11+ being scrapped

(1000 Posts)
musu Sun 05-May-13 11:36:32

At one school in Essex here

Interesting development which follows on from Bucks CC overhauling their 11+ and trying to make it tutor proof (although everyone I know in Bucks is still employing tutors).

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 11:52:40

They are still going to have testing but it will be 'tutor-proof' or at least less predictable.
I think that is a good thing for the children, parents and the schools.

We live in an area where a place at a Super Selective (i.e. grammar with no catchment area) is a possibility and the tutoring culture is quite astonishing.

A few years ago it started in Year 5 with once-a-week tutors.

But then people knew of super clever children not being offered places so, to be certain, they started tutoring in Year 4.
The number of applicants are nearing 2000 for some grammars now but there are still only spaces for 150-180 to attend.
Tehrefore hundreds pass the 11+ but won't get offered a place.
Therefore it is not enough just to pass, they also have to beat 90% of all other applicants from a 30 mile radius.

This year, the people I know with a child in Year 6 who are really pulling out all the stops have 3 specialist tutors: one for maths, one for English and one for reasoning.
The children do 3 hours per week plus daily homework and mock tests.
It starts off slowly in Year 4 but by the end of Year 5, they focus on nothing else and do booster sessions in each school holiday too.
And these are children who finished Year 5 on level 5 SATS. It isn't like they are a bit behind or below average - they are already very clever. But very clever isn't enough when you are up against 1000+ other equally clever children.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 11:54:22

Oh and it did pay off - they did get a grammar offer in March. But then you could argue that under a tutor-proof system children of that ability would have passed anyway.

musu Sun 05-May-13 12:03:29

It will be interesting to see how this trend develops. So far it has made no difference in Bucks. Ds is in year 4 and everyone I know has got a tutor booked to start at the beginning of year 5 (I suspect some have started already but not broadcast that fact). Ds won't be doing the 11+ so we haven't bothered.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:15:26

The changes brought in by Chelmsford County High School for Girls isn't new/hot-off-the-press news, so I'm a little surprised at the Telegraph reporting it now. I guess it's at least 6 months old and hardly a scoop.

Chelmsford aren't scrapping the 11+ they're merely changing the format of the the selective test they present to candidates, calling upon CEM to devise it, rather than GL Assessment VR via the CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex) and the Maths and English that CSSE set.

We have superselectives in Essex but no pass marks - it's the first 112 highest-scorers past the post for DD2's school. Therefore, you don't get the situation Tiggytape mentions with another superselective, where people "pass" but don't get a place.

"But very clever isn't enough when you are up against 1000+ other equally clever children."

Absolutely right - the competition for GS places is incredibly tough. It's only one of the many steps in life where competition is huge.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 05-May-13 12:16:00

I think dd's independent school are using theses tests. They are computer based and called INCAS. I'm sure that place in Durham has something to do with them

Interestingly for reading ds who is currently being assessed for Aspergers and who has been seriously under performing at school it has shown up that he has exceptional ability in literacy. We had been concerned about him getting into the senior school.

No one has tutored in fact it's been almost impossible to find our much about the tests.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:24:22

If CEM can truly produce a tutor-proof test for Chelmsford, then I welcome it with open arms. If unscrupulous tutors now find they can't make money from capitalising on people's fears, then fabulous! If it levels the playing field and diminishes the tutoring "arms-race", then even better. But I don't think it's really managed it in Birmingham and Warwickshire, where they've already been doing CEM's tests for a while.

musu Sun 05-May-13 12:25:27

Durham do the Bucks new test and the Eton 11 pre-test (which is definitely supposed to be tutor proof). I'm sure some people must try and tutor for Eton though.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:36:29

TBH - in Essex, we're semi tutor-proof anyway as our exam is VR, English Comprehension (with two hefty sections on spelling and punctuation) and Maths. Whilst you can tutor a child in terms of covering all of KS2 and teach them spelling and punctuation rules, they still have to have the ability to do it with a passage they've never seen. Then there's the notoriously difficult comprehension with inference skills tests that go above and beyond what a normal 10 or 11 year old can be expected to tackle.

Try this for size


Likewise with the Maths - they have to take what they've learned and transfer that knowledge to solve heavyweight questions.

VR and NVR-only tests are easily tutorable and therefore IMHO no measure of a candidate's suitability for GS.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:39:10

I'm not sure that Chelmsford are doing a computer-based test but I could be wrong.

As I understand it, no child in Bucks has done the CEM test yet.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:40:35

...not child has sat the test for a place at GS.

musu Sun 05-May-13 12:54:21

No, Bucks CEM starts this September but as I said it hasn't stopped people booking tutors. We are out of that now and it is amazing just how many people have done that. I thought that those people were my friends but none of them mentioned anything about reserving tutors until after ds moved schools! I was amazed at how competitive it all is.

trinity0097 Sun 05-May-13 13:55:46

It wouldn't be INCAS from CEM centre, as that is to measure process made not a entrance type test.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 14:47:18

"I thought that those people were my friends but none of them mentioned anything about reserving tutors until after ds moved schools! I was amazed at how competitive it all is."

It's a sad fact of reality that you have no friends in the 11+ game if your "friend's" children are direct competitors for a place. I too was guilty of playing my cards VERY close to my chest. I didn't lie but neither did I volunteer too much information when asked. I'm lucky that I keep myself to myself anyway, in real life so didn't have any real issues. wink

As far as getting hold of tutors is concerned, you're either in the know or you're not and many are already full by the beginning of YR4. We didn't play the paid-tutor game.

musu Sun 05-May-13 17:08:53

piggywigwig that appears to be true. I discovered that quite few had booked tutors in year 2. Quite a bit of lying though as I remember talking about it and asking direct questions! I also remember being surprised at the number of people who had done senior school visits whilst our dcs were in year 3, again something I only found out many months later.

At that stage we would have been planning for ds to take the 11+ but then our circumstances changed and ds moved schools to one that finishes at 13.

If we had stayed at the school I doubt that I would have employed a tutor as we aren't in a super selective area and I'm of the view if they need lots of tutoring to get a place they will also need lots of tutoring to keep up. That is a view I shared with my 'friends' but I suppose they didn't believe me.

thecatfromjapan Sun 05-May-13 17:23:08

i think the Birmingham grammars have been using Durham CEM papers. And examples are on-line already. I don't see how they can possibly be tutor-proof since they draw on the same skills that existing papers call for: wide vocabulary; knowledge of grammar; maths. confused So I don't see any decline in tutoring brought about by this change.

Personally, i find them a bit worrying because they will discriminate in favour of children who have been exposed to a wider vocab and more advanced grammatical structures (and higher-level maths) - and thus discriminate against those that haven't.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 18:02:03

"i think the Birmingham grammars have been using Durham CEM papers. And examples are on-line already. I don't see how they can possibly be tutor-proof since they draw on the same skills that existing papers call for: wide vocabulary; knowledge of grammar; maths. confused So I don't see any decline in tutoring brought about by this change.

Personally, i find them a bit worrying because they will discriminate in favour of children who have been exposed to a wider vocab and more advanced grammatical structures (and higher-level maths) - and thus discriminate against those that haven't."

The only example online, that I know of, is the standard one that is shunted around to every consortium/school/ etc. It gives a very vague idea of the sort of thing that might be asked.

The reality of life at grammar school, is that if they aren't already at a certain level of skill and understanding of English and Maths, they might find the pace of life a little hard and become unhappy.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 18:55:35

Grammars fairly local to us have maths and English as well as the reasoning tests at 11+
All that happens though is that people hire maths and English tutors in addition to the reasoning tutors. It certainly doesn't level the playing field at all.

The children sitting the 11+ in September (i.e the start) of Year 6 need to have covered the entire Year 6 curriculum in maths and beyond to realistically be at the required standard. If the school don't support this by racing ahead with the brightest children (and not all do), it has to be covered at home.
The same is true of English. There are 10 year olds right now getting reacquainted with collective nouns, interesting homophones and synonyms for the word ‘said’ via old fashioned flash cards! And that's not to mention the endless English comp practice papers they sit.

If the exam is in any way predicatable, parents will prepare for them in any way they can.

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 19:13:52

Wonderful news. If schools don't like the tutoring, which they don't, it is up to them to do something about it and this is a good start. I would love it if tutoring didn't get any advantages.

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 19:14:12

I am glad they have woken up to the problem.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 20:34:54

The last thread on tutoring was about a week ago. Various MN regulars were going on about it being cheating. Others weren't quite so direct but the general consensus was that nice parents don't tutor.

So grin at the poster for being so [shocked] that people she considered friends didn't mention that they were tutoring.

And why do people keep going on about unscrupulous tutors. I'm not a tutor but if you came to me and said that you want me to tutor your DC for a couple of hours a week for the next fours years I would say thank you very much.

Does anyone really expect the L'Oreal woman to say 'buy the Boots version. It does the same job'?

Or 'the perfume is only worth £2. The other £28 is for advertising and the fancy bottle. The fragance there for £5 is similar' etc etc.

Tutoring seems to be the only profession where no one blame the gullible customer .

CognitiveOverload Sun 05-May-13 20:39:42

I went to that school. They probably dont care much abiut equality but more upset that children of lower academic ability get help through tutoring and this skews their intake. They only want the brightest...not kods who have been coached to pass and then find actually being at the school too much.

musu Sun 05-May-13 20:41:51

Not shocked just surprised that people I have known for 5 years didn't bother to mention it. I don't see other people's children as a threat. Rather I'm happy to celebrate their achievements but I'm learning that I'm in the minority where that is concerned. When ds was going for his scholarship I wouldn't have been upset if his friends had applied too.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 21:02:02

musu - those people were probably conscious of being judged. As I've said, the consensus, at least on MN, is that nice people don't tutor.

Maybe, if their DC got in they didnt want people to say what people here on MN say ie if your DC needs tutoring to pass then they aren't that bright.

I'm just guessing at the reasons since I obviously don't know them but I highly doubt that it had anything to do with thinking that you are a threat.

I mean, unless they are a bit weird they are hardly likely to think that you are going to do hire two tutors if you ever found out that they had one. smile

musu Sun 05-May-13 21:27:32

That isn't the consensus where we live though. Where we live everyone tutors, I just didn't realise they booked them so early! Mind you if I were minded to put ds in for the 11+ I wouldn't book a tutor as no one knows what the new exam is going to be like.

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 22:28:19

It was bound to come- the selective schools are no longer getting the type of pupil they want because of the tutoring.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 22:53:25

I do agree exoctic - I don't think it is entirely a selfless policy on behalf of the grammars. They want children who are naturally 2 years ahead of their peers as opposed to children who have been taught advanced work by specialist tutors and have practiced exam papers until their scores improve from a natural late 60s level to a mid 90s level in % terms.

Not that I blame the parents either. If the exams are predictable and techniques can be taught to help a child pass, parents will pay (or invest their own time) for help. People are very anxious about secondary school places in general with catchments shrinking each year. Parents feel very powerless about it all and this is one of the only areas where they can actively boost a child's chances.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 22:53:29

What do you base that assertion on exotic?

CognitiveOverload Sun 05-May-13 23:02:43

I agree with exotic as stated in my earlier post.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 23:15:26

From the horse's mouth MTSCostco (not an Essex horse though!)

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 23:28:45

DS's school don't publish past papers so DS went in blind. In the maths paper there were about 5 questions where he couldn't understand the format. Presumably other kids had the same problem since he still got the offer despite losing so many marks. I got talking to a mum months later and apparently they hired a tutor who use to be involved in the question setting process.

My point? People with money are simply going to hire as tutors people who have inside knowledge of the new 'untutorable' test and we'll be back to square one except this time the DIY parent will be at a. greater disadvantage.

CognitiveOverload Sun 05-May-13 23:29:56


Wotme Sun 05-May-13 23:51:23

My ds1 is bright, he's oddly bright tbh.
He's the youngest in yr5 and he's working at 5b levels just now

I think it's worth him taking a punt at the localish selective school.

I know he hasn't covered all the topics he needs in maths and he is very good at NVR but I can't see where he has gone wrong on the papers.
He won't listen to a word I say and ends ip fighting with his dad.
We think he under achieves at school tbh
So we have got a tutor who goes iver some maths and papers once a week.
My pals know all about it and so do other parents.
Tbh I have gone so far off the radar of my own politics in this, but my boy is undergoing assessment for aspergers and the first primary he went to managed the class so badly he was depressed and withdrawn and seriously fucked up

I think the selective school will be great for him- geekville
I'd love him to go there, it doesn't sound too pushy, bizarrely

But if he doesn't get in it won't be the worst thing

We see also moving house right now.. For a bigger place so the kids can have a room each. And of course we have to look at secondary catchement areas and pick a house near a school that isn't in special measures

I am fucking sick of schools and judgemental parents.
I don't care what anyone thinks tbh
We shall do what we believe is best for our children as the alternative isn't nice, else have been there already

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 23:52:13

Well, in our case the attempt by the school to make their test more fair by not publishing pass papers simply benefited those who could afford tutors who were previously involved in setting past papers. I see the new test going the same way.

nohalfmeasures Sun 05-May-13 23:58:25

Interesting looking at the link to the past papers. I'm in Scotland so no 11+.
DS is heading to secondary school this August. He's in the top set for Maths and English and is considered to be particularly good at English. He would have no problem with the Maths but would struggle with the English paper, but I've always felt the Scottish system isn't robust enough in its teaching of English.
Sorry for the hijack.

Wotme Mon 06-May-13 00:04:47

The tutor has made masses of difference to his confidence and motivation too.
Apparently he has moved up two subsections in literacy this tem a d has moved frm middle to too group too

He is doing really well.
Whether or not he gets into the selective school, the tutor has helped him massively

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 00:07:12

In our case the parents who hired tutors familiar with the test did have an advantage over the rest of us who had no knowledge of what to expect but speaking generally I don't really know why people say that the current 11+ is unfair.

Most schools publish free pass papers available to all who know how to Google. And is anyone seriously going to argue that most parents can't support their kids in an exam designed for 10 year olds?

As for it being unfair that some parents tutor their kids up to 6 years, you can coach me to run 100m for 6 months or 6 years but I'm not going to get appreciably faster with 6 years of tutoring

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 07:13:57

It is a bit naive to think that all parents are going to help their DCs. It is highly unfair because the bright DC with the chaotic home life with dysfunctional parents, who don't give a damn, is seriously disadvantaged. And there really are parents who can't support their DCs in an exam that is designed for 10 yr olds - it is quite possible that they don't even have very good English.
Selective schools should be looking for the raw material and not at how much money or time, or both, the parents have spent on it.
It has now become such an industry that the schools have cottoned on to the act that tutoring skews the results. Passing the entrance test isn't the end- it is the beginning and some heavily coached DCs are just not up to it.
It was only a matter of time before the schools set about doing something about it - I just hope they can.

musu Mon 06-May-13 07:16:38

I assume people think the 11+ is unfair as not everyone can afford tutoring. I think what has made the situation worse is league tables. When I took the 11+ there were no league tables, no tutoring. It was viewed as an assessment to work out suitable schools. The people who passed were the ones you'd expect to pass. I assume these days some who are tutored pass because of the tutoring.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:22:14

It would be fantastic if they could devise a tutor proof test (better still if they scrapped th 11+, but that's another thread!) However, I doubt if it's possible. And they would have to change it radically every year, because it wouldn't remain tutor proof for long. Which would, presumably, cost a fortune. And spending a big chunk of money on a selection process that only affects a tiny minority of children doesn't sound like a good use of tax payers money to me.

musu Mon 06-May-13 07:32:27

Eton seems to manage it. Everyone who takes their computer test agree it can't be tutored for (unless they are all fibbing).

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:33:55

I think you might find that a bit of tutoring takes place pre the Eton test!

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:38:04

And anyway, I think the Eton test does change every year- it's easy for a very rich institution to do this for the relatively small number of candidates they are dealing with.

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 07:43:05

I think that you missed the report in the paper last week,musu , that Eton are seriously worried that they are missing out- they are getting too many pupils from SE and London, who are being heavily tutored, and missing out on very clever DSs from Scotland, Yorkshire etc- in fact the whole of the rest of the country. They don't want the heavily tutored - no selective school does.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 08:00:05

The answer, obviously, is to stop messing around trying to fix something unfixable, but to concentrate on making sure that comprehensives do their job properly and provide proper differentiated work to a mixed ability intake.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 08:07:39

It is often argued that a heavily tutored child will struggle. Why?

Some schools have a pass mark of 90%+ but this is a reflection on the fact that you have 1000 applicants as opposed to an indication of what is reqouired in order to cope with the studying once in.

Obviously if an untutored child scores 40% and only gets 90% after years of tutoring then that child will struggle. But does anyone seriously think that a not so bright DC will hit 90% if only you throw enough tutoring at him?

In anycase, DS has 150 kids in his year. The kids at the top are the 11 A* kids. The 'struggling' ones at the bottom are the A*AAABBBBB kids. I'm sure that some of you wouldn't mind it if your DC was struggling this much.

poppydoppy Mon 06-May-13 08:11:00

Personally I think the test should be purely IQ based.

The children I know applying to GS are all from the independent sector. I cant see how children from state schools can compete with them unless they're heavily tutored. My DS (year 5) is currently level 6 and doing GCSE work. State schools don't teach that far ahead so it puts lots of intelligent children at a disadvantage.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 08:19:32

I don't think a heavily tutored child will struggle at all. Or is not any more likely to do so than any other child. Some do, some don't. But as the entrance tests shows absolutely nothing except how good you are at doing entrance tests, you won't know how well your child is going to cope in a selective school until they are there and actually doing the work.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 08:21:20

poppy - most 11+ papers are IQ based.

Some private schools still have a knowledge based 11+ which favours prep.school kids who are often a year to 18 months ahead of the NC whereas a lot of primary kids won't have been taught beyond KS L4. Most/all still do such a paper for 13+ but on the whole the 11+ is based on reasoning problems like the IQ tests.

poppydoppy Mon 06-May-13 08:22:59

I agree, Seeker That's why I think an IQ test and school report wold be a fairer way to assess.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 08:29:51

poppy - I think that you just described the current system that everyone is complaining about smile

poppydoppy Mon 06-May-13 08:33:19

How? schools just use verbal reasoning. IQ tests test every area of a child's knowledge and future potential.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 08:49:10

iQ tests are eminently coachable. And notoriously unreliable ( don't tell Mensa- they get upset)

And can you imagine the appeals if selection went on school reports!

seeker Mon 06-May-13 08:51:24

Many 11+ tests do require knowledge rather than simply potential. The verbal reasoning tests often used expect a really wide vocabulary, for example. And the maths tests usually expect knowledge not taught in year 6. Or at least, not til later in the year.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 09:14:46

The highly academic private schools expect their Year 7 kids to come in with a high level of English and Maths since they don't really want remedial work to get in the way of their accelerated program.

This means that part of their entrance exams need to favour those who are at KS L5+, either through their school or through tutoring.

So it is highly unlikely that any of the highly ranked private schools will change their exams such that that the very bright state school kid (who doesnt have pushy parents or go to a pushy primary ) isn't going to be at a disadvantage.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 09:17:00

.. KS L5 plus when they take the test at the start of Year 6 ...

seeker Mon 06-May-13 09:17:07

Oh, sorry, is this thread about private school entry tests? I thought it was about the 11+.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 09:20:41

.... says the woman who insists on talking about the ethics of buying factory chickens in a thread about education.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 09:29:53

MTS - how about not derailing this interesting thread? Just a thought.

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 09:30:51

The thread started with Chelmsford High School for Girls-state grammar. However private schools are having exactly the same problems with selection.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 09:42:01

seeker - upthread Eton was mentioned. I was responding to that poster. Jeeze seeker. You make personal snipes and then you complain when I return fire.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 09:57:04

I think that private school tests are different because if you are just one school you can change your test every year, or decide you can bget a place if you can make the best Victoria Sponge or something. The problem with state selective schools is making an untutorable test cost effective, particularly considering how few children it actually applied to.

Common Entrance is eminently coachable- there are schools that do little else.

Hamishbear Mon 06-May-13 10:30:21

Apparently only a third of prep schools prep for CE or 11 plus.

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 10:44:18

Private schools also have the 'advantage' of interviewing applicants. A child who does well on the test also has to be able to perform at interview and intelligently answer any question directed at them. This sort of selection is much harder to prepare for (although many try) because there's nowhere to hide. If the child's vocabulary is lacking or they cannot answer unexpected maths questions, it shows.

Some state 11+ tests have been so predictable in recent years that children work on them for a number of years using tutors who are able to predict which types of reasoning questions will feature. Such tutors had people booking them years in advance because they offered a real advantage in the tests.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 10:44:38

I don't think they can be prep schools, then!

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 10:46:51

My friend's prep does minimal 11+ prep. The cynic in me says that they want you to fail and stay with them for another 2 years. But you probably find that all/most switch into top gear for 13+. I mean, you aren't going to be very popular if you can't get most/all of your kids into the senior school.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 10:51:19

RE predictable papers, a friend's DC recently took a paper that was a rehash of their 2003 paper. The DC knew this because he had done this paper three times over 12 months of prep. Their only worry was that enough kids were in the same position thus negating any advantage they had.

piggywigwig Mon 06-May-13 10:58:17

"Grammars fairly local to us have maths and English as well as the reasoning tests at 11+
All that happens though is that people hire maths and English tutors in addition to the reasoning tutors. It certainly doesn't level the playing field at all."

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. If you have an 11+ exam comprising VR, English and Maths, then it does level the playing field a little, as opposed to a straight NVR/VR, where you could tutor pretty much anyone to do it adequately in a non-superselective area.

If you had a state-educated child who had no access to extra training in VR, but was naturally bright in Maths and English, of course doing a VR/English/Maths 11+ would level the playing field, as opposed to a VR/NVR test where they'd had no familiarisation.

You can tutor all you want for English and Maths but if they don't get the sophisticated inference in English, then they don't get it, simples. It's not really that much different to GCSE's where kids are taught/spoonfed and then presented with something to tackle in an exam where they'll hopefully be able to apply their knowledge and exam technique.

I want a tutor-proof 11+ where money and privilege and have mimimal influence on the selection process . You can't level the playing field perfectly when state schools aren't allowed, or simply don't have the time to tackle VR/NVR or any other of the demands of the 11+ exam, but private schools can do it. There's more issues at stake than merely looking at the subject areas covered and the format of the exam.

Dons tin hat.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 11:16:53

seeker insists that state schools are banned from offering space for after school 11+ clubs. I'm a bit hmm about that but that aside, surely there are teachers out there that are willing to devote an hour a week on such a club at the local scouts hut for example if the school ban is for real.

Giving all children access to tutoring has to be a better idea than changing the goalpost which will only benefit those resourceful enough to continually adapt?

seeker Mon 06-May-13 11:18:37

Having a maths paper doesn't level the playing field when the paper is taken at the very beginning of year 6" and state schools don't cover a significant chunk of the content until later on in the year!

And, while it's possible to be very good at NVR papers "naturally", the VR papers require a very wide vocabulary indeed. For example, I remember a question which required the candidate to know 3 different ways of using the word "sage"!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 06-May-13 11:21:30

If CCHS is doing this, then I would assume that the rest of the CSSE schools are going to follow suit?

Which is bloody unfair for my DS1, as he missed out on a place at a CSSE school by just one mark, probably because he didn't have a tutor, when everyone else had two years worth of tutoring.

It's a good thing for those that follow him, but unfair for him!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 06-May-13 11:23:45

My DS1 has an IQ of 134, and still didn't get a place at the superselective.

He is working on lvl 6 English, lvl 7 maths, and is extremely good at VR and NVR.

I can only put it down to the fact that I couldn't afford a tutor.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 06-May-13 11:28:56

I'm almost definite that DC's who are less academic than my DS1 got in because they were tutored and he wasn't.

Right up to school allocation day, I was sure that him not having been tutored wouldn't make a difference, and he would get in on natural ability alone.

He scored a mark that has got a place in the last 5 years. Yet he didn't get a place.

We are on the waiting list and hoping

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 11:29:59

piggy - in an attempt to make their test untutorable, DC's school doesnt make past papers available.

DC went in blind and got tripped up by a few maths questions which was in a format he had never seen before.

In Year 7 I got talking to one of the moms who had older kids there. Apparently a number of then hired a tutor that was a former teacher and therefore had knowledge about the test albeit from two years ago. Even without that teacher, the mom 'debriefed' her older DS right after his test so she had a good idea of what to expect anyway.

My point? Someone will always have an advantage.

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 11:32:15

piggy - the maths paper taken at the start of Year 6 includes the work that the children have yet to cover at school. If it isn't taught by tutors or parents, the child won't have come across it before.

Which, you might say is fine because a bright child will be able to work out the answer for themselves using first principles, but they lose valuable time at the very least.

Ditto English - the written elements of the exam are coached.
For example, tutors know which schools favour formal letter writing, which ones favour imaginative stories and which ask for newspaper style reporting. Those styles, and tips for each style, are rehearsed endlessly. A child will often go into the 11+ exam having 3 or 4 templates in their head with stock phrases, opportunities to use semi colons, some wonderful alliterations - the whole lot already memorised. An untutored, very bright child is able to come up with all of these things too but may not be ask quick or may miss opportunities to shine in a pressurised exam situation.

For comprehension, tutoring takes the form of endless practice because the style of the questions is fairly consistent - basic facts, deduced facts and inference. Each can be practiced on many different sources along with speed techniques of underlining, reading the questions first etc.

The untutored children won't have even covered the basics of what will be included in the maths test. It is far from a level playign field.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 11:33:37

Couthy - in my situation the child with a tutor did have an advatage but for tests where past papers are available I don't see what a tutor can do that you can't do

seeker Mon 06-May-13 11:54:11

"but for tests where past papers are available I don't see what a tutor can do that you can't do"

The are many parents who for reasons of time, education or confidence can't.

There are others who for reasons of motivation or caring won't.

Why should those children miss out?

musu Mon 06-May-13 12:07:18

Sorry it was me who mentioned Eton. I'd always been told that you couldn't tutor for the Eton pre-test (which is taken in year 6). That is a computerised test. I have a meeting this week at ds's school to discuss senior school options so I shall ask if they tutor for the pre-test.

Iirc Winchester also has a computerised pre-test in year 6. Of course with both Eton and Winchester the prospective pupils are also interviewed as part of the selection process so the computerised test is only part of that.

As I mentioned earlier I think you will always have competition for places with league tables and also Ofsted reports. Neither existed when I took the 11+ and that meant no tutoring too.

musu Mon 06-May-13 12:09:59

I'd add that I wouldn't want to tutor ds at all so if he needed tutoring I'd have to pay but not being in the parenting loop I would have struggled to find a tutor even if I could afford it.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 12:22:33

seeker - why do you persist in posting opinions that have been debunked by your personal experience with your DS?

I'm guessing that there are a number of DCs who did pass the 11+ despite not being MC.

Hamishbear Mon 06-May-13 12:22:59

Some preps I know have computer based familiarisation/practice along the lines of Eton test from about Y4.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 06-May-13 14:46:14

I still think he was at a disadvantage because he wasn't tutored. Yes, I did past papers at home with him, lots of them, but I only started at the Easter because I didn't know they had changed the dates to be a Month earlier in Essex until after Easter, so I had to accelerate the schedule I had written, which inevitably meant that some things got missed, especially in English.

With a tutor, they would have covered the bits that I missed.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 14:52:07

To be fair, you would have covered the bits you missed too, if they hadn't changed the dates. My point is that yes of course loads of people can "tutor" their children effectively themselves, but many others can't or won't. And if you see going to a grammar school as a great benefit, why should that benefit only be available to children with parents who can and will. Particularly considering that those children probably have loads of other advantages compared to the children of those that can't or won't.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 16:04:50

Couthy - that is like saying that I was disadvantaged because I didn't have an au pair. Consequently I had to spend time.cooking and cleaning instead of tutoring my kids.

musu Mon 06-May-13 18:01:47

I don't have an au pair, I work full time and have a long commute with no possibility of working from home (asked last week and I thought my HoD was going to have a heart attack hmm). Ds wouldn't stand a chance. I could get him to a tutor at a weekend but am rarely home in time to supervise homework (which is why he does it at school). I'm pleased we have escaped all that.

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 21:15:53

But why should children of parents who are prepared to pay for a prep or a tutor to help with the 11+ not be equally entitled to a place?

The days of GSs being aimed as some kind of ladder out of poverty have long, long gone.

I imagine only a very, very few children are tutored to the extent that they seriously overperform at the test and then can't keep up and with the super-selectives I can't believe there are any.

There is such a shortage of decent school places that there is huge competition for them all. Who is to say that the child of MC parents who can't afford indy secondary but can afford to tutor is less entitled to a place than the poorer child whose parent's can't/won't help?

For what it's worth, tutoring and prepping isn't new. I went to a super-selective GS nearly 30 years ago and my parents spent money on 4 years at a prep school to ensure that my siblings and I all got places as they couldn't afford indies for 4 kids and the local comps were dire.

My DH was also tutored for his super-selective Indy as was his brother and most of his classmates.

Surely the answer is to open more grammar schools or ensure that EVERY comprehensive in the country has proper streaming and allows bright DC to really excell.

teacherwith2kids Mon 06-May-13 21:23:59

Pyrrah, you don't mean streaming. You mean setting, I'm sure.

Setting means that a child is in the right group for them for every subject - so a child who is great at maths but weaker in e.g. MFL or PE will be in different groups for those subects. Streaming, on the other hand, is a crude and usually rather inflexible grouping based on 'overall ability', whatever that might be, so a child who absolutely excels in some areas but is weak in others will be in the wrong class for all of their subects.

teacherwith2kids Mon 06-May-13 21:27:32

(Giggles at the thought of tutoring and prepping 30 years ago - my parents simply took me - straight from our local not-very-good rural primary - to the scholarship exam day for a highly selective girls' private school. I had never taken any test more formal than the weekly self-marked times table quiz before.

Came out with a scholarship that covered full fees, and skipped a year because it was seen as 'not worthwhile' for me to do year 7.... neither of which happened to any of the more conventioanlly-prepped private primary school girls who were also there that day)

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 21:37:48

Yes, setting, sorry.

I think it depends on the area... I was in a county with very poor secondary state options, lots of v expensive private options and sitting for one of 18 boarding places at a very selective state grammar (of the other 17 who got places in my year, only one didn't come from a private prep).

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 21:41:00

We were also sitting CE rather than the 11+ so, in those days, 3 papers in Maths, 2 in English, Hist, Geog, 2 Latin papers, RE, French etc. No child from a state primary could have begun to sit those exams.

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 22:21:13

The days of GSs being aimed as some kind of ladder out of poverty have long, long gone.

This is the whole problem-it has been seized by people who want the equivalent of private education for free. Those in poverty should have an equal chance-or it should at least be weighted in their favour to offset the advantage of money.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 22:31:18

"The days of GSs being aimed as some kind of ladder out of poverty have long, long gone."

So they now have no raison d'être, and there is no reason to keep them. Good. Abolish them now!

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 22:41:53

Why are some people who are against selective education like to boast about the university they went to.

I mean, it's - hey I went to this ordinary comp and look, I got into a RG uni/Oxbridge.

On the one hand it's selective secondary education sucks. On the other hand, look at how clever I am. I went to a very selective university.

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 22:42:05

But who can afford private education anymore? It is way beyond the reach of those who in the past sent their children to private schools as a matter of course - your average doctor or vicar isn't. And who doesn't want to give their child the best chances in life they can?

It's not just a case of 'private school for free' - selective grammars also offer a chance to those priced out of the good comp catchments.

Why is a child on FSM more deserving of a place than a child whose parents just can't stretch to school fees?

I totally understand the point that the playing field isn't level and that it would be better if it was, but I don't agree with comments that I have seen on threads on MN that seem to suggest that grammar schools are only for a certain socio-economic cohort and that MC children are basically stealing places.

I once did market research for a guy who was setting up a tutoring business in Belfast - where the GS system is still alive and kicking. I stood in a shopping centre in one of the worst parts of West Belfast in the early 1990's and quizzed parents on whether they would a) pay for tutoring for their children and b) how much would they pay.

I was amazed at the response - around 95% of those I asked were interested (most enough to ask for a flyer) and the price they were willing to pay an hour was more than my friend was planning to charge.

Perhaps all state primary schools should be encouraged to have after-school clubs for 11+ prep (as some already do).

Perhaps there is a gap in the market for a cheap tutoring system - online distance, group etc. There must be plenty of teachers who have a philosphical desire to narrow the gap and who would be happy to tutor for a much reduced fee - in the same way that many people give up their time for free to mentor teenagers.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 22:45:44

Pyrrah- why do you think grammar schools are a good idea?

musu Mon 06-May-13 22:46:39

I don't understand why people boast about how well they did to get into a good uni from a poor school. I wonder how many of those would send their children through the same education? I want better for my children than I had myself and my education has enabled that. I did well in spite of my education rather than because of it. It has been eye opening to discover that I would have walked any scholarship exam whether music or academic. I didn't because my parents knew nothing about private selective education.

musu Mon 06-May-13 22:51:23

seeker GS were good for people like me. Their worth has become diminished as private school fees have risen exponentially and those who would have chosen private school look for cheaper alternatives. The people like my parents are stuck not being able to afford tutors and sending their dcs to failing schools. I am all for selective education but not how it has become compared to when I applied nearly 40 years ago.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 22:51:36

seeker - your DD is in a grammar. You made it clear that you aren't happy for your DS to be at the Sec Mod. So, why are you asking Pyrrah to justify why GSs are a good thing confused Why not simply have the conversation with yourself?

seeker Mon 06-May-13 22:55:18

Musu- why are you all for selective education? What's good about it?

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 23:00:31

Seeker - I personally believe in selective education.

Just as girls tend to do better when taught in single-sex schools, I think all children do better when taught within a similar ability group.

The issue in the past has always been that more time, effort, money and other resources were invested in the grammars than in the SMs which was very wrong.

In very good comprehensives they manage to achieve the teaching by ability groups, but this is far from the norm.

It allows the very able to work at a faster pace and on the whole disruptive elements are eliminated, it gives average students the chance to shine and also not to be ignored in the way they often can be in a mixed ability class where a teacher is trying to stretch the able while help the struggling. Finally, it means that those at the lowest end who are really struggling can have dedicated help, and perhaps not feel they are failing compared with many of their classmates.

Grammar schools are obviously popular with a lot of parents - judging from the numbers sitting the exams and the tutoring industry so it makes sense to expand to meet some of this demand.

I'm probably also biased since I went to a grammar, and I live in a part of London with dire comprehensives. I imagine in smaller towns that a comprehensive can draw from a wide catchment in terms of socio-economic background and educational ability/attainment.

In my area, the catchment is so small due to population density that there is no wide range at all - and frankly less than 50% getting 5 A-C grades (and no-one getting a spread of A grades) doesn't make me feel it's somewhere I want to send my daughter.

I get the choice of moving house, raising the money for an indy or trying for a grammar school somewhere. Until everyone has the choice of a really good comprehensive option then grammars will be the lone hope for those without the funds to move/pay privately.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 23:10:51

Did you know that if you look at the results of a grammar and it's associated secondary modern, they are almost identical to the results of a comprehensive school in a similar catchment? That bright children in a grammar do an almost unmeasurable bit better than they would in a comprehensive, but everyone else does slightly better in a comprehensive than in a secondary modern, and without the social and psychological issues created by segregating children at 10?

Oh, and that comprehensive does not mean mixed ability?

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 23:20:08

To be perfectly honest, the overall country-wide stats don't really bother me that much. As a parent, micro is more of an issue than macro.

The GS I went to, 100% of students got 5 A-C GCSE's and the vast majority got 9 or 10 of them. 95% of students in my year went on the University - generally RG and some to Oxbridge.

Not a single comprehensive in my surrounding area can come close to that. I have a bright child, I don't intend to risk her future by experimenting with what she might or might not achieve there.

Just out of interest, how can a comprehensive be comprehensive and not mixed-ability?

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 23:27:32

how can a comprehensive be comprehensive and not mixed-ability?

The answer is intake. There are comps where the majority of Year 7 children start at levels far exceeding the expected standard for their age.
And there are comps where the vast majority of children are very behind both in terms of maths and English scores.

Of course all comps are mixed ability in the sense they will include some children at either end of the spectrum but some are more mixed than others.

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 23:29:37

I'd agree with that.

Hence, if you have a child who is very bright and you live in an area where the vast majority are behind, why wouldn't you be thrilled at the idea of a grammar school if you can't afford private fees?

seeker Tue 07-May-13 06:12:23

Sorry, I meant comprehensive does not mean mixed ability teaching. A crucial missing word!

I put this question out tentatively- surely we should be looking for a system that provides the best possible education for all- isn't that in the best interest of all of us? A system that perpetuates division and entrenches privilege is bad for society as a whole.

exoticfruits Tue 07-May-13 06:44:22

In a comprehensive they are taught with those of a similar ability. Since no one has been 'creamed off' - they are still with the DCs who would have been at the grammar. They are merely under the same roof, able to move up or down the streams.

exoticfruits Tue 07-May-13 06:45:53

In fact it is better for the very bright because those who can't keep up, or give up on study, move down- at the grammar school they have to have them in the same class.

Yellowtip Tue 07-May-13 08:15:15

The best possible education for all isn't necessarily the same education for all seeker and it's probably beneficial to individuals as well as society to recognise that.

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 08:26:22

I thouight the stats showed that disadvantaged DC do better in GSs than in comprehensives?

Surely then, the way forward is to encourage more disadvanatged DC to apply and to weight the entrance exam, as is done in very selective universities?

seeker Tue 07-May-13 08:26:25

But the grammar school system results in a minority of children doing only marginally better in exam terms than they would in a comprehensive school, while leaving the majority with what is often a worse education. And it has all the additional issues of dividing children into successes or failures at the age of 10 (^nobody^, surely, even the most fervent supporter of the system, can think that's a good idea! ) social division and entrenching privilege. So, a barely measurable benefit for an already privileged minority, against a major disbenefit (is that a word?) for the majority. I honestly can't see how that is acceptable.

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 08:42:19

seeker it's not just about disadvantaged DC doing marginally better in exam terms at GS. It's about what happens thereafter.

Bright disadvanatged DC end up socially mobile following GS. More so then at comprehensives.

Comprehensives have been an utter failure vis a vis social mobility.

So surely the answer is to get more disadvanaged DC into GS?

seeker Tue 07-May-13 08:51:04

"Bright disadvanatged DC end up socially mobile following GS. More so then at comprehensives."

Is that true? Is there a big enough sample to say?

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 08:54:53

I know you've been directed to the research before seeker and I know you just don't want to accept it because it doesn't fit in with your world view...so you'll argue about sample size and pick at the minutae like an itchy scab.

But if you think about it, all you need to do is flip it. Instead of looking at GSs, loojk at comprehensives and ask yourself if they have been successful at helping bright DC out of poverty. The answer is clearly no!

seeker Tue 07-May-13 09:15:20

I would be happy to accept it if it was properly researched and statistically significant.

So. How are you going to get more disadvantaged children into grammar schools, then?

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 09:19:01

The same way we are getting more disadvantaged DC into Oxbridge. By taking it seriously and getting out there are actually doing stuff!

seeker Tue 07-May-13 09:19:15

To be honest there is never going to be social mobility while the movers and shakers continue to be (in the main- before anyone tries to prove me wrong by coming up with exceptions) white men who went to public school and Oxbridge. Not private school or "Indy"- public school. And only about 5 of them. People like that appoint people like that. And in their minds, comprehensives, secondary moderns, grammar schools and most private schools are all much of a muchness- places that other people's children go to. I think that's something us enthusiastic anti private education people sometimes forget- there may be good reasons forgetting rid of St Custards and Miss Joyful's School for Young Ladies, but changing things at the top isn't one of them. Their alumni have no more chance of getting to the top than the alumni of Bash St, Grange Hill or the Mary Seacole Academy.

And actually, I don't think there is much appetite for social change in the UK. I can't remember who said it, but somebody said something like "The British dearly love a toff". We've always liked to know out place. And it must be true- I can't think of any other reason for electing David Cameron!

seeker Tue 07-May-13 09:21:23

"the same way we are getting more disadvantaged DC into Oxbridge. By taking it seriously and getting out there are actually doing stuff!"

What sort of stuff?

And I notice that you don't address the negative aspects of selection on the rest of the cohort.

Yellowtip Tue 07-May-13 10:00:45

word no-one wins under the grey educational ideal of seeker since once disadvantaged kids get through to Oxford or Cambridge they then become part of an elite and their natural talent and what they can offer to society (as well as do for themselves) has to be dumbed down, because otherwise it wouldn't be 'fair'. Sounds bloody awful. And not productive socially or economically either. Just bad all round except for possibly, possibly, possibly making those with no bent for an academic education feel a tiny bit better. But I don't think even that's a given, so it's just a bad idea overall all round.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 10:06:06

Yellow tip- it would be so much more interesting and fun if you were prepared to address what I actually say, rather than what you want me to be saying! I have never said or even suggested anything like the opinions you attribute to me in that post.

piprabbit Tue 07-May-13 10:08:14

I don't mind grammars taking steps to reduce the reliance on tutoring, but I do feel that CCHS going their own way means that children like my DD are left with the worst of both worlds if they aspire to go to a grammar - she will need to take two difference 11+ exams using two different formats. One if she wants to apply to the grammars in Southend as well as Chelmsford.
That's a huge amount of pressure for a young child.

Pyrrah Tue 07-May-13 10:18:51

A comprehensive may not have mixed ability teaching, but the top 10% at one comprehensive may be very different from the top 10% at another. In the same way that one comprehensive may serve a catchment that supplies few children with serious educational needs.

My nearest comp, you can set all you like but they will still do badly. When I checked their latest stats they didn't even have a column for 'high achievers', just for average and below average. Hardly truly comprehensive.

I imagine that comprehensive schools in Sutton do particularly well given the number of students who only just don't get a place at Tiffin and are therefore an extremely bright and motivated cohort.

I'm sure it would be hugely beneficial if I and parents like me decided to send our PFBs to sink comps and thus improve things, but I suspect few parents want to use their children as some kind of social engineering experiment when they have other options.

If you want to get more disadvantaged children into Grammar schools, then - in the current climate where places are uber-desirable to the not so disadvantaged - then build lots more.

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 11:03:54

seeker I agree that social mobility will hardly improve under DC et al. But then again, it didn't improve under Blair/Brown when there was huge financial commitment and more importantly the will to make a change.

The reality it seems, is that social mobility does not follow government policy, but is more likely affected by individualised and direct initiatives.

The widening access prog at Oxbridge is a good example of this. There is so much going on; school liason, community liason, mentoring, fundraising...

Much of this could be done to encourage disadantged students to apply to GS too.

As for the disadvantages on the general populace where there are selective schools, well what actually are they? It seems to me that disadvantaged DC do badly in society whether they attend comprhensives or secondary moderns. You talk about social separation in GS areas, yet there is just as much social separation in comprehensive areas.

The reality is this is sadly what the UK is like. Grammar schools are not causing it and comprehensives are not fixing it!

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 11:12:12

Sorry, should also have addressed the issue of movers and shakers coming from a few schools...

Well yes, but frankly most bright young people don't want to be mayor of bloody London or Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The pay's too crap for a start grin.

Most bright young people want to be surgeons, CEOs, scientists, actuaries, vets, lawyers etc etc. all perfectly achievable for a bright kid who gets a good education.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 13:45:49

"Most bright young people want to be surgeons, CEOs, scientists, actuaries, vets, lawyers etc etc. all perfectly achievable for a bright kid who gets a good education."

Absolutely. But there is no reason why that education should be in a separate building to the bright young people who want to be nurses, shop managers, plumbers or electricians. Or the perhaps less bright young people who want to be care assistants or ( whisper it not on mumsnet) hairdressers. And if it is in a separate building, how are the potential plumbers, nurses and electricians ever going to realise that actually, they might like to have a go at being doctors or architects? It's all about aspiration. The selective school system puts a cap on the mqjority's aspirations, while offering the world to the minority.

musu Tue 07-May-13 14:03:55

seeker I'm all for selective education as I see the benefit. At GS we were setted for different subjects. It was co-ed but we had science lessons separate from boys for O levels as the school realised the boys would take over doing the experiments. If there is no setting and no selection then the range of ability in a class could be vast.

Ds has moved from a non-selective prep to another supposedly non-selective prep. The change has been vast. The difference was the first prep was the junior dept of a senior (non-selective) school, the second had no attached senior school and therefore bases its reputation on the senior school entries it achieves and it sets. The expectations placed on ds are now far higher and he has responded accordingly. He has gone from wanting to go to the non-selective senior school to wanting to get a scholarship to Winchester or Eton (and we'd need a stonking bursary to facilitate that!).

I've been surprised at the change. I always worked hard at school and did well but I wasn't as naturally clever as ds appears to be. Things come easily to him, helped because he has an amazing memory (he was discussing at the weekend about having to let some information go as his brain was too overloaded sometimes - I pointed out that forgetting is something that comes with age!).

seeker Tue 07-May-13 14:08:20

But there is setting in comprehensives. There is setting in my ds's secondary modern school!

I'm not advocating mixed ability teaching)although I know there are studies which show that it works extremely well that's too counter intuitive for me). It's the separation of children into completely different schools at the age of 10 that I find repellent.

Yellowtip Tue 07-May-13 14:37:00

word I've long since thought that the Oxford Access Scheme provides an excellent blueprint for widening access to grammars. I hope that the now perceptible shift towards the Durham tests is accompanied by more moves in that direction.

seeker Y7 is the obvious year in which to start at a grammar/ other. How much more time do children need? Seven years of schooling is enough to see which was wind is blowing for most. 11yrs old isn't that young.

LaVolcan Tue 07-May-13 15:05:18

Why is year 7 'obvious'? After all public schools start at 13 and have done so for very many years. It seems to work for them.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 15:24:22

seeker - MN is full of anecdotes from people who went to a non selective school and went on to RG/Oxbridge and then a successful career.

The anecdotes are supposed to illustrate that a bright kid will suceed anywhere.

Would you care to convince those posters that they are in denial?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 15:25:13

By non selective I mean Sec Mod

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 15:27:38

You obviously wasn't that 'repelled' seeker when it came to selecting which school you wanted for your DS.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 07-May-13 15:32:24

Is MN really full of anecdotes from people who went to secondary moderns and thence Oxbridge? I've certainly seen some from comprehensives, but not sms.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 15:38:47

Wait a few years and seeker will probably be posting such an anecdote. In the mean time feel free to use 'Search'.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 15:40:01

"seeker - MN is full of anecdotes from people who went to a non selective school and went on to RG/Oxbridge and then a successful career."

Is it? There are, obviously, loads of such anecdotes from people who went to comprehensive schools. There are very few posters I can think of who went to secondary modern schools. And very few whose children are at them.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 07-May-13 15:41:22

will do! I'll start with 'secondary modern oxbridge', unless you have any suggestions for more useful search terms?

To be honest, I think if you're going to slate a point of view, and the person you predict will make it, based on your imagining that it will most probably happen in the future, you might be losing the plot a little bit.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 15:44:28

Nit - to paraphrase Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" do you want me to come over and eat your lunch for you as well?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 07-May-13 15:47:12

Not at all, I just thought there might be specific threads you thought I should be aware of!

I haven't turned up much, I'm afraid, and I wonder whether 'you was' confusing secondary moderns with comprehensives. Or, alternatively, could it be one of things you are engaging with in advance in case anyone says it in the future, rather than anything that's been said?

A final possibility could be that you've confused 'secondary modern' with 'modern languages', which might be a term that comes up in relation to Oxbridge.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 07-May-13 20:30:07

Well, I'm one of those who provides the anecdote of going to Cambridge from a disadvantaged (in some crucial ways, not in every way, I had wonderful parents) background having gone to a comp. But I certainly don't believe that a bright child will do well anywhere. Quite the reverse. I strongly believe in selective education or, failing that, fair banding and rigorous setting. I couldn't be more opposed to selection by depth of pockets (which is what school allocation by catchment area actually is). I have no time at all for parents who claim they want their kids to go to school 'in their local community'. That's great if you live somewhere nice and want to make sure your kids only mix with kids in a similar situation. Not so great if you live somewhere grotty and would like your kids to mix with people from all walks of life. The surest way to entrench both privilege and disadvantage is to enforce catchment area school allocation. That's why posh people love it.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 07-May-13 20:32:09

Seeker - I seem to remember a recent thread where you quoted the stats for your DSs school and the stats you quoted are better than every comprehensive in the city in which I live.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 20:41:04

Russians- my dd''s school is a very good example of a secondary modern. And it gets good results. Not, obviously, as good as the look at first glance. But it is a type of school that should not existt.
Can I ask you, if selective education is so good, and bright children don't do we'll anywhere, why don't wholly selective areas like Kent get much better results over all than non selective ones?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 20:46:41

Russians - you seem to be under the impression that seeker disaproves of her DSs SM because of its academic record.

Going by her past postings, it has done an excellent job of taking the intake of barely literate Year 7 kids and raisingi them a number of levels. Also her DS is working at a higher level than her DD when she was in Year 7 at her GS.

So, no, seeker's issue has nothing to do with the academics at her SM.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 07-May-13 20:49:36

Seeker because Kent isn't the world.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 20:51:04

Mts- please will you cut ant paste rather than quote me. You are in lined to get significant details wrong.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 20:52:34

seeker - going by the posts of other MNetters, there are comp areas that do worse than your GS.

You can't argue that the GS model doesn't work because Kent doesn't do better than a comparable area with comps while ignoring that Kent does better than a lot of comp areas.

Basically, there are various reasons why one area does better than others, reasons that has nothing to do with the education system.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 21:08:29

What do you mean, Russians?

seeker Tue 07-May-13 21:13:18

If selective education was intrinsically better than no selective education, a wholly selective authority should have significant better results than a non selective one. Surely that's logical?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 23:08:03

Well, apparently you can ignore the fact that there are comp areas with worst result than your GS area. grin

seeker Tue 07-May-13 23:12:05

I don't understand that post.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 23:14:00

Are you saying that Kent's exam results are significantly better than other Authorities?

teacherwith2kids Tue 07-May-13 23:27:40

Seeker and MTS,

I think - as far as I remember - that the point is that grammar counties and other counties with comprehensives WITH THE SAME DEMOGRAPHICS have very similar results, indicating that there is no advantage of a grammar school system when other factors are reasonably equal

teacherwith2kids Tue 07-May-13 23:29:09

There will be authorities where the demographics are very different which may have lower results than Kent - but that is a feature of the demographics, not the education system. The point is that grammars convey no advantage given similar demographics.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 23:32:10

Thank you, teachers- I missed out that vital bit! Probably because I've said it so often and nobody ever has a sensible response..........

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 23:38:44

You are the one with all the facts and the links to studies seeker so you tell me.

Are you saying that there are no comp areas with a comparable population make up that has worst results than your GS area?

gfrnn Tue 07-May-13 23:43:24

the sutton trust report on the effects of selective educational systems concludes that:

"the majority of studies (and all of those we judge to be
methodologically strongest) report that pupils who attend grammar
schools do better than equally able pupils in comprehensives."

while a department of education report on the selective 11+ system in Northern Ireland quantifies further the advantage conferred:

"The analysis suggests that the difference in GCSE performance (as measured by total GCSE points score) is largely explained by a ‘grammar school’ effect. That is, other things being equal, the most important factor for a pupil in achieving a high GCSE score is achieving a place in a grammar school. To put it another way, if we compare two pupils, one of whom is in a grammar school and one of whom is in a secondary school, and who are similar in every other respect, including Transfer (i.e. 11+) Grade, then the grammar pupil will achieve a significantly higher GCSE performance. The analysis suggests that being in a grammar school adds almost 16 GCSE points, equivalent to three GCSEs at grade C, to a pupil’s achievement at 16 years."

So seeker's claim that "bright children in a grammar do an almost unmeasurable bit better than they would in a comprehensive" is simply not true - All the evidence shows they do a whole lot better.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 23:50:40

I don't know anything about the Northern Ireland system, so I'm afraid I can't comment on that bit of your post. But you are selectively quoting the Sutton Trust report. The conclusion it comes to is that the studies are not robust, but the most that can be said is that pupils at UK grammar schools do something between 0 to .75 of a grade better than equivalent pupils in comprehensive schools. And that it is by no means certain that this is because of being in a grammar school- there are many other factors which could cause the difference.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Tue 07-May-13 23:54:49

teacher - seeker's town is an economically deprived area (her words). seeker is the person with all the facts and so I'm waiting for her to enlighten me. Are there other equally economically deprived comprehensive areas that have worst results than your GS area?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Wed 08-May-13 00:02:23

The Sutton Report blows apart your assertion so you then focus on how other factors could have caused the better results attributed to the GSs.

But when you have a comp area that does better than a GS then it's definitely because a GS system is not intrinsically better???

seeker Wed 08-May-13 00:03:32

Did you miss teacher's post about authorities with comparable demographics? This " that the point is that grammar counties and other counties with comprehensives WITH THE SAME DEMOGRAPHICS have very similar results, indicating that there is no advantage of a grammar school system when other factors are reasonably equal"

seeker Wed 08-May-13 00:06:53

"The Sutton Report blows apart your assertion so you then focus on how other factors could have caused the better results attributed to the GSs."

0 to .75 of a grade is hardly "blowing apart my assertion" - I have always said that the is a slight benefit to kids at grammar schools.

And that focus is not mine, it's the report's. I posted the relevant section a while ago- I'll do it again.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 00:10:37

"A range of statistical analyses carried out in the study suggest that pupils in grammar schools do better than pupils with the same characteristics in other non-selective schools, with the difference somewhere between zero and three-quarters of a GCSE grade per subject.
Although these analyses indicate that grammar school pupils appear to make greater progress from Key Stage 2 (age 11) to Key Stage 4 (age 16) than other pupils, the study also finds that these same pupils were already making more progress during primary school from Key Stage 1 (age 7) to Key Stage 2 (age 11). This suggests that there may be important but unmeasured differences between grammar and non-grammar school pupils that are driving the differences in attainment, and not necessarily a ‘grammar school effect’.
The study also investigated how factors such as the different choices of statistical model, different assumptions underpinning them and various inadequacies of the available data might affect the outcomes of the analysis. Given the arbitrariness and uncertainty introduced by these factors, it was not possible confidently to estimate the difference in attainment more accurately than ‘between zero and three-quarters’ of a grade per subject."

MTSCostcoChickenFan Wed 08-May-13 00:23:28

I am asking you if you are aware of a comprehensive area that has the same demographics as yours BUT has worst results?

Teacher's comment is a non sequitur because I am asking a question as opposed to making an assertion that one area has better/worst results than another.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 00:28:46

Generally speaking, all LEAs have similar GCSE results.

What do you mean by area?

seeker Wed 08-May-13 00:45:57

Kent ( I use Kent because I know about it) is a fully selective county- and it is about in the middle of the list for 5 A*-Cs.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Wed 08-May-13 00:48:10

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 00:51:37

Because it's not all about exam results.

gfrnn Wed 08-May-13 01:08:46

seeker - I provided a working link to the full report and quoted the part of the executive summary which refutes your assertion in plain, unambiguous language. The authors' own assessment of the relative robustness of the available studies was indicated by their phrase "those we judge to be methodologically strongest". In what way is this quoting selectively - should I have cut and pasted the whole 270 page report?

On the subject of quoting selectively, you appear to be doing a bit yourself, as the report actually says
"the difference (is) somewhere between zero and three-quarters of a GCSE grade per subject."
That this difference is per subject is a rather important distinction since three quarters of a grade per subject is enough to turn straight A's into mostly B's, and quite sufficient to make the difference between a conditional offer of a university place and no offer at all.
On what grounds did you say such an effect is "unmeasurable", and does the fact that you have now back-pedalled and amended it to "slight" mean you now acknowledge the effect is real and measurable?

Is it the case that "quoting selectively" means quoting something you don't like, and does "not robust" mean "not supporting the conclusion I would like"

Seriously, has nobody told you that cherry-picking, twisting, or dismissing the best available evidence to support a pre-conceived notion of how you'd like things to be is intellectually dishonest?

seeker Wed 08-May-13 01:19:04

I posted a chunk of the report covering this, and also the bit where it says that while this slight grade increase exists, ( which I have never denied) it is not clear why. Note it says 0-.75 per exam- the 0 is as relevant as the .75. And all points in between.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Wed 08-May-13 01:43:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 06:09:27

MTS-it's very difficult to discuss this topic if you keep bringing it back to my personal situation and your interpretation of it. Please could you stop doing it? It's boring, and makes you look a little.....odd. And, more importantly, doesn't add anything to the discussion.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 08-May-13 07:28:07

I suspect that those are precisely the reasons some posters may be happier to keep returning to the personal: it's a great way to shut down discussion and hide your own failures in understanding behind a lot of vitriol.

Yellowtip Wed 08-May-13 08:22:13

seeker since your own often repeated platform appears to be identical to the stated aim of the Sutton Trust, I wonder if you could explain why it's strongly supportive of selective education whereas you're not? Is there something you know that they don't?

seeker Wed 08-May-13 09:12:30

The Sutton Trust is a useful place to get facts and figures from- I don't think it's right about everything. Its support of a return to the assisted places scheme is, in my opinion, misguided. My understanding about it's position on grammar schools is that it supports the idea of super selectives for the very able- and I've been persuaded by people on here that there is a good case for that.

Yellowtip Wed 08-May-13 09:46:55

Yes but I think your version of superselective is very narrow, for genius only type children, whereas the current superselectives aren't nearly as narrow and nor should they be or they'd become very odd places socially, which would be incredibly bad. A spread of superselectives around the country taking the top 5 - 10% seems about right. It's a nonsense having them spread randomly, as they are now - very unfair.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 10:24:02

The Sutton trust talks about an average of 2ish per primary school- not sure what % that is.

Yellowtip Wed 08-May-13 11:13:36

Well assuming the average primary has 30 pupils it would be 6%. Our village primary (where DD4 is in Y6) has 6 pupils but obviously there are schools with four forms, so 120 pupils. I would expect the average to be about 30 pupils per school but I may well be wrong.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 11:16:02

I could live with 6%!

DownstairsMixUp Wed 08-May-13 11:19:00

Oh this grammar school business drives me nuts. Where I am originally from there were no grammar schools, just normal comps, private schools and catholic schools. Now I've moved to Kent people go on like if your child does not go to a grammar school it's the all and end all! Even though the top school in my area of Kent is an acadamy, not actually a grammar school anyway! Plenty of areas do fine without grammar schools now, I just don't see why they are needed anymore, be done with the bloody things!

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 15:09:47

I think that super selective would be OK-I would expect only 1 or 2 DCs per primary school and it would be easy to get right-anyone in the school would be able to tell you who they would be-they wouldn't need to have exams they simply shine out. If no one shines out then you don't have any of them at the super selective. However, thinking about it, you would still need the test to check that DCs that shine out at their school would shine out at any. I think 6% is too high-only 2% would be about right.

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 15:11:59

I agree DownstairsMixUp-I feel sorry for those who have to move to Kent.
The problem with super selectives are that some, in rural parts, would have to cover huge areas in order to get enough pupils.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 15:47:22

What's wrong with covering a large area? It works for the school DD1 attends. It reduces the possibility of entrenching privilege in middle class enclaves of course....

Seeker, I'm away from home for work at the moment and functioning through dodgy now it works now it doesn't 3G but to answer your point from yesterday before the signal goes again - the intake of a school is only one determinant of the 'results' of the school. Schools in desireable or well connected, logistically, areas, will find it easier to recruit top teachers, for example. Schools in silly locations, however selective they may be, will find their pool of potential teaching recruits smaller. Grammar schools in areas with a disproportionate number of private schools offering good bursaries may find it difficult to recruit either great staff or indeed the very best pupils. Grammar schools in fully selective areas have a different vibe than Grammar schools in almost completely comprehensive LEAs. It's not just about the demographics of the area, there are many other factors too. I'm not at all surprised that Kent doesn't do much better or much worse than areas of similar demographics with only comps - because the Kent system clearly no longer works in the way the grammar system was originally intended to work (and this is good, since under the original premise, kids at sec mod weren't expected to be in any way academic). The world has changed from the 1950s. I don't believe that many people who support selective education would welcome their area turning into Kent. Finally - the 5 A*-C is a very very blunt measure. 5Cs is not the same as 12 A*s.

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 17:06:21

The wide area works in areas of fairly dense populations e.g. The Thames Valley - the reason I think it might have problems is somewhere like Cumbria where the travelling distance is too long.

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 17:08:05

It defeats the object if you have to say that somewhere like Keswick has to take 20% to get enough pupils to be viable.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 17:39:58

I'm not familiar with Keswick. It would be fair to say I'm not familiar with anywhere north of White Hart Lane or, at a pinch, Enfield. However, I think where I live is not densely populated, and our school doesn't have to drop it out to the top 20% to 'get enough pupils to be viable'. It does take kids from a 50 mile radius (actually more than 50 miles now I think, based on the info about bus trauma for the last time we were doing a creditable impression of Atlantis)

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 17:42:04

I think it is important to remember though that just because a kid is in the top percentiles for some types of intelligence, doesn't necessarily mean they will perform hugely well in GCSE type exams, especially when SEN conditions are in play. that doesn't though mean that they don't deserve to be given the opportunity to access an education appropriate to their needs, even if they may well meltdown in the actual formal GCSE/A level situation.

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 19:05:12

Keswick is like many places- small and a long way from a large town - you would have similar problems in any rural place, like Norfolf.

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 19:05:27


Yellowtip Wed 08-May-13 19:56:18

I live in a small rural village and 20 odd miles from the nearest large town and our superselective grammar (which is three miles away in the opposite direction from the large town) does tolerably well. In that's it's ranked either top or nearly top most years as it has been for years. This large area thing is really not a problem with the important exception that travelling in from some distance away costs money. Quite a lot of money really. That is the single most difficult to overcome deterrent for those on a low income, or even a middling income if there are multiple DC in a single family who get in. The government could put that right of course, but it won't. There just isn't the political will, or courage.

beatback Wed 08-May-13 19:58:29

Why do you want Grammar Schools restricted to the top 6%. All it would do would make them,the preserve of the Super Brigtht and "RICH" because believe me, the rich will find a way. The "COACHING" Culture would become even more intense, surely we need as many "ORDINARY" people as possible to get an Academic Education,because how many kids from "BOG STANDARD" Comprehensives join the Establishment,the odd Grammar School kid gets in to the Establishment. I went to a Comprehensive School in a very prosperous area in the North west. The School was used as a place of refuge by kids from the nearby Selective area. The Comprehensive School that deemed me to thick to take any Academic Exams, the School that they were so desperate,to avoid "THE MODERN" is a far superior School in every way. I had to laugh a few years ago,when the Comprehensive got a grade 4 from ofsted,and the Modern got a grade 1 because a School is a Modern does not mean it cannot get kids in to good Universities,and because a school is a Comprehensive does not mean it will enable kids with Educational Difficulties to achieve. Thankfully both my niece and newphew have both had a Grammar School education, my niece is currently reading languages at a Russell Group uni, my newphew doing is G.C.S.E "s . if you were to effectively kill 100 of the 160 Grammar Schools,you would just be creating more "TOFFS" in the esablishment.

seeker Wed 08-May-13 20:15:26

I think you might need to read the whole thread, beatback......

beatback Wed 08-May-13 20:41:56

SEEKER. I think it is "IMPOSSIBLE" to stop Tutoring of any system, whether its C.E.M Verbal reasoning, Maths or English, that is just how it is. After 2 or 3 years of the new "SYSTEM" the Tutors will work it out, but the solution to the problem is not scraping, Grammar Schools, maybe the State should identify kids from humble backgrounds with Academic potential, and give them"TUTORING". the pupil Premium could be used, that could possibly even things up, hopefully giving more ordinary kids a chance of joining the "ESTABLISHMENT"

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 20:56:41

@yellow - our bus is a grand a year for the first child. sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 21:00:51

Exotic - by the sounds of it Keswick is no different to the area served by Dd1s school. Except it will get more attention from central government and have a better rail service. Because everywhere else does.

Yellowtip Wed 08-May-13 21:30:30

Russians yes quite. And that's a huge amount. The government could offer subs if it chose, but all colour of governments are terrified of pro grammar policy backlash. UKIP appears to claim it's not, but no doubt we'll never see (which may have it's own compensation).

You probably use a different train line from me. Mine is lovely. Flower baskets on every station although a bit weavy and wendy for those in a hurry I suppose.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 21:34:46

Yellow I suspect yours hasn't been diverting via what the government alleges is the capital of our 'region' (hollow laugh) since before Easter. Adding over an hour to journeys to London. It's back to normal now though so I will have a nice lie in on Friday. Well, I say lie in. Still have to get up at 5:30. But I'll be in the office 45 mins earlier.

The bus is a huge amount of money, really. If I was saving that every year, in a tax efficient way, it would pay a nice chunk of fees etc at uni time.

Yellowtip Wed 08-May-13 21:43:19

You should come our way then Russians, it's just so mellow. Isn't Waterloo better anyhow? (yes sorry, derailed smile).

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 22:12:07

If you only have the top 2% the rich and heavily tutored can't make it unless they are super bright in the first place. You can have any amount of money but you can't get an average or moderately above average into the top 2%. They are bright enough to stand out and everyone would be able to tell you who they were. Because it is a small number you would heavily use school reports and an exam and then easily have an interview where it would be fairly simple to throw in a question that they have never come across- the heavily tutored won't cope with it. As soon as you get above 5% there are too many to interview thoroughly and it is possible to tutor well enough to pass. I would expect it to be only one or two a school and they would really stand out.

exoticfruits Wed 08-May-13 22:14:03

Teachers may try and keep it hidden but ask any child who is the cleverest DC in their class and they will know!

beatback Wed 08-May-13 22:37:21

If it was 2% you would just create "ACADEMIC TOFFS". The system has got to be able to Educate reasonably bright kids,and they is nothing wrong with 20 to 30% of kids depending,on the L.A going to Grammar Schools. You have just got to make the other Schools better at achieving,the correct results for their kids. Grammar Schools are desperately needed for bright kids in inner city areas,so possibly you could have Boarding Grammar"s for them taking,them out of the corrosive inner city Schools that eventually bring them down to the other kids level.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 08-May-13 22:38:47

My, what a "LOT" of "CAPITALS"!

beatback Wed 08-May-13 22:53:43

The fact that i am able to be barely "LITERATE" after the education i had is a miracle, i am totally self taught, i have not one single "ACADEMIC" qualifaction to my name,and if you had the "EDUCATION" i have had you would not be as articulate as me. What my inproper use of capital letters as got to do about the subject,i dont know. just be thankful that you were able to go to university.

beatback Wed 08-May-13 23:00:45

Sorry i cant spell QUALIFACATION i was not taught spelling or grammar.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 23:03:10

beatback thanks

Well done, me too. I just love it when I tell people how awful education used to be, they soon back track if they have criticised my English or Maths.

Funny thing is both myself and at least one of our dc are dyslexic and dyspraxic. Our dd is also not too bright, bless her. Today I choked on my tea when she announced she was working to pass 11+ dh had told her about his grammar school education. We don't live near any grammar schools, lol grin

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 23:06:55

beatback, you sound just like I used to. It's never too late you know.
I don't have a GCSE/O'level to my name but have a HND, B.A Hons, PgCE with Masters level points.
Also a level 2 City &Guild in Numeracy and Literacy MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT!

beatback Wed 08-May-13 23:16:58

Thank you more than potatoprints, i am sure that your DC will be able to show people, how bright she is and if they were grammar schools in your area, i am sure with the right help she could pass her 11+.One of the best posters on Mumsnet is "CREAM TEAS" who is a University Admissions tutor, who is constantly telling people how people with "S.E.N " are getting to University and are among the "BRIGHTEST" students,30 years ago this would have been impossible, instead of S.E.N there would have been E.S.N.

beatback Wed 08-May-13 23:25:59

POTATO PRINTS. Actually seing my niece at a "RUSSELL GROUP UNIVERSITY SPEARS ME ON FOR 5 MINUTES" SHE GOT 4 A"S AT ALEVEL" .When i tell her i dont have any Academic Qualifactions she does not believe me, she is always asking me about all kinds of things. "ONE OF MY BIGGEST PROBLEMS IS CONCENTRATION".I have a tendency to just switch off.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 08-May-13 23:26:18

Not quite 30 years ago - 28, actually - I went up to Cambridge. I'm dyspraxic. I was far from unique there. I really don't think hyperbole or SHOUTING enhances whatever point it is you are trying to make.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 23:27:49

Its such a good thing we moved on. I know its not PC and I shouldn't laugh but Peter Kay has such good observation when he talks about Theresa, Paddy MCGuinness and himself on "the thick table". That was mine, yours? and many thousands of peoples memories of school. sad

beatback Wed 08-May-13 23:28:10


beatback Wed 08-May-13 23:32:56

I am not trying to make any point russian its just that someone tried to take the piss, and if you made it to "CAMBRIDGE" you must have had a great education and great teachers who we able to work with you to overcome your dyspraxia and enable you to atain a OXBRIDGE EDUCATION.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 23:34:56


What does hyperbole mean? I don't think beatback is shouting at anyone.


Thanks for the comments about dd, but bless her its a bit hopeless atm. She is 9 and is really struggling with Maths, she's just away with the fairies. It took her so long to do a few sums today but she got there in the end. English is slightly better but not much. She is a gifted musician though, so hey ho! Grammar school I think not grin

beatback Wed 08-May-13 23:39:13


morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 23:44:27

Isn't that the whole point.

Good education and being bright = grammar school potential.
If one of those is missing it may be possible to pass 11+ with tutoring.
If both are missing you don't stand a cat in hells chance.
I think it is the same with GCSEs A levels or any other academic qualification.
If you are constantly coming from behind you have to work twice as hard as anybody else to gain the same results.
I think if this is the case for a persons dc they are doing them a disservice by insisting on 11+ preparation.

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 07:39:51

Passing the exam is just the start and not the end as some people seem to think- it was no help passing if the rest are all much brighter.
If you have more than 2% you have a line somewhere between 2DC s of equal ability.
I don't see a need for any selection- other than streaming once you are there.

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 08:18:21

2% is far too narrow.

wordfactory Thu 09-May-13 08:34:11

I agree yellow.

The most selective independent schools allow a greater margin than that!

You really do not need to be a genius, to benefit from or indeed require a different sort of education from the norm.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 09:30:08

"You really do not need to be a genius, to benefit from or indeed require a different sort of education from the norm."

So what % would you suggest?

wordfactory Thu 09-May-13 09:39:12

I'd say anyone in the top 10% should have the option.

That's not to say that anyone with a child in that bracket has to send their DC. Some may feel their own DC would be better served away froma selective environment. But parents know their DC best, and should have the choice, I feel. Just as they do if they have money.

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 09:42:08

word may think differently but I'm sticking to somewhere between 5% to 10%. Nearer 10% ideally. I think those at the lower end of that range would arguably benefit even more than those at the top, though slightly differently.

These kids should have a proper community in their school. 5% to 10% would bring in a range of talents across the disciplines which is vital for any decent school and a sufficient range of personalities to allow proper friendships to form. I believe 2% would be very different and lead to a poor educational experience, which, to quote seeker, wouldn't be 'fair'.

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 09:42:57

Cross post smile. Good call word!

wordfactory Thu 09-May-13 09:47:26

I think it's the community aspect of it that is so important.

Parents don't want their DC to be outliers. They want them to hang out with plenty of kids just like them. They want them to be normal and for school to treat them as such.

For one thing I don't want my DS growing up thinking he's Daddy Cool nor do I want him thinking he's a bit odd!

seeker Thu 09-May-13 09:54:29

I think that's the problem, isn't it? If you are going to treat being very academically bright in the same way that you treat very talented musicians and ballet dancers, for example, and argue that their intelligence means they need to be educated separately, then you can't go more than 2%. And it's pretty easy to identify the 2%. However, then you have all the social issues you talk about. 10% takes you into the "very bright but within "normal"" range- so you get the coaching thing raising it's ugly head again. And it gets all competitive and grim. There has to be a better way!

wordfactory Thu 09-May-13 10:04:04

I don't think coaching would raise a kid from the top 25% to the top 10% seeker.

It doesn't work with private schools! Your averagely bright, top 25% student cannot win himself a place at Westminster or St Pauls or wherever, with all the tutoring in the land.

And, as far as I'm aware, it doesn't work with the state super selectives either.

You can't compare it with the Kent system.

Plus you've got to understand that lots of parents don't want their DC in such schools, wherever they sit academically.

Hamishbear Thu 09-May-13 10:19:17

It doesn't work with private schools! Your averagely bright, top 25% student cannot win himself a place at Westminster or St Pauls or wherever, with all the tutoring in the land.

Interestingly not apparently according to the head of St Paul's Girls. They find the 'over tutored don't thrive' allegedly.

Hamishbear Thu 09-May-13 10:23:28

Apparently you have to declare the tutoring you've had in some schools. From the Times:

Clarissa Farr, High Mistress at St Paul’s Girls’ School, said: “We are seeing an increase in tutoring and therefore we now ask parents when they apply to declare what tutoring they have provided for their children.

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 10:38:57

The application form for SPGS requires parents to sign a declaration stating exactly what level of tutoring has been had and the sanction for false declarations is the withdrawal of the offer of a place.

Elibean Thu 09-May-13 10:39:33

I've just read the beginning of this thread, and cannot believe the level of insanity described in some of the posts about the intensity of tutoring in grammar school areas.

Its not that I don't understand how people get caught up in the panic, its just the whole entire system is massively mad.

If only half that energy was going into improving schools as a whole. Or re-structuring our ideas on 'best'. Or both.

wordfactory Thu 09-May-13 10:43:43

Hamish the HT at SPGS makes it clear that over tutoring is a waste of time 'counter productive'. That it doesn't get girls places at the school!

LaVolcan Thu 09-May-13 10:44:36

I wonder how they would find out about false declarations of tutoring though, Yellowtip?

It's not like the LEAs finding fraudulent addresses used for applications, where they have a range of things to check.

Pyrrah Thu 09-May-13 10:47:06

I actually spoke to the admissions department of one of the London super-selectives about tutoring.

I was asking more about their 7+ exam rather than the 11+, but having checked with a friend who is a primary teacher, DD would not have covered some of the syllabus in Maths that was required in the exam by the exam date.

The admissions lady said that if the child was coming from a state primary then it was acceptable to tutor in the areas that they wouldn't have yet covered - that they made allowances for state school pupils with minor errors but if they didn't answer questions then no allowance could be made.

However, absolutely no tutoring on what to say at interview etc as it could be spotted a mile off and did the child a dis-service.

In regards to the discussions on getting bright children from more humble children into selective schools when up against the equally bright children who were being given extra help by parents/prep schools/tutoring etc, how would these children be identified?

Would an individual school be asked to nominate pupils (with all the 'but the HT just doesn't like little Johnny'); would only FSM pupils qualify - hence a lot of children falling through the gap again; should state primaries offer prep classes for potential grammar material pupils, should a child from a 'requires improvement' primary get more help than one from an 'outstanding' primary?

There is also a huge range in what primary schools achieve - we have DD's name down on the waiting-list for a primary that is in inner-city London, they have over 50% FSM, over 50% EAL plus high mobility and the majority of students are from ethnic backgrounds that are not known to put a high premium on education, yet 20% of their KS2 students get L6 in Maths. This is way more successful academically than a lot of primary schools in leafy suburbs with a more MC intake.

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 10:50:11

It's obviously not fool proof LaVolcan. It's quite intimidating though. These top independent schools have the luxury of an interview process though, which grammars do not.

Hamishbear Thu 09-May-13 10:55:49

She's worried though that some get in that shouldn't. That it masks true abilities, hence the having to declare the tutoring.

Thing is how can tutoring really make so much of a difference? I've seen the papers for St Paul's - you need to understand and apply the concepts etc. I've read papers where children have dropped stock phrases into the composition etc, they are usually fairly easy to spot. If they are really not up to the mark and don't have the requisite understanding they'll come a cropper elsewhere on the papers. Show me a child that doesn't have ability at Maths that can pass a Maths paper for St Paul's and I'll show you an unusual child.

It begs the question of what we mean by tutoring. For some it's called 'enrichment' and it's a way of life from pre-school onwards. For some its about mentoring, instilling confidence and taking the curriculum further outside of school. If you discuss literature and poetry and encourage your children to write at home - is that tutoring?

Is an hour week of VR and NVR that a child does outside school once a week deemed tutoring that 'should be declared'?

What about the primary schools. A very academic prep that's a feeder for St Paul's might have children in classes of 16 tops sitting at old fashioned desks in a horseshoe formation going way beyond the curriculum. Another primary might have a mixed ability class of 30 & concentrate on getting all to level 4 and encourage creativity by poster making and having a no homework policy.

Presumably they look closely at where a child's been to school and make allowances accordingly then? More being expected from a child at an academic Prep feeder?

wordfactory Thu 09-May-13 11:04:04

The HT makes it abundantly clear that if anyone sneaks in under the radar and isn't up to it, then they may be asked to leave. They simply won't thrive and she's not in the business of making girls unhappy.

She also makes it abundantly clear that parents who put their DDs in theis position want to take a very hard look at themselves!

Hamishbear Thu 09-May-13 11:52:51

No one wants anyone to wilt but surely if a girl passes that difficult exam & does well at interview she thoroughly deserves her place? She must have the requisite intellect & if she works hard & strives could do well?

I am not sure I like the idea of knowing your place on the IQ bell curve - why bother at all in that case? If I'd got that message I'd likely have given up.

Surely a hard working girl, pleasant & friendly has as much potential to do well for herself & heap glory on the school as a innately clever slacker?

I hear some do well that get into selective schools through the sibling policy. Often less clever - apparently - than others they often outperform them in exams.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 13:03:44

Why do people want the band so low,my niece may have scraped in to a 10% band but no lower.If my niece had gone to a comprehensive instead of 4A"S at a level she would have got 3C"S because you become like your surrondings,maybe you think you true potential is what you achieve,without trying or being pushed but i can assure you the independent and public schools dont think like that. Why do people want to go back to the attitudes of the middle of the 70s, why bother pushing kids "JUST LET THEM COAST" because thats the true potential. I presume S.P.G.S is St Pauls Girls school. Passing the exam and them being told your not good enough is the same as, the rules being changed in the middle of a game without being told.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 13:09:51

Beatback- you are aware that most of the country doesn't have selective schools, don't you? And that many children get As? It's not just in grammar schools that people do well.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 13:18:03

Yes i am aware of that but in my niece"s case i know she would have become "MEDIORCE" because she would have done,the same as the others, the fact that at her grammar school B"s were average pushed her to be above average,and get A"s. I have also said in a previous post how bad my school was in a totally comprehensive area.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 13:20:24

You don't know that at all. You should have more faith in your niece.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 13:23:09

I also think that if you get A"s in a comprehensive you are something very special, "BRILLIANT" and do you believe kids like that should not be streamed. If a kid was at a modern school and was particuarly good at maths or other subjects why could they not take that subject at the grammar school, and why could we not have joint sports teams,if it is the lack of intergration that worries people.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 13:25:40

But they are streamed at comprehensives!

seeker Thu 09-May-13 13:26:46

"f a kid was at a modern school and was particuarly good at maths or other subjects why could they not take that subject at the grammar school, and why could we not have joint sports teams,if it is the lack of intergration that worries people."

Congratulations! You have invented the comprehensive school......

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 13:37:42

They would need to return to the sm for lunch, obviously...

beatback Thu 09-May-13 13:40:35

No we have not because if it was a comprehensive, the bad kids bring the whole thing down. I know i witnessed it and we are talking about 2 or 3 kids per class because they are probaly were unlucky in the exams and have matured in to the required level. SEEKER you have 1DC at a grammar school and 1 DC at a modern dont you. I bet your DC at the modern is near the top,and can get frustrated by the rest of the class,what if he had is best subject taught at the grammar. Unfortunatly the totally comprehensive model does not work for many reasons, mainly because in many circumstances it gets dragged down to the lowest level,and becomes "VERY SLOPPY" i have also said that they are secondary modern schools that are far superior to comprehensives in some areas, that have the same social economic mix.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 13:42:18


beatback Thu 09-May-13 13:52:18

Very funny because we can only have the required social contact of 2hrs per week. Any more and the parents would start thinking my kid might catch the "THICK GENE". The funny thing is the most ardent supporter"s of grammar schools for their kids,seem to be the ones with the lowest qualifacations. Why do you think that is,"ITS BECAUSE THEY DONT WANT THEIR KIDS TO SUFFER LIKE THEM"and want their kids to get half a chance.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 13:58:52

But, Backbeat even assuming that there is a correlation between supporting grammars and qualifications held, would those same people not be concerned about their child 'suffering like them' if they didn't pass?

I do wish you'd stop making the sweeping generalizations about 'bad kids' and so on - I'm not saying there aren't any challenges, or that those challenges aren't very different from any encountered in selective schools - but to say that a bright child won't do well in a comprehensive is very general and fatalistic!

seeker Thu 09-May-13 14:04:10

Backbeat-in supporting grammar schools you are also supporting secondary modern schools- which by your reasoning must be even worse than comprehensives.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 14:43:23

STEAMING NIT SEEKER. Why do you believe because it is a Secondary Modern school it has to be rubbish, they can achieve great things. I could name 6 Secondary Modern schools off the top of my head now around the country that achieve, better than the Comprehensives in non selective areas. Why do you believe that comprehensive schools can help non academic kids achieve their potential,particuarly in inner cities where there is other,dynamics going on. It has been said for years that we should have had "VOCATIONAL BASED SCHOOLS" as well. The J.C.B academy in Staffordshire is doing a brilliant job,teaching kids the 3 R"s and giving them an apprenticeship at the Academy, and many will find jobs at J.C.B or other engineering companies. Why we are trying to fit square pegs in round holes,by trying to get 40% of kids to uni when at best they are probaly,only 20% of jobs that are degree level. Because we are going to have so many "GRADUATES" it is going to become impossible, for kids who are not graduates to have a meangiful career. They have 3 chances 1 they are a brilliant "ENTERUPNEER" you are born that way, you a brilliant "SPORTSPERSON" you are born that way or you become a "REALITY STAR".Comprehensive schools are not going to solve this problem and we have to start looking,at achieving education that puts square pegs in square holes.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 14:51:43

I don't believe that! But I'm confused about why you think secondary moderns are better than comprehensives?

Most 11 year olds, to continue your metaphor, don't yet know what kind of peg-shape they are. They can be a bit square in Maths and a little bit rounder in English, and just starting to realise they might be, I dunno, an ellipse in Athletics (though ideally not in the shot put! grin)

beatback Thu 09-May-13 15:33:11

I did not say they were better or worse. The point i am making is that it depends on the school. You have some good Comprehensives mainly in prosperous areas,that become selection through house price. You also have some good secondary modern schools. You have no bad grammar schools. I have said why are trying to make 40% of kids go to uni. Despite my lack of qualifacations, i have a lot of teachers and lectures as close friends head teachers of primary and secondary schools. Off the record they believe in a lot of what i am saying, but because of the politcal correctness in education. They dare not say these things because it would be career suicide.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 15:37:02

I have also said that if the child becomes good at a particular subject he could take that subject at the grammar school.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 15:52:19

But if it was a comprehensive, said child could just move up a set or two.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 16:07:33

Why lose a portion of the day ferrying the child to a different school, when you could just have a school in which there's a top set where s/he can do the same?

beatback Thu 09-May-13 16:14:54

IF I SAID THE SKY WAS BLUE YOU WOULD SAY IT WAS RED. You are obviously commited to comprehensive education. The great thing about a democratic forum is that, can discuss different opinions without war breaking out.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 16:16:05

You can discuss different opinions without war breaking out.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 16:17:44

Maybe the syrians should join mumsnet.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 16:19:30


Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 16:21:34

There's a wide range of performance amongst the remaining grammars beatback, they don't all do that well. Also, it's completely unworkable to dot off to a different school for a particular subject. It might sound good in theory but it would never work in practice. Timetabling issues and transport would get in the way.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 16:31:17

OK accepted yelow tip. But we have to find a way forward and not keep thinking its the 1960s where secondary schools are concerned. Its 2013 surely we can come up with a selective system that works for all, those at the top those in the middle and those at the bottom. I accept that in the 1960s if you went to a secondary school , you were designated to be factory class at best.My own experiences in the 80s at a comprehensive was worse, but it does not mean it has to be that way now.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 17:18:01

beatback you're right that I'm committed to comprehensive education, but truly I'm not arguing black is white just because you say it isn't! I'm arguing for my point, not 'against' you!

As for war breaking not breaking out: well, quite, but you're the one doing all the shouting you know!

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 17:22:27

And it is all about a mere 164 grammar schools- a tiny number.

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 17:23:33

A big question if you live in Kent,or other pockets, but irrelevant to most of the country.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 18:13:25

EXOTIC FRUITS. I think you could say the story is bigger, than the sum of its parts. However in other parts of the country is not the story instead about private vs state.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 18:18:56

No, of course not. Only 7% of the children in the country go to private school.

Most childrengo to comprehensive schools. Most children do well. Only UKIP openly wants to reintroduce grammar schools, and even they have no answer when asked whether that means they also support secondary modern schools.

What do you think happens in all the areas where there are no grammar schools? Do you think that children all fail?

handcream Thu 09-May-13 18:36:00

All of this shows just how popular grammar schools are. Extensive tutoring I dont necessarily agree with but who on earth scrapped grammar schools???

BTW - I live in a grammar school area (Bucks) but went private as I didnt like the tutoring, smug middle classes saying they didnt believe in private education but did pay over the top for a house in the grammar school catchment area.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 18:37:54

Who scrapped grammar schools?

Possibly people who realised that they were also scrapping secondary moderns?

handcream Thu 09-May-13 18:41:16

Its blooming Labour - who thought everyone should all be equal (apart from them and their children of course!).

I went to secondary school the first year grammars were scrapped. Complete chaos and went to a sec modern school that was complete rubbish!

handcream Thu 09-May-13 18:42:37

Grammar schools are in great demand. Please bring them back...

They werent for my children but I dont see what we have now is doing anyone a favour.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 18:43:56

Please can you address the point that you will be bringing back secondary moderns too?

The Tories did quite a lot of grammar school scrapping too!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 18:49:13

I thought it was the Tories who scrapped most of them?

handcream Thu 09-May-13 18:49:41

But sec moderns were rubbish (if that question was to me). Now learning a trade for the less academically inclined would be a good idea.

What I am saying is that look at the people applying for grammar school places, its a very popular option. Seeker - even you chose it and I am not having a go at you. I would have in the same circumstances tbh.

If there were more grammar schools wouldnt it calm down a bit.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 09-May-13 18:50:39

If there were more grammar schools, would there not also have to be more secondary moderns though?

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 18:56:47

seeker. I'd have no qualms about re-introducing secondary moderns. Except that I wouldn't call them by that term, since it's got such negative connotations, which is why you keep demanding a response. And I'd like to see the new alternatively named secondary moderns fit for purpose in providing an appropriate education for the remaining 90%. Which would almost certainly mean a further subdivision of children, geared to their talents and needs. One important reform that's required (but almost certainly not going to happen) is grammar provision right across the UK. It's merely a recognition that people are different, which is not a revelatory proposition.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 19:00:30

"recognition that people are different, which is not a revelatory proposition."

Of course it's not. That's why you have comprehensives with rigorous setting. I genuinely can't see why that's a problem.

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 19:03:04

MN posters get it all out of proportion- about 3% go to grammar schools and 7% to private schools therefore the rest of the country is not state v private- because most people can't afford it. What we should be doing is getting poor comprehensives up to the level of the best, because most children will get comprehensive education.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 19:23:26

Actually handcream it was both Conservative and labour. Both for different reasons.First the unofficial reasons Labour realized that if Grammar Schools became succesful I.E taking working class kids out,of their communties it would diminish the socialist vote,they were frightend that the most socialist thing would be to succesful. Conservative two reasons first to save money,the second was that toffs within the tory party were very worried by the influx of talented oiks,that were threatening their god given right to places in the establishment. Now the official reasons Labour decided that it is unjust and incorrect,to judge a childs Academic abilty at 11 years of age,and that it particulary discrimanated "Working class kids".Conservative in certain conservative areas the party came under local pressure,to make sure that "LITTLE JOHNNIE OR JEMINAH" would not have to face the prospect of failing. I say in some conservative areas,because in other Conservative areas Kent, Buck,s Essex ,Trafford ,Wirral, they decided that why get rid of good schools because the secondary moderns are bad. Trafford is an area that has managed to make a fully selective system,I.E 30% selection while still having kids who fail going to secondary schools,that still achieve up to "80%" 5 A TO C INC ENGLISH AND MATHS. the fact that Bucks and kent cant achieve this is a sad indictment on kent and bucks, if you were to ask a non selective school in trafford are you a "SECONDARY MODERN" they would tell you do Secondary modern schools get kids reguarly to russell group universities. The selective system really works in trafford and to a lesser extent on the wirral.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 19:26:42

"Secondary modern schools get kids reguarly to russell group universities"

I would really like some evidence to support this. I want it to be true- but..........

beatback Thu 09-May-13 19:27:34

Labour introduced the 1944 Education act that introduced Grammar Schools to all kids who could pass. before that the Grammar schools were fee taking or scholarship schools.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 19:32:38

LOOK AT SOME OF THE TRAFFORD SCHOOL STATISTCS! The good thing in trafford is that kids can cross from Grammar to High school in 6th form and the other way depending on what the right course is for them.THAT IS VERY TRUE, if this does not happen in Kent it is a sad fact that Kent Education Commitee are not very good,and need to take some lessons from their northen cousins.

LaVolcan Thu 09-May-13 19:33:38

beatback - Labour didn't introduce anything back in 1944. It was the wartime coalition which did so. This was a genuine coalition made up of Covservative, Labour and Liberal MPs.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 19:36:05

Anyone can apply to any 6th form if they have the right grades.

Are you saying that children regularly go to Russell Group Universities from Trafford secondary Moderns or from Trafford 6th forms?

beatback Thu 09-May-13 19:38:45

I KNOW IT WAS A GRAND COALITION. BUT CLEM ATLEE DID NOT SCRAP IT IN 1946 DID HE. It was part of the new deal for ordinary people who had suffered, so badly during the war and probaly the only Labour Goverment that brought anything to the table in history.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 19:43:20

BOTH SEEKER . If you look on DFE PERFORMANCE TABLES FOR SOME NON SELECTIVE SCHOOLS IN TRAFFORD. You will see that some of them get 1 to 2 percent 3 A LEVELS At AAB which is the general reqirement for russell group universities. So in a year of 150 they might get 2 a year through to a russell group uni, but they would get a few more to other universities.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 19:50:23

Ah. They get AAB- but you don't actually know what those A levels are, or what university the student goes to? So the "regularly go to Russell Group Universities" actually means "a very few get the minimum requirements for a RGU"?

LaVolcan Thu 09-May-13 19:53:00

Sorry beatback, I think you are trying to rewrite history. Who in 1944 knew that the war would definitely be over in 1945? Or that Labour would win a landslide victory in the 1945 elections held shortly after VE day, (not 1946)?

beatback Thu 09-May-13 21:33:28

I HAVE ONLY JUST COME BACK IN SO DONT THINK I WAS HIDING. I was talking about Labours New deal of 1946 which on Education states the same policy as 1944,I.E a commitment to Grammar Schools. Atlee"S goverment came in to office on the 26th july 1945 and left office on 26th october 1951.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 09-May-13 21:39:32


Have sent you a pm. x

Yellowtip Thu 09-May-13 21:39:57

beatback why not just ditch all the capitals and converse normally, like everyone else?

LaVolcan Thu 09-May-13 21:56:50

The 1944 Education Act, didn't specify grammar schools. It promoted education which was to be 'appropriate' and specified primary, secondary and further education.

Labour did fail to take this to a more radical conclusion when it came to power and scrap private education and direct grant schools, and yes the Atlee Government did promote Secondary Modern Schools. The Technical schools that they also promoted hardly got off the ground.

For an interesting history read the following, which is a good summary:www.educationengland.org.uk/history/chapter05.html

beatback Thu 09-May-13 21:59:44

MORE THAN POTATO PRINTS. As you can cleary see i say the new deal in my words nothing about a general election. THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT. You can check new deal 1946 on the internet if you like. You see people try to trip you up, and when they end up tripping themselves up its funny

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:03:41

Backbeat- please could you drop the capital letters? I find it very difficult to follow.

And please believe that nobody is trying to trip you up- this is a discussion. People may not agree with you- but that does not mean that they are "out to get you"

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:05:27

WELL since there is a commitment to secondary moderns there most be a commitment to selective education. I have said we should have technical schools,look at my posting about the J.C.B Academy.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:07:00

Who is committed to secondary moderns? As far as I can see, only the people who are committed to grammar schools!

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:08:36

ok just a bit of fun seeker. i actually like talking to educated people,because it helps me develop as a person. When i was at School i just wanted people to listen to me, they didnt so i can get a bit "SHOUTY" sorry.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:10:55

<puzzled now>

So you were joking about supporting secondary moderns? Oh, and you didn't get round to answering my question about pupils from secondary moderns regularly going to Russell Group Universities......

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:13:03

Seeker it was about the new deal 1946 not about current policy. when i said in a early post that clem atlee, did not scrap his commitment to grammar schools from 1944. and la volcan thought i meant the general election had taken place in1946 not 1945.

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 22:14:37

Those committed to secondary moderns are those who want them for other people's children - assuming that their DCs will be in the grammar school.

exoticfruits Thu 09-May-13 22:16:47

I don't think that you would have the numbers going to RG universities from secondary moderns because they will have gone via a grammar school 6th form or 6th form college.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:18:13


[none the wiser emoticon]

And these Secondary Modern to Russell Group students?

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:19:44

no i am not joking about supporting secondary moderns, because as i have explained, they can be excellent schools with the right teachers.I probaly would have got a better education at a modern than i got at my comprehensive,i really mean that maybe they could have taught me Maths or to read when i left my comprehensive i was barely literate, it has taken me 30 years of self teaching to be confident in my abilty.

LaVolcan Thu 09-May-13 22:24:47

Sorry, beatback - what are you on about? Where do you get the year 1946 from? Late 1945 and then 47 are the key years.

I would argue that the Attlee Labour Government was committed to Secondary Moderns, but the first Minister for Education, Ellen Wilkinson, was committed to Grammar schools because she had done well out of the system. I would certainly see it as a lack of vision on their behalf.

By the 1960s the system of Secondary Moderns was loathed by a good many,(even though there were some good secondary moderns), because children felt that they had been labelled as failures.

I suspect that in the 1960s an alternative could have been to implement a real push to build the missing technical schools that a lot more would have been satisfied - they would have taken the 60% of children in the middle. My SIL was one of the few to go to one, and she was perfectly happy there. She knew the academic curriculum of the grammar school wasn't for her. Sadly the family moved house when she was 14 and the new town only had secondary moderns, not technical schools, which was where she had to go to. I don't think she ever fulfilled her potential as a result.

Then, as now, there is no real attempt to value technical education, despite a number of good proposals being put forward over the years.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:25:09

EXOTIC FRUITS. Some secondary moderns have excellent 6th forms with quite high entry requirements say 4B"s +2C"s and with some of these secondary schools getting up to 80% 5A to C Maths and English you can see there is potential there. One secondary school i know got 8 kids who got 10AS at G.C.S.E last year and so on.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:31:02

So why aren't those high achievers in the grammar schools, then?

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:37:56

If you search out new deal 1946 on the internet you will see the labour report for windsor outlining labour policy and if you look under clem atlee on wikipedia you will see housing act 1946 national insurance act 1946, national health act 1946 new towns act 1946 these came together with the 1944 education act to create labours new deal 1946.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:39:08

Is there a reason you're not engaging with my question?

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:41:09

Because they did not quite pass their 11+ but they were not just told they could not achieve. The reason they did not go to the Grammar is because they liked the school they were at,and comfortable in the 6th form. Knowing the school will enable them to achieve.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:42:36

The 11+ was implemented after the 1945 election. It was, I think, originally a conservative policy. It was all about whether or not you wentnto a school that offered post 15 education or not.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:43:28

And the going to Russell Groups from secondary moderns?

LaVolcan Thu 09-May-13 22:47:40

I still think you are stretching it a bit beatback, housing, Nat Ins etc. etc., aren't Education.

The 1944 Act was cross party, and didn't specify grammars or secondary moderns. The post war Labour Government chose to implement the policy as Grammar/Secondary Modern, although I think their proposals initially came at the end of 1945. I think they showed a lack of vision, but that's a separate issue.

I suspect whichever party had got in would have implemented the '44 Act, and I doubt whether any other party would have had any more vision either.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 22:55:10

Well i dont know the kids personally but i do believe kids from at least one secondary school in trafford got to a russell group university last year. seeker do you want to know the names because i dont know them and mumsnet is supposed to be annon.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:57:14

No. You said that kids regularly go from secondary moderns to RGUs. I think that's the sort of statement that needs backing up. I don't think "well, I know of one" is exactly evidence.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 22:57:51

And "I do believe that...." Is even less evidence!

beatback Thu 09-May-13 23:22:08

Ok seeker. Define what you mean by regular are we talking 20 or 3 kids here.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 23:26:12

Seeker i think the british goverment needs you to negotiate in europe, for us. We end up with all are money back." WELL DONE" i am not going to go on the schools site and mention names.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 23:26:46

our money back tired grammar sorry

seeker Thu 09-May-13 23:29:00

You said regular- you define it!

beatback Thu 09-May-13 23:30:28

ok 3 kids then.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 23:33:45

I am very pleased that 3 children went to RGU from Trafford Secondary moderns. However, it doesn't really support your contention that secondary moderns are better than comprehensives, does it?

I would really like to hear why you think secondary moderns schools are a good idea. I assume you do, because if you support grammar schools, you have to support secondary moderns too.

beatback Thu 09-May-13 23:53:58

I dont support secondary moderns i support selective education, as i have said many times selective education if used correctly can benefit the top middle and bottom, the bottom should get specalist education that enables them to be literate when they leave education and capable of employment, with the chance of improvement either though work or education later in life when the time is right for them. The middle should have a education that equates to 5A to C Maths and English, which is the stepping stone to further education,the top should be pushed to achieve international standards of education,thus benefiting everyone in the country with highly qualified graduates. I do believe the best way to do this is by selective education, as for the word "SECONDARY MODERN" it is a word that has all kinds of stigma attached to it ,its like a bad swear word a throw back to the bad times of the 1960s. Even in kent which is "SNOB RIDDEN PLACE" for no reason they dont use the word secondary modern, people just use that word to shock. So no i am not in favor of 1960s style Secondary moderns but in favor of 2013 selective education, that benefits all the relevant groups.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 23:57:22

I don't use the words secondary modern to shock. I use them to remind people that selective education means telling the majority of children that they have failed at the age of 10. It shouldn't mean that, but it does. And anyone who has actually experienced the system, and is honest with themselves and others will know that.

beatback Fri 10-May-13 00:00:35

can i just say seeker it been a pleasure to debate with you and good night because im really tired now.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 00:05:41

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LaVolcan Fri 10-May-13 00:09:38

Too often you see posters referring to 'the comprehensive' and you have to translate - ah this is Kent they are talking about so it's really a secondary modern.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 06:53:07

If they are all doing so well in secondary moderns and getting top exam results it shows that the 11+ sorted them wrongly.

I failed 11+ and, despite being at a very good secondary modern, I felt a failure- it didn't need seeker's postings! I felt a failure. Other people with their 'what do you want to be when you grow up?............really........can you still do that?' made me feel the failure. It was the expectation that you fail an exam at the age of 10 years and suddenly people don't think you can be a doctor, lawyer etc.

We are nearly at the 70th anniversary of the formation of secondary modern schools- therefore the name itself is stupid!

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 07:18:38

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LaVolcan Fri 10-May-13 07:25:05

I common parlance though, and I am talking about the sixties and early seventies, you did 'pass' or 'fail' the 11+. I remember our headmaster dishing out the results letters with a little spiel about 'you haven't passed or failed, you have been selected for the appropriate school'.

Next morning in the playground:'Did you pass?' Not 'which school were you selected for?'.

In those days the exam was compulsory. I get the impression that it's different now in those GS/SM areas.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 07:28:11

I did just that MTS- so did lots of people that I know. It doesn't stop the feeling of failure at 10. I gave up telling people how I was going to achieve a good career I just stuck to 'I haven't decided yet' it was simpler.
When I got to the grammar school lots had left at 16 yrs. The system did not work- it is even less likely to work today where the tutoring to get in has become an industry.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 07:33:01

It is like sport LaVolcan- the staff are all about 'the taking part' and the DCs only want to know who won! You can dress it up how you like but 'selected for the appropriate school' was fail to the DC if it wasn't the 'winning' school. It was also- in some cases- not the appropriate school.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 08:12:41

"I failed 11+ and, despite being at a very good secondary modern, I felt a failure- it didn't need seeker's postings! I felt a failure. Other people with their 'what do you want to be when you grow up?............really........can you still do that?' made me feel the failure. It was the expectation that you fail an exam at the age of 10 years and suddenly people don't think you can be a doctor, lawyer etc. "

Yep. Hasn't changed!

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 08:24:29

exotic just because DC were treated rather more robustly in the sixties doesn't mean that the concept underlying grammar education has lost its value. Children don't all need and won't all benefit from the same sort of education after a certain age and the downsides of the system as it was could be addressed. Grammar provision around the country, accessible to all, is an excellent idea. Individuals will benefit and society too. The whole idea of writing it off in case some children perceived that they've failed is fairly weak and inherently unfair to those DC needing a faster paced more academic education. Streaming or setting means there are failures too. We all succeed and fail all the time. And the tutoring issue is being addressed, expensively, which indicates its importance to those running these schools.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 08:26:20

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exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 08:27:09

That is the problem - you can know that you haven't failed in your eyes, you can be told that by your parents and teachers,and yet you still get the barrier that before the results you can say you want to be a vet - but after the results people think you are unrealistic and yet you are eleven years old and sometimes even ten years old! Suddenly people are closing doors in your face - they have written you off as not having a chance of going to Oxbridge. You can tell them it was a minor set back and you will just do a,b and c to get where you want, but it is largely a waste of breath.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 08:35:48

I find it patronising to be told at 10 that I won't benefit from an accademic education. I did benefit from it. I was 2 DCs below a place. Had I lived on the other side of the river my marks would have got me a place.
Streaming is not failure- you can move up and down at any time.
DS1 was in set 3 for maths as he entered the comprehensive and yet within 6 months was in the top set. Had the top been creamed off there wouldn't have been anywhere higher for him to go.

The snobs remark and 'bearing to mix with the parents at secondary modern' remark just shows the prejudices and assumptions.hmm My best friends from secondary modern at 11, who are still friends today, were the DD whose father went to Oxford and mother went to Cambridge and the DD whose father was an army officer whose siblings were at boarding school. People don't half like to pigeon hole!!

LaVolcan Fri 10-May-13 08:42:35

The whole idea of writing it off in case some children perceived that they've failed is fairly weak and inherently unfair to those DC needing a faster paced more academic education.

If Secondary Moderns are so wonderful then why is all this tutoring going on? It sounds as though the perception that children have failed is still alive and well in Grammar areas.

You don't get the same sense of failure with setting - people can and do move up and down sets, and besides no one outside the school knows which set you are in. There was virtually zero movement between the Grammar/Sec Mod system.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 08:46:29


What nobody ever seems to have is a clear idea of what they'll do with what backbeat calls 'the bottom', or, those who are 'not recommended for academic education', or, those who fail the test.

It's not enough to say, 'we will ensure they are trained for vocations' or 'well we just need to make them equally good' - that's too vague, and it's wrong for the child who narrowly misses a place at the grammar school. What, actually, do the Bring Back The Grammars bods want to do with the rest?

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 08:48:11

They don't really care TOSNit - as long as their DC is isolated from them in the grammar school!

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 08:48:52

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exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 08:49:38

You can tell what is wrong with the system when we have just had giant assumptions made about the parents of SM pupils!

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 08:50:59

Why are they 'snobby' at grammar school and not at SM school?confused

seeker Fri 10-May-13 08:52:41

Yellowtip- there is a significant difference between being in a lower set for something, and actually spending your entire secondary school career wearing a uniform which says you failed the 11+! How can you problem compare the two!

And why can't the academic children who need faster paced learning get that in the top stream of a comprehensive? Why do they have to be in a different school? Are you saying that clever children all suddenly end up average everywhere but in the small number of areas where there is selection at 11?

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 08:54:35

seeker has sadi many times that the students at the SM are generally of a lower socio group. The GS is full of middle class parents.

Kent, it seems (I've never been so don't know) is divided not so much on academic lines as class dvisions.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 08:55:08

Sorry that was to exotic

seeker Fri 10-May-13 08:55:28

Possibly- not problem.

It is interesting how nobody actually addresses this issue. They just say stuff like "oh, children face failure every day" and "it's the same as choosing different universities" Er, no it isn't!

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 08:56:17

As for the top set point, c'mon! This has been discussed ad infinitum!

seeker Fri 10-May-13 08:57:30

Yep. Round our way the division is pretty much down socio economic lines. According to all the research, this is pretty typical. So unless you think that working class/disadvantaged children are inherently less clever than middle class/privileged ones, there's something going wrong somewhere.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 08:59:59

The top set thing has been discussed- but as far as I am aware, the one reason people come up with is that in a comprehensive the top set is a bit bigger- so a child will be working with a few level 5s as well as other level 6s. Well, if their intellect isn't able to cope with that then there's a problem there too!

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 09:02:00

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TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 09:03:51

Getting rid of GS because of snobs in your social circle is an equally silly reason

Yes, and it's not the reason anyone would like to get rid of the 11+, either.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 09:04:06

MTS- it is so very boring that even under your new name (the comeback kid, eh?) you carry on missing the point.

Why not join in a proper and interesting debate? It's honestly much more fun than whatever game you're playing. I promise.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 09:05:39

I have to say that at SM I never once came across a snob! The thing that upset me was the assumption that certain doors were closed to me- there was nothing remotely 'snobbish' about it.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 09:09:59

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seeker Fri 10-May-13 09:14:30

And it's not snobbishness that makes people congratulate the passers and commiserate with the failures! It's the simple fact that that's what you do.

Friend taking the driving test? "wow, well done!" if they pass, "What a shame, never mind" if they fail- oh, sorry, not fail- "selected as suitable for non driving"

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 09:24:30

... 'so we will focus all our energies on making you really good at catching buses for the rest of your life'?

seeker Fri 10-May-13 09:26:05

"Maybe one day you might even get to be a bus conductor! Not a bus driver, obviously......"

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 09:28:34

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seeker Fri 10-May-13 09:32:31

Why did I know that you wouldn't join in with a proper discussion? Or even a proper joke?

MTS- before you.....go.....again, please would you tell me why you've got it in for me so much? I would love to know.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 09:32:49

except of course, BSOrganic, you can take the driving test again in a few months, eh?

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 09:32:55

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seeker Fri 10-May-13 09:33:56

So why post at all????????

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 09:35:11

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TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 09:35:50

whereas you're bringing something new and exciting to the debate, huh?

seeker Fri 10-May-13 09:38:17

Ah. Missing the point again. Oh well.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 09:45:31

seeker a top set is suitable for many bright DC. My DD for example thrives in hers.

Everyone will get an A or A* at GCSE in year 11. The pace is just right for everyone in the class and when they diviate from the curriculum, everyone will be at an appropriate level to enjoy it and benefiot from it. Perfect.

However, there are some DC for who this is not appropriate. The pace is too slow. The content simply not sufficiently challenging. They coast. Why is that okay?

I've already told you about my DS as a good example. He is sitting a few GCSEs at the moment. He's 13. What would you have him do for the next two years? Sit in a corner, teaching himself? Go over work he has already done and absorbed? For two years!!!!!

I get the sense that you don't actually care. You will snif and post side comments about how such children ought to be able to crack on nicely. Well be careful. Your DC will find himself in exactly this situation in his secondary modern. And how happy will he be?

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 09:59:26

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seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:01:52

Of course I care. That's why I say that there seems to be a case for the super selective.

But your ds isn't top 10%, is he? He's top 1/2%- a special case. To be honest, I don't actually know what the best way of dealing with outliers like him is. I just know that making education policy based on the needs of the outliers is a bad idea. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't have their needs met- I just don't know how it should be done.

And yes, my ds's secondary modern might not be able to cope with their high achievers properly- that's why I think they should be in a comprehensive so they can move up.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:03:11

"Well, if one of you goes - hmm, MTS is right. Me buying a £750k house near the choice school is the same as me buying a better education - then I feel that I have achieved something."
Not the same, obviously, but yes, similar. Has anyone ever said that it isn't?

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 10:08:12

seeker I don't think he is top 2%. No where near. There are boys, much brighter, especially in math.

As I keep saying, he's not a genius! But top set in comp wouldn't work for him and many others like him. Don't get me wrong, I don't think he'd be damaged in any way, but he might get a very over inflated sense of his intellect. He might coast and get bored. He might never reach his true potential.

And the point I was making about your son, was that he is somewhere where the pace and content of lessons may be inapporpriate. You think therefore that he should be given access to a different kind of education. So what of those DC for who top set is inappropriate? They really are in the same boat as your DS.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Fri 10-May-13 10:08:57

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exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 10:10:50

Anyone who sits GCSEs at 13yrs has SN that need to be catered for- what is the school going to do with him for the next few years?

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:12:15

"So what of those DC for who top set is inappropriate? They really are in the same boat as your DS."

I don't know, as I said. I just know, as I said, as well, that making policy to suit the needs of the outliers is a bad plan.

Fair enough, MTS, whatever you say.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:13:16

If he's taking GCSEs at 13 the top set of a grammar school wouldn't suit him either.....

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 10:34:02

exotic where he goes to school he's not particularly unusual. There's all bright enough boys and most will have been through the CE and scholarship syllabus which gets them pretty much to GCSE standard.

What happens to each boy is individual. DS will do some this year, some next year and some in year 11. The space left will then be filled with either the same subject (but the school's own syllabus), or a new subject. Or a slippery mixture of the two.

It must be a logistical headache, mind you.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 10:35:43

Seeker And why can't the academic children who need faster paced learning get that in the top stream of a comprehensive?

Because there won't be enough of them. So either they become outliers and targets or they are forced to go at what is to them a snail's pace.

Having gone through this myself there is no way I would want to condemn anyone else to it. Being an outlier is shit. Being bored out of your skull and not stretched is shit. Being sacrificed for the perceived greater good is shit. And it doesn't even actually benefit the greater good.

handcream Fri 10-May-13 10:43:56

Grammar schools are very popular. The 11 plus is hard to pass especially without tutoring. People are paying over inflated prices for houses to get into the right catchment area whether that be a fab comp or grammer school. It happens all the time here. They can then smugly say that they dont 'believe in private education'.

We do need to accept that just because you arent wildly academic you shouldnt deserve a great education and perhaps learn a trade or vocation. Forcing for example nurses to have a degree completely misses the point. Nursing is a great career and you can literally change people's lifes.

And secondary moderns (or whatever they call them now) just doesnt do it.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:48:25

"Having gone through this myself there is no way I would want to condemn anyone else to it. Being an outlier is shit. Being bored out of your skull and not stretched is shit. Being sacrificed for the perceived greater good is shit. And it doesn't even actually benefit the greater good."

Being told you are a failure when you are 10 is shit. Why does it have to be one or the other?

handcream Fri 10-May-13 10:50:46

Russians - I agree, the really academic inclined could well have won a scholarship to a private school or got into a grammar school. Ending up in a comp is not always where the very clever end up.

Certainly in my DS's prep schools there are a couple of boys on full scholarships who have been taken out of their primary schools because of their academic ability with the option to go to a high peforming senior private school again with little in the way of fees. My DS shared his room with one last year. Must say that the boy was COMPLETELY focused on academic achievement. He was very shy and geeky. Couldnt catch a cricket ball to save his life but the boys in the house just rallied around and kept an eye on him to stop any potential bullying

handcream Fri 10-May-13 10:54:56

Seeker, if you choose to put your child forward for the 11+ then surely you must recognise that there will be a pass/fail. Its a test with a pass mark and its not secret that no EVERYONE passes.

If you dont agree with a test that has a pass mark then dont let your DC take it. But I know Seeker you did let your children take it and appealed when one of your children didnt pass....

You cannot have it both ways.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 10:56:33

But not going to a GS!=being told you are a failure. You are the only person who thinks that. I don't think my DS, who didn't even bother to try out for the GS, is a failure. But he knows he isn't the same sort of learner as DD1. That's a fact, it's not an opinion. He is in the right place for him, she is in the right place for her.

You are the person talking about people being failures, not me or Yellow, or Word.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:57:04

Let's pretend, shall we, that my children are not involved?

I have always been completely me about situation- but my position on the 11+ was formed before I had children of school age, so my children are completely irrelevant.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:58:31

Have any of you talking about children not feeling failures eve been in the playground of a Kent primary school on the day the Kent test results come out?

Thought not.....

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:59:14

Russian- you are in a super selective area- that is, as we bot agree, different.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 10:59:17

Handcream - If I wasn't a high earner (but not sadly high enough to be able to afford to send all 3 DCs to posh school, and certainly not secure enough to take a punt on being able to command those earnings for the huge number of years that will cover all 3 DC's educations) I might well have looked at the bursary route for all 3 of my DCs. Even though our local posh schools are not as good as the GS. Because of the travel, mainly. But that route isn't open to me.

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 10:59:35

I'm not sure I engage overly with seeker on this MTS since I think her propositions and reponses are weak.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 11:01:38

What you need to do is take KENT out of the equation. Nobody is saying 'let's all be like Kent'. Far from it. Reducing every single thread to talking about Kent is ridiculous and counter productive and just makes it obvious you are not interested in anything other than restating your own opinion. We all agree with you that the Kent system doesn't work. I'd happily call for a change to superselectives only in Kent. And everywhere else.

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 11:02:21

And it is absolutely true that you're the one with the mindset of failure seeker. I just don't think in those terms. Different perhaps, but not inherenly better or worse.

LaVolcan Fri 10-May-13 11:02:56

Have any of you talking about children not feeling failures eve been in the playground of a Kent primary school on the day the Kent test results come out?

or Bucks when their results come out?

seeker Fri 10-May-13 11:03:00

Well, if everyone agrees that the Kent system doesn't work, why don't any of the pro selection people except you say so?

seeker Fri 10-May-13 11:06:47

"And it is absolutely true that you're the one with the mindset of failure seeker. I just don't think in those terms. Different perhaps, but not inherenly better or worse."

It's not my mindset which means children who don't pass are commiserated with by shopkeepers! Or am I imagining it?

handcream Fri 10-May-13 11:07:07

Seeker - how can you say that what you think about the 11 plus is irrelevant!! You put both children forward and appealed when one didnt pass so I think we are all clear what you think about the test. The problem I think tbh is that one of your children didnt pass it but that's the risk.

Not everyone passes a test where there is a pass mark!

I went to a sec modern. I wasnt the failure - it was the blooming school that failed me with no real expectations. If the academic element was taken out and more vocational/trades were concentrated on wouldnt that be better?

Having had to get a plumber out over the years. They are like gold dust!! Lets have more of them. We cannot all be A* students.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 11:09:22


I have held the same opinion since before I had children of school age. I have posted extensively on the subject.

Of course what I think of the 11+ is relevant. What happened to my children isn't.

handcream Fri 10-May-13 11:12:39

But surely you can see Seeker that complaining you dont like selection and then taking a very well know test with a known pass and fail mark makes you someone who doesnt practise what they preach.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 11:12:48

It may or may not be awful on results day for the 11+ in Kent.
Probably no worse than GCSE results day to be honest.

But that doesn't mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater and insist that absolutely everyone in the entire country should be forced to got to a comprhensive!

It's a totally disproportionate response, and based on what? There is no eveidence that comprehnsives are either aiding social mobility or providing a better education.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 11:12:49

I'm sure Yellow has said in the past that she doesn't think the Kent system is much cop. Word also. We are not monsters, or people with closed minds, we can see how invidious the system is. However you seem incapable of recognising that for the very top cut, and that might not just be by exam results either, especially with GCSEs being the way they are, something different is needed.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 11:14:09

Seeker - again, you are comparing what seems to be a local ton for local people with the rest of the world which might be very different. I do not know a single shop keeper who would either know or care what school my kids attend. Not one.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 11:26:56

Kent sounds like it has the perfect storm of issues that make the current situation unpatatable!

The GSs appear extremely complacant and make no effort to ensure their pupils are the brightest, content instead to accept middle class well supported parents.

That's probably one of the reasons why some of their results are not actually all that!

Locally, there is an arms race amongst the middle classes. Most can no longer afford private school, so the pressure on the GSs is terrific. Plus there is an atmosphere that private schools (when GS is free) is a waste of money. So even more pressure.

Kent is close enough to London, that it is inffected with a desire to 'get on' yet too far away to be trully cosmopolitan. What my old Dad used to call 'tuppeny millionaires'...everyone bound up in the idea that GS is the make or break thing!

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 11:27:04

I reckon our school could have a whole extra form per year group, and still not be qualitatively different from the school it is now (although it might cause an issue for some of the kids, such as DD1, whose SEN issues mean that the smaller a school the better). So, an intake of 150 instead of 120. If that sort of coverage was introduced throughout the country, and obviously in more densely populated areas there would be a 'served' area rather smaller than our oft quoted 50 mile radius (which takes in kids from 3 or 4 counties), then that should work beautifully. Counties with difficult transport routes (not necessarily worse transport than where we are, but travel issues caused by geography/the road or rail network) might have to vary it a bit. There would need to be free or cheap buses. But it would work. The kids not going to the SSGS would not be, feel like, or be labelled as, failures. The SSGS could do more outreach than might currently be the case. It could definitely work.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 11:35:39

I think it would work fine russians

And no one would feel a failure if they didn't get in, especially if through outreach and adjustments less middle class kids won a place wink!

And plenty would not want to apply.

I think as a country we realy have to think about it. At the moment too many bright kids have no access to such schools and we are squandering that talent. Talent that might help us all in so many ways if used wisely.

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 11:41:20

Absolutely right Russians. These sorts of school accessible to all right across the country with the tutoring thing knocked on the nut as far as that's possible and free transport. And get rid of this plethora of grammars in Kent. That would be the ideal. For the top 10%.

seeker I'm not sure if you're aware of the outreach programmes that go on in the superselectives. They're not as far reaching as the Oxford Access Scheme if only because of resources (money and time). But there is the political will. Your version of the same education for all does sound incredibly unimaginative and dull and I think would tend to make some kids duller than they'd otherwise be.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 11:42:36

There seems to be a fair bit of consensus about these SSs! Not that it would probably be an issue for us, but I would be concerned about quite that amount of travel though.

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 11:45:53

Most kids really enjoy the journey though, that's the feedback they give. Mine live close so it's not an issue but lots of their friends don't. It's pretty clubbable on these buses, good down time.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 11:46:32

But nit your DC wouldn't have to travel. No one would if they didn't think it right!

It would just be a choice available to those DC who might best benefit from it.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 12:16:55

"Your version of the same education for all does sound incredibly unimaginative and dull and I think would tend to make some kids duller than they'd otherwise be."

Agggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Show me where I have said anything about the same education for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'mmmmm

beatback Fri 10-May-13 13:11:23

AFTERNOON ALL. So even seeker thinks some people require different maybe, even "SELECTIVE EDUCATION" so we are arguring over the percentages that should be in selective education,lets bring in A.C.A.S and we can discuss the % . I think 30% that in the case of "KENT" would probaly be enough to mop up inteligent kids that were not tutored, if to qualify it was say 330 instead of 360/410 in super selectives, would that not even things up a little. I am also aware that tutoring could be worth up to 40 points on non tutored kids, so why could a school not use the pupil premium to tutor bright, underprivileged kids. Another very intresting thing about Grammar Schools in different areas is the vast difference in F.S.M take up, in kent there seems to be a huge difference, but in trafford the Grammar Schools are about 2% where as the secondarys are about 6 to 7% which suggests there is a more even socio economic balance in schools.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 13:23:00

I wonder what people thinks happen to the 90% of the DCs who are at comprehensives with no grammar schools at all? Do DCs become dimmer in places that haven 't had a grammar school for 40yrs? Do their parents not have aspirations for their DCs?

I simply don't understand it. All the DCs are in the comprehensive- those at the top are going to the best universities, and as a regular thing and not a one off. Wordfactory talks as if only grammar schools can manage an exceptionally bright child or cope with individuals. When DS1 was in the maths 6th form class he had a year 8 DS working with them- he had been going to the comprehensive for weekly maths lessons from year 5 and got his GCSE in year 7. DS's friend got one of the top A'level marks in the entire country the year he did it. DS got an A and went to a RG university to do a science subject. He wasn't labelled a 'swot' or exceptionally bright- just fairly average in the class.

In what way would it have helped to be under the same roof with only the very bright? DS would have been hampered- the third set in maths would have been his place for his whole school career in a SM but in a comprehensive he did a month in it, five months in set 2 and the rest of his time in set 1. Would the DS who had a maths brain recognised in the junior school even of passed- his English was below average.

If my brother had stayed in the SM who would have known that he would excel in Latin and Greek? He would never have got the opportunity. Subjects are closed to you from the ridiculously young age of 11yrs.

What can be sensible about a system that failed my brother at 11yrs and put him in the gifted and talented range in the grammar school at 13yrs?

The fact that we are still doing in some parts of the country is a disgrace IMO.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 13:25:07

exotic if you think a year 8 boy spending large amounts of his school day with 18 year olds is a good idea, then you and I have a very different view of what's appropriate.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 13:27:30

He was in the A level class!! That was not large amounts of the day. The rest of the time he was in his normal year group classes. What on earth was he supposed to do for maths? Kick his heels for years while they all caught up? Luckily the school was more enlightened and had an individual programme for him.

LaVolcan Fri 10-May-13 13:37:24

I don't quite know what you are supposed to say exotic.

We have to have grammar schools, apparently, to cater for those 13 year olds doing GCSEs, and for those who would be kicking their heels doing work which is too easy for them. However, when the comprehensive arranges for a thirteen year old to do GCSEs or arranges for a maths whizz to be stretched then that's wrong.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 13:38:18

exotic I really don't think you're getting this, are you?

If he had been ain a superselective he could have done his accelerated work within his peer group!!!! They would have been at his level!!!!

He wouldn't have been the odd little kid, sitting with the boys who are getting ready to live independently.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 13:39:41

volcan it's wrong because DC pre pubescent DC shouldn't be forced to study with 18 year olds. In super selectives there are more than enough kids of their ability of their own age!!!!

seeker Fri 10-May-13 13:41:58

OK- as we're in our anecdotage- my ds is the only child in his school to join in September with a level 6. So far, they are providing extension work for him. If it's OK for him to be singled out, when he wouldn't be in a comprehensive, shouldn't it be equally OK for the year 8 GCSE candidate in a comprehensive?

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 13:47:16

No seeker it's not okay for anyone to be an educational outlier.

It's bloody horrible and absolutely will not result in a happy school life. Fortunately, I have been able to pay for my DS to ensure that he is not stuck in some bloody A level class!

But for those that can't afford it, I will support the provision of super selective education!

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 13:52:33

More anecdotage. Five out of six pupils at DD4s tiny primary school are predicted L6 next week and four out of five of those didn't get a place at the grammar. Is it fair to assume that L6s can be overrated or at least don't correlate with the sort of thinking skills looked for by grammars?

seeker Fri 10-May-13 13:54:06

The point is that my child is not an outlier. In a comprehensive school nobody would have to make any special provision for him. And I am prepared to bet that there plenty like him- and without someone to fight their corner they are stuffed.

Wordfactory- whether you like it or not, your child is an outlier. And I suspect that there won't be a decent sized set of year 8s doing A level in many schools in the country of any sort. There would always have to be special provision made for him. Apart from where he is, obviously. But you can't make education policy to fit the outliers. It's sad, but true.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 13:55:44

yellowmy DS only got a level 5 in Maths shock!!!!

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 13:57:20

seeker I bet he could go to any number of private and selective state schools in London and slot in perfectly fine!

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 13:58:50

word is at pains to point out that her DS is just part of the crowd at his particular school. As are my DC at their school. Of course you can frame an education policy to cater for the very bright. Why ever would you not be able to? It's entirely possible and should be done.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 14:03:20

You misunderstand me. Of course an education policy must cater for the extremely bright. But the policy can't have their needs as its core.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:04:38

I don't think that you are getting it either wordfactory. I am not talking about a DC who would have been normal in a grammar school - my friend's DS who got some of the top marks in the country and did maths at Cambridge- this was a boy who was exceptional at any school.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 14:05:07

Really? Any number of schools with sets of year 8s doing A level maths?

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:09:33

In all my years of teaching I have never come across a child who went up to a secondary school each week for a sort of master class- as this one did.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 14:11:39

exotic there are some DC that are so off the scale that formal education is probably not for them.

There are some schools for gifted DC. Mostly in the US however.

But superselectives can cater for the very bright indeed without having to resort to sticking a 12 year old in an A level class!

DS school sends lots of boys off the Oxbridge to read maths and PPE and economics yadda yadda. I haven't heard that any of them needed to sit with the 18 year olds.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 14:13:14

So. The solution? That will make sure that your child and mine both have a peer group?

Superselectives? 10%- with an uncoachable test?

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 14:15:29

Well I'm sure that some people would argue that any society needs to foster the talents of its brightest thinkers. But even if you don't think they have a particular role, it's perfectly reasonable to shape a policy with provision for their needs as an important constituent part. That's no more or less core than providing vocational education for those with a vocational bent. It's at least as important.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 14:15:55

I have a friend with a properly gifted DS. This is how I know that my DS is not a genius.

This child was so far advanced in year two that teachers were already saying they could not cater. He was put up a year. Then two. It was dire.

Eventually she whipped him out until a selective day school agreed to take him (one year early) for free.
They soon realised that all was not well and arranged for him to go to university a few days a week. He also had regular on line tutorials with some profs in the states.

But it hasnot been a happy proccess. Not one to be recommended.

And my friend's advice to me? Do whatever you can to ensure that your DS is normal.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 14:19:52

But if travelling is the conditon, you're already narrowing things down to families who can afford that, or cater for it.

Or if, in my city where there are, I think, 8 state comprehensives (will leave private out of the equation for now), you have a SS grammar even just for the top ten %.... then suppose each school has a year 7 intake of 150ish (about right, I think, but could be wrong)... then to form a SS with a year 7 intake of about the same size, I reckon you're taking between 10 and 15 of the brightest 11 year olds from each existing year 7. Which is a good proportion of the existing top sets, and would make a difference to the school and its results.

These schools already serve city and surrounding areas, but if you broadened the radius a bit, you end up with a lot of children travelling a long way.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 14:20:13

Well here's what I figure yellow.

All DC must have an education that is appropriate for them.

However, if we're looking for someone who will develop a cure for alzheimers, or harnass the sun's energy efficiently, or write the next Handmaiden's Tale, we are probably looking to the top 10% of intellect.

We let them underachieve at our peril.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:21:12

I don't understand you at all. This is a perfectly ordinary boy but with exceptional maths ability. His parents were very down to earth and didn't want him treated differently. I don't understand what you expected him to do. He was beyond the level of grammar school pupils and the ones who go through the normal A'level and Cambridge. He was sitting in there with the boy who went to Cambridge and got a first. He was having the right teaching for his ability without his friends thinking him odd.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 14:22:36

So, wordfactory, what is your suggestion?

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 14:26:43

I understand word perfectly. Normal is very important too here in this house. None of mine are gifted but I'd always put a far higher premium on the social aspect of school and a decent peer group than I would on fostering a gift - or the gift all too easily turns into a curse.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:30:02

Which is what this boys parents did!! He also needed to be taught at the appropriate level.

beatback Fri 10-May-13 14:32:16

Exotic fruits. You say that 7% of kids go to private schools,3% go to Grammar Schools.But what percentage of russell group oxbridge,places do they take up. Seeker on page 4 of the secondary section there is a posting about wellington school in trafford. You may wish to read it. If 90% of kids go to comprehensives, surely 90% of all oxbridge graduates should have been educated in comprehensives, as we all know it is probaly less than half that. So you can see the comprehensive system is not fit for purpose. It does not help those at the bottom read and write,it does not get anyway near enough kids to oxbridge or russell group uni"s. It only works for the middle 60% "MEDIOCRITY".

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 14:32:25

Sounds to me as though he was happy and so was everyone else, Exotic!

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:32:26

Grammar schools are not bursting at the seams with DCs who do maths at Cambridge - nor are DCs who manage GCSEs a few years early two a penny - and if they are they have changed vastly from my day. I went to a grammar school in addition to a SM.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 10-May-13 14:34:04

No, beatback, those figures would only make sense if private schools and grammar simply took whoever wanted to go, but they don't. All grammar schools and most private schools take children who pass the entrance test. Bright children. Children who were probably the most likely to go to RG universities and Oxford and Cambridge anyway.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:36:11

My DS went to a RG university and he had friends there from private schools and grammar schools, but the majority were like him, from comprehensives- which they would be if 90% of children go to them.
Are you really saying that RG universities consist of DCs from Kent, Bucks and other pockets?

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 14:43:07

Many (? Well, some) GS are in fact bursting at the seams with DCs who do GCSEs early, because all the kids there do all their GCSEs early.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 14:54:07

They can do them early in the comprehensive- I can't see the point personally. I still don't understand why 97% of the country without grammar schools have dimmer children or why someone is suddenly a better teacher if they happen to land a job in one of the 3% of schools.
If there are no grammar schools the bright DCs and good teachers are in the comprehensive- they can't be up to much if they can't cope unless segregated.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:02:52

exotic you do understand the difference between grammar schools in say Kent and super selectives (both state and private), don't you?

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 15:06:51

No wordfactory- failing the 11+ made me too thick to grasp it!

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:07:52

Well you sound as if you are conflating the two!

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 15:08:14

I shall leave people too it, ,when we get down to patronising people I have had enough.

exoticfruits Fri 10-May-13 15:08:35

Sorry to- not too.

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 15:10:24

I don't understand why DC should ever do GCSEs early. For the purposes of accurate measurement and comparison, all DCs ought to take all the GCSEs they will ever take at a single sitting at the end of Y11.

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 15:11:48

wordfactory - I don't understand your point. I am from Kent and, indeed, briefly attended a GS here, as did several of my first cousins on my father's side. Both the girls' and boys' GS we attended are "superselectives".

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 10-May-13 15:12:40

My two went to state comps (all boys and all girls, as that is how it works in our town) and then to RG universities. They have friends from all types of school.

What happens to those kids who do (say) Maths GCSE a year or two early and want to carry on with the subject to A Level. Do they start the A level early?

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 15:13:10

And all my cousins who stayed right through went to Oxbridge and did MAs and PhDs in illustrious institutions across the world...

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:16:06

Bonsoir my understanding from seeker was that children in Kent sat the 11+ and the top 25% went to grammar schools, the others DC go to secondary modern.

We don't have that here.

But there are a few super selectives with no catchment, which are much more selective than 25%. They don't really affect the other state schools because the catchment is so wide and selection so strenuous.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:17:51

As for sitting early.

Well DS teachers believe that in certain subject the curriculm is done and dusted. Ge the exam out of the way and get on with the real business of education.

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 15:19:44

No, it's nothing like that. Kent has all sorts of schools and the grammar schools are not all the same - far from it. They are highly differentiated from one another and operate in a market place. In Kent, state and private schools compete for the same DC and so you get specialities ie an all IB grammar school. In any case, lots of children in Kent do not take the Kent test (11+) - there is absolutely no obligation or expectation for DC to take it.

Some Kent comprehensives have a grammar stream so DC who have taken and passed the Kent test go there.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 15:19:49

One could equally say that kids who go all lady of the camelias over not being selected for Grammar School can't be up to much.

Neither statement is actually true, of course.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:21:47

amother I can only speak for DS school and say that they all sit math early.

And the powers that be believe that all boys should carry on with math, even if they don't want to take an A level in it, because everyone can benefit from doing more math!

I think you make a case not to do it. But you'd have to really state it well and come up with an alternative.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:22:53

Didn't know that bonsoir ... had only got my facts from seeker.

That'll learn me wink

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 15:24:53

Another example: a lot of families will send their DC to a Kent superselective GS but if their DC fails to make the grade for a SS and gets a second tier GS (and there are also third tier GSs...) they send him or her to a private school. The market is competitive, vibrant and exciting for those with brains and money... and there are also some excellent comprehensive schools. There are also sink schools for the leftovers that are not nice places to be.

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 15:25:23


Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 15:27:15

I agree about that need for comparable measurement Bonsoir and the taking of a clutch of GCSEs here and a clutch there does skew that measurement. The same for degrees, with all their varying formats. I think those in the business of apportioning weight to different degrees pretty much know the score though which is why it's not true to say that a 2.1 from University X is as hard won or taxing as the same degree from University Y. And as you'll know, the UCAS form requires GCSEs to be listed in reverse order of the year they were taken, so that's obvious too. Although there are some catches to that of course, depending on admissions criteria.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 15:44:58

That's true yellow. I think what ds school says is take em early if its ' purposeful'. And for DS for example, who wants to start a couple of new languages in year 10, he will buy himself some time in the schedule by knocking a few out early. He's gonna need it tbh!

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 17:50:00

I don't think DCs ought to be allowed to buy themselves time for more GCSEs. I think the system ought to measure a standardized level of achievement at a fixed point in a DC's life - that some DCs can manage 6 subjects while others have capacity for 13 is fine. Measuring capacity at a given point in time is useful per se.

I would nevertheless forget about MFL GCSEs entirely and just do the standardized CEFR exams - that's the global trend.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 18:24:55

TBH I think it's a given that most (all) of the boys at his school could manage a set of GCSEs in year 11 if that's what they had to do.

There's no suggestion that they're somehow making their lives easier. Far from it grin.

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 18:28:16

Except that simply being able to manage more ignores the question of challenge and depth. Some bright students are ready earlier to sit these exams and to hang on until the end of Y11 amounts to a marking of time, which is a waste educationally.

wordfactory Fri 10-May-13 18:31:32

That's it entirely yellow.

DS could hang on to show he can juggle however many GCSEs, but it'd be a bit daft really.
Better to learn a couple more languages, I'd have thought, if that what he fancies.

That said, I am completely against the cynical practice of getting students to sit as many modules as possible, as early as possible and then endlessly retaking them! This must be a bloody nightmare for the majorioty of students!

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 18:32:55

Well our school does it differently from yours word but I can see that the 'purposeful' caveat intends the same end, which is not to waste educational opportunities for bright kids but to maximise them within the system we have. I can see it's not just attempting to notch up a basic number of high grades in the easiest possible way.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 21:08:01

"No, it's nothing like that. Kent has all sorts of schools and the grammar schools are not all the same - far from it. They are highly differentiated from one another and operate in a market place. In Kent, state and private schools compete for the same DC and so you get specialities ie an all IB grammar school. In any case, lots of children in Kent do not take the Kent test (11+) - there is absolutely no obligation or expectation for DC to take it."

The grammar schools do not operate in a market place- they go by catchment.

It is very unusual for a clever child not to go in for the test- but obviously there is no compulsion to take it.

"Some Kent comprehensives have a grammar stream so DC who have taken and passed the Kent test go there."

This isn't true- there are no comprehensive schools in Kent, and it is very, very unusual for a child who passed the Kent Test to go anywhere but a grammar school. There are faith secondaries, but once again, they tend to be populated by children who didn't pass.

Some of the non selective schools have a grammar stream- but most do not have enough high achievers to make it a true grammar set. My ds is in th grammar set, and there are plenty of children in the set with him who scored low 4s in SATs.

Bonsoir Fri 10-May-13 21:25:09

You do not know what goes on in your county, seeker. You are assuming, quite erroneously, that what goes on local to you happens all over the county. It doesn't. There are grammar schools without catchments as well as GSs with catchments and there are areas where there are no GSs only comprehensives with GS streams. You need to venture out of your village from time to time!

seeker Fri 10-May-13 21:34:04

Could you name some of the comprehensives? Oh and some of the grammars without catchments? Even the super selectives use catchment to deal with being over subscribed.

Yellowtip Fri 10-May-13 21:45:58

It seems to me that Kent would be a model of how not to do things in a new system seeker.

Our superselective uses distance home - school only in the very marginal case of two students tying for the last available place. Other than that geography counts not a jot.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 10-May-13 21:51:07

A school that has a catchment area is by definition not a superselective.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 23:17:59

Sorry, that's what I meant- even with super selectives in the event of a tie distance is used. I was trying to make the point that grammar schools do not "operate in a market place"

beatback Fri 10-May-13 23:33:16

On a less serious note how many of you would pass the 11+ if you were just given it now with no "TUTORING" or practice. I bet 90% of the adult population would fail particuarly the Maths without a calculator.

beatback Fri 10-May-13 23:34:47


exoticfruits Sat 11-May-13 06:30:18

You have a pretty poor view of the adult population!
If I lived in Kent I would be able to have a steady job as a tutor.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 06:44:29

I can't do NVR!

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 07:28:32

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Trazzletoes Sat 11-May-13 07:38:27

Cognitive me too! I've never seen a fellow "Old Girl"(!) on here! Hello!

seeker Sat 11-May-13 07:40:47

And teach the maths that hasn't been covered in school. And make sure they have the vocabulary necessary to do the verbal reasoning. And teach the tricks that make it possible to do 50 questions in 45 minutes......

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 08:06:53

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seeker Sat 11-May-13 08:10:45

As I have said repeatedly, the children of involved, aware, literate parents of whatever social class [rolls eyes] are at a massive advantage when it comes to preparation for the 11+ (as in so many other areas of life). Which means that disadvantaged children are at a massive disadvantage (as in so many other areas of life).

Sweeping this undeniable fact under the carpet is just plain stupid.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 08:56:28

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seeker Sat 11-May-13 08:59:52

Nope. That is one of my arguments against selective education.

However, it is a powerful one. Unless you believe that poor children are intrinsically thicker than not poor children. Which I presume you don't. So there must be some explanation for the vanishingly small number of children on FSM in grammar schools........

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 09:08:47

I thought there was an increasing number seeker.

Also, as far as distance from school goes as an admissions tie breaker for the last available place, the chances are that the furthest away child will actually be from the better off and more 'involved' background. You are of course nit picking about a maximum of one place a year of course, and I'd like to know what your suggestion is for deciding in a dead heat/

seeker Sat 11-May-13 09:10:57

Yellow tip- I don't have a problem with proximity for tie breaking- surely there isn't any other way to do it? [puzzled emoticon]

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 09:19:23

Yellowtip, not really relevant to the main subject of this thread, but relevant in relation to the concept of 'super-selectives', if I am right in assuming that your DCs go to the one selective school left in your county, can you clarify how this came about? Presumably, the LEA did not decide to close all the selective schools but this one - or did they?

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 09:36:16

Well you claim that even superselectives 'use geography' which they do in this one teeny weeny barely worth mentioning instance. But since it's statistically more likely to lead to the less 'advantaged' child securing the place, it makes sense.

You seem to know a vast amount about the perceived benefits of tutoring seeker. I think you vastly overrate the advantage it gives at least to a child at a reasonable primary. And there must be hundreds of fairly useless tutors out there feeding off parental worry whose tutees nevertheless fail to get in to their grammar of choice.

The maths papers included the whole of the Y6 syllabus in order to allow children the capacity to attempt sufficient questions to secure a pass, regardless of the order in which their particular primary had taught the syllabus. That was fair, not intended in any way to catch anyone out. Obviously if a child covers the entire syllabus by the middle of the autumn term, provided he's dextrous with the concepts, he's at an advantage. But he has to be capable of reasoning first. Some schools require a pass in English first before the maths even becomes relevant. More and more schools are going down the Durham route and more are gearing up on English. There's a widespread consensus in the grammar school circles that the advantages of formal tutoring should be negated. Your own argument against selective education in the future seems to hinge overwhelmingly on the sins of the recent past. That's not a great way to move forward and it certainly isn't a 'powerful' argument - in fact it's quite weak.

hanson1000 Sat 11-May-13 09:41:01

I felt that i needed to comment on the 11+ i am on J.S.A and my DD passed her 11+ with just a few bond books that the primary school teachers found me. The Kent test with a score of 416 last year, no one in my family ever passed the 11+ before, i basically left school in year 9 due to becoming pregnant,and have a very poor education. seeker this is my DD"S one chance to escape the cycle that has dogged my family for years. SOCIALLY has been the biggest problem this year. My DD has trouble believing that she belongs with the "MIDDLE CLASS KIDS" but do you not think my DD deserves a chance to do better than me or her close family.

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 09:49:21

Cecily there are others in the county but not the particular LEA. I can only assume all others became comps (the nearest was about 10 miles away) but I didn't live here during my school years. What I do know for sure is that there was enormous local support for this particular school and there have been various campaigns since to ensure it retained its selective status.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 09:55:08

I only mentioned the geography thing to refute Bonsoir's grammar schools are a market place claim.

hanson1000 Sat 11-May-13 10:23:12

ok i told a little fib, one of the primary school teaches gave up 1 full day 2 weeks before the exams to help DD with her VR, and little bits of help before that at luchtimes. It is possible for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds like mine to pass, its "HARDER" no one says it inst but it can be done.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 10:24:06

Yellowtip-'do you have an explanation for the low number of children on FSM in grammar schools?

hanson1000 Sat 11-May-13 10:25:54

MY DD"S on F.S.M

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 10:27:05

Thanks anyway, Yellowtip. It just seems such a strange thing - could it have been local government changes?

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 10:53:48

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seeker Sat 11-May-13 11:04:25

There's is a well documented average gap of 9.6% in FSM between grammar schools and their surrounding areas. Happy to link if you want.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 11:23:46

I think seeker is right i think in last 2 decades, the number of people with F.S.M at Grammar Schools has probaly decreased, but thats because not enough kids from deprived backgrounds are getting there.probaly 20 years ago more working class kids % got to Grammar School, than today. Therefore has i have said why not use the "PUPIL PREMIUM" to tutor bright working class kids, that would even out the discrepancies between, those who can afford tutoring and those that cant.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 11:27:35

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beatback Sat 11-May-13 11:34:45

It could also be to do with the fact that many parents,from working class communties,think their kids have no chance and wont even give it a try,and thats down to the schools. Because if a kid as a chance whatever his or her background,the school should be encouraging them to at least have an attempt, and if they dont pass,dont make the kids believe its the end of the world.

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 11:46:02

I think that recently the percentage claiming may have increased not decreased since more of those eligible are actually claiming. This is due to the economic climate as well as the advent of cashless canteens. Not everyone eligible claims and not everyone who claims wants it known. This is speculation, but I would expect there are more parents eligible to claim in grammar schools who don't than there are in other schools where the percentage claiming is relatively high.

Less well off children will only get a place if they're entered for the test. There isn't the support for selective education in primary schools that there once was and the sort of attitude displayed by seeker, that these are middle class ghettos and the untutored don't stand a chance, creates a momentum of disincentive all of its own. It really is very pernicious, however well meant. These are exactly the same issues of access that Oxford and Cambridge and other top universities have had to address. The two could dovetail really.

I'd like to see superselectives rolled out across the country, kids actively encouraged by primary heads to apply, tests made tutor proof and financial aid given to cover transport so that there are no real barriers to access in the way.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 11:46:39

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MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 11:47:42

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beatback Sat 11-May-13 11:54:01

Parents might not claim F.S.M but the numbers who get the pupil premium would probaly tell, who might or might not be eligible for F.S.M and the schools, are no displaying how many kids got the pupil premium and what it was used for.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 11:54:45

forget the word no. sorry

seeker Sat 11-May-13 11:58:04

"Vanishingly small" does not mean getting smaller.

"Vanishingly small" means very small.

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 11:58:11

A child will only get the Pupil Premium if its parent actually applies for FSM. A child does not get the Pupil Premium unless it's properly registered for FSM.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 12:01:39

Yellow tip. Thanks i thought pupil premium would be automatic based on the families income, and that parents would not need to claim it.

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 12:10:00

It's not possible beatback. Bit of a privacy issue there!

beatback Sat 11-May-13 12:21:03

So if a grammar School on its website , said we had £10000 pounds this year for pupil premium. The no of families who could claim the pupil premium but didnt because of stigma. The school should have recieved say £20000 if all the families who could, claimed it.

Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 12:27:48

Absolutely correct beatback. Schools can encourage parents to claim but they can't insist and they have no right whatsoever to know parental income.

In addition to those whose income is below the threshold for FSM and choose not to claim there are those in possibly the even more difficult situation of being just above it. Or even a few thousand above it, which is still pretty low. The grammar my DC attend has a very good scheme for offering financial support but sadly not all grammars do.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 12:42:04

In theory then when it says in the statistics, for a Grammar School the F.S.M cohort is 2% the reality is its 4% still low but not quite as low as seeker would have us believe.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 12:44:18

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Yellowtip Sat 11-May-13 12:58:47

Obviously it's impossible to know exactly how many don't claim beatback but it's almost certain to be the case that take up varies geographically.

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 13:01:48

This is speculation, but I would expect there are more parents eligible to claim in grammar schools who don't than there are in other schools where the percentage claiming is relatively high.

I am not sure about that though there may be more stigma if very few claim. There are many children who are eligible who don't claim because they go home for dinner, but if a school has a very large catchment area, there will be relatively few such pupils.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 13:07:36

You could make the obivious post that 98% of Grammar Schools are in Conservative areas and they tend to be more expensive and,attract higher socio economic groups . But in 1976 in a LABOUR STRONGHOLD of Tameside north Manchester there was a massive effort to keep their Grammar Schools, alas because it was a "LABOUR STRONGHOLD" the fact that the majority of the local parents wanted to keep the Grammar Schools was not relevant to the "POLITCAL DOGMA" of the time, and what happened next was "FLIGHT" by the Middle Class in large numbers to south Manchester,leaving Tameside to be a working class area forever.

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 13:11:33

'I suspect that 20 years ago GSs were ubiquitous and therefore easier to get in since there were more places.'

20 years ago there were roughly the same number of grammar schools as there are today. As far as I am aware, only Milton Keynes has 'gone comprehensive in the last 20 years.

'As the number of GSs decreased the competition to be in catchment got greater. The well off MC families moved to these catchments, driving up house prices thus forcing out the local WC families.'

Except that most grammar schools don't really have catchments. They take children from vast areas which have families at all income levels.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 13:19:07

meant to say point

Bonsoir Sat 11-May-13 13:24:12


- From the Judd (a superselective in Tonbridge) website:

"Catchment Area
The Judd School does not have a catchment area, so applicants may be successful from any area. The KCC Admissions Booklet does contain a map of the areas designated 'selective' in Kent, but this is not relevant to admissions to The Judd School."

- From the Tonbridge Grammar School (superselective, IB) website:

"The overall Published Admission Number (PAN) will be 150 with up to 115 places available to in area girls and 35 Governor places available to out of area students.

The school has advised KCC of its intention to offer an additional 23 Year 7 places for September 2013 over and above the PAN of 150. These places will be allocated on 1st March, according to the school’s published oversubscription criteria, as follows: 18 places to ‘in’ area applicants and 5 places to ‘out’ of area applicants, maintaining the original proportion of out of area Governor places available.

Following KCC's reallocation on 17th April scores for entry to TGS in September 2013 are:

IN area 398 (with the last offer at a distance of 7.04)

OUT of area 413 (with all 413 scores offered)"

- From the Homewood School (Comprehensive, Tenterden) website:

"Ability or Aptitude
All applicants will be invited to take part in an Assessment with the information gained from the assessment being used to select 72 students according to the scores achieved. In the event of a group of applicants having the same score at the 20% percentile the criteria for selection from that group will be according to criteria specified in paragraphs c) and d) above."

I suggest you visit some schools in Kent in order to find out more smile

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 13:30:13

'You could make the obivious post that 98% of Grammar Schools are in Conservative areas and they tend to be more expensive and,attract higher socio economic groups . But in 1976 in a LABOUR STRONGHOLD of Tameside north Manchester there was a massive effort to keep their Grammar Schools, alas because it was a "LABOUR STRONGHOLD" the fact that the majority of the local parents wanted to keep the Grammar Schools was not relevant to the "POLITCAL DOGMA" of the time, and what happened next was "FLIGHT" by the Middle Class in large numbers to south Manchester,leaving Tameside to be a working class area forever.'

Tameside may have normally been a labour stronghold but the plans to introduce comprehensive education in 1976 were reversed because the Conservatives or even, "THE CONSERVATIVES" won the local council elections that year. It wasn't a massive effort, simply the new council shelving the plans that the previous labour council were implementing. The reason it was newsworthy at the time was the secondary school allocations for the coming September had already taken place before the council elections. In practice it meant that places at one grammar school that had been destined to be a 6th form college were now up for grabs for bright 11 year olds taking a belated 11+ exam. I am not sure when Tameside eventually became comprehensive but I doubt if that is what can made it a working class area.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 13:35:50

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Bonsoir Sat 11-May-13 13:43:12

"Yellowtip- I don't have a problem with proximity for tie breaking- surely there isn't any other way to do it?"

How about by age? That is widely-used tie-breaker in French schools overseas - in the event of a tie-break, the older pupil (ie the one born earlier in the year) gets the place.

Or you could use height? Another totally arbitrary but objective criterion...

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 13:45:12

I believe a number of GSs in Kent have specific catchments. However most GSs don't, or they have such large ones that they can hardly be called catchments. Take a look at the designated catchment for Latymer in Edmonton, or the proposed new catchment area for Tiffin Girls School in Kingston - they are HUGE. Contrast this with highly popular comprehensives in affluent areas, such as Fortismere in Haringey, where the catchment is about 500 metres.

You are correct bonsoir, skinners also is a superselective in tunbridge wells with no catchment. Mascalls in paddock wood is also a full comprehensive .

There are boys travelling from London to both Judd and Skinners.

CecilyP Sat 11-May-13 13:47:58

I would have thought the younger child should have got the place in the event of a tie break. Years ago, 11+ scores were weighted in favour of children who were young in year. It doesn't really matter, does it, whether you toss a coin or whatever?

Bonsoir Sat 11-May-13 13:56:19

No, it doesn't matter. The point is only that using distance as a tie-breaker doesn't negate the fact that Judd, TGS or Skinners are superselectives with either no or only partial catchment criteria.

beatback Sat 11-May-13 15:19:36

Cecilyp.I was born in Tameside and my family had a succesful business there for 40 years, we left along with many middle class people to go to south manchester and cheshire in the early 80s,and although we had a succesful business there, we were looking for a better quality of life. When we sold the business in 2006 you could see the place was just getting worse. One of the first things to start the rot in Tameside was the abolition of the Grammar Schools that would have been a reason, for people to stay, Tameside and Oldham have never been able to escape their past as textile towns. "TAMESIDE IS AN AREA" of sterotypical northen towns "FLAT CAPS" FERRETS" although Tameside Council have tried very hard to rejuvenate the place "LABOUR", this is not about Labour or Tory, its about mistakes that were made in the past.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 16:19:05

"There are fewer FSM kids at GSs compared to neighboring catchments because of house prices so it is a bit silly to argue that its because the 11+ is unfairly biased against WC kids."

No. The 9.6% gap is in relation to the catchment the grammar school is in. Not the neighbouring catchment.

MTSOrganicChickenFan Sat 11-May-13 19:08:32