their kids than other schools BUT having researched it, I (as an anti grammar school person) do not hold that against them.
This is because the kids generally arrive so blinking hothoused by tutoring that they are a year ahead of themselves on arrival and slump back to a truer academic level over the next few years.
That is a fault of the selection process, not the schools.
We in non selective areas do not have to worry about kids hitting a level by a date until GCSE!

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Dec-12 21:34:19

Tantrums, sorry, was that a reply to my query?

So your area has a selective school within it (my local selectives equally have no catchments, the most super-selective of them brings children in from 50+ miles away)?

Technically, that means that ALL of your local 'comprehensives' are secondary moderns. Even my local comprehensive, which is excellent (due in no small part to its catchent, though) is technically a secondary modern, and to complain that such schools do not cater for the brightest when the brightest have been removed from them by the 11+ system is damning them for something which they cannot change IYSWIM.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 21:38:20

Aris, I'll guess that your school is in no danger of falling below the 40% A*-C inc maths+english threshold then?

I'm also guessing that you don't take children out of language and humanities classes to focus on Eng and maths to get their grades up to A*? Some schools do this to ensure dc hit their 'C's in those subjects.

losingtrust Thu 06-Dec-12 21:40:42

Are schools not now rated on the gcse passes achieved by the below low level, average and high level child. You can see the results for each school and it would be more realistic to compare the average pass for a high level child in a comp with those at a gs. This would not be the top 5% and some comps would have more than others. This is something schools are measured on and therefore the years of just trying to get as many Cs as possible may be on the way out.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 21:41:11

Ok here we go. Nit, these are the contradictory arguments one tries to respond to - the trouble is when one follows the line of thinking of one anti-grammar, another anti-grammar will come along and say "oho, so you think this" - to which the response is actually - no I'm just following the train of thought of someone else who wants to abolish grammar schools. I can't remember what you said on the last thread so am happy to start afresh with yr responses !

"I think those denied access are denied a better education in the broader sense of the word, although I am sure there are some incredibly dedicated and talented teachers in secondary moderns/high schools, the main issue they are facing, I would think, is that they're teaching a group of children who've been told at 11 that they've failed."

I'm not sure what you mean by education "in the broader sense of the word".
But you believe then, that the fact that they have failed means that their education will be detrimentally affected even if they have the same level of education in a sec mod as they would have done in a grammar school, and that effect is enough to affect their life chances? I don't believe that with excellent teaching, this should affect their education and their life chances in the way you describe.

"I would imagine that those who pass the 11+ are more or less the brightest in their year group, but with the obvious caveats about coaching."

Thanks that is enlightening: the whole premise of the last thread was that the "wrong" people were going to grammars and that new tests would make sure the "right" people were going to grammars.

I do not think that the 23% themselves as human beings and individuals are personally and individually capable of turning a school around, but I do think a school that's missing the top .25 (give or take) is going to struggle with its aspirations and its sense of what is possible or realistic. A school you go to if you fail is clearly, to my mind, going to face different challenges from the school you go to if you pass.

Those are good points. My own view is that it is up to the school to deal with the issue about aspirations and sense of what is realistic, and to instil the highest expectations and set the strongest example. In a way the attitude should be really gutsy - we'll show them. If the school suffers with low expectations and poor aspirations then the teachers, headteachers and parents should deal with that. It's their job. I also don't think the sacrifice of the education of the top 20 per cent is worth this intangible benefit: which could be achieved in other ways (ie through the staffing and ethos).

That was EXCESSIVELY LONG AND BORING! arf I wonder if anyone will read all that

Anyway thank you Nit this is a nice conversation grin

Tbh teachers I actually never knew the schools were technically secondary moderns.
Yes it makes sense what you are saying, like I said, I don't think these schools are failures, my son will go to one of those schools as opposed to a selective and no doubt will do very well.

But I suppose that's my point, the GS do not achieve the same results as SM due to that fact I guess, I struggle with the idea though that the brightest of children would be given the same opportunities and standard of education, if there were no selective in the area.
But that's something I will never know. I can only try and judge what is best for my own children in my own opinion which is why they will be at 3 different schools.

And now I really am going to bed grin

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 21:43:55

TalkingP:
"Statistically, Grammars do get less progress out of their kids than other schools BUT having researched it, I (as an anti grammar school person) do not hold that against them."

a festive arf - I really don't grin

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 21:44:34

Gosh this has moved on since lunchtime!! I need to read through before I comment.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 21:49:49

Ok. In terms of 'better education': many may feel this is naive or idealistic, but I do feel that my daughters have gained something by going to school with people whose background is very very different from their own, just as I believe anyone would. I think that a better education does or should include being able to get on an and be taught near people who aren't like you, and in the cases of children at high schools, I think it's an opportunity missed.

I'm fairly sure that some middle class children who are no brighter than some disadvantaged children gain places at grammar: I think that's probably inevitable, but I don't think grammars are full of thick but posh children any more than I think they're full of an intellectual elite.

I have an issue with your last point, Brycie, because I don't think you can just say, oh it's up to the school to deal with disillusionment and install high expectations etc etc, when the whole point of that school is that its there to cater for children who have failed. To lay the responsibility for making sure that doesn't affect them purely at the doors of the teachers who teach them is too much to ask.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 21:59:50

I would take that to be "rounder social education" then because "better" assumes that it's automatically better, which it might not be.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the last point too - I don't think it's too much to ask at all. I think teachers need backing from supportive management and sensible inclusion/exclusion policies and if they got that, along with the confidence that high expectations would be supported by the head, then I see no reason why teachers couldn't achieve this.

I'll just respond to TalkinP's comment more sensibly. In your research, did you find that the top 20 per cent progress in a comprehensive as much as they progress in a grammar ?

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 22:00:34

I Am reluctant to say no danger of falling below 40% but it would be something of shocker.

Students are never pulled out of one subject to help with another.

exoticfruits Thu 06-Dec-12 22:05:11

Apparently grammar schools educate only 4% of the secondary school population! Anyone would think from this debate that they were relevant to most DCs when, luckily, they are not.
If 6-7% are educated privately and and even tinier percentage are Home Educated that still leaves more than 85% educated in state comprehensives. I think that therefore we ought to be improving the comprehensives.
They will not come back-if at least 75% are doomed to fail then the majority of parents will be against.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 22:05:15

You might be interested in this report Brycie

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:06:26

Brycie
No I did not find that because the DFE have not yet released those statistics.
The data set to hand is the 2011 set - that looks at VA across whole schools.
The 2012 data set - that fully splits VA by bands will not be out till January
and then I will merrily waste spend many hours data mining it grin

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 22:08:23

Brycie, are you talking about expectations in a secondary modern?

If so, I don't understand how you can expect a secondary modern to have similar expectations/results to a grammar, when they don't contain the top 20% of the children.

I do agree with having similar expectations in a comprehensive. In fact there was programme on Radio 4 yesterday where this very point was discussed. They found in many failing comps that the biggest turn around in results came when expectations were raised.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:09:03

gelo
THe data set on which that paper is based is from 2002 : ten years ago - back when London schools underperformed relative to the rest of the country - which is no longer the case.
history not research.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 22:10:21

Thank you gelo. It seems to support an argument in favour of grammars?

I have read as far as the part where they talk about what Nit was discussing: ie the effect on students of being told they'd failed. This paper talks about the effect being the result of low expectations and a continuous diet of low level work. This is a resolvable issue within the school. I'll carry on reading.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 22:10:42

Oh well there we are - should I carry on TP

TalkinPeace2 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:16:18

Brycie
YES - if nothing else to read Appendix table A1
The list of local authorities with children at grammar schools - see how few all the fuss is about.

exoticfruits Thu 06-Dec-12 22:18:27

*"The bottom line for menus that in grammar school areas ( not in suprselective only areas, obviously) 75ish% of children AF publicly told they are failures at the age of 10. Nothing is worth doing that to a cohort of children.*"

No...they are told they have failed a test for academic ability, that's all. It's not like they have been officially informed they have failed as human beings, or anything

I can tell you that you do feel a failure!
Doors are closed.
Before I failed adults asked me what I wanted to be 'when I grew up'-I could say 'doctor, lawyer etc' and they smiled nicely. After failing the exam the same result got a doubtful 'can you still do that?'!! hmmI got totally fed up with saying 'yes I have to do x, y and z' and I stuck to a simpler 'I haven't decided'. Thousands of DCs who failed got went to university and/or got top jobs but is wasn't easy when at 11 years old you are more or less told 'they are not for you and we are not even going to educate you to give you a chance'!
No one should do that to a child at such a young age.
At least if a DC does fail you can do them the courtesy of taking them seriously if they have an ambition to get to Oxbridge-there is no reason that they can't-other than the government has denied them the best academic education on offer.

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 22:19:41

Yes it's old.

It finds "selective LEAs are not substantially more successful in raising attainment for their
pupils than non-selective areas, on average." The upper bound by which it raises attainment is 1 GCSE grade, the lower bound zero.
Also that very highly able children benefit less from grammar schools than borderline children.

I'll look for something more recent. Not sure what difference London schools would make.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 22:20:05

But if the system says 'you're here because you faled', don't you think it is a bit unreasonable to say it is only the specific teachers' fault if they feel they have failed and aren't as good as the people who passed?

exoticfruits Thu 06-Dec-12 22:27:57

I have to say that the teachers in the secondary modern were very good because they told us, in the A stream, that were were just as good as the grammar school-which obviously we were because one mark would have separated us in some cases! It was the general public who were the problem in thinking you couldn't aim higher than shop work!

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 22:30:50

ok I have skim read and sort of caught up, in between a failing internet connection!

I think TOSN and I are on the same wavelength. That a rounded education, where students learn that talent is not just about academia, and that you can shine in one, two or all subjects is a cause for celebration and not the reason for those who only shine in one to be split from their peers at age 11, or those who shine in none to be split from their friends at the same age. And also that children benefit from knowing and being friends with those of different intellectual abilities and social backgrounds is a really important factor long term. TP2 also has very valid points I think.

For me, it boils down to strong management. I/my DDs are very lucky to be in a secondary modern with just that situation, where expectations are high and where issues with progress are addressed immediately and on an ongoing basis. Behaviour management is also key.

What I think is spectactularly unfair is that some on here are trying to directly compare GS with SM, when it is clear that if the GS takes the top x per cent in a particular area then of course the SM's broad results will appear lower in comparison (because they take on the students with challenges - and in most cases they do a pretty good job in meeting them).

And I really didn't like Laqueen's comment about GS students "ripping the shit out" of others - how is that good for anyone? Elitism is fine, as long as it is tempered with a healthy dose of self-awareness, and this is something I do not see in the GS students of my acquaintance - obviously this is my personal experience, and I am sure many GS pupils have empathy and emotional intelligence in spades.

Emotional intelligence (not exhbited in rip the shit comment), the ability to be flexible, to get on with people is, I think, far more important longterm than 12 A* at GCSE.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 22:46:06

My girls came in at nine and asked what I was doing on here: the older one, as I was explaining the 11+ to the younger, said 'it's like you're telling her a fairy story!'. Ie., in some places, dd, even now, you would have found out a year ago whether you were going to school with your friends or not based on a test you sat about now.....

And then she said 'but that's bullshit, there are people in my geography class [not set] who are predicted a d, but I'm still predicted a*'.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 22:47:00

Though I'm sure I should be cross she didn't get to do geography a year early or something.

Asinine Thu 06-Dec-12 22:48:51

At last there is some understanding here that the league tables do not necessarily demonstrate that grammars and private schools are superior just because they have better results.

I really do believe that the top sets in our comp (in an area happily free from gs and private schools) are of a comparable standard to a gs top set. They work hard, there are not discipline problems. At risk of repetition, they go on to RG unis and Oxbridge.

I think one reason why our town has such a great community spirit is because everyone's children are at the same school (there is only one) so we all have that in common, whether we have higher degrees, no degrees, high paid jobs, no jobs, children with high or low learning potential, severe learning difficulties and so on. I don't consider a friends' child who is in the middle sets to be a failure, his passion is the family farm and he will be a success at that.

For me, that is what matters most.

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 22:52:34

Are the adults in your lives really such mean busy bodies? I mean, all these anecdotes about adults asking which school you got and then looking down on you or your DCs because you got the Sec Mod. You should move to a nicer area or make new friends.

The 'funny' thing is that some of the usual suspects go on about not sending their kids to private schools even if they could afford it. Why? Because its full of snobby parents and/or kids that look down on people who aren't well off is the reply.

They now come on threads like this and go on about being made to feel like a failure by their fellow salt of the earth parents/friends because they or their DC aren't going to the GS.

And there you were, thinking that you had to pay £15k pa in order to be around people that look down on you. Aren't you glad you are getting it for free?

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 22:55:14

confusedwhat are you on about APMF?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 22:56:24

That's a hell of a lot of straw mumsnetters there, APMF!

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 22:58:19

Nit, exoticfruits said this:

"have to say that the teachers in the secondary modern were very good because they told us, in the A stream, that were were just as good as the grammar school"

Obviously there will be more to it overall. But I don't see that this is unachievable by other sec mod teachers.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 22:59:38

To be fair I have read comments such as APMF describes. I don't think she's making up straw people.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:01:32

I suspect APMF is getting frustrated with further rounds of self-contradiction and circular argument. You must be APMF because your last sentence is a SHOCKER.

A lot of anti-grammar school people have very different arguments and some of the DO contradict each other. Boschy and Nit have been great in explaining things.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:02:12

I mean, great in explaining what they actually think is the case and putting it flat down so that one can consider it and address it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:04:57

Thanks Brycie...

However well some teachers dealt with the issue for some people, I still don't think the problem should be laid at their door. The top set might have been amenable to and appreciative of the idea that they weren't too far off their erstwhile peers who went to grammar, but that doesn't mean it's fair to leave the fallout to the teachers of those who failed, in my opinion.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:05:01

"No I did not find that because the DFE have not yet released those statistics.
The data set to hand is the 2011 set - that looks at VA across whole schools.
The 2012 data set - that fully splits VA by bands will not be out till January
and then I will merrily waste spend many hours data mining it "

I just saw this TP. I think THIS is crucial data, do you? So about mid Jan I think you owe it to all of us to bring it back to mumsnet and reveal all.

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 23:06:59

I thought I was being perfectly clear but obviously not.

A number of posters have in previous threads about private schools painted a picture of private school parents as snobs that look down on people who aren't well off or clever.

These posters now come onto threads about how the GS model is bad because they or their children have been labelled as failures by friends, neighbours or classmates.

I was just making the observation that if they wanted to find snobby people they only had to look in their backyard as opposed to the school gate at the much despised private school.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:08:56

Ŵell you have that conversation with 'them', then....

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 23:09:24

Bloody computer, just did a long post and it has been eaten by the ether!

What matters most is that every child gets to achieve to his or her own level. The beauty of a comprehensive system is that every child gets to see that achievement means different things, so the maths geek is appreciated as much as the kid that brings prizes into the school farm for his/her animal handling skills.

For me it boils down to strong management: I/we are lucky that our SM has that. Every child is monitored on a virtually daily basis, and if they are not meeting or exceeding their targets then it is picked up on and action taken.

I think it is spectacularly unfair that GS and SM are being judged on their exam results when they have a completely different intake. Of course the GS should get the string of A*s, they have the raw material and they dont have to work very hard to deliver it. The SM has to take anyone and everyone - A* to F candidates, and support them to what they can achieve.

I really didnt like Laqueen's 'rip the shit' comment earlier on this thread - for me that represents the arrogance of (some) GS students and their parents, and only serves to increase the divide between the academic and the non-academic (and the zillions in between).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:09:26

I mean 'well', and I do not know what happened there!

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:10:12

Nit: the problem then may be laid at the door of the top 20 per cent of children. Data such as TP is talking about will be key to finding out what the potential loss is to the top 20 per cent. Gelo's paper (too old and out of date) said the loss was about a grade point or half a grade point in exams. It's there if you want to look at it. I think I read it right. There's a similar gain for the 77 per cent in comprehensive education. But the causes were given as low expectations and low level work - resolvable in class.

I think there is no reason not to lay this problem at the door of teachers. If it's a choice between the teachers, the head and the local authority - or the children - it's a no brainer for me.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:11:06

"What matters most is that every child gets to achieve to his or her own level."

In some ways that supports the case for selection.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:12:46

Yes, 'rip the shit' was both rude and crude. Bad luck for me that no matter how well my dd does, the fact that she has not got her math GCSE already at 15 means that apparently she's fucked.... I still think she'll do some shit ripping, if that's the appropriate term, and I'm still right that admissions tutors are not that keen on little prodigies who sat maths early.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:14:28

Well, I'll be interested to see that data when it emerges too.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 23:16:28

New post coz computer is annoying me. I did a lesson observation last week, and it was a joy.

The teacher knew exactly what each pupil in her class was expected to achieve (from A* to D, like TOSN said above). She knew which pupils needed extension work, which ones needed pushing, which ones needed bringing back into line, which ones needed support. In the space of 50 minutes she got each and every child to meet or exceed the lesson objective, and as this was the first or second lesson of the day, she then went on to do the same thing 4 or 5 more times... with different students, different subject matter.

The thing I found really touching was that there was a child in that class of clearly low ability, and her management of that child was so gentle and subtle - emotional intelligence can never be over-rated in my view.

I couldnt teach, far too much like hard work for me, but when you see a good teacher in action it is fantastic. flowers to teachers, and especially those whose raw material is not so precious that it has to be educated apart from the lesser ones... <tongue in cheek emoticon>

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:16:39

How can it be the teachers' fault or problem though? If only 25% pass, then 75% have to fail. So all the onus lies with the teachers to make sure that the inevitable 75% don't feel like failures when they've.... Erm.... Failed?

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:24:45

Nit: I don't think we are going to agree on this smile I think there's a problem generally with low expectations and it seems to be even worse in Sec Mods from what people say. Gelo's study talked about low expectations and low level work. Why is it a fault or a problem if teachers are doing this:

The teacher knew exactly what each pupil in her class was expected to achieve - she knew which pupils needed extension work, which ones needed pushing, which ones needed bringing back into line, which ones needed support. In the space of 50 minutes she got each and every child to meet or exceed the lesson objective, and as this was the first or second lesson of the day, she then went on to do the same thing 4 or 5 more times... with different students, different subject matter.

as described by Boschy. This is what teachers should be doing.

Not only do I see a problem of low expectations of pupils : I also now see a problem of low expectations of teachers.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 23:25:24

Brycie hello again! grin

"What matters most is that every child gets to achieve to his or her own level."

In some ways that supports the case for selection.

NO, because achievement is not just one thing, it's not just being frightfully academic and therefore needing protection from the madding hordes that apparently riot through our comprehensives. You can be elite and elitist without being divisive.

If future doctors, vets, lawyers dont rub shoulders with future hairdressers, plumbers, dustbin men (people?!) - and vice versa - how can they all work together in society? If you are a top cardiac surgeon but the hospital cannot recruit enough cleaners/porters/reception staff you're a bit fucked really arent you?

I just dont think that if a child is so frightfully clever to be able to go to GS and get the normal string of A* at GCSE and A level they should really need so much protection from the proles. And equally, the proles should be able to expand their horizons if they want to and are capable of doing so.

I hope no one thinks I am really calling SM students proles, given that my DDs are at one.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:28:17

Brycie: 'I think there's a problem generally with low expectations and it seems to be even worse in Sec Mods from what people say'

Well it would be, surely? Because this is the group of students of whom least is expected. Because they failed.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 06-Dec-12 23:30:14

Also: ' This is what teachers should be doing'

In the non leafy comprehensive where my children go, it is. That is normal.

Asinine Thu 06-Dec-12 23:31:31

'brycie Nit: I don't think we are going to agree on this '

^^Understatement grin

If this thread (or the one before) was a horse it was dead and flogged about three days ago.

But it is strangely addictive confused

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:34:51

HI Boschy
Elite though is not an intangible social ideal: it's a real, valuable set of skills and knowledge.

"If future doctors, vets, lawyers dont rub shoulders with future hairdressers, plumbers, dustbin men (people?!) - and vice versa - how can they all work together in society? "

As an aside - sorry to disappoint you but - in my experience - elite surgeons and specialists for example are lovely people with professionally attentive manners - but who think of their patients as numbers and everyone else as civilians because it's how to cope with the workload and the down and dirty of what they do. This will not change if they are educated next to hairdressers I think. Nor should it, really. I don't see the benefit of educating them next to dustbin: it will not make the hospital more able to recruit dustmen.

I think of this as a sort of "let's all hold hands and save the world" type of argument. It's lovely but I don't think it's a very strong argument. Sorry to be blunt.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 23:35:29

I am absolutely pissing myself laughing at the idea of low expectations of teachers. I am sat here still bleeding from a miscarriage working into the night writing reports after having spent the day flogging my guts out in the classroom.

Every lesson is supposed to allow every pupil to make excellent progress, if one pupil is seen not having made this progress you are hauled over the coals. Certainly in my school no one is allowed to slack or even by mediocre .

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 23:35:41

Asinine I agree, it is definitely strangely addictive!!

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:35:46

"That is normal" - but suddenly it is beyond them in a Secondary Modern? Absolutely and wholly outside their ability?

APMF Thu 06-Dec-12 23:37:10

TOSN - You should count the number of times you used the words 'failed' or 'failure'.

Its like a Woody Allen movie. You know, where he keeps going on about people being anti semetic when in fact he is the only one talking about it.

By the way, if you are going to accuse me of wheeling out straw MNetters it kind of undercuts your quip if you then start going on about people being made to feel like failures.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:38:06

Oh ARisbottle I am so sorry about your situation, God that's terrible. And you are so nice as well. Shouldn't you be in bed?

I can assure you I don't have low expectations of teachers - I think they can do all this and more. I think low expectations of teachers are a Bad Thing.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 23:41:07

I am in bed now, albeit working in bed whilst DH shakes his head at me.

I have worked in a school that had low expectations and it spreads like cancer, once that attitude gets a grip is is difficult to turn it round.

boschy Thu 06-Dec-12 23:43:37

Arisbottle I am so sorry too, and also think you should be in bed - unless displacement activity is helpful? would like to send you a hug, but only if you want one, and even then it would be gentle and respectful.

Through being a secondary gov I have come to know quite a few teachers quite well, and I do truly believe that they are totally commited to helping their students get the best results they can. I also think - maybe its just our non-leafy SM - that the expectations of them are very very high.

QuickLookBusy Thu 06-Dec-12 23:43:41

Arsbottle, so sorry to hear that. sad

I do agree with you. My DDs were constantly being pushed, given targets, told to think about how they could improve and what to aim for. It was never bloody ending! But it worked.

Brycie Thu 06-Dec-12 23:46:41

I hope you've got a hot water bottle and I hope you aren't goign to school tomorrow.

"have worked in a school that had low expectations and it spreads like cancer, once that attitude gets a grip is is difficult to turn it round."

I don't want to keep you up but at some point it would be good to hear your views on how to instil higher expectations in Sec Mod pupil.s

Asinine Thu 06-Dec-12 23:48:06

Arissbottle, I'm sorry about your miscarriage, I hadn't realised that was why you are off sick.

I suppose get my hippy 'let's all hold hands attitude' from my comp education, working in factories and as a hospital cleaner whilst at medical school. Actually there were plenty of comp educated people in my medical class, but in those days people still got full grants and housing benefit.

I have every confidence that my dcs will achieve their potential at a comp, and would hate to live in a grammar area.

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 23:49:57

I am in bed, have been in bed all evening , I can't just sit here and do nothing. I also am behind with my work and don't want to have to worry about that as well as losing our baby.

They are talking about this very topic in "This Week" now , very interesting

gelo Thu 06-Dec-12 23:54:50

Aris, so sorry sad

Arisbottle Thu 06-Dec-12 23:59:00

Thankyou, it is sad but I am very lucky . I have four wonderful children of my own, even the ones at comprehensives and a fantastic stepson. We may try again although this may be natures way of saying you are an old gimmer.

boschy Fri 07-Dec-12 00:00:01

Aris take care of yourself, and I hope you can get some sleep tonight.

Actually, our SM is really very leafy indeed - not in the desirable suburban type way, but a v rural area, which brings a whole different lot of problems and expectations...

Asinine Fri 07-Dec-12 00:02:29

I'll bet I outgimmer you any day. Are you predecimilisation?

Arisbottle Fri 07-Dec-12 00:33:44

Decimalisation happened while I was in the crib! Definite gimmer status!

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 00:38:30

Here's a more recent study. It's Sutton Trust, so inevitably favours grammars, but seems to think in maths at least, comps are not serving the highly able very well.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 07:03:12

I am old enough to have been given pocket money in LSD. In it's old rather than new meaning.

I am happy to use my children as laboratory animals in this matter, so long as they are not used as sticks to beat me with. So far, my high school son is working at the same or higher levels as his grammar school sister was in year 7.

gazzalw Fri 07-Dec-12 07:04:19

Adding fuel to the grammar school fire, DS is now in Year 7 and the expectations of what's expected of them in terms of work, particularly in maths, bears no relations to what they left behind at primary school. Of course being an old dinosaur and DS being our eldest I have no idea of levels at secondary schools but he seems to be doing stuff in maths and English that we didn't do (and remember I went to a grammar school too) until Year 9. There is no doubt that they are being well and truly stretched

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:04:58

"So far, my high school son is working at the same or higher levels as his grammar school sister was in year 7."

That's great. So no problem.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:18:29

Well there is a problem? Why have some DCs been segregated off and the rest lumped together if they are quite capable of the same work and can actually perform better? It doesn't make any sort of sense.
I also think that it is patronising to tell DCs they haven't failed when they took an exam for a place in a grammar school and they know they failed or they would have the place! You can dress it up how you like but they failed!

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:19:23

How are you doing Arisbottle. Hope you got some sleep and have a good day.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:19:57

Is Seeker's experience representative, do you think?

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:21:27

It seems a question of patting them on the head and saying 'there, there dear, you just were not suited to that sort of education and you are better off in a secondary modern' - it then doesn't make any sense if in the next breath they get 'but it is OK because you are working at the same levels'!

There's no problem as long as comps or SM schools provide a good standard of expectation and education for all children.
There is not one such school where I live. Literally none.
The reason parents are breaking their necks to try and get their DCs into GS is that the level of education elsewhere is mostly sub standard.

With the exception of one highly oversubscribed school and one catholic school the education provided to not only the brightest children, but the all the children is poor.
The teachers expectation for the most part is that the students will hopefully scrape a few decent GCSE results. That's it.
There are discipline problems, there are many things which make it a world apart from the GS

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:22:58

Very representative I would imagine- if you remove the top 23% you can be sure that at the very least another 10% are just as capable.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:25:09

Your comment about "patronising" again speaks to low expectations. Why should teachers and parents collude in "giving up"? It's not how it works in other countries, we're told. If state/comp/high school education was good enough there would be no issue.

Another story on the news this morning about the "personal messages" for universities disadvantaging state school students, whose letters are littered with errors and poor spelling and punctuation. This is not the fault of the private schools, who have taught good spelling and punctuation and how to write a letter. It's the fault of the state schools which have failed to do so -and failed at the most basic level, primary.

It's not surprising that parents will tutor their child and chose the most (or most regarded) rigorous type of education when they see this happening.

But it's not the fault of the grammar or the private school - it's the fault of the state primary.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:26:27

But why should only the top 23% escape this, Tantrums? Why does the DC with an IQ of 100 or less not deserve the very best of education too?
The grammar school just cherry picks the 'deserving' and gives the message that the rest don't matter and they can put up with poor teaching, low expectations and disruption.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:28:40

Here we have the contradiction again - other posters say Sec Mod pupils don't get the same standard of education and opportunities.

But if you believe the education level being offered is the same, why do you object to grammars? You approve of separating students by academic ability in setting. There are obvious benefits to it. So that works for the very top, then the next top, and so on. Why should expectations be lowered when they are working at the same leel or have the opportunity to do so.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:30:20

"Why does the DC with an IQ of 100 or less not deserve the very best of education too? "

Well now you are contradicting yourself. You said the opportunity to be taught at the same level was very representative.

Actually they do deserve a superb education but it is not grammar school pupils' fault if they don't get one. That would be down to the head, the teachers and the local authorities.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:31:29

As to why they should escape this - we need people who learn and learn well. It should be everyone. But when it isn't - we need a knowledge and skills elite. We just do.

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 07-Dec-12 07:32:54

Behaviour, attitude, and discipline are major factors why I'm so pleased my two DC's are (and hopefully will be) going to - not a GS - but a good, faith school in our City.
I know not everyone in their standard catchment school would be disrespectful to the teachers and disruptive by any means, but having been a teacher myself, I know it only takes a few to make learning difficult for all.
I just want them to be with others who, like them, want to learn and are respectful of everyone in the school community.
I don't think it's learning with all abilities that is a problem for GS aspiring parents, I think it's all about the behaviour and attitudes.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:33:50

You seem to be missing the point, Brycie, that a mere 4% of DCs go to grammar schools, around 6% go to private schools, so although they have a huge success rate in getting to the best universities it still leaves the majority of students coming from comprehensives. DS was at a RG university from his comprehensive and the bulk if the students were similar.
The maths have to add up, if the aim is to get 50% to university and only 10% are at grammar or private then 40% have to be comprehensive. In huge swathes of the country, where there are no grammar schools, the top sets are the same ability- and they can spell!

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:36:41

I'm not missing any point. It's not me saying that, it's the Sutton Trust.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:38:08

Exotic I think you need to acknowledge the contradictions in your posts and in your position. You seems to want to have it both ways. Or if you could just state your position so there's a clear idea of it that would be great too.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:39:00

I can't believe we are having this argument about 4% of pupils and a mere 164 schools! Most pupils can't have a grammar school education because they don't have access to one and they can't all fit into Kent, Torquay, Salisbury and other tiny pockets of the country- even if prepared to move!
Luckily most have to have comprehensive schools.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:39:38

I know - so what's the problem.

No I think every single child deserves the best education. I hate the divide, I hate it but at the same time find myself in the grammar school system because of it.
I think that the brightest children should excel and be given the oppourtunity to achieve the highest results but I also think that applies to every child regardless of whether they are in this top 23%

But it doesn't work like that. That's the problem for a lot of people isn't it?
What do you do?
Do you stand by the principle that every school should be outstanding and opt out of the best education possible in favour of supporting the SM knowing your child will not be given the same opportunities or level of teaching?
Or in essence become part of the problem by supporting GS knowing that this will provide your child with the best education, good results and university?

I chose the latter for Dd and ds1. For ds2, who is academically in the top 23% we will move out of the borough, in fact out of London next year, in preparation for his secondary school transfer the following year.
I would love every child in this borough to achieve what they are capable of.
But sadly the teachers at north London comps, our part anyway do not motivate and inspire the children who need it. They assume they will achieve very little and treat them accordingly.

My ds2 has been very happy at his primary and would love to go to school with his friends, into year 7 with the people he knows and likes.

But in all honesty, being in the middle range academically, he will not be expected to achieve very much at all. That makes me very sad.
So IMO we have no option but to move.
I could maybe have started tutoring in year 3 and somehow pushed him into a position where he may stand a chance at a grammar but it is not the right school for him. In that environment he would struggle.
He is not highly academic, he is creative, musical, artistic and just as wonderful as the older 2. But he would not thrive in that environment.

Sorry ds2 is not in the top 25% academically, typing too fast blush

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 07:43:55

Ok - my position is simple and there are no contradictions.
Every DC goes to the comprehensive school and they are set for all subjects so if the are great at English and poor at maths they can be in the top set for one and a lower one for the other. They are free at any time to move up or down, depending on the most suitable set. You do not treat them all the same but it is completely flexible.
I would stop expecting them to jump through the same hoops and would send them down different routes at 14 yrs - depending on their choice.

mam29 Fri 07-Dec-12 07:51:05

ARisbottle-so sorry for your loss rest up and take care,

I think the league tables are misleading.

if grammer schools all top set then of course they get better results than mixed non selective as %.

if area has no grammer and is true comp/high school-I guess results could be better.

I imagine kent has most uneven mix amongst grammer areas of which there are few.

No one has once mentioned demographics?

A comp in in inner city maynot be comparable to affluent rural town.
They are not like for like.

exam results are subjective anyway if

school a -near near me has 43%pass rate a-c my thourghts are omg 57%fail and think that could be my dd wont risk that one.

school b- another comp better one state non selective gets 73% thinking thats better but what if dd is one of unlucky 27%.

The local selctoive private gets 100% couple get 98% i would feel more reassured that she stand better chance there.

its a risjk, its a gamble as that a*grade at gcse in year 11 exam has so many varaibles.

A lot ca happen in 5years leading up to it.

schools change
exam rules/marking criteria suddenly change.
schools forced to expand due to rising birthrates.
good teachers ad attitude
ethos and dsipline.

I imagine if schools i very deprived area then aspiration will be lower as home influnces education equally as much as school.

at the inner city comps anyone with money goes private so it will always skew the results to be lower.
one was celebrating a b grade as if it was an a.

Our local league table is dominated by independants, faith schools and few selctive/lottory academy

Quick question gifted and talented register in primary does that not extend to secondry?
Although many parenst dont think their childs stretched at state secondry.

A overly academic school can raise everyone.
spoke to lady whos child went to piushy academic junior school reguarly gets 92-95%sats level 4+ and she says if he was in another school he be clever but hes ha to ork and keeping up and she thinks although hes needed help its been good for him its pushed him to do better and their linked infants is coaching their year 2 for sats.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 07:53:42

No, I mean your position on grammars. Do you think they offer the same level of education? you said that was "very representative" then you said "why shouldn't everyone be offered the same level of education."That's the kind of thing I mean - it's exceptionally difficult to address points when the goalposts keep changing

An over academic school can raise everyone's levels but it doesn't mean the school is good for the individual child.

And the comments regarding deprived areas? That's the reason the flipping teachers expect nothing of their students.
Inner city north London, poor area. Oh so all the kids have parents that don't care, they will never amount to anything.
That's a very sad perpective.
There are plenty of families living in poorer areas that care a great deal about their child's education and plenty of bright kids who don't achieve their potential because of that attitude.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 08:00:24

All those who want a grammar school education should be offered it. I wanted it, my parents wanted it for me, my primary school wanted it for me, I was suitable, had I lived in the next catchment area I would have got a place with my marks, possibly a different year I would have got a place- in my case if two people had moved or gone private I would have got a place!
Not everyone is suitable but everyone should be offered it- they are in the comprehensive because they can simply be late developers and take it up later.

brycie all schools are different though.

Some SM or comps could offer the same level of education as a GS.

But not all of them do. That's the problem. I guess that's why opinions are so different depending on where you live and the schools in the area.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:01:54

Can you see, so far we've had :

grammars should be abolished because they offer children the same educational opportunities so there's no point in them

and

grammars should be abolished because they offer children different educational opportunities and that's not fair

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:03:17

Tantrums - you are plainly right - I wish this could be acknowledged as a complexity by those who argue against grammars. I'm jut trying to point out that it's more complicated than people think, and they need to get it clear exactly what is wrong iwth grammars and why they want rid. As I say, Nit and Boschy were good at this.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 08:03:46

My middle DS isn't suited to a grammar school, my youngest is artistic and not suited - luckily they were able to all go to the same school as the eldest,who was academic, and yet all be treated differently. My middle one, not being academic was not separated from all his academic friends and was able to remain friends all the way through school.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:04:26

I have to say tantrums, while all schools are different, there are only two alternatives in the choice I gave above. Either grammar schools do offer different educational opportunities or they don't. That's a very basic question which people who campaign against grammars really need to have thought about.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:05:00

Ok thanks for explaining your experiences exotic.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 08:05:31

The bottom line, Brycie, is that they have been abolished! They are left with a tiny 4%!!

But brycie do you think it's fair?

I sent 2 of my children to GS. The alternative here is bloody awful.
In an ideal world, there would be a high level of expectation and education in every school but that's not reality.

I support the grammar system because it was the best thing for my DCs. That doesn't mean I think it's fair that the children who's parent don't even know about grammars or the children who's DCs missed out on a place by a few points should receive sub standard education.

I just don't see what the solution is right now.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:07:05

Thanks exotic.

brycie youre right IME the SM doesn't offer the same education as a grammar. Not at all.

exotic see that's what I would have wanted, all 3 of mine to go to the same school, yet all reach their own potential and be treated individually.
But that doesn't happen here. I wish it did.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:12:07

Tantrums in that case you would want a comprehensive system, yes? A good one?

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 08:31:46

Why do people go on about the 77% being shafted by the GS system?

I accept that some kids in a Sec Mod should be in a GS if only the 11+ went better for them. But they probably now form the top set at the Sec Mod. What is so magical about a GS that people automatically think that a top set SM kid is receiving an inferior education? Seeker has even recently posted that her Yr 7 DS is receiving the same level of education as her GS DD. I know her intention was to show how bright her DS is but as usual it just served to show how flawed her opinions are.

Even if you accept that these top set SM kids could do better if only they were at the GS, for the rest of the 77% they are receiving an education that is appropriate to their abilities. I mean, if you are in the third set at a SM how does the top 23% being creamed off affect you? Ah yes, there is the being labelled a failure argument.

The people in Kent must be an angst ridden lot. I can imagine the kids walking around the town centre with a big 'F' around their necks, careful to avoid the eyes of adults.

Where I live there is two private schools, a Catholic school and three comps near the town centre. The comp catchment varies. One is in the posh side of the town, one in lower MC part and the other in the mainly low income / council part. After school on a Friday they all head into the town centre and hang around a few popular shops like the sweet shop or the milk shake shop. Judging from their uniforms, the rich kids, MC kids, WC kids all happily mix.

So those in Kent must be a very status conscious lot. Not to mention mean for making the children feel like failures.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 08:34:36

Spoken by someone who was never in the top set of the Sec Mod, APMF.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 08:36:10

@tantrum - the 'solution' is obvious. We get rid of parental choice and get everybody to share the pain. So if the comp is sh*t then no one will have the education advantage ...... except for those that can afford a private education [inserts irony emoticon].

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:38:39

The solution is and will always be to improve state education and to improve inclusion / exclusion policies, and to ensure local authorities and heads are supportive of teachers' efforts to maintain discipline.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 08:39:42

Actually I was in the top set at a Sec Mod. It only became a comp a couple of years later when the legislation kicked in but basically my year were the GS rejects grin.

Brycie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:40:03

"And the comments regarding deprived areas? That's the reason the flipping teachers expect nothing of their students."

That's not a reason - that's an excuse. Expectations should be just as high - this is how social mobility happens.

exoticfruits Fri 07-Dec-12 08:41:43

Mine didn't go comprehensive so I was segregated until 16yrs when I eventually got to the grammar school.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 07-Dec-12 08:48:41

So once again, it's all the teachers' faults for inventing/exploiting any social issues which may be relevant...

Yes brycie but take my eldest son for example.
He's 13, lives in a "poor" part of north London. He's mixed race. So off he goes to the SM. and they look at him, without having the faintest idea about him as someone who will scrape through school, cause a bit of trouble, my friends son of the same age was told by his teacher "oh you look like a drug dealer with your hair like that. Have you got any weed?"
This attitude is disgusting and it is the major difference in what my son will achieve at GS and what he would have achieved at a SM in this area.

I am all for a good comprehensive system. Good for everyone with the top set students expected to achieve A*s, where the teachers push the very bright to achieve more, things like twilight classes, extra languages.
Good teachers who take time to get to know students and don't assume because of the area they live in or their hairstyle that they are never going to achieve.
GS are not the answer to the problem of poor SM and comps, they are just an option for people who expect this education but cannot find it anywhere else.
So yes, I would be in favour of an excellent comprehensive education.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 08:57:46

There is no contradiction- I think people are being deliberately obtuse.

A comprehensive school can offer the same education as a grammar school qnd an high school combined.

A high school cannot offer the same education as a grammar school.

Is that clear?

It's not the teachers fault,no.
Every other person looks at my son the same way.
Everyone assumes we as parents don't get involved with his education.
He gets stopped by the police walking the dog after 5pm because they think he's going to rob someone
He doesn't go to the park because the park patrol think they are smoking weed.
So no it's not the teachers fault. They teach some kids that are like that. They then tend to assume everyone's the same.

mam29 Fri 07-Dec-12 09:07:14

And the comments regarding deprived areas? That's the reason the flipping teachers expect nothing of their students.
Inner city north London, poor area. Oh so all the kids have parents that don't care, they will never amount to anything.
That's a very sad perspective.
There are plenty of families living in poorer areas that care a great deal about their child's education and plenty of bright kids who don't achieve their potential because of that attitude.

look im not saying that all parents in deprived areas dont care some do,they dont do stats on which parents care and which dont.

I have a freind who works inner city primary who says most parents dont care.

because of their location its harder to attract people to send their kids thier as some areas of our city have very bad reputations.

parents calculate risk.is my child safe, are their freinds going their, is it too far, is it affordable, whats the results like.

so even though there are many comprehensives an no grammers here infact most shut down an reopened as academies, shiny new buildings , blazers ect is still mostly same intake as before and similar results.

our results are skewed by such a high independant sector.

The 2independants that turned academies-use to be selective now only 10%selective rest lottory everyones waiting for their mixed ability results to show.I guess with lottory everyone has fair chance think its was 800+applications for 160places last year something mad like that.

Another theme is linking good school with bad school as federation thinking they rub of on each other yet they totally diffrent sites and different intake so even im dubious if will work.

sharing facilities like sports/music, arts I think could be good as thats talent.

Only few weeks ago said they said parental inputs makes difference an kids from deprived area have disadvantage at preschool, primary imagine gap even wider at secondry unless their parents are dedicated of which a few are.

I think parental choice is very important not limiting choices.
I went to only comp in my rural town
only catholics, private bused put.
nearby town had high school mam said no dont have ideas above my station. when passed my exams thats great as we never expected you to pass. luckily my dad was slightly more interested.

my parents one went sec modern with her 4siblings
1sister went grammer
they equal now

dad was only 1 out of 5to go grammer and hes done the best

its dependant on individual not the school they attended.
sopme do better inspite of their school although can be a battle when so little expected..

I would rather my dds wherever they go be right school for them.

My preschoolers turning out to be little performer.
but theres no ballet/stage schools outside london,

I dont think the uk values other talents as much.
which is why most olypinans from private.

It seems lot of academies specialise into sports, science or language im unsure if they acheive better results than the normal comp just sounds good. do they honestly focus on these subjects or is it name alone?

if we select on academics why cant we select on other criteria rather than 11+.Why are all specialist academies non selective?
if they a states sports academy what are they doing to attract the very best at sport in that area?

I ask this as know lady in kent whos town has grammers yet her son goes to sports academy-secondry modern and belives its must be a beacon of sport. not a``ll who miss 11+will be sporty bias.

yet ask a freind in reading what she thinks of local sports academy and its dire sink school rebranded-never send her kids there.

Its all about perception and spin.
when you go open days.
see glossy prospectus
shiny new pfi building
local rag manipulating exam results talking it up.

Its very stressful picking a school and in some areas very tricky there are all sorts of hoops 11+is just one of them but still think its fairer than living in affleunt catchment.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 09:08:40

@seeker - You have gone on record as saying that your SM DS is receiving the same level education as your GS DD.

You are either saying that your GS isn't that brilliant OR there is no noticeably difference between standards at the SM and GS. You may try but you can't have it both ways.

mam29 Fri 07-Dec-12 09:15:46

Also how do we think most children get a*? as numbers rising
whats the recipe

I imagine lots of factors

good attendance record in lessons
completing homework
revision-do parents help or push child to revise?
extra tutoring?
Childs work attitude wants to do well, tries their best.
Interested parents who attend
child came from good primary with good sats and performed well in cats.
good set, not much disruption in class

parents evenings
work in partnership with school
get involved in their childs school, attend information evenings, well read on education themselves, look at childs work and homework on regular basis.
end of term reports-if child does badly are their consequences?
I dont remember fondly year 7parents evening with very cross father who said I could do better and threatening to pull me from that school but mam said no in hindsight I wish he had.

Teachers and school can only do so much.I have no doubt must be harder teaching in comp than a grammer as in a grammer the child wants to do well as they chose to enter selection and their parents maybe more involved.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 09:17:31

No. I have gone on record as saying that at this stage in year 7, my high school DS is working at the same National Curriculum level as his GS sister was.

He is not receiving as good an education as she did.

And, as I have said many many times, for me, this is not about my children. They will be fine. For me, is about what happens to the whole cohort of children in grammar school areas. In particular, what happens to disadvantaged children in grammar school areas.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 09:29:57

what happens to disadvantaged children in a grammar school area is a scandal. 11+ seems to be biased against them, very few make the grammar (those that do incidently derive the very most benefit from the grammar of anybody). Those that don't make the grammar often don't get put into the top sets at the other schools either. Perhaps a way forward would be to insist that grammars have to accept a quota, lets say 10% of disadvantaged children - force them to do a bit of positive discrimination as universities are pushed to do. I wonder what effect that would have?

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 09:32:23

Just so there is no confusion as to what you previously said, your SM son is at the same level in Year 7 as your DD was when she was in Year 7 at her GS. And you are not happy with his education.

Don't you see the contradiction? [bangs head against table top]

Upthread you said that your DD got into GS with KS level 4. That automatically tells me that it's not a particularly academic GS. If your DS is at the same level as your DD and you aren't happy then the inference is that you aren't too happy with DD's progress at the GS.

So why do you spend so much time posting about how the GS model is inequitable when your posts suggest that your GS isn't that brilliant and that your DS wouldn't have been better off if only he had gone to the GS?

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 09:35:55

You obviously don't understand a) the difference between hitting levels and getting an education. And b) the grammar school selection process. SATs are not relevant. Dd passed the 11+. so she got a place in what is actually a very academic, although not super selective, grammar school.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 09:45:03

You are doing it again seeker. You just can't control it.

The GS selection process got it right with your DS despite it being an academic GS and your DD was level 4 maths which is a bit low.

But when your DS didn't get into the DS it spawned a 1001 posts about the inequities of the GS selection process.

Maybe Santa will give you a T Shirt that says 'You Can't Have It Both Ways!'

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 09:50:11

Nope. I have been posting and campaigning about the iniquities of the grammar school system for 6 or so years now. In fact I think my first ever mumsnet post was on the subject. I remember sharing outrage with UnquietDad of blessed memory.

It doesn't matter how many times you post that I'm only involved because my ds failed, it won't make it true.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 09:56:31

I am not disputing your historical positions. I am merely pointing out your contradictory comments, comments that you seem keen to avoid addressing.

Why did the GS selection work when it came to your DD but was flawed when it came to your DS?

mam29 Fri 07-Dec-12 10:01:47

seeker what did dd2 het in year 6sats? 4 or higher.

as sometimes sats dont translate into 11+
they testing diffrent things

sats what they learnt
11+suppost to be more about potential.

what are you doing to ensure now hes in secondry modern hate taht term that teachers are differentiating his work and challenging hin?
are you doing extra at home fill the gap?

as assume you know exactly what grammer curriculum syllabus ofers and when as older dd goes.
can you not use that knowledge and plug the gaps.

Like I asked before we know you against it

but what you actually doing are you walking the talk?
lobbying mp, egtting together with other parents and campaigning?

if he had got you agree its still unfair.

do you wonder if both dds might at end of day get similar gcse/alevel results anyway.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:07:18

I don't quite understand. The 11+ process "worked" for my dd- in that it selected yet another middle class child from an educated, book filled, supportive home. If that's what you mean by working. It didn't "work" for my ds. In some ways you could say it didn't "work" twice. It didn't select him on the grounds of middle class bookishness or in terms of IQ!

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:08:04

As for your comment about the difference between hitting the mark and getting an education, I get it.

At DS's school the kids prep for the lessons the night before so classroom time is spent discussing the subject as opposed to the state school model where the teacher stands in front of the class and teach. So although he will hopefully get As at the end he will have probably received a 'better education' than the Sec Mod kid who also get As.

But an A is an A to most people/employers so if I was the parent of the SM kid I certainly wouldn't be spending too much time thinking about the difference.

SATS are nothing to do with anything.

Its simple, if you pass the 11 plus you are in.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:17:11

Could it be that he simply wasn't GS material?

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:19:21

seeker what did dd2 het in year 6sats? 4 or higher.
it's a he, actually! He got 556
as sometimes sats dont translate into 11+
they testing diffrent things

sats what they learnt
11+suppost to be more about potential.

what are you doing to ensure now hes in secondry modern hate taht term that teachers are differentiating his work and challenging hin?
are you doing extra at home fill the gap?
Absolutely. The biggest gaps so far have been in the cultural side of things- there is very little music or drama at the high school, so we're finding other outlets for that side of him

as assume you know exactly what grammer curriculum syllabus ofers and when as older dd goes.
can you not use that knowledge and plug the gaps.
Yes- we can and will

Like I asked before we know you against it

but what you actually doing are you walking the talk?
lobbying mp, egtting together with other parents and campaigning?
I am very active in local politics. In fact, I am amazed I haven't outed myself. Maybe I have and people are being discreet!

if he had got you agree its still unfair.

yes

do you wonder if both dds might at end of day get similar gcse/alevel results anyway.

Yes, I am sure they will. But as I said, there's more to education than results.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:21:45

"But an A is an A to most people/employers so if I was the parent of the SM kid I certainly wouldn't be spending too much time thinking about the difference."

Wouldn't you? What a very strange attitude. Or are you saying that's how imagine all high school parents think?

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:23:18

"Could it be that he simply wasn't GS material?"

Yes, it's possible. But by all objective and subjective measures he is.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:27:07

Well, I obviously can't imagine what a OMG. SM? My DC is destined for a life of cleaning the toilets shock parent might think.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:27:59

Allow me to pass over a tissue for your parent goggles.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:28:35

Once again, I don't know what you mean.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:34:13

... by ALL objective measures? What, you mean the 11+ that he failed?

KS level 4 is the national average so by that 'objective' measure your DS is only average.

It is not my intention to be mean to your DCs. It's just that you hold up your DS as an example of how unfair the system is. If it is then it certainly wasn't 'unfair' to your DD who DID get selected.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 10:35:24

APMF it's really very simple. More children can benefit from grammar school places than there are places available (it's a bit like oxbridge in that respect), so a test (the 11+) is devised to choose who to accept and who not to.

This test is supposed to select those with the most potential (not the most prior achievement), but the test is a rather blunt instrument - the very most able are more likely to pass than the not so bright but there are variations on the day. Also, the disadvantaged are less likely to pass, probably due to cultural bias in the test as well as lack of tutoring (which isn't supposed to help, but in fact does to an extent). So, in general, while you don't get people passing who can't benefit from a grammar education you get many failing who can, and in a number of cases some of those that fail will in fact be brighter than some of those who pass.

Seeker has said (many times) her ds has always seemed very able, more so than her dd, I think we need to trust her that this is indeed the case - mothers are usually right. Additionally his SATs results (which measure achievement, so obviously not the same thing but correlated) bear this out as does the fact that his headmaster supported his appeal.

Seeker has been quite consistent in her views and position on this. So lets just leave it be.

On the day, he wasn't grammar material (ie he didn't pass the test), but it seems abundantly clear that he could benefit from a grammar education.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:38:33

And once again, I thought that I was being perfectly clear.

Parents often look at their children through parent goggles. Their child is clearly the most talented child in the play. Their DD have the looks to be a model or the talent to be a pop star etc etc.

I was merely offering you a tissue for those metaphorical 'goggles'.

I think making personal comments about seekers children, implying that they are not grammar school material etc is not really relevant is it?
any child can have an off day in a test situation

And to be fair you can be against the ethos of the grammar system whilst still having children at a GS

boschy Fri 07-Dec-12 10:39:54

I am kind of losing the will to live with this one. What someone up thread (tantrums I think?) about the attitude her DS receives is quite disgusting, poor boy.

But the whole point is that a fully comprehensive system allows all students to be educated on the same site, in different settings for different subjects, so that everyone has ACCESS to the best whether they reach that point at 11, 13 or 16.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:42:43

The objective measures to which I refer are SATs and CATs. I think it unlikely that even the most rose tinted parent goggles could actually change those scores.

Marni23 Fri 07-Dec-12 10:50:46

And APMF you've mis-read Seeker's post. Her DS got 556 in his SATS. It was her DD (who is at GS) who got (a?) 4

and it is not an indicator that the GS is "not as academic" because a child with a level 4 got in

Im quite sure she isnt the only one.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 10:55:13

Well to try and get back on topic. There is no political will to either significantly expand or close the remaining grammar schools, so what's needed is to improve what we've got.

So, to improve comprehensives where they exist and to improve secondary moderns and grammar schools where they exist.

I suggested perhaps a quota for disadvantaged children at grammar schools - would this be a good or an acceptable thing?

For non-selective schools, the report I linked to earlier said that there is a huge variability in the percentage of high achieving children at these(it varies between 1% and 98% allegedly). Which rather suggests that at the extremes so called comprehensives are anything but. What, if anything, can or should be done about this?

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 10:55:38

gelo - Seeker's historical position on the issues is irrelevant as far as this conversation is concerned. My position on 11+, GS/indie has equally been consistent over the years.

If I were to make contradictory statements in favour of 11+ etc I don't expect to use my consistent position as a defence.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:00:01

Show me the statements I have made which you think are contradictory and I'll attempt to explain them to you.

Unlike you, if I make a mistake or say something fatuous, I attempt to correct and explain. I don't just move on and pretend I didn't say them.

gelo what exactly do you mean by disadvantaged? what criteria would be applied to determine who was eligible?

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:03:03

The usual starting point for identifying disadvantage is FSM. Sadly, I think gelo's proposal would just lead to a new area of work for accountants.......

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:03:28

@marni - seeker said her GS DD was KS level 4 maths in Year 7. She then said her SM DS in Year 7 was at the same level. The inference is that DS is also at level 4.

If both DCs are both at the same KS level in Year 7 then why is seeker spending so much time going on about what a shitty deal DS is getting at his SM? FFS he is at the same KS level as his GS sister at that point in time.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 11:05:31

Oh I give up APMF. Has seeker ever even said it was fair her dd 'passed', I don't think so. I know she thought she was in the 23% which was why she should try the test (but I think was less sure of her ranking within that than her ds), but she's always said a lot fail who shouldn't too. If you live somewhere with an imperfect system, what are you supposed to do?

APMF, because SM and GS are different in terms of education, they just are. They are alos different in terms of extra curricular activities, behaviour etc
Being on the same NC level is not everything is it?

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:09:51

I am not going on about the "shitty" time my ds is having qt his high school. It was you that brought my children into this discussion. My ds is fine, thank you for asking. My dd was indeed a level 4 in year 6. By this stage in year 7, she was working at 5b.

I asked you before whether you would like me to explain the difference between hitting levels and getting an education?

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 11:10:21

Defining disadvantage is rather tricky I agree. Would using FSM not work then?

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:12:16

@tantrum - they are not personal attacks on seeker's children. The subject in front of us is whether the GS selection does a good job of selecting the 'right' students. I am making what I feel is a reasonable argument namely that the selection process works MOST of the time and that seeker has no problems with the system when it selects her DD.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:15:22

Seeker has had vociferous probems with the system before she had Secondqry age children.

<and wonders whether 3rd person statement will penetrate where 1st person hasn't>

Marni23 Fri 07-Dec-12 11:15:54

But Seeker has always had a problem with the system. Even when it selected her DD. Her position has always been entirely consistent.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:16:53

"Defining disadvantage is rather tricky I agree. Would using FSM not work then?"
As I said, more work for accountants........

Marni23 Fri 07-Dec-12 11:16:58

Cross-posted grin

I didnt say personal attack, I said personal comments

FWIW even though 2 of my children are at GS I hate the grammar school system, I hate everything about it

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 11:19:36

pity.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:31:42

Seeker - you constantly post about your DS and hold him up as an example of how The System has wronged him. And now you are going on about how I introduced him into the conversation??? [bangs head against table top]

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:34:15

marni - there are those who talk the talk and there are those who walk the walk. seeker has been talking the talk for years. So what?

seeker has been posting about the grammar school system for a long time before her DS sat the 11 plus so I dont get your point?
Are you trying to say she has had a sudden change of heart? because thats not true.

Abra1d Fri 07-Dec-12 11:37:44

Much as I usually disagree with Seeker on matters religious and educational (but not on children being left home alone occasionally without parents being lambasted), she has always been consistent on her grammar school stance. If it was me, I'd move counties if I hated the 11plus so much (friends of ours did just this), but it's not always possible if you have work and family commitments to fulfill. Or just like your house a lot.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:38:54

I don't you know, AMPF. I used him as an example on a particularly heated thread once, and since then I have never had to mention him even if I wanted to- somebody else always does it for me. Usually so inaccurately that i have to respond. In the current conversation, that person was you. It will probably be somebody else next time.

Bonsoir Fri 07-Dec-12 11:43:22

Seeker is incensed at the perceived downward social mobility that her non-GS DC is going to endure because she cannot afford to purchase private education (which would give her a better shot at maintaining her children in the socio-cultural-economic class she wishes her family to belong to).

Her solution to her own dilemma would be to force all children to attend fully comprehensive schools, thereby, she believes, removing the advantages bestowed upon the few by selective and/or paying education.

But she is wrong. It is not that simple, as she would know if she had lived and breathed the educational systems of other countries which have tried the fully comprehensive route.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 11:43:31

APFM, if seeker had put her ds into an independent school this September, then I may have been more inclined to agree with you (though even on that one I think a change of opinion is allowed, and seeker if things don't work out for your ds then I really do think you should consider this option). As it is, I rather think she's walking the walk at the moment and that you are being rather rude.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:44:32

No doubt I'll be flamed for making personal comments about your kids but mine were at that level in Year 6 at their undemanding primary. If your DD is at that level in year 7 at a GS then that doesn't say much for the GS. In which case, why does it bug you so much that your DS is not at this underperforming GS?

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 11:44:42

x-posts with Bonsoir

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:47:01

You used your DS more than once without me even having to search historical posts

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 11:53:30

It says nothing whatsoever about the grammar at all - possibly it says the primary schools in the area aren't that great, or that the catchment area is challenging, or that the grammar takes a large percentage, but you cannot slate the grammar for the standards of it's children on entry.

And your dc have nothing at all to do with this at all.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 11:56:35

It's not a under performing grammar school. My dd may have at that stage been an under performing mathematician- however her A* at GCSE shows that she pulled her socks up......

I don't think I have ever, apart from on the historic thread I mentioned, been the first to mention my ds. As I said, there's always someone to do it for me.

Bonsoir, that was, I feel, unnecessarily nasty. I would like to rise above it, but I can't help myself telling you that I could actually. afford to send my ds to private school.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 11:58:24

What is so magical about a GS that makes people think that exclusion from one will consign your DC to a life of unfulfilled dreams?

There is no shortage of people posting anecdotes of themselves, siblings or friends who failed the 11+ and yet went on to go to a good university and a great job. Those anecdotes were meant to show that the 11+ is not a good predictor of ability but the flip side is that it proves that a bright kid can still achieve at a SM.

A lot of you perceive SMs as an inferior product. You then project these attitudes onto others. It is YOU that is going around using the F for Failure words

Bonsoir Fri 07-Dec-12 11:59:42

If you could afford to purchase private education for your DS, you would, given just how much you hate him being in a SM. Unless, of course, you are totally insane dysfunctional.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 12:01:35

Bonsoir, seeker is even more virulently opposed to private schools than she is to grammar schools.

Bonsoir Fri 07-Dec-12 12:03:05

Yes, I know, gelo. Why? wink

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 12:04:51

Seeker - if you don't want your kids to be part of the conversation then stop tellling us about their test scores or GCSE results.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 12:04:53

"What is so magical about a GS that makes people think that exclusion from one will consign your DC to a life of unfulfilled dreams?"

I don't think that about my own ds. Because I have the resources, knowledge and time to fill in any gaps.

For many other children, however, being sent to a high school will, in fact, stifle dreams they may not have known had.

Bonsoir, I don't hate my ds being in a high school. And I have never said I did.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 12:05:33

socially divisive I think. Below, when I said a change of opinion was OK, that was wrong - seeker won't change her opinion I know, what I meant was it would be OK to use a system you don't approve of when the wellbeing of a child is at stake.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 12:08:19

"Seeker - if you don't want your kids to be part of the conversation then stop tellling us about their test scores or GCSE results."

I don't mind my children being part of the conversation. In the circumstqnces, it would be a little strange if they weren't. I was just pointing out that it isn't me who brings them into it!

And I have only mentioned GCSE and test results in response to others comments about them.

wordfactory Fri 07-Dec-12 12:25:57

Oh come, come seeker you started a thread about your DD's GCSE results! And one about your DS being upset about not egtting in to GS.

I have absi=olutely no issue with you doing either BTW, but I think it's disingenuous to say you only mention your DC in response to things.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 12:30:26

In what ways does a SM stop a kid from realising his or her dream or is that just a sound bite?

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 12:33:19

note to myself - memorize the word 'disingenuous' and remember to use it the next time seeker post about her children and then accuse others of involving her children.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 12:36:26

If I recall, I started a thread about a conversation I had with my brother about our dds' GCSE results. Oh, and I did start a thread about how my ds was upset about being separated from his friends. I have started loads of threads about my children- this is mumsnet! However, I am pretty sure I have never started a thread about about my views about selective education in which I was the first to talk about my ds. I could be wrong. But as I keep saying, it is not on their behalf that I am so incensed about the 11+. They will be fine. There are many children who won't be, because they don't have my childrens' many advantages.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 12:39:59

"note to myself - memorize the word 'disingenuous' and remember to use it the next time seeker post about her children and then accuse others of involving her children."

I didn't accuse. I don't mind other people posting about my children unless they are unkind. As I said, under the circumstances it would be very strange if they weren't involved. I merely poured out that I wasn't the first to do so. Which is true. When I have finished making sugar roses, which is what I am doing as I mums net -250 made, 150 to go- I'll go back through the thread and prove it to you.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 12:45:09

You are being contradictory again seeker.

Either your DS is 'doing fine' OR he is damaged by being labelled as a failure by society because he failed the 11+ (a paraphrasing of an earlier comment made by you)

You insist on holding him up as an example of the unfairness and how it affects you as a parent. But when it suits you it's - he is doing fine. It is other people's kids I am concerned about.

APMF Fri 07-Dec-12 12:48:05

Your 'many advantages' didn't exactly get your DS into the GS or better than a level 4 at year 7.

Cheap shot I know but I just couldn't resist it.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 12:49:02

unusually, I think you were the first to bring them up on this thread seeker (07:03.12 this am), but unfortunately not everyone heeded your request about the sticks.

"I am happy to use my children as laboratory animals in this matter, so long as they are not used as sticks to beat me with."

boschy Fri 07-Dec-12 12:49:34

What is the point in making this thread all about seeker? (and FWIW I understand where she's coming from, don't know why it is so difficult. We all work within the system/means we have available to us).

I am considering myself and my children more and more lucky to be in a school with brilliant management, high expectations, excellent behaviour, wide range of out of hours stuff etc etc etc even though we are in a GS area and their school is 'only' a SM. By the way, it is a 'good' not 'outstanding' school.

Seriously though, those who think a GS is the only suitable place for their child, I really want to know why.

Do you think they will 'catch' something from less academic students?
Do you think they do not have a strong enough work ethic to achieve in an environment where others might achieve less?
Do you think that they will suffer just because they are clever?
Do you think that because they are so clever they might not have the resilience to cope with differences?

boschy Fri 07-Dec-12 12:50:23

"Cheap shot I know but I just couldn't resist it. " Not very nice.

gelo Fri 07-Dec-12 12:52:54

By 'not everyone' I mean you APMF. Just leave it alone please. And he got a 5 or a 6 at SATs for maths as someone else has already told you. Even lots of advantages doesn't buy immunity from a bad day, and 'doing fine' include recovering well from minor (or even major) setbacks.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 12:55:39

Yes. Very cheap shot. I do wonder why you took it. Factually incorrect too. But hey ho.

I have always said that my ds will be fine. Always. You can search my posts until your eyes bleed, and you will never, ever find me saying anything different.

But many of his schoolmates do not have his advantages. School is the only chance they have. And while the school they are at will help them get the best levels and grades they are capable of, it does not provide a properly rounded education. It does not broaden their horizons, show them things they may not know about, open their eyes to dreams and hopes they may not even know they have.

Bonsoir Fri 07-Dec-12 12:58:13

"And while the school they are at will help them get the best levels and grades they are capable of, it does not provide a properly rounded education. It does not broaden their horizons, show them things they may not know about, open their eyes to dreams and hopes they may not even know they have."

That has nothing to do with selectivity, though, does it? The lack of wider cultural education is just a failing of that particular school.

Well I think it is to do with selectivity.
My dd and ds1 have been on visits to universities, had talks about careers such as law, medicine etc. They have opportunities to take 3 languages at GCSE as well as the "standard" GCSEs
At the comp, those things do not exist, they are offered an NVQ in Mechanics or Hair and Beauty.

Bonsoir Fri 07-Dec-12 13:29:53

It has nothing to do with selectivity. The choice of course/subject on offer in a school is an entirely separate matter to its intake.

LaQueen Fri 07-Dec-12 13:36:24

"I can tell you that you do feel a failure!
Doors are closed.
Before I failed adults asked me what I wanted to be 'when I grew up'-I could say 'doctor, lawyer etc' and they smiled nicely. After failing the exam the same result got a doubtful 'can you still do that?'!!"

I can fully understand how disappointing it must have been to only fail by one mark - and I'm sure there would have been some childre