Grammar school in special measures

(59 Posts)
muminlondon Wed 11-Sep-13 07:22:05

The new Ofsted regime is tough indeed. Will the school need a sponsor if it is a converter academy?

creamteas Wed 11-Sep-13 08:36:12

There are good schools and bad schools of every type.

There is a school near me that had a reputation for outstanding results and some people did all sorts of things to get their kids in. It later went into special measures.

When people looked past the headline results, it became clear that they came from extensive tutoring.....

exoticfruits Wed 11-Sep-13 08:49:46

People assume that 'grammar school = good school.' They have less excuse for failing, as they cherry pick their pupils, but they are not exempt. Any type of education- comprehensive, grammar, private, even HE has the whole range from wonderful to dire.
I would think that Kent has a huge problem caused by tutoring,and there are children there who are not suited. There is also the fact that if you have the best academic students in the area you should be really stretching them and not just tootling along.

tiggytape Wed 11-Sep-13 09:17:32

The new Ofsted regime is tough but it is more accurate in many ways. Under the old regime a coasting school could get a good inspection grade. As long as results were great, less notice was taken of how that was achieved so grammar schools and schools with 'easy' intakes tended to do well.

Now Ofsted looks at things like teaching across all subjects - a school can nolonger be outstanding if teaching is below that standard whereas previously it could. Progress and not just results are also examined so it isn't enough for a grammar school to take 150 very clever children and get them decent GCSE results, the children have to progress well from the point they started at. As exocticfruits said, it is weeding out the schools who got away with tootling along.

LaVolcan Wed 11-Sep-13 09:57:11

What stood out for me was the school's statement:

"It has an academic record that many schools would be proud of, with 95% of pupils achieving five or more A*-C GCSEs including English and Mathematics.

Er, no, I thought - if you are creaming off the top 23% then that should be a 100% record. Now if they were boasting of 95% A* and A, then I the special measures would be something to gripe about.

LaVolcan Wed 11-Sep-13 09:58:23

then I the special... or then I think the

not the jumbled statement I made. (ex grammar school, but from ages ago.)

Bonsoir Wed 11-Sep-13 10:00:39

The issue of highly selective schools not adding much value is a very real one that needs addressing.

Talkinpeace Wed 11-Sep-13 10:53:23

I am really glad that this has finally happened.
Because it will mean that the Kent system gets shaken up and teaching standards rise for ALL kids.
As Bonsoir says, Value added at some of the Grammars is utterly dire - but masked by comparison with the local Secondary Moderns.

ReallyTired Wed 11-Sep-13 11:11:46

OFSTED look at progress and its unfair to compare the grammar results with the local secondary modern. However secondary moderns often have a few outliers who are bright and grammars often have a few throughly thick and over coached kids. OFSTED look at the starting points and the end points of children.

OFSTED also look at safeguarding, which prehaps the grammar was poor at. I haven't seen the report. Certainly behaviour at this school is poor as the children are bored.

exoticfruits Wed 11-Sep-13 11:22:20

Another mistaken belief is that all grammar school pupils are well behaved and there is no bullying.

LaVolcan Wed 11-Sep-13 16:24:19

OFSTED look at progress and its unfair to compare the grammar results with the local secondary modern.

I quite agree, you are not comparing like with like. But my point is that 95% A*- C is not something to boast about given their intake.

Why don't they ask people out if they are not up to standard? It might stop some of the over coaching going on.

soul2000 Wed 11-Sep-13 17:46:17

This is very intresting and pleasing in a way because it shows that Ofsted
have finally realised that Cs for Grammars schools are only equal to Es at Secondary schools with mixed intakes.

The 5 A* to C measure is also biased to Grammar schools, and high performing Comprehensives that are located in areas of advantage.

Perhaps Grammar Schools should be rated on % A* to B in Gcse rather than A*to C. Maybe compared at A level with a rating similar to the
AAB as that being what is generally required for admission to Russell Group Universities.

About 5 years ago i remember Stretford Grammar School becoming the first Grammar School in special measures, and Boston High School a Girls Grammar was also slated in a inspection report both Schools have now turned their Schools round. They have had recent good or excellent inspection reports. Chatham Grammar have a greater chance of turning the School round than say a non selective school in a deprived area.
A intresting thing is that both Chatham Grammar/Stretford Grammar are located in areas of social disadavantage which is an anomaly. Most Grammar Schools are located in areas of realtive advantage.
I wonder is there anything in that regarding the inspection report.

soul2000 Wed 11-Sep-13 18:44:08

Most grammar schools are located in areas of relative advantage.

Talkinpeace Wed 11-Sep-13 20:41:03

Sorry but that is not true : two of the fully Grammar counties - Kent and Lincolnshire - have some grindingly poor areas.
THis particular school is at the arse end of the Medway towns and they are the armpit of the South East

soul2000 Wed 11-Sep-13 21:24:29

Talkinpeace. Are the grammar schools located in the poor areas of the counties with the exception of the Medway towns.

Intrestingly i have just been on the Dept of Education performance tables website and it seems that Stretford Grammar school currently has
10% students on fsm, and over the last 6 years 21% of pupils have at one time been eligible. The figures for Chatham Boys Grammar are 5.2/10.2%, i think both these figures are relatively high for grammar schools. Bearing in mind grammar schools tend to have a quarter fsm of the surronding schools. This shows that these two schools are located in areas of relative disadvantage.

Talkinpeace Wed 11-Sep-13 21:36:04

Kent, Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire are fully grammar counties.
Every single pupil is invited to take the 11+ and there is a Grammar and a Secondary Modern covering every area.
Lincolnshire still retains the full tripartite system of Grammar, Secondary Modern and Technical schools in some areas.

These schools bear NO RELATION to superselectives

ReallyTired Wed 11-Sep-13 22:22:41

"THis particular school is at the arse end of the Medway towns and they are the armpit of the South East"

The top 25% of children from a rough area are not stupid. High achievers in my area get good GCSE results as well.

Some of the secondary moderns have very high value added scores. Only 86% of Chatham grammar kids got 5 GCSEs including maths and english which is frankly piss poor.

There are hardly any disadvantage pupils

If you look at the break down of results for middle and high attainer the results are worse than our local comp.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 11-Sep-13 22:24:50

I work in a grammar and at our second to last Ofsted inspection, the Lead Inspector walked in and said 'Well, you won't be getting Outstanding; grammar schools do not deserve Outstanding in my book because of your intake. I NEVER give Outstanding to selective schools'. Talk about bias and prejudice! We got outstanding the next time around...

So it can work both ways depending on the Inspector's own politics.

That's not to say many of the other points made on the thread are not very valid.

muminlondon Wed 11-Sep-13 23:12:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soul2000 Wed 11-Sep-13 23:16:08

Really Tired. The figures of 86% are Chatham house Grammar in Ramsgate. Chatham Boys Grammar is in Chatham, confusing i know.
The figures show Chatham Boys achieved 100% A* to C in 2012 and 7% AAB at A level so they might have been picked on for some reason.

muminlondon Wed 11-Sep-13 23:50:31

But Level 5 SATs intake - which is supposedly minimum 11plus standard - is predicted at least grade B GCSE. So 5 A-C GCSE pass rate is meaningless for selective schools. Looking at the DfE website, a significant proportion failed to pass languages and humanities GCSEs in 2012. Of course it should be pulled up if it is coasting to that extent.

Bonsoir Thu 12-Sep-13 08:20:40

Talkinpeace - there are superselectives in West Kent.

ReallyTired Thu 12-Sep-13 12:30:27

The govenment has replaced the "satisfactory" judgement with "requires improvement". If the school fails to improve then it is automatically deemed inadequate.

The OFSTED is spectaluarly damning and the head is not accepting the findings.

soul2000 Thu 12-Sep-13 14:59:39

ReallyTired. Reading some of the comments from the Kent on line article,
it appears that Chatham boys grammar may have a slighty different demographic of pupils than you typical grammar school. The intresting thing about that, is i remember stretford grammar in its failing report
seemed to have similar problems to Chatham boys. They both have slighty lower entrance requirements for the 6th form than the other surronding grammar schools.

It does see to me that Chatham boys grammar has been used as a
convenient target like stretford grammar was five or so years ago.
I am not saying the school is brilliant or does not need improvment but
i think to state it as failing is inappropriate and not warranted.

NoComet Thu 12-Sep-13 18:34:31

I'm getting very cynical where ofsted are concerned. I think they are looking for Grammars and academies to fail so they look like they are tough on all types of school. If they can add a free school to their scalps they will jump for joy.

That way they look tough to Mr. Gove and non political (ie not Tory lap dogs) to a Labour government.

Ofsted care only for their jobs (and their friends jobs in the ridiculously expensive consulting and executive heads circus that descends on failing schools).

buss Thu 12-Sep-13 18:46:59

I agree that 95% pass rate for a grammar school is not something to boast about when considering the intake.
That's 5% of children who entered the school judged as above average not reaching the average grade.

Isn't Chatham grammar Medway Unitary Authority rather than Kent? Different entry test to Kent schools. Also undeniably lot of problems in Chatham area and a bright kid can screw up through illness/ divorce/ change in family employment/ drugs, just like an average one. Generally speaking it has been said that the Medway test is easier to pass the the Kent test, just as the Dover test (allegedly) is.

ReallyTired Thu 12-Sep-13 20:48:26

OK I have found the right school

The number of children eligible for fsm is greater than most grammars but still well below the national average. My son's comp has more children on fsm and some low ablity children. The results of high ablity children at ds' school are better than Chatham Grammar for boys.

There are no low ablity children at Chatham grammar for boys and roughly 5% of boys have fsm. 85% of the boys are high ablity children. It may not be the richest of schools but its certainly not the poorerst either.

I think the 5 GCSE bar is not appriopiate for a grammar. Many of these boys probably have level 6 in maths and english and need more stretching.

spanieleyes Thu 12-Sep-13 20:50:23

Not necessarily. We had a boy go onto grammar school with level 3's! Intensive coaching for the 11+ can skew entries.

muminlondon Thu 12-Sep-13 22:58:19

But could families eligible for FSM afford the coaching for 11 plus to get those results?

The grammars in that LA had 4-8% disadvantaged pupils in KS4 according to the performance tables. The other schools had 16-37%.

BlackMogul Thu 12-Sep-13 23:30:39

Many,many children getting a level 5 are going to get A* and A at GCSE. This is added value. A good school will be able to do this, especially as children will flourish when they are introduced to new topics in a secondary school. SATs is a narrow gauge of intelligence. Schools have not been judged on results alone: it is important that children make good progress, from whatever level they start from.

muminlondon Fri 13-Sep-13 07:57:31

That seems to e the issue - progress in English was low, even taking account of the 15% starting from Level 4.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 13-Sep-13 11:35:14

It is very harsh to judge a selective school for not getting 100% A-Cs.

Even if there are not academic issues (low level 4 kids massively coached for 11+ who continue to underperform despite good teaching and monitoring), there will always be pastoral, medical and social issues like there are in every school.

As a pp said, divorce, bereavement, abandonment, neglect, illness, self-harm, eating disorders, bullying, illness of a sibling/parent etc all happen to grammar school pupils as well, and can all impact on exam results.

They should be getting close to that magic 100%, yes, but you never know what might have gone on for those 2/3/10 kids who don't get their targeted grades.

Talkinpeace Fri 13-Sep-13 13:12:14

It looks like Ofsteds problems were a lot more to do with bored kids and lazy teaching than actual results.
Parents who have managed to get their v v bright kids into a selective school are probably pretty pissed off if they get A and B grades when the top set at the Sec Mod are getting some A* .....

muminlondon Fri 13-Sep-13 16:03:42

Wow, that is true - I can see a comprehensive in that authority (still has a smaller top set than average) that got more A/A* in English last year.

soul2000 Fri 13-Sep-13 17:16:05

Talkinpeace. I know your comments about v v bright kids is ironic and
a bit of a mickey take. But if your Dc are in the lower band of a grammar schools intake, that most grammar school take say in the 18- 25% of middle abilty. They are unlikely to be A* kids but they probably get As and Bs.

Presumably the pupils from the non selective schools in grammar school areas who achieve A*, will end up at the grammar schools in the 6th form.
I do think ofsted have wasted time and resources in declaring this school as failing. They are obviously schools that require more urgent help. This school probably just needs a boot up its backside not a
expensive relaunching.

Talkinpeace Fri 13-Sep-13 17:22:25

I'm not being in the least bit ironic.
This school has been handed the brightest kids on a plate and is not doing the best by them.
For that it deserves to get hammered.

As should the sec mod if it does NOT get good grades with the bright kids who
- were not tutored
- did not take the 11+
- arrived mid year and could not get to the grammar

If a Grammar is getting the top 20%
and as per this
21% of GCSEs were A* or A then they really should be getting phenomenal amounts of A*
as kids are not distracted by thick kids (the standard argument parents use in favour of grammars)

muminlondon Fri 13-Sep-13 17:41:44

'Presumably the pupils from the non selective schools in grammar school areas who achieve A*, will end up at the grammar schools in the 6th form. '

The do have odds stacked against them though - in secondary moderns teachers would have to have tiny classes if they were to provide setting in all Ebacc subjects and at the same time prepare for many different exams in the same subject (GCSEs, BTECs, double science and individual sciences) to cater for the whole ability range. For which they wouldn't usually have the resources. At the grammar they would only need to concentrate on GCSE preparation for one board and would have well qualified teachers in the shortage subjects, e.g. languages and sciences.

In the example I found they had 14% high attainers but 22% of the school got A/A*s in English. That's a higher percentage than in the whole grammar school.

soul2000 Fri 13-Sep-13 17:47:30

There are obviously schools that require more help.

Talkinpeace. schools that are achieving say 40% A* to C in deprived areas, surely need more time and effort spent on them. Most of these pupils from Chatham Boys will still end up accessing higher education.
The damage to the boys may be superficial, whereas the damage in the school achieving 40% may be permanment to their pupils.

Coconutty Fri 13-Sep-13 17:49:02

Due to the intense tutoring lots of kids get into grammar schools who shouldn't, so the grades will obviously drop.

Talkinpeace Fri 13-Sep-13 17:53:39

whereas the damage in the school achieving 40% may be permanent to their pupils
why is it "damaging" for some pupils not to get A grades at GCSE?

soul2000 Fri 13-Sep-13 18:01:20

The reason i say it is superficial damage is because with a grade B you can still access A levels or other academic courses. The pupils who end up with Es and Ds at the school achieving 40% A* to C really are stuck
in their choices.

soul2000 Fri 13-Sep-13 18:16:17

Talkinpeace. Sorry i read you question wrong. It is superfical damage because the pupil should have got an A but got B instead. The pupil can
still access academic courses.

Talkinpeace Fri 13-Sep-13 18:33:21

I thought that was what you meant.

You clearly have an incredibly narrow view of the world if you think that many of those pupils would want to or benefit from "accessing academic courses"

It is a great failing of education policy in the last 20 years to have utterly failed to recognise that A levels and University are irrelevant to more than half of the population.

Apprenticeships and on the job training is what will bring jobs back to the young people - so immigrants are not needed to fill the jobs that UK born kids are incapable of doing.

Delivery drivers
Shelf stackers

what would those people need from "academic courses"
and how would you live your life without those people?

ReallyTired Fri 13-Sep-13 18:45:23

"It is superfical damage because the pupil should have got an A but got B instead. The pupil can
still access academic courses."

Maybe the child can still access the A-level course they want to do, but they will find A-level harder because they have a poor foundation. Many subjects like Maths, Physics, modern languages need a good GCSE foundation to do well at A-level. Good writing skills are necessary to do well in subjects like history, English, geography to name a few. GCSEs are about providing a foundation rather than grades.

"It is a great failing of education policy in the last 20 years to have utterly failed to recognise that A levels and University are irrelevant to more than half of the population."

That half of the population usually don't attend grammar schools.

Talkinpeace Fri 13-Sep-13 18:52:36

That half of the population usually don't attend grammar schools.
But soul2000 had referred to the school achieving 40% A* to C .... which will include that 50%

It goes back to the old stats about private school kids at top Unis
1/3 of all pupils will stop academic education at 16
1/3 will stop academic education at 18
the remaining third will go to higher education
the first two groups will predominantly have come from non selective state schools ....

soul2000 Fri 13-Sep-13 18:54:38

Talkinpeace. I agree with what you saying about vocational courses.
I am 42 when i left school i went on to vocational courses at college.
Over the years i have ran Bars Pubs/Nightclubs and have worked in Travel. At the age of 42 i am Unemployable now . So as a last resort i have signed up for an open access Module in Social Sciences with the Ou.
I agree with you but would you push your Dcs down the vocational route
less chance of a carrear washed up at 40 or so.
I am just greatful that my niece and newphew have both benefited from a grammar school education niece is at a RG uni newphew 6th form.
hopefully they will not be Unemployable at 40.

ReallyTired Fri 13-Sep-13 19:38:43

I feel pretty unemployable at almost inspite of attending a top private school, having excellent A-levels, a physics degree and a masters! What has damaged my employment prospects is taking time out to bring up children. I have dreams on how I plan to make myself employable again, but I won't be using my academic qualifications.

I don't think that going down a vocational route makes someone unemployable at 40 at all. I know lots of people who are builders, nursery nurses, plumbers, gas engineers, dental nurses etc who have done well for themselves.

Being employable at 40 is a matter of nouse rather than fancy qualifications. In fact many graduates end up in jobs that have absolutely no relation to their degrees.

Talkinpeace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:26:57

My kids happen to be highly academic.
DD is looking towards Natural sciences at Cambridge
DS towards engineering at Stanford
I do accounts for all of the building trades I listed above, and more.

Danny the digger : he digs holes for a living. He can barely read or write. He started bunking school at 13. BUT - you want a hole dug under an old service pipe - you pay him upwards of £300 a day ....

Employability and qualifications are only inextricably linked for the unimaginative (Lords Branson and Sugar for example of the contrary view)

I am constantly learning _ I'm miles away from where I was ten years ago but have my finger in so many pies its unreal ...

soul2000 Sat 14-Sep-13 00:06:19

Vocational is good for other peoples Dc but not your own that is the sad fact.

13 years ago i didn"t run pubs and clubs i owned them i lived in a 400k
3 bed apartment in a city centre owned 5 bars/clubs owend a 80k porsche 911.

Today 42 living with Mum and Dad borrowing their cars and needing to borrow £625 to enrol on a open university course. I was in my own small
way entrenpreneur and made money from vocational knowledge and learning on the job. Guess what it went wrong and now look unemployable,maybe
i could work on a bar or in a resturant. I bet my cellar management skills
are worth £30 a week extra to me.

The best chance for any young person today is academic qualifications.
Sure people have made loads of money who have not got any qualifications and worked hard i know quite a few. But 90% of kids who have no higher educational degrees will be lucky to earn 20k pa in their working lives. What good is 20k pa in the U.k you cant get a mortgage or can barely afford a car. You can just about rent somewhere on that amount and pay your council tax/electricty bill.

Bonsoir Sat 14-Sep-13 07:27:27

Academic qualifications both teach transferable skills and also act as a guarantee to others, even when the subject is seemingly unrelated to the job.

soul2000 Sat 14-Sep-13 14:16:32

Although i agree wholeheartedly with what Talkinpeace is saying about the country needing all those vocational skills that she quotes. If you had a academically bright child it would take an icreadible leap of faith to encourage them to go down the vocational route.

The only time you could possible encourage a academically bright child, to go down the vocational route, would be if the company offered an aprenticeship. The aprenticeship that when completed, would give a automatic mangerial job with a world leading company.

It is because of the "APARTHEID" within the educational system, that means nobody with an academic child will consider a vocational way forward if they dont have to. People on this site debate intensely the
fairness of the 11+ system this academic/vocational way is in fact a 16+.

Over the years i have seen people with Masters degrees who are useless
and people with no qualifications who are brilliant. As i have said unless the person without academic qualifictions is lucky or starts a succesful business. The useless person with the Masters will be 3 times more succesful, than the brilliant person without qualifications. I am very sad about that, but that is the truth. That is the reason why although i agree very much with Talkinpeace about needing kids with vocational
skills i could never encourage my niece/newphew to go down the vocational route.

soul2000 Sat 14-Sep-13 14:19:02

Incredible leap of faith.

Talkinpeace Sat 14-Sep-13 20:06:29

you have managed to leap headlong at the wrong end of the stick again.

Why on earth would anybody push an academically able child towards a vocational angle
in the same way that it would be daft to do the opposite.

Vocational jobs are for the non academic - of whom there are many.
I do their accounts.
I have chaps who earn upwards of £40k a year hanging off the side of buildings.
Others who are great at plumbing / electrics / carpentry : but deliver every finance type envelope to me still sealed.
I have a client who specialises in trompe l'oiel paintwork in commercial buildings - but he's thick as pigshit (I tell him to to his face and he still loves me)
And the lovely Danny - never happier than in a hole. Illiterate. On £30k a year.

Sadly, too many families who deal only in selective schools
(I've been at Goodwood today - nearly had a gutful of the over priveledged)
cannot comprehend the non academic mindset.
You need to get out more.

Really thick people think differently.
And once you get used to it, you see its uses, but segregating "bright" kids from "thick" kids from the age of 8 (prep schools) is a real factor in the UKs relative economic decline - those "in power" genuinely have no comprehension of the thought patterns of a good chunk of the country.

soul2000 Sat 14-Sep-13 21:08:47

Talkinpeace. Were you dressed up in 1950s or 1960s public school wear?

I used to go. Used to being the word before "STRUCTURE DEBT SUNK ME" Own fault. You are right though about the public school/pimms drinking set of which many of the goverment belong, really being clueless as to how 90% of the population live or think.

Talking about people making money who have not got a clue. I have a friend who owns 40 houses, he does not know what "Square footage" is. he does not know the difference between council tax or corporation tax. He also has a Letting business and he just makes the prices up out of his head yet he seems to get lucky every time.

soul2000 Sat 14-Sep-13 21:13:56

P.S. He went to a public school.......

ProphetOfDoom Sat 14-Sep-13 21:45:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

finefatmama Fri 27-Sep-13 01:41:44

the picture in the newspiece shows a white building with a blue sign in the background which belongs to the school they share the site with. Bishop of Rochester Academy has higher than average fsm, higher than average EAL and 2 years ago, the 3rd worst results in the country. last year they excluded the eal results from the calculation and were able to demonstrate a significant improvement as result. BoRA was graded satisfactory as well.
Both schools are consistently undersubscribed because most people do not rate the area. CBS boys tend to come in on coaches from a fair way away while the BoRA kids are from the estates nearby. it's interesting how two very different schools with significantly different profiles can occupy the same space.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 27-Sep-13 07:18:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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