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Academically Selective Education(984 Posts)
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Oh Dear Not another one. You know where this will end.....
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The call for academic selection always seems to come from those who have, or imagine they have, children of high academic ability.
And yet it is possible that the children who could benefit most from selection and differentation are those in the middle, who need some care to help them learn in thier way, will not 'be ok wherever they go', and are more likely to suffer from disrution in the class than those in top streams. (which is not to say bright kids are not badly behaved, they may well be badly behaved, and more so if bored by being in a class with average ability kids).
11 is way too young to determine a path which could dictate a child's future.
Let's educate all children in true comprehensives, which have the capacity and flexibility to educate all young people in a way that best supports individual potential.
(I have a high achieving top-stream DC).
I have a child in a superselective and one in the top band of a comprehensive - we live in a non grammar area, where a substantial number of kids go to private schools (about 40%).
The superselective is full of clever middle class girls who would do well in any school.
In my opinion the comprehensive is the better school. Amazing facilities and the teachers try a lot harder. It is extremely well funded.
So OP, I don't think the UK would benefit from more selective schools. It would benefit from more investment in education.
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I quite like the idea of selection at 14. I would like to see better vocational education. There are a couple of examples already, I think, of specialist 14+ schools - I've heard of an engineering one and of course there is the BRIT school. If this sort of proper vocational education is to be done well, it is resource heavy and won't really fit in under a generalised academic school.
Everybody would go to high school at 12. They would be working towards competency tests in English, Maths, Science, and a foreign language. It would be accepted that some children would reach the competency level at 14 and some at 16. If they reach that level at 14, they can choose to go to an academic school or a vocational one. Vocational schools would specialise in different areas, including computing and art (like those art schools we used to have that educated Hockney and John Lennon) and some might need an audition or a portfolio to get in. You probably wouldn't need a test for academic school - by 14 a kid will know what their level of ability or motivation is.
Kids would have the opportunity of working in a serious way and achieving. The least able would be able to progress at their own speed in a focussed environment, rather than floundering around at the bottom of the class.
Oh, and the academic schools would be as little like grammar schools as possible.
I think we need to raise the standards in state schools to be more in line with GS and independent style education in primary years. Tutoring children for 2 years to pass a simple test at 11 it proves there is something seriously lacking in primary education in this country.
I also think some parents need to be taught how to help their children learn to read, maths etc. I say this because I just heard a parent telling her child that lungs were located in the stomach !! the mind boggles
Dinkybinky, you don't tutor for 2 years because the state primary system isn't good enough. You tutor for 2 years because grammar school entry is hugely competitive. You will be competing with 6 other DC for each place and most of those DC will be intelligent enough to get in. So it becomes a matter of drilling on the tests to do them as fast as possible, and not be distracted by any unfamiliar questions.
"Tutoring children for 2 years to pass a simple test at 11 it proves there is something seriously lacking in primary education in this country. "
It proves nothing of the sort! It proves the level of competitiveness amongst parents determined to get their children into a school which has far more applicants than places and admits not on a standard pass score but on the highest pass marks.
If a child needs 2 years of tutoring simply to pass the 11+ then they probably are not grammar material. The vast majority of bright children will pass the 11+ after a few practice papers and familiarity with the form. But passing doesn't get you a place.
If we have a selective system no matter where you draw the line there will be inequities.
If you draw the line at 5+ then the child with the proactive parent who reads to the child and does number games (educated MC mum?) will have the advantage.
At 7+ ditto the above.
At 13+, with gcse round the corner the school has no choice but to test subject knowledge. Prep school kid or child whose parents can afford tutoring will have the advantage.
At 14, ditto the above.
Selective education, no matter where you draw the line, will always be biased in favour of kids who have proactive and involved parents. Having well off parents also helps tremendously.
So IMO we either ban selective state education or stay with 11+ but make it as equitable as possible. After school tutor clubs for example, Council funded support groups maybe.
APMF absolutely - academically selective education accessible by all with ability - regardless of parental involvement / socio-economic background.
Like Grammar schools used to be in the 60's & 70's.
Academic selection invariably ends up as social selection, however hard you try.
My 'probably yes' to the proposition that:
'it would it benefit the UK to have countrywide access to academically selective schools'
is based on DH's experience hiring people to technical positions in the sort of industry that actually makes money for the country. He found that most of his good applicants were products of GS; quite a from private schools; very few from comprehensives. Given that there are far more comprehensives than the other types, if they were serving able students well this shouldn't have been the case.
That's on the economic side; socially, grammar schools used to be widely recognised as the best vehicle for social mobility going.
If it was clear that comprehensives were doing an excellent job for the less academic children, I might have a different answer - but that doesn't seem to be the case.
I would agree at 18 and not with a single exam and more at the choice of the kids really and with limited involvement from parents. Children do tend to decide which type of path suits them at 14. For me ten is too young and an exam on one day is no basis for the decision.
To all those who believe grammar schools were completely without social class leanings in the 60s and 70s it was not always the case. Much worse today though judging by fsm levels.
"11 is way too young to determine a path which could dictate a child's future.
Let's educate all children in true comprehensives, which have the capacity and flexibility to educate all young people in a way that best supports individual potential."
Absolutely. And remember it's not even 11- children are 10 when they take the 11+.
The university near us has started a science college for gifted science and engineering children from age 14 and are going into local comps to recruit. I do not see an issue at 14 as long as advantage is given to kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also need vocational colleges from 14 as at this age some kids who are not interested in the academic field lose interest and need somewhere else. I also think changing teachers at 14 is sometimes a good idea to chane preconceptions.
Over the last 15 years, in my county at least, the 11+ has become corrupt, and blatantly favours the middle class who can afford tutoring (i.e. parents with high aspirations and a big bank balance).
I agree that 14+ selection is a good option (academic vs practical), and a broader and more relevant-to-life 14+ curriculum would probably address some social issues. However, as our members of cabinet have jumped through a portal from Planet-1950, the likelihood of useful education of non-academic children remains a pipe-dream.
I think we should scrap it an go for the system in Finland.
No formal school until age 7. But from early on until age 7 children are learning social skills and how to interact with others.
It means that ALL children arrive at school with the skills to learn. The things that a 5 year old with an engaged parent or two, plus possibly grandparents, who reads to their children, has books in the house and goes to museums has in this country.
And the things a child with a parent or two who are only interested in their next fix don't have.
Primary teachers have to try to teach both, and everyone in the middle not just to read and write, but how to behave in a classroom.
A lot of children in the UK arrive at Reception barely able to read and write or to handle basic number tasks. And your solution is to have kids start school at 7
I know nothing about Finland so I'm not going to comment on why they top the table above the UK. So staying with the UK, we are told that MC children educationally do well because they have involved parents who nuture them. If we delay school until 7, those kids with parents who don't nuture them will be even future behind.
This 7 business works FOR the Finnish but it doesn't mean it will work oft us Brits.
When I grew up selection was at 16. We had no grammars or sixth forms at the local schools and at 16. Exams dictated academic route at sixth form college, vocational at the tech or job/apprenticeship for those who needed to leave school. There was no snobbery, and those from the sixth form went to Oxbridge or rg but it was student with careers advice driven and not parent driven. Up to 16 everyone went to comp. no tutors, mixed bank balances mixing. I don't see how that failed any sector of child. By bringing this system forward by two years to 14 would keep the focus on strengths. Also agree with 7 starting point although have to play my hand here. Had two summer borns who would have benefitted. No interest in reading till 7 and suffered from poor teacher aspirations at infants but then shooting way ahead of peers after 7 like their very intelligent father who was remedial in in infants but Iq of 140 and went on to Physics at rg from a really rough comp.
Absolutely no benefit trying to teach formally to many under 7s. Ask the teacher who has had a child with no schooling at 7 how quickly they catch up if they are bright. Those five year olds who can read going to school are soon caught up.
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