Grammar offers 10 places to those triggering "pupil premium"

(176 Posts)
legallady Fri 20-Dec-13 10:36:05

Forgive me if this is a regular occurrence at other grammars but for those on the recent grammar thread, I thought it was interesting that Nonsuch High ( highly selective grammar in S W London) has reserved it's first 10 places for girls who have triggered the pupil premium at their primary school at any time in the last six years.

I know it's only ten out of 180 but at least they have thought about it. It may well be that they're just after the additional money but I like to think that their motives are a little more altruistic than that!

lainiekazan Fri 20-Dec-13 12:26:19

Annoys me, frankly.

It's always those just above any cut off who suffer.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 12:28:24

You're begrudging a priority for 5% of the places to go to children who are/have been disadvantaged lainikazan? That's hardly letting anyone else 'suffer', is it??

lottysmum Fri 20-Dec-13 13:46:19

This is a government initiative....and is happening with all Grammar Schools now ...special legislation was approved recently.

Finally - the Grammar schools will begin to make moves to serve the purpose they were intended too ...I understand that this will increase every year ....

I do feel sorry for those just above the Pupil Premium line ...but at least its the first step to cutting down the number of pupils who are tutored or sent to prep school in order for them to get into Grammar School when they can clearly afford private education... although in stating this I would like to see private education fees reduced by the cost of the state education cost - so everyone has a fair playing ground ....seems silly that the families paying the most tax dont get some monies towards their children's education...

ShoeWhore Fri 20-Dec-13 13:48:39

Lottysmum private schools have charitable status though - this must keep fees considerably lower than they would otherwise be?

lottysmum Fri 20-Dec-13 13:56:36

I believe the charitable status is only in place if they offer so many scholarships or bursary's.....

The HT of one of the Independent Schools in out town was certainly making allot of noise about reducing fees to take into account the cost of state education a few years ago (that's if the Government would agree to adopt this policy and pay over a fee per child)

ErrolTheDragon Fri 20-Dec-13 14:14:33

It's sort of good but a sticking plaster. Its still unfair on a kid whose parents have money but don't for whatever reason familiarise them with the 11+. Time was this was the job of primary schools...

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 14:15:24

seems silly that the families paying the most tax dont get some monies towards their children's education

I think that's a whole other debate really.
This move is designed to help disadvantaged children who are hugely underrepresented at grammar schools. Even grammar schools located in mixed areas (economically speaking) do not reflect their local populations or the population as a whole in terms of how many poorer students they take. People put forward lots of reasons why this may be the case - the whole tutoring issue costing so much money for example - but the numbers speak for themselves and the schools have been getting less inclusive year by year as the competition for places increases.

This seeks to remedy that basic fact. The pupil premium may be a pretty crude way to measure these things but it is all the schools are allowed to go on and I think this is a positive step.

prh47bridge Fri 20-Dec-13 15:08:19

This is a government initiative....and is happening with all Grammar Schools now ...special legislation was approved recently

News to me. As far as I am aware the only provision is that Free Schools and Academies can give priority to FSM children provided their funding agreement allows this (Nonsuch is an Academy). Other schools may not give priority to FSM children (or, indeed, any other children based on their parents occupational, marital, financial or educational status). Admissions Code 1.9(f) and footnote 22.

scaevola Fri 20-Dec-13 15:28:15

"this must keep fees considerably lower than they would otherwise be?"

THe value of charitable status (for those schools which are charities) is estimated at about £200 per pupil per year. The fees themselves are VAT exempt (same exemption as university tuition fees - and this is an EU classification).

The variation between fees at different schools is often much greater than that £200.

Pupil premium covers FSM, ex-LAC and Forces children, doesn't it? And am I right in thinking that a grammar can set a minimum standard which mus be achieved in entrance exams and can leave places empty rather than be forced to take a prospective pupil at does not meet that mark (OK that probably doesn't happen in practice, given level of applications, but it does mean that all admitted children make the grade)..

ProphetOfDoom Fri 20-Dec-13 15:42:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prh47bridge Fri 20-Dec-13 15:54:54

Pupil premium covers children registered for FSM, children who were eligible for FSM at some time in the last 6 years and children who have been looked after for 6 months or longer.

Yes, a grammar school can set a pass mark and leave places empty if there are not enough applicants reaching that standard. Some grammar schools don't set a formal pass mark, simply taking those pupils scoring highest on the entrance exam. In that case they cannot leave places empty.

A lot of grammar schools are changing their admission policies this year

They can only prioritise pupils eligible for the pupil premium if they have converted to academy status. If they have not converted they would be in breach of the Admissions Code.

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 16:12:41

It is a first step that they are doing this voluntarily but I would like to see them required by law to take a proportion of FSM children equal to the number who were previously educated in the private sector for at least two years.

About 13% of grammar school pupils come from schools in the private sector so that would be a fair proportion. In some superselectives it is more than a third. It would be fair to apply this to all schools - although there is a much lower percentage transferring from prep schools to comprehensives even in the leafiest comps, and they are generally at a lower ability level. It is also a more targeted approach than a system of lotteries proposed by the Sutton Trust, which most parents seem to dislike because of the uncertainty.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 16:14:53

Isn't that a breech of admission code?

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 16:37:20

What, my suggestion? The Admissions Code was changed in 2012 and it could be changed again. In fact Labour has proposed a change to enable fairer admissions if it gains a majority in the next election:

'That is why I would bring forward changes to the Schools Admissions Code to allow all schools to prioritise disadvantaged children who are eligible for the Pupil Premium, a provision that currently exists only for academies.'

curlew Fri 20-Dec-13 16:44:27

How on earth can they do that?

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 16:46:15

How would it work though I mean of it's "triggered PP in past six years" then a lot an change in that time. They may no longer be in need of priority and have bought a house in catchment for the school. If a place went to that kid then that's one less space for someone who's just gone onto FSM and is currently more disadvantaged?

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:02:32

Both would be on pupil premium though. Why wouldn't the one newly on FSM get it?

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:05:33

The original post said that it was triggered at any point in the past six years. Didn't say that they had to still be on it or why go so far back? If it was only current that needed it?

I'm just wondering how they would check as things can change in time and depending on cut off points they may be off it shortly after or on it shortly after.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:08:15

And how woul you work out which 10?

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:09:46

How can they do that? The government has made changes to primary legislation on equalities, special needs, exclusions etc. that can override funding agreements with academies - a lawyer explains it here around p.106. So they could make such a provision compulsory and possibly set a minimum, although I doubt they would frame it as 'the proportion of pupil premium pupils to be prioritised to the exact proportion of private school pupils'.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:11:33

The whole point of 'Ever 6 funding' is covered here:

"Children who have been eligible for FSM at any point in the past generally have poorer academic results than those who have never been eligible for FSM. These pupils therefore should benefit from the additional support the Pupil Premium funding will be able to provide.

We also know there is under-reporting of FSM. We will in future, through the Ever FSM measure include some pupils who are currently eligible for FSM but are not registered.

Why extend coverage to six years?

There is a particular issue with the under-reporting of secondary school pupils. Extending eligibility to those eligible for FSM in the past six years means that a child previously registered in the last year of primary education will remain eligible for the Premium up to Year 11."

The general point is that the funding will not only benefit children who have previously suffered disadvantage, but will mop up some of the under reporting of children who are currently eligible but don't actually declare that they are.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:14:35

straggle this particular Academy intends to do it as follows:

"4.1. For entry to year 7, all girls must sit and pass all parts of the two stage test. The first stage is the Selective Eligibility Test and the second stage is the Nonsuch Entrance Examination.

4.2. The Selective Eligibility Test comprises two multiple choice tests: a numeracy test and a literacy test.

4.3. Those girls who pass the Selective Eligibility Test will be invited back to sit the Nonsuch Second Stage Entrance Examination which comprises two tests: one in English and one in Mathematics.

4.4. Girls must pass both tests in section 4.2 and section 4.3 to be deemed of selective ability and to be eligible for a place at the School.


5.2.2 Up to 10 places linked to the Pupil Premium. This will be on the basis of score in the entrance tests in order of highest score to children whose permanent place of residence on 31 October 2014 (the deadline for submission of the Common Application Form) is 5.25 km or less from the front door of Nonsuch measured in a straight line who have triggered the pupil premium for their current school at any time in the six years prior to 31 October 2014. Documentary evidence to support such an application may be required. Where a child regularly lives with one parent for part of a week and with the other parent for the rest of the week, the permanent address will be the address at which the child lives for the greater part of the school week, i.e. Monday to Friday. If the child lives equally with both parents at different addresses, the child’s home address will be taken to be the address of the main parent/carer eligible to receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, if applicable. Documentary evidence may be required."

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 17:16:13

Isn't that a breech of admission code?

No not at all. This is completely allowed. There have been a few changes to the Code that are just coming in to effect (where schools choose to adopt them - they are free not to) eg children of teachers can now be given priority as can siblings of former pupils if the school wishes. The Pupil Premium addition is open to Free Schools and Acadmies at the moment to adopt if they want to.

The school is not allowed to means test parents with wage slips and benefit details or anything like that. All that it is allowed if for them to look at PP which is a very crude indicator but better than nothing. Nobody qualifies for PP without being in need of it in some way (although I agree some don't qualify who are equally in need).

If there are more than 10 girls qualifying under the PP criteria and who pass the 11+ test then there will be a tie breaker. This may be the 10 girls with the highest score (at Nonsuch there is a pass mark but normally girls have to far exceed it to actually get an offer) or it may be distance. The admissions booklet will have to tell parents what the tie breaker will be as it does for all other categories of applicants.

I predict thread after thread from sharp-elbowed parents trying to establish how to qualify for free school meals (temporarily, natch).

You could join the forces as well of course, although that seems a little extreme grin

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:18:01

Would they check the results though. What I mean is that obviously some will have been on it only briefly and others longer. How would it be ensured that the one who gets the place was Infact amongst those who did have poorer attainment as a result. And not loose out to someone who was recently only on it briefly and who didn't suffer academically as a result.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 17:23:04

How would it be ensured that the one who gets the place was Infact amongst those who did have poorer attainment as a result.

No - nothing like that can be looked at. That's all subjective and schools aren't allowed to start applying extra tests like that. The starting point is that a pupil who has triggered PP whilst at primary school is disadvantaged compared to other pupils. Some will be more worse off than others but all are considered to be on the back foot for grammar school applications.

It will simply be a case of giving 10 girls who have triggered PP in the last 6 years (proof to be submitted with application) places via a higher admission category. So there will be a non-subjective tie breaker if more than 10 of them apply and pass. It will either be score or distance.
The school aren't allowed to start making decisions about who the most deserving is just as a religious school aren't allowed to do extra checks to see who is the most religious. They have to have a list of people they give priority to and defined tiebreaker based on fact not opinion and then they have to apply it.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 17:27:09

What I mean by religious schools is that if they save, for example, 20 places for churchgoers and 25 churchgoers apply, they aren't allowed to choose the 20 "most religious" The tie breaker must be based on a factual thing like distance. That might mean the 5 most religious people miss out but that's the way it has to be. Schools cannot cherry pick. Once they've set the criteria, they can't add extra tests and checks afterwards.

And with Nonsuch, the tiebreaker won't be who has the lowest income for longest. All FSM pupils who pass the test will be treated as equal and if there are more than 10 of them a distance / score / fact-based tie breaker will be used to see which 10 get the places.

Retropear Fri 20-Dec-13 17:28:45

So the rich aren't affected at all.They still get their tutored and privately educated kids in but those not on pp but not wealthy miss out.

Said places will come from poorer families just above or the squeezed middle the Tories love to hate who can't afford tutoring as their results will be lower.

Shouldn't think any rich families are the slightest bit worried.

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:31:58

They're all given a chance to sit the test and presumably even if those 10 have scores below the rest they are accepted. Actually sound very fair. To register for FSM you have to give proof of benefits or an NI number presumably where they can check eligibility for tax credits/income online. I can't really imagine many being in a position of claiming benefits then getting a job and after only five years of saving have enough for the deposit on a house, because you can't claim benefits if you have savings of over a certain amount and you also have to wait for a certain length of time before you can claim (e.g. after redundancy). And many are still paying off previous debts. Might happen to divorced parents who never worked before, claim benefits then get a divorce settlement, but children in that situation are suffering emotional deprivation too.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:33:27

So it's pot luck really?

I mean te principle is lovely, to give them a better chance but it could potentially miss people who would benefit the most. It could seem unfair to many that their child didn't get in despite te crappy life they have has, yet that month their neighbour spent on FSM got her in.

It's better than nothing I guess but it will still screw some people over.

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:34:21

The interesting thing would be to see if the over tutored rich start turning their nose up at Nonsuch because it admits poor kids. I'm guessing a few would be put off by that.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:35:16

It won't, Giles. They can't bring a subjective element into it. The criteria for Nonsuch is (as my post of 17:14 says):

-Pass the selective tests which every applicant must pass to get a place
-Live within 5.25km of the school
-Score in the top 10 scores of girls who have qualified for Ever6FSM funding.

If a girl lives within 5.25 km of the school and qualifies for Ever6FSM funding, but ranked 11th in the test compared with the other girls who qualified for Ever6FSM funding, then she would have to take her chances within the other criteria for admission, which means:

-Score ranked 85th or above in test


-living in catchment (5.25km) and ranked within the first (110 - x statemented children of selective ability - x looked after/previously looked after children of selective ability - number of girls admitted because they qualified for Ever6FSM, are of selective ability and live in catchment)


-highest score who pay council tax in a designated area.

Retropear Fri 20-Dec-13 17:40:02

But it's just shuffling places around not reducing rich kids or getting more poorer kids in.As I said it will be those just over or in the middle who will lose places ie not the rich privately educated kids.

It's shit to be honest.

The hard working family that has worked it's butt off to not claim pp gets penalised and the numbers of rich privately kids in state grammar isn't reduced.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:40:39

Right im with you now I think. smile

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Fri 20-Dec-13 17:42:47

I hope all grammars do this as it will benefit so many people who wouldn't usually get the opportunity.
My dds best friend would qualify and she is as bright as a button. certainly wouldn't need tuition to pass the test.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 20-Dec-13 17:43:07

I can see what your saying retro

PP is by no means any where near a good enough indicator of Need. But it's all they have until they think of something else. Does anyone know what's happening with PP anyway with this proposed FSM for every infant child as how will they tell? And if a child is no longer on them by juniors would they have been missed if that makes sense?

straggle Fri 20-Dec-13 17:52:14

Wonder how many are coming from private schools to Nonsuch?

In Sutton the proportion at private primaries overall is 5% but in neighbouring Croydon it's 8%, 12% in Merton and probably high in Surrey. But if the average percentage for private pupils at grammars is 13% (i.e. they are better prepared) then I'm guessing maybe 15-20% are from private schools. Anyone know for sure?

5% on pupil premium is a small number in comparison. Sad reflection of the times that people should resent the poor for taking up the places rather than the rich.

I bore myself, but once again I am so bloody glad we live in a normal part of England where we ditched the 11+ years ago.

soul2000 Fri 20-Dec-13 22:49:12

At first glance this looks very good, its only when you look at the Dept of Education Performance figures, that the real story comes out.

Nonsuch has 1.8% FSM pupils out of 910 pupils in Yr7-11 that equals 182 pupils per year = 3 FSM Pupils per year Average.

What is more telling though is that in the last 6 years according to the Dept of Education, 4.9% of Pupils have at one time been eligible for FSM.

This is almost identical to the 5.4% that they are reserving places for.

There are other problems with this, one being what happens if 10 girls with FSM don't get the required score. If this happens do the school take the highest scoring 10 girls regardless of whether they "PASSED" . If they were to do that this could lead to all kinds of problems about whether the girls should be there.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:11:27

what happens if 10 girls with FSM don't get the required score

The places left empty are given to the next category down just like at any other school with such criteria (some schools reserve 10 places for drama or music aptitude for example but if there's only 7 talented enough pupils to fill those spaces that leaves 3 spare places which are then given to the distance category or whatever category is the next one down the list.

Under no circumstances would a grammar school admit a pupil who had not passed the test (very rarely that can happen on appeal later on but never in the initial allocations round). They won't give out all 10 places unless there are 10 girls that qualify by both passing the test and having triggered the PP.

lougle Fri 20-Dec-13 23:13:58

more than that, tiggy:

qualify by passing the test, triggered the Ever6FSM PP and live within 5.25km.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:17:11

As an aside, grammar schools are the only ones with permission to leave places unfilled indefinitely. If they have 210 places to offer but only 190 children, over all categories, pass the test, they will only offer those 190 places. They won't let children in who haven't passed to bump up the numbers. They are allowed to leave those 20 places empty for as long as it takes to find people suitable to fill them (when new people move to the area, ask to take the test and then pass it).

In reality this doesn't happen. Nonsuch has nearly 2000 children sitting these tests. Not only do they have plenty of children of the right calibre (about 600 pass the test) but they are then in a position to just take the top of top by score as the deciding factor. If 10 of that 600 don't qualify for the PP then it just means those places get moved into the general category.

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:19:00

Yes lougle - sorry - and the distance restriction too.
My point was Nonsuch won't just fill the places with anyone who has triggered the PP and happens to apply. The candidates must pass the test above all other things. That is the first requirement that all pupils must meet regardless of where they live / FSM status etc.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 20-Dec-13 23:19:54

Soul There was I feeling heartened at least one state Grammar was addressing the issue hmm . Surely the issue is making the entrance exams truly tutor proof? When I applied it was teacher assessed with the borderlines going for a one day assessment exercise of tests, interviews and other activities to build up a full picture to act as a quality control. It is only ten years ago that the Grammar School area my family live in abandoned that system in favour of VR / NVR and the proportion of FSM has gone down and private school pupils getting in has gone up sad

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:26:33

They've abandoned VR as well (or they are going to for the 2015 intake). They're joining the other schools to do a stage 1 test followed by maths and English papers.
Many grammar schools seem to be moving in that direction now.
It doesn't stop the tutoring though, just changes it slightly and arguably makes it less effective than teaching children to reliably get full marks in VR papers. Children are now doing 20 minute timed essays with tutor input on interesting punctuation and sentence structure alliteration and metaphors, they're proof reading misspelt passages and adding the grammar and they're covering the Year 7 maths syllabus. You cannot stop people tutoring for these tests - with 10 to 12 applicants per place, the stakes are very high and parents approach it like a military campaign!

tiggytape Fri 20-Dec-13 23:34:01

..and grammar schools aren't allowed to interview, have selection days or anything of that kind any more. It all has to be faceless and not subjective. They must set a test and state in advance how they will allocate places when (as is certain) far more children pass that test than they can ever hope to accommodate.

They can't ask teacher opinion, have interviews, make judgements about who is disadvantaged etc.

curlew Sat 21-Dec-13 00:03:41

Window dressing. They have to sit and pass the bloody test first. And pupil premium children don't. So big whoop to the school for a meaningless bit of self promotion.

tiggytape Sat 21-Dec-13 09:42:53

They have to sit and pass the bloody test first. And pupil premium children don't.

That isn't correct - they do have to sit and pass the test.
No child can be offered a place without passing the test first

What happens at Nonsuch though is, 600 girls pass the test (2000 take it) for less than 200 places.
So a lot of people miss out on an offer. The way they decide who misses out is by score - someone who exceeds the pass mark by 10 points won't get an offer above someone who exceeds it by 11 points.
This change isn't much but it does ensure that a child who triggered PP can be offered a place with a lower qualifying score than a child who hasn't triggered PP so in the final cut, they have a shot at a place that they might have been beaten to otherwise.

OnGoldenPond Sat 21-Dec-13 14:35:42

I think curlew meant that DCs on pupil premium don't pass the test not that they don't have to pass the test.

All this could be avoided if the last remaining grammar schools were abolished and we consigned this unfair system of determining a child's whole future by an ex taken at age 11 to history. A proper comprehensive system would give ALL children a fair chance.

curlew Sat 21-Dec-13 15:34:41

Ongoldenpond- yes, thank you that is what I meant. I wasn't clear.

lougle Sat 21-Dec-13 18:26:49

I don't think it's true that girls on PP won't pass the test. They may pass the test with lesser marks than the tutored ones, but that's why these 10 places help them - they get it by virtue of simply passing the test, unless there are more than 10 girls on PP that do so.

sashh Sun 22-Dec-13 07:35:05

Who enters the girls for the test though? If it the parents some won't / can't get round to it. Is the school allowed to enter them?

lougle Sun 22-Dec-13 08:19:33

I don't know, but I do think there is danger in presuming that being entitled to PP = parents uninterested in a child's education.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 22-Dec-13 08:43:21

I can't see how the school could just enter them. The parents might not want them to go there. Then of course there are other factors like can the parents get them there (buses are expensive) cost if the uniform. It's no good giving the kids a place then there being nothing in place that allows them to take it.

curlew Sun 22-Dec-13 08:48:46

"I don't know, but I do think there is danger in presuming that being entitled to PP = parents uninterested in a child's education."

Agreed. There is also a danger in denying that in general, even if parents are interested! disadvantaged children do worse than non disadvantaged ones.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 22-Dec-13 09:19:32

I think the problem lies more with the definition of disadvantaged. Pp is an indicator for some but many others are in the same boat or worse off even because they don't qualify for pp.

Do we even know what's happening with Pp anyway in the wake if the FSM for every infant child. What other identifying factors will be used?

It's great they have an indicator and I appreciate it's all they have but it isn't good enough really. But not sure what else can be done

curlew Sun 22-Dec-13 09:30:18

I agree it's not the best indicator, but it's the best we've got. And I do see a tendency on here to say "well, it's not a very good indicator, so we mustn't use it".We have to use something-the social segregation in selective education is appalling.

OnGoldenPond Sun 22-Dec-13 18:33:48

The grammar school system is in itself socially segregating. A bit of tinkering here and there is not going to change that fundamental fact. Bright kids from lower income backgrounds are more likely to perform well academically in a comprehensive system than in a grammar system.

herdream1 Sun 22-Dec-13 19:35:13

Hi OnGoldenPond; Would you please explain a little why you think "Bright kids from lower income backgrounds are more likely to perform well academically in a comprehensive system than in a grammar system" ? Thank you.

curlew Sun 22-Dec-13 20:40:03

"Hi OnGoldenPond; Would you please explain a little why you think "Bright kids from lower income backgrounds are more likely to perform well academically in a comprehensive system than in a grammar system" ? Thank you."

I'm sure OnGoldenPond will be back soon, but I hope she will forgive me for saying why I agree with her.
The basic reason is that there is research to prove it. The Sutton Trust, among others have published lots of stuff on this. The intake of grammar schools is overwhelmingly children from relatively middle class prosperous backgrounds. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly less likely to take and pass the 11+, and therefore end up in secondary modern type schools, where research shows that bright children do less well than they do in comprehensives. The only children who do measurably better in a selective system are bright middle class children- and even they do only very slightly better- certainly not better enough to make it worth the damage to others.

OnGoldenPond Sun 22-Dec-13 20:57:40

Thanks curlew you have basically summarised the reasons why the grammar school fails the majority of DCs and especially those from lower income families.

It spectacularly fails the 80% or do who did not pass the11+ and did not even give the remaining favoured 20% any measurably better education compared to a properly comprehensive system.

This spectacular waste of talent was resulting in a poorly educated workforce and was a major reason why it was dropped by most if the country back in the 70s.

tiggytape Sun 22-Dec-13 22:11:17

OnGoldenpond - it isn't an 80:20 split at schools like Nonsuch. More like a 92:8 split.

Children who take and fail the Nonsuch test don't end up in Secondary Moderns. The comps in the surrounding London and Surrey areas are all true comps with top sets, triple sciences, language options etc.

The grammar system isn't like the 1970s where the top 20-30% was skimmed off and 80% consigned to non academic schools and few opportunities. At Nonsuch, far less than the top 10% are skimmed off and even they come from such a large geographical area that it has minimal / zero effect on neighbouring non-grammar schools.
The neighbouring non grammar schools for example still send children to Oxbridge, still get high levels of A* GCSEs and A Levels etc.
Nonsuch and the superselectives are leagues apart form the old fashioned grammar schools which were in effect schools for top set children. Superselectives cater for the exceptional not just the bright - the top 1 or 2 children from each primary, certainly not the top 30 so not getting into one isn't the end of all academic opportunity.

OnGoldenPond Sun 22-Dec-13 22:34:04

Superselectives are not really grammar schools. They are a curious hangover which just create a state if hysteria and unnecessary stress for parents who mistakenly think their bright DCs need an intensely elite education in order to succeed. I know about superselectives, live near one. It is annoying that the schools are not used to provide school places for local chdren in an area suffering from a secondary places crisis.

Some areas however do have a full grammar system however which is what I was referring to and suffer from the problems I mentioned. Thankfully most areas got rid of this system a long time ago but it is a worry that pressure from middle class parents may bring it back to more areas. Because if course they expect their DCs to get into the grammar schools. Not many are campaigning for their DCs to go to secondary moderns.

curlew Sun 22-Dec-13 22:38:51

I suspect that the socio economic profile of a super selective is even more exclusive (if that's possible) than in "ordinary" grammar schools.

And ther we whole raft of other issues about isolating very, very bright children from their peer group in separate schools. But that's for another thread....

OnGoldenPond Sun 22-Dec-13 23:08:28

Yes superselectives very very socially exclusive and most often seen as a way of getting a private school education without the fees by prep school parents. The "undesirable" DCs of low income families are kept out by the hyped up tutoring culture thus keeping these schools a middle class preserve. Can't see how reserving a few token places if going to change this culture.

LaVolcan Sun 22-Dec-13 23:25:06

Thankfully most areas got rid of this system a long time ago but it is a worry that pressure from middle class parents may bring it back to more areas. Because if course they expect their DCs to get into the grammar schools. Not many are campaigning for their DCs to go to secondary moderns.

If that were to happen, I could envisage a couple of things happening:
Either enough middle class children would fail and have their aspirations curtailed, and with the same result as we had back in the sixties/seventies - a move to abolish selection.

But in today's more pushy, less egalitarian climate, I fear the result would be a national explosion in tutoring, (just going by the anguished posts I see on MN from parents in GS areas.)

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 08:36:50

Most middleclass parents I know couldn't afford tutoring.It is the rich who tutor.

LaVolcan Mon 23-Dec-13 09:22:33

I honestly wouldn't know if it's only the rich who tutor, but personally, I suspect it's quite a few fairly middle income people who organise tutoring or a little independent school for a couple of years, in order to pass the 11+; this is a more affordable proposition than a commitment to 7 years of independent school post 11 to avoid the Sec Mod.

I would imagine though, that the 10 places offered to those who have triggered the Pupil Premium would be in neither category.

(Of course, how you define 'middle income' is a bit of a minefield, when you occasionally get people on MN who are on their beam ends on £100K per annum!)

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 09:35:46

Middle income parents can't afford private schooling- just how?

I have rich friends who struggle with fees.Just how would a family on 40-60k pay for a mortgage and fees on top?confused

Heartily sick of the middle being ripped to shreds as sharp elbowed,private educating,tutoring blah blah place stealers when the vast maj can't afford tutoring or anything else and are simply working hard to pay mortgages and ensure our dc do their best with fuck all help from anybody.

The middle are in the unfortunate position of having no money to buy places and no eligibility for gov help- but they still get ripped to shreds.hmm

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 09:46:59

Tutoring is important, but it can also be a bit of a smokescreen. Children from middle class, "privileged" families have the edge over children from disadvantaged backgrounds even from a standing start. Even if somehow tutoring was banned, in general PP children would do worse. It's all to do with parents having the knowledge, inclination, leisure and confidence to provide a more "enriched" life for their children.

And no, before somebody says, I am not saying that middle class parents should be banned from buying their children books.

What I am saying is that an education system that gives an unassailable advantage to a particular group that the child itself can do nothing to mitigate is obviously unfair.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 09:52:50

So those on pp aren't capable of going to the library,limiting screen time and talking- just because they're on pp.At £17 k you miraculously turn into library visiting parents.hmmNot sure my highly educated friend in receipt of pp would agree.

What a crock.

Basically parents who work hard to earn over pp are being shat on.The rich can continue to buy their places and anybody over £16k has fewer places to win.

Utterly crap idea.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 09:55:10

And what is wrong with middle classes seeking grammars as a "private education without paying the fees"...why should a good education require fees and not be provided by the state and why should the middle classes who get to claim nothing but pay much greater percentage of taxes for everything not be able to partake in decent state education?

We can afford private for secondary but prefer to save for uni, pension, deposit on house for DS in the future etc. and we have no morality issues in DS going to superselective grammar as he was clever enough to get in without tutoring apart from a bit of DIY. He's done well because we invest a lot of time in education at home also with enrichment.

We contribute so much in taxes - so not sure why people accuse middle classes some sort of immoral stealing of grammar school places if they are not poor enough to claim FSM. I hope our DS gives something back also to society by becoming a doctor or scientist...and grammar school helps him get there. Nothing wrong with that as an aspiration.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 10:00:06

Yep. Life for the middle classes is absolute hell hmm.

Your children are automatically better off than the vast majority of disadvantaged children in tangible and intangible ways. What you're wanting is to maintain that privilege. What I want is for the playing field to be a bit more level. It will never actually be level, but at least it won't be so very slanted!

tiggytape Mon 23-Dec-13 10:06:31

The idea of getting a private school without the fees has diminished in recent years.
The grammars around London used to be very different to the comps in a number of ways making them much more like private schools. They used to offer academic subjects when the comps did not - that has long since changed and the comps now have very academic top groups, triple sciences, Oxbridge leavers etc.
The grammars used to have much smaller year groups and class sizes of around 20. They used to be a small school alternative in an area where the comps are huge.
Now of course grammar schools are much larger and expanding again so the year groups are nearer comp sizes and, funding being per pupil, means they also have the same size classes as the comps.

This isn't about stopping anyone of any income trying out for a superselective school. It is about redressing the balance in some small way to allow completely underrepresented and disadvantaged groups a small advantage in the admissions process.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 10:08:44

Sorry if the advantages are down to books,literacy and the spoken word it comes down to parental choice and money doesn't come into it.

This idea does nothing,it's crap.Sorry.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 10:08:47

How do you think we got that "privilege" curlew? I will tell you how, it was by working hard all our working lives and contributing ...yes contributing a hell of a lot of taxes and claiming nothing ...and you are so wrong...there are poor immigrants who value education for their children as a top priority - many grammar schools are full of children of those cultures, as well as children of nurses, teachers and other solid middle class contributors to society and immigrants are overrepresented at grammar schools based on numbers of local population (you only need to look at Tiffin). You'd like life to be black and white, middle class vs FSM, I know but it rarely is.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 10:11:22

Tiggy it doesn't help,it shuffles the same places around.The same rich kids will still get in.

Just why should a kid from a family on 20 or even 30k lose out to one on £16?Not much incentive for families to take on extra shifts or jobs if you know your kid will be penalised from both ends of the spectrum.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 10:19:02

Let's paint this scenario...FSM and parents who have not worked for years vs child of single parent family whose parent worked as a nurse for years...who are you to say who is more deserving?

better option would be to focus on real educationally disadvantaged kids at primary level than try and "level" things by awarding places for those who don't make the cut otherwise academically

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 10:34:37

And lets not forget the pp kid will have advantages such as free G&T courses,school trips etc which those just over won't have.

£30-50 G&T courses cost,I know middle income families who can't afford them, the pp kids get funding.

Also the fact is the loss of those 10 places will make it even harder for those on just over pp and the middle to get in.

Not fair.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 10:45:52

And the pp kids in Outstanding primaries will have advantages over those in crap primaries just over.

Life is unfair,you make the best of what you've got.

LaVolcan Mon 23-Dec-13 10:49:32

What are you defining as middle income though Retropear? A single mother who was a nurse might well have children eligible for FSM - the salaries of the lower bands aren't very high at all, so wouldn't be 'middle income' by any stretch of the imagination. Even a band 5 e.g. GP practice nurse, may only get something like £27K - which is just above the average wage.

I was thinking more in terms of the couples who are earning £50K + £30K between them, who surely can afford a bit of tutoring?

But in general, I think you have a point in that the people who are just above the cut off, do draw something of a short straw.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 23-Dec-13 11:12:27

See I really do see retros point. We recently went from being a reasonable wage "MC" couple to being the low earners relying on tax credits and JSA. Through no fault if our own (redundancy)

I won't be claiming any FSM as there's no point dd won't eat them and we are exactly the same people we were a few months ago. Nothing has changed with regards to the support she gets or my educational levels and where we are, my kids are so far down on the list for a decent secondary that my dds only hope is to pass the 11+. Now there would be 10 less spaces fir her to get of this Dane into play.

I don't begrudge any child getting a chance. But my kid deserves a chance too. And will be amongst those who are looked over because we chose not to sign up for FSM.

I think this is what retro means ?

Tre real problem us kids who oerhaps shouldn't be there because they can't keep it up without the tutoring and what happens if the parents can't afford the tutor any more and the child can't keep it up.

It's the parents who are rich not the child and the child would have no idea of what could actually happen to them. I feel sorry for those children too.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 11:21:44

LaVolcan we are in that middle bracket and can't afford tutoring- it costs £s for a single hour which is diddly squat when you factor in the need for 3 areas to be covered.I think it is pretty well documented how little spare cash families have at the moment and no we don't mismanage money,fritter it on gadgets,holidays etc.

Seriously for the above you could easily get the same on the Internet.The rich have dc in private primaries or have bought places through property in Outstanding primaries,they then pay for several hours of tutoring on top.For most families £30 an hour x 3 or 4 times a week is out of budget.

The fact is for the rest of us there are advantages and disadvantages and unless you stop applications from private schools alongside primary encouragement and 11+ information for all there is little you can do re fairness.

So making the best of what you have is the only option and something we can all do.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 11:26:25

But Giles, your child is already hugely advantaged because of the family he comes from. As are mine.

Nobody is suggesting giving disadvantaged children more chances than non disadvantaged ones. Just to even things up a bit.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 23-Dec-13 11:34:08

But there is no way of knowing which kids are and which aren't as the pp is the only indication. And you already said that the really disadvantaged kids are statistically unlikely to be the ones passing the test.

But as I said before, I do appreciate that a chance is a chance and of course they deserve that.

It is just a shame that it possibly comes at the expense of another child who may be no better off and just have the FSM as the difference between them.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 11:44:45

Which is one of the many reasons selective education is a crap idea.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 23-Dec-13 11:46:19

I expect it is. But my secondary catchment school is shit. I will be doing all I can to keep her out if it and round her unfortunately it means taking the 11+

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 11:49:32

What do you mean "the catchment is shit"?

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 23-Dec-13 12:07:52

It's just not a very good school. Has a bad local reputation ofsted rated it "requires inprovenent" and now it's closed and reopened somewhere else as an academy and currently has no report.

Friends whos children go there don't rate it very high at the moment. I'm hoping it changes for the better because if she doesn't pass that's probably where she has to go. My do went there as have his siblings so I have seen first hand some appalling inadequacies that it has had in the past (and there are a few years between them all so wasn't just "2bad years" ) there's literally only one school I want her to go to because the other is single sex which I don't want.

You don't happen to have a winning lottery ticket do you? smile

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 12:32:48

Curlew, when you bang on about preps and midddle classes with sharp elbows - can you tell me why there is an "overrepresentation" of certain cultures in gaining places at likes of superselectives like Tiffin (coming from afar as Langley and Slough?) ....hardly leafy, affluent areas is not to do with economic disadvantage or FSM ...I do believe a lot of it is due to cultural lack of educational aspirations in certain families/sectors - poor white working class is one (at risk of generalization but Sutton Trust and others point out the same) but people conveniently prefer to ignore that when focussing on middle class vs. working class.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 12:35:29

oh, are those children from certain immigrant cultures on modest incomes hugely advantaged also because they have a culture that focusses on high educational aspirations as opposed to one that doesn't?

Willemdefoeismine Mon 23-Dec-13 12:38:24

I think all the SW London grammars are trying to revise their intakes...have noticed that SGS and Wilson's are introducing catchments for some of their places

I think it's an excellent idea TBQH although would love to know whether there will be the uptake and help provided from the prospective pupils' primary schools - the Head of our DCs primary is dead against selective education so pretty sure she wouldn't help those pupils who are eligible...

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 12:47:14

A report by Iain Duncan Smith's Social Justice Policy Group revealed that white working class boys are performing least well at school:

"They do markedly worse than other groups from similarly poor backgrounds, scoring only a quarter of the exam passes of teenagers of Chinese origin and fewer than half the exam passes of those of Indian extraction. Even black Caribbean boys from poverty-stricken backgrounds – long associated with high levels of classroom underachievement – score a little better than their white counterparts.

Only 17 per cent of white working class boys gain five or more A-C grades at GCSE, slightly fewer than the 19 per cent of black Caribbean boys of similar backgrounds attaining this benchmark. But among boys from low income Chinese families, the success rate is 69 per cent."

IDS lists the main factors that appear to explain the underperformance of working class white boys:

A lack of parental interest in education exacerbated by family breakdown;

Peer pressures that make it “uncool to study”;

Parental drug and alcohol abuse.


“The fact that poor children from Chinese and Indian backgrounds, where family structures are strong and learning is highly valued, outscore so dramatically children from homes where these values are often missing suggests that culture not ethnicity or cash is the key to educational achievement. The policy-making implications are clear. To prevent the growth of an uneducated and unemployable underclass of forgotten children, we have to get their parents to engage in their learning and schooling from an early age.”

WooWooOwl Mon 23-Dec-13 12:56:34

Completely agree with Retropears posts on this. The middle classes are spectacularly shat on by the systems that they pay a lot of money for.

I'm all for levelling the playing field, but this doesn't do that. Saving spaces for certain children based on their parents income is just paying a lip service to the idea of making things better for the poorest in society, and it does it by taking something away from other children who may well be in a similar or worse position.

HurstMums point is also a very valid one. It is true that certain grammar schools have a massive over representation of ethnic minorities, simply because they have a better work ethic and attitude to education than many of their native counterparts.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 13:04:34

yes, and here's a leftie newspaper The Guardian saying the same thing in 2011 - which is why I think the whole focus in these threads on FSM vs middle class is erroneous and it's much more to do with cultural aspirations of certain groups (and by the way I am not Chinese). Tell us again Curlew, how you think FSM means automatically disadvantaged?:

"The domestic statistics show that, at GCSE, children of Chinese ethnicity – classed simply as "Chinese" in the data – who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) perform better than the national average for all pupils, rich and poor.

Not only that, but FSM Chinese pupils do better than those of most other ethnic backgrounds, even when compared with children from better-off homes (those not eligible for free school meals).

A detailed look at the figures makes this clearer. Some 71% of Chinese FSM pupils achieved five good GCSEs, including English and maths, in 2009. For non-FSM Chinese pupils, the figure was 72%.

Every other ethnic group had a gap of at least 10 percentage points between children who do not count as eligible for free meals, and those who do. The gap for white pupils stood at 32 percentage points.

In 2010, the picture changed slightly, with the gap between Chinese FSM pupils (68%) and their non-FSM peers (76%) increasing to eight points. But it still compared very favourably with the equivalent gulf among white pupils, which was 33 percentage points.

In primary schools, the picture is similar. Remarkably, in 2009, in English key stage 2 tests, Chinese FSM pupils outperformed not just their counterparts from other ethnic groups – easily outstripping white children – but even Chinese pupils not eligible for free meals."

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 13:37:00

The Chinese must laugh at us.Over there if you push your kids,tutor(over 80% of kids are tutored in that Province that did amazingly well)and work hard you get rewarded(the results speak for themselves).

Over here any parent who pushes their kid and works hard to get them on is berated by gov and media as sharp elbowed,those that don't want to push their kids are rewarded and you get threads which parents profess their hatred and refusal of doing homework.confused

Maybe this is why we're in the shit.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 13:39:50

The whole point is that the children have no choice in this. Yes, their parents might be crap, but in a fully comprehensive system a child who wants to do well and maybe "better themselves" (shudders at hideous term) can. Regardless of parental involvement.

And the point about immigrant families is a false one for two main reasons.
1. Immigrants are by definition the sort of people who are looking to improve their lives, otherwise they wouldn't have decided that the massive upheaval of moving to another country and making a new life. They are therefore the sort of people who, wherever they are, whatever social classed they are, will do everything they can to help their children. The crap parents are still back in their country of origin watching Sky TV, just like they are here.

2. Many immigrants, regardless of income and occupation in this country are educated middle class people. It's not simple or cheap to emigrate- it takes brains, organisational skills and money. They are "people like us". That's why their kids get into grammar schools!

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 13:50:34

that is absolute rubbish's cultural...not all immigrants are the same there are certain that are hugely successful for their children's advancement in education like Chinese and Indians (not all of course but noticebly so) others immigration groups that are much markedly less so choose to deny the factors for grammar school entry may be cultural and down to work -ethic and parenting focus on education at home because that doesn't suit your anti-middle class theme.

Willemdefoeismine Mon 23-Dec-13 13:56:15

The day may well come when the schools have to positively discriminate in favour of white working class children then...but possibly not those who've appeared on the school premium map for a year or less (because of a middle-class parent's redundancy) but those genuinely in need.....

FWIW I think that possibly the introduction of catchment areas for a lot of the SW grammars is partly to redress the balance so that white children aren't in the minority....

WooWooOwl Mon 23-Dec-13 13:58:58

I don't agree that the point about immigrant families is a false one at all.

Many of these parents may well be motivated to help their children and improve their lives but they are often motivated to do that because they came from having nothing. They are only second and third generation immigrants, but they have arrived here with next nothing except that work ethic and motivation to do well.

That seems to prove that it isn't about money. It's about parental attitudes, which aren't something that the pupil premium can fix.

It is true that the children have no choice in this, we don't choose the family we are born into, but that is why it's vital that parents take more responsibility for their children's education.

If all parents were equally engaged with education regardless of how much money they have, there would not be such a huge gap between achievement of children on FSMs and those not.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 14:00:17

"you choose to deny the factors for grammar school entry may be cultural and down to work -ethic and parenting focus on education at home"

No I don't. I keep saying that parental involvement is key to getting into a grammar school. Which means that kids who don't have involved parents are screwed in wholly selective areas. Through no fault of their own. Which is why a comprehensive system is fairer because a child who wants of their own bat to do well can. Because children aren't classified into successes and failures at 10.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 14:14:57

Your last post didn't make sense Curlew.You said it was down to parents if kids got into grammar but down to kids themselves to do well at comp.

Surely by your argument if parental involvement has such a big impact to the point you penalise any who has it said pp kids aren't going to do well at comp.

Doing well involves hard work whatever and kids don't miraculously change overnight and work hard at comp or grammar if they haven't previously.

Also who says kids on pp don't have parental involvement?

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 14:27:51

"Your last post didn't make sense Curlew.You said it was down to parents if kids got into grammar but down to kids themselves to do well at comp."

No I didn't. I said that a child doesn't have a prayer of getting into grammar school without parental support, but does have a chance of doing well without it at a comprehensive school.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 15:11:12

Makes no sense still...but then Curlew judging by your posts on this thread you'd argue blue is green if it suited your political stance...despite any evidence otherwise.....the main disadvantage for certain children at all stages comes from uninterested parents lacking educational aspirations for themselves or their children.

As the stats on the Chinese show, being on FSM need not impact academic success at primary or secondary stage and does not as you argued, put a child at some sort of inherent educational disadvantage per se.

The point is in some cultures, FSM may go hand in hand with lack of parental involvement especially for many of the poor white working class (and yes exceptions exist). So...fix the culture and the lack of aspirations by outreach events etc. ...don't penalise others who do work hard by saying it's not a level playing field because FSM are not given reserved places even if they don't make the grade.

I imagine there are generally more Chinese and Indian children aspiring to be lawyers, doctors and scientists on average than wanting to be C list celebrities which seems to be the prevailing aspiration of too many poor working class children....and that is the kind of cultural poverty that is not likely to get that child into grammar school.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 15:38:27

Hurstmum- tell me which bit you don't understand and I'll try and explain it to you.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 15:42:17

most of it ....curlew...don't bother to rehash ...but the subject is more complex and grey than presented by your posts

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 15:50:01

Interesting that you find it easier to be rude and dismissive than to consider that I might have even a bit of a point. Or even put a bit of effort into understanding my point.......

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Mon 23-Dec-13 15:59:00

How about building grammar schools right in the middle of a council estate?

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 16:18:38

more grammar schools then ...why not

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 16:19:25

Well, that would at least make the journey to school an interesting anthropological experience for the kids!

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Mon 23-Dec-13 16:24:40

indeed grin

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 16:25:11

I am not trying to be rude's just your stance is anti-grammar school because you think their very existence is elitist and middle class...and nothing will persuade you otherwise...even if there are excellent grammar schools that do provide social mobility for clever hardworking children of nurses or low paid civil servants or of aspirational immigrants who are not affluent ...your crude tool is FSM vs non FSM %. If there are not enough FSM let's simply abolish all grammar schools rather than looking at the complex socio-economic coupled with cultural reasons for an educational underclass. Somehow you think that will all be fixed by simply changing every school to a comprehensive.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 16:31:26

Do your have any evidence that grammar schools provide social mobility?

There is evidence that children from disadvantaged backgrounds generally do less well in wholly selective areas than in comprehensive areas.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 16:34:12

"Somehow you think that will all be fixed by simply changing every school to a comprehensive."

No' I don't. But I do know that grammar schools do noting for social mobility, and are part of the problem. So getting rid of them would be a start! A small start, because they only affect a minority of children. But they have no place in a modern world.

handcream Mon 23-Dec-13 16:50:48

Half of the Labour gov went through grammar or private schools. It is politically correct as a Labour MP to state you want them abolished (and then use them for your own kids!) I have heard MP's citing religious reasons, and dont get me started on Diane Abbott and all her views on private education until of course she decided to use a private herself.

We have the grammar around here. I want more of them all around the country. It is next to impossible to pass the 11+ without tutoring and who can afford the tutoring - the middle classes! There are tons of examples of mikmen's/postmen's kids gaining a place - not any more.

Hurst is right btw. The Asian culture puts education as the highest priority. Its another issue whether its at the cost of the child who is often never available for play dates because they are studying. Our grammar schools around here are full of cultures who put education first.

Our local dry cleaners is run by an Asian man who says proudly both his children have gone to grammar school. He tells me that for him education is the top priority for himself and his wife. He has done Ok but he doesnt want his children washing other people's clothes.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 16:53:36

yep, I have direct evidence ...I went to a grammar (no tuition couldn't have afforded it - had no idea what 11+ was when I sat it and then learned only two of us got into the grammar from my school), parents were educated (degree level) immigrants who brought less than ten pounds into the country because of currency restrictions on emigrants in home country due to politics - we started off living in distant relative's houses with two children and both parents in one room, but eventually, we moved to modest house, had many books (used or borrowed often) at home, decent newspapers, subscriptions of Reader's Digest and what have you, Encyclopedia Brittanica paid for in instalments and several trips to the library each month....not FSM because parents worked shifts in whatever job they could get (started off on factory floor for a few years) then they managed to get more professional jobs but still modestly paid based on their qualifications. I on the other hand went to a grammar and then top uni and became a professional solidly middle class type now mortgage free and taxed at top max % of income tax I'd call that evidence of social mobility, wouldn't you? And grammar schools still can do that today - it's just that there are fewer of them unfortunately.

handcream Mon 23-Dec-13 17:00:42

Hurst - I agree with everything that you say apart from the comment about no tuition. You really cannot just turn up for the exam with no prep work now.

Even parents who claim that they provided no help (apart from a tutor here and there and past papers of course!) have done something. It is not the done thing to say you had a tutor - so people dont!

BTW - I didnt pass the 11+, my children are at private school as we didnt think they were grammar school pupils. However my 16 year old has done very well in his GCSE's (much better than expected!). Do I think it was the expectations of his very expensive and snazzy school - YOU BET I DO!

Do, I think he would have done just as well at the local comp. Not in a million years. I went to a rubbish school (sec modern) where there were no real asiprations. I have done OK, but it was nothing to do with the school I went to.

WooWooOwl Mon 23-Dec-13 17:03:41

This is looking to me like yet another grammar school debate that is getting mixed up by people on different sides of the discussion talking about different things.

I'm guessing (and massively assuming) from other threads that HurstMum is thinking of the Reading grammar schools and Curlew is thinking of a fully selective area with grammar schools and sec mods/high schools.

I apologise if I'm wrong, I just thought it would be worth saying because I have found myself doing the same thing more than once on here!

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 17:03:47

Which is why all state year 5 parents should get an info pack and an 11+ after school club.

fedup21 Mon 23-Dec-13 17:04:34

Apologies as I haven't read the whole thread, but are they taking 'very bright pp children who just missed a pass mark on the 11+' or 'anyone that's pp whether they'll struggle or not'?

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 17:08:21

Very bright I presume however those just over pp or in the middle who have had no tuition or are in shit primaries are being shat on.

Retropear Mon 23-Dec-13 17:09:22

The places will be taken from them and not those at the private schools with 5 hours of tuition a week on top.

handcream Mon 23-Dec-13 17:11:12

I do wonder when people come onto these threads saying comp education for all. If they had a choice of a grammar school or the local sec modern for their OWN child - which one would they pick!

Its the choice of parents around here. Or perhaps you expect people to move house and potentially pay £1000's of pounds just because YOU believe in comp for all.

The fact is we all try and make the best decisions we can for our children. There is an ideal where all parents are wonderful and caring, where education is exactly the same, where there are no queues for A&E.

And then there is reality.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 17:20:23

If I am honest I am not sure how much of my social mobility was down to grammar or just my own aspirations wherever i went ...I just knew I didn't want to go through what my parents did which was a big driver. And then economic circumstances in over a period play a large part in social mobility. I don't remember being judged on class in professional circles but more on the level to which I had been educated and what I did for a living. I never lied about my parents' background in fact I was proud of them.

I think back in those days there was little least we weren't aware of that at all or even significance of the 11+ parents did not know the system ...and it wouldn't have occurred to get a tutor even if they had had the money...but then there were many more grammars then it is ridiculous as there are so few and so many chasing hence the frenzy to get in ...I guess that's where it gets into who can afford tutoring but that's not the fault of the grammars. A lot of the children who didn't get into the grammar in my day went to perfectly good comps - sometimes i envied them as our grammar was so traditional and strict by comparison and they seemed to have much more freedom to be creative and express themselves and often ended up doing just as well...(hopefully grammars have moved on) but there were secondary moderns also with reputations as sink schools and that was wrong is those that should not exist.

Our DS may not be as socially mobile as me because of steep house prices compared to income, economic circumstances etc. and because he already started off solidly middle class whereas my starting base was low. He may not get a job that is as well paid as I do because he may choose a different path but I hope he gets at least as educated if not better than me and I think his local selective state grammar will do that for him better than some of the private schools around here so I am all for it.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 23-Dec-13 17:24:53

Well the reality is that education is hit and miss all over the country. Given the choices I have , if I could hire a tutor I would!! I don't resent other people for having the money and means I do so. Obviously it's a worry that circumstances will change for the pupil and tutoring is no longer a service that the parents can afford and I naturally would hope that each child was able to continue to do well And not struggle to keep up.

Obviously I doubt I will be in a position to provide tutoring so my dd has to get there on he own along with the rest of the kids.

My choice of school has no bearing on whether I support a system others don't approve of. And she sure as hell isn't going to miss out to spare other people's feelings about their own children, as I would never hold a school place against a child . No one is wrong to want the best for their child.

Of course it's unfortunate for those who won't have the chance. And believe me if by some fluke she gets a spot (doubtful with out the tutor and any places set aside for others placing us down the bloody bottom of the list) I will be nothing but appreciative of the chance.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:25:46

Hurstmum- but you say that your parents were educated to degree level. How were you socially mobile to be educated to degree level too?

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 17:26:22

you are right WooWooOwl ..this has got sidetracked and should get back's just when people keep asserting there is no social mobility from grammars...I have to disagree based on experience

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:31:46

Hurstmum- in what way does your experience illustrate social mobility?

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 17:32:44

you can be poor and on FSM and be educated to degree level Curlew....class is not just based on education nor is FSM...they were never on FSM but they were "working class" i.e. working in factories for a number of years as their degrees were from abroad and sad i said only a few pounds to their name it was only gradually after they had worked here for a few years that they moved into careers where their degrees were more recognised...immediate concerns were earning enough money to live when they first arrived. Even our "best" clothes were often made at home, something I can't imagine having to do now and nor would I be capable of it. Of course I am socially mobile if they were on lowest income tax bracket for many years and I am on the top one in my early 40's, went to Oxbridge....and was able to afford a much nicer house that they did.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:34:08

Sorry-pressed "post" too soon. You appear to have gone from a degree educated professional family of origin (even if circumstances meant that your parents had a period of time in non-professional jobs) to being a degree educated professional adult....

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:36:49

That's why I never use the word "poor"-I use "disadvantaged". Which you weren't. You might have been poor, but not disadvantaged. You do not become working class if you do a "working class" job or not earn much money.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:38:13

There should have been an "and" in there- I did not mean to suggest that working class and disadvantaged are synonyms.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 17:38:51

how is poor if educated immigrants with largely unrecognised degrees from abroad working in factories for many years on low tax bracket to Oxbridge educated in professional career all my life and top tax bracket (45%) not socially mobility to you ? They never earned anywhere close to what I do....not that money is the only measurement of mobility.

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:42:48

Money seems to be your indicator of social mobility. It isn't mine.

I also don't despise "foreign" degrees!

You come from a graduate family. You are a graduate.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 17:43:02

On that basis FSM does not mean disadvantaged either, we could have been FSM but my parents never wanted to claim anything...must admit feels pretty disadvantaged looking back at times having parents work shift work in factories and no real holidays and clothes having to be be made at home rather than bought, but don't think I realized we were "poorer" than others til I grew a bit older.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 17:45:34

on that basis, don't use FSM or poverty as the measure ..use children with "uneducated" parents (except you might get some cildren of rich ones then also - so does that make them disadvantaged also?)....

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 17:54:49

It is, as everyone says, a very crude measure. But generally (hurstmum notwithstanding) poverty and disadvantage go together.

LaVolcan Mon 23-Dec-13 18:53:51

If they had a choice of a grammar school or the local sec modern for their OWN child - which one would they pick!

What choice do those who don't pass the 11+ have? You could turn down a GS place, but it doesn't work the other way.

(I am in a comprehensive area with no GS/Sec Mod split, and that is where I sent my children. Although it is an area with a lot of private schools, which cream off some, but not all of the academic children and some of the nice but dim, so the comprehensives do have skewed intakes to some extent.)

curlew Mon 23-Dec-13 19:17:19

"If they had a choice of a grammar school or the local sec modern for their OWN child - which one would they pick!"

Wll, of course they'd pick the grammar school. But it does seem to pass people by that getting in to the grammar school isn't a choice- it's something that happens to you. People are always talking about moving to Kent "for the wonderful grammar schools"- nobody talks about moving for the secondary moderns!
Personally, given a choice I would choose a comprehensive.

soul2000 Mon 23-Dec-13 19:39:19

Curlew. Is it impossible for a Secondary Modern school to be outstanding?

Why Can't ( I don't like the word) 1950s word, and used to shock people achieve if the troublesome 15% were removed. Why not place them in alternative or vocational education allowing the middle 15%- 75% to achieve 5Cs or better.

Why can't a good one be the right school for a child to achieve their potential. I think sometimes the way people talk about them,makes potentially good schools into poor ones in a self fulfilling prophecy.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 19:43:00

We wanted the selective grammar for our DS as he is academically inclined across the board, it's easy to get to, and ethos wise it suited him down to the ground (and yes, I could tell that at his age then when he took the test) ...if he had happened to be less so inclined, or likely to struggle to keep up there, or that option didn't exist and if we couldn't afford private, I would want a decent comp with proper streaming and music facilities, great MFL and extra curriculars, and ability to stretch all children etc...problem is, that alternative often isn't there in some areas. If it was, I believe less people would be complaining about the grammars being exclusive.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 19:46:46

perception in the 70s like it or not was that the sec moderns were where you went if you were not academic...I think that was wrong for then to be tagged like that...agree they should have been tagged as possibly academic (if you were that way inclined) but also possibly vocational opposed to solely academic grammars.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 19:55:08

From Wikipedia: ( and I agree that underinvestment in non-grammars was at fault):

Design of the system

The basic assumption of the Tripartite system was that all students, regardless of background, should be entitled to an education appropriate to their needs and abilities. It was also assumed that students with different abilities were suited to different curricula. It was believed that an IQ test was a legitimate way of determining a child's suitability to a particular tier.

There were to be three categories of state-run secondary schools. Each was designed with a specific purpose in mind, aiming to impart a range of skills appropriate to the needs and future careers of their pupils.

Grammar schools were intended to teach a highly academic curriculum, teaching students to deal with abstract concepts. There was a strong focus on intellectual subjects, such as literature, classics and complex mathematics. In addition to wholly state-funded grammar schools, a number of schools currently receiving state grants could become direct grant grammar schools, with some pupils funded by the state and the rest paying fees.

Secondary technical schools were designed to train children adept in mechanical and scientific subjects. The focus of the schools was on providing scientists, engineers and technicians.

Secondary modern schools would train pupils in practical skills, aimed at equipping them for less skilled jobs and home management.
It was intended for all three branches of the system to have a parity of esteem. The appropriate type of school for each student would be determined by their performance in an examination taken in the final year of primary school.

The system in operation


The Tripartite System was arguably the least politically controversial of the great post-war welfare reforms. It had been written by a Conservative, and had received the full backing of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Many in the Labour party, meanwhile, were enthusiastic about the ability of the Tripartite System to enable social mobility. A first rate education would now be available to any capable child, not simply a rich one. The tripartite system seemed an excellent tool with which to erode class barriers.

In spite of this broad approval, the resources for implementing the system were slow in coming. The logistical difficulties of building enough secondary schools for the entire country delayed the introduction of tripartite education. It was not until 1951, and the election of a Conservative government, that the system began to be widely implemented. Some historians[who?] have argued that tripartite education was the Conservative answer to the attractions of the Welfare state, replacing collective benefits with individual opportunities. Even so, there was still a dramatic shortfall in resources for the new education system.

Very few technical schools were opened, due to the lack of money and a shortage of suitably qualified teachers. This failure to develop the technical part of the system undermined the whole structure. The tripartite system was, in effect, a two-tier system with grammar schools for the academically gifted and secondary modern schools for the others.

Grammar schools received the lion's share of the money, reinforcing their
image as the best part of the system, and places in grammar schools were highly sought after. Around 25% of children went to a grammar school, although there was a severe regional imbalance, with many more grammar school places available in the South than in the North, and with fewer places available for girls. This was partly the result of a historical neglect of education in the north of England, which the tripartite system did much to correct. Nevertheless, in 1963 there were grammar school places for 33% of the children in Wales and only 22% of children in the Eastern region.

Modern schools were correspondingly neglected, giving them the appearance of being 'sink schools'. Although explicitly not presented as such, the secondary modern was widely perceived as the bottom tier of the tripartite system. They suffered from underinvestment and poor reputations, in spite of educating around 70% of the UK's school children.

The Newsom Report of 1963, looking at the education of average and below average children, found that secondary moderns in slum areas of London left fifteen year olds sitting on primary school furniture and faced teachers changing as often as once a term.

Existing beliefs about education and the failure to develop the technical schools led to the grammar schools being perceived as superior to the alternatives. The system failed to take into account the public perception of the different tiers. Whilst officially no tier was seen as better than the other, it was a generally held belief amongst the general public that the grammar schools were the best schools available, and entry into the other two types was considered a "failure".

Alongside this system existed a number of public schools and other fee-paying educational establishments. These organised their own intakes, and were not tied to the curricula of any of the above schools. In practice, most of these were educationally similar to grammar schools but with a full ability range amongst their pupils.

LaVolcan Mon 23-Dec-13 20:22:12

Hurstmum - yes, there was definitely a failure to implement technical schools. My SIL was one of the fortunate ones who went to one in a city where they had them. She was perfectly happy there, I don't think she considered herself a failure. I think she knew she wouldn't have got on with the Latin and Greek of (some) grammar schools and had a strong practical bent. Sadly they moved house when she was 14, to a GS/Sec Mod area, and it was the Sec Mod for her. It put her off education for good, and she left school as soon as she was able to managing only a couple of O levels, when I am sure she was capable of much more.

And of course, although there was supposedly parity of esteem, there was no element of testing practical skills or sporting prowess - it was only maths, English and those curious shape sorting tests which were used. Furthermore, you could turn down a grammar school place - some had to because the uniforms etc. were too expensive.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 20:25:36

yes, it's not the grammar schools that were wrong, but the lack of parity of esteem or proper investment in the rest ...for the remaining 70%. In some areas (no the ones with excellent comps) that remains true today.

LaVolcan Mon 23-Dec-13 20:33:06

But not all grammar schools were good back then. I suspect that is still true today - they get academic children from committed families in, and some can rest on their laurels because the children will get the results despite the school.

HurstMum Mon 23-Dec-13 20:42:01

agree with that, some were pretty mediocre or worse

summerends Mon 23-Dec-13 22:14:58

Whatever the disadvantages of the grammar school admission systems, the state funding is equivalent or less for grammar schools now. Furthermore, to paraphrase a previous post in a related thread, any perceived reduction in social mobility from state education in recent years should logically be due to a failure of the comprehensive system (or its poor implementation) since the majority of children are educated in comprehensive schools.

straggle Tue 24-Dec-13 07:59:49

Or the irresistible attraction of exclusivity and privilege for the budget conscious but no less sharp elbowed middle classes. fwink

HurstMum Tue 24-Dec-13 08:19:26

"sharp elbowed middle classes" is a bit hackneyed now isn't it straggle...if you mean the middle classes are likely to have greater aspirations for their children then you are right..and given most of the population likely considers itself middle class, especially in the South, I suspect you mean most of us. Exclusivity - yes academically I suppose but that can range from top 25% to 5% academically depending on the grammar. Privilege - only in the sense of academic exclusivity. How much add value grammar adds to an already academically selective cohort is open to question.

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 08:26:09

If you're middle class and privileged, you don't have to be sharp elbowed. Your children are just automatically advantaged. Which is why doing things to help children who don't have that automatic advantage is just evening things out a bit.

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 08:29:09

And by privileged, I don't mean mega rich or helipads. Or even rich at all. Just not poor. Not overcrowded. Enough good food to eat. Parents who aren't desperate with anxiety about where to find a couple of quid for the electricity key. Clean clothes for school. A quiet space for homework. Somewhere to put your things where they will be safe from siblings. And so on.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 09:08:10

I disagree with that curlew.

Life is complicated and it takes more than a basic standard of living and enough money to scrape by to create advantage. There are so many other things that can affect family life, having just about enough money isn't enough of an advantage for it to be right to positively discriminate against a child in that position.

FSM is just too blunt a tool to use for something as fundamental as education, especially if it is going to give a child that receives them an advantage over a child who doesn't.

I don't think it's up to the state and it's educational policies to compensate for parental choices, especially when those are already financially compensated through the welfare system.

Being in real poverty is a disadvantage in life, that is true, but so is SEN, or having a sibling with SEN, or having a parent with health issues, or having a close relative die when you are in education, or not having somewhere safe to store your things away from siblings in a home your parents own, or having your parents go through a messy divorce, or having your own health issues.

None of the above disadvantages are enough to trigger the PP and the benefits that brings, so why do we think that having a low enough income that is then topped up is enough to create state provided advantage of one family over another.

Without wanting to sound like a school child myself, it's just not fair. And while we should be striving to make education fairer, using PP to give some disadvantaged children an extra advantage over other disadvantaged children is never going to help that happen.

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 10:01:29

"Without wanting to sound like a school child myself, it's just not fair. And while we should be striving to make education fairer, using PP to give some disadvantaged children an extra advantage over other disadvantaged children is never going to help that happen"

Surely that's better than giving advantaged children more advantage over disadvantaged ones?

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 10:04:43

And anyway, the bottom line is that selective state education is inherently unfair and just shouldn't happen. I honestly don't think anyone could or convincingly does argue against that. The point is whether you accept that unfairness or not. I don't. Others do.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 10:27:27

Surely that's better than giving advantaged children more advantage over disadvantaged ones?

There is no proposal by any school to do that though, so it's irrelevant. Governments, LAs and schools shouldn't actively be giving any child an advantage over another, they are there to serve all children equally. Any advantage or disadvantage a child has is down to their parents or unavoidable acts of God, not a state system that we pay for.

I agree that selection is unfair in fully selective areas, but I think having super selective schools are a good thing for children and a good thing for society. There should be more of them.

OnGoldenPond Tue 24-Dec-13 10:36:45

Why are superselectives a good thing? Do you believe they offer a fundamentally better education to this who attend or do they just group together bright kids with the surprising result that they then achieve good exam results?

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 10:46:26

No, I don't believe they offer a better education.

I believe they offer a different type of education and as that type of eduction suits some children extremely well, then they are a good thing to society. I have a child at a super selective and one at a good comp, and I genuinely don't think one is better than another. They are just different.

There is no disputing that super selectives serve the children that attend them very well, and as they do not take enough children to make a difference to the standard of education that a child in a surrounding comprehensive receives, then I can't see why anyone would have a problem with them.

I think there is a misconception that a grammar education is like a private education paid for by the state but in my experience, it really isn't.

OnGoldenPond Tue 24-Dec-13 10:59:32

So if the education is not better what is the point?

summerends Tue 24-Dec-13 11:00:27

straggle I think you have a point. The top stream of comprehensives and grammar schools are full of the children of the budget conscious but educated or aspirational middle classes. These, as curlew says, by default offer a huge advantage to their children compared to those children whose parents have little aspirations for them or do not have the "sharp elbows" or cannot afford the "sharp elbows" (love this metaphor smile). Some of these budget conscious middle classes in the past might have availed themselves in the past of the then more affordable private education and therefore freed up "top stream places".

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 12:48:07

GoldenPond, I can't answer that for everyone who has chosen to use a SS grammar school, but in our case it was about my child wanting to learn the subjects that were part of the normal curriculum at the GS that aren't offered by the comp.

In pretty much the same way as our other child showed a definite preference for the comp because of the subjects offered as a normal part of the curriculum that aren't on offer at the GS.

Different children are suited to different learning environments in much the same way as different adults are suited to different jobs. I feel very fortunate that we have different options for our different children available from the state we pay taxes for, and I'm sorry that every family doesn't have the same.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 24-Dec-13 13:18:37

That's discriminatory. It's wrong.

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 15:14:39

"There is no proposal by any school to do that though, so it's irrelevant. Governments, LAs and schools shouldn't actively be giving any child an advantage over another, they are there to serve all children equally. Any advantage or disadvantage a child has is down to their parents or unavoidable acts of God, not a state system that we pay for."

That ^should be the case- but it isn't. Grammar schools, while technically open to anyone, select in a way that positively discriminates in favour of the educated, "privileged" middle classes. In a comprehensive school, such children are still advantaged, but children who don't have that background can still get into the top sets by hard work and determination. Maybe even study those mysterious ultra-curricular subjects woo-woo's son studies...... None of this is possible if the top set is sent off to another school at the at of 10.

Mary1972 Tue 24-Dec-13 15:33:37

Most areas of the country have no grammar schools at all. It is very inconsistent. What is so special about the genes of children in Bucks which means the state thinks they can have grammar schools whereas the North East has not had any for nearly 50 years?
There should be the same state education all over the country and yes nothing wrong with giving preference to very high IQ poor children at all in state schools. We need that. However they need to work hard and keep their place otherwise they should lose it to someone who will work hard.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 16:18:46

That ^should be the case- but it isn't. Grammar schools, while technically open to anyone, select in a way that positively discriminates in favour of the educated, "privileged" middle classes.

It's the 'technically' bit that counts here I think. The grammar schools are open to anyone, and places are allocated purely on ability so there is no active discrimination happening. If some spaces are saved for certain children then that is active discrimination, which is not something I think any school should have any part it, positive or not. It's not going to be positive for the children who miss out on a place they deserve for the mark they achieved.

The fact that fewer working class or those out of work (not sure how to word that to reflect parents that live solely on benefits) parents choose to enter their children for the 11+ is no ones choice but their own. As you say, they have the option, they are just choosing not to take it.

I think primary schools should be allowed to support parents if they are interested in the 11+, as they aren't in my area so parents have to do all the research themselves which could disadvantage them. SS Grammar schools could offer familiarisation papers to all children so that no child goes into the test completely unprepared.

But ultimately children are a parents responsibility, and it's up to them to do what needs to be done for their children to have the best chance possible.

Maybe even study those mysterious ultra-curricular subjects woo-woo's son studies...... None of this is possible if the top set is sent off to another school at the at of 10.

My responses are about super selective schools, not grammar schools in fully selective areas because that's what I was asked about, so no top set has been sent anywhere in the experience I am speaking of.

HurstMum Tue 24-Dec-13 16:32:08

what WooWooOwl said.

summerends Tue 24-Dec-13 17:19:52

Ok, I'm going to be a bit controversial here (Christmas Eve and I'm still working so what the heck).
Theoretically children with high IQ but no parental support can with work achieve well. However they need to work hard and will probably start in lower sets (if in the comprehensive system) until they are able to show their potential. However in these lower / middle sets they may be surrounded by their friends from a similar parental background (of not valuing education) who discourage them from working hard and, succumbing to peer pressure, lose the inclination to be aspirational. It is therefore possible that selective education actually has the potential to benefit these disadvantaged children most. With a fair non tutorable IQ test (aided by primary input). these children, separated from their lazier, disruptive friends and surrounded by equally bright children, could actually achieve their potential. You would have to do that at 10/11 or they would be less likely to catch up.

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 17:29:15

"The fact that fewer working class or those out of work (not sure how to word that to reflect parents that live solely on benefits) parents choose to enter their children for the 11+ is no ones choice but their own. As you say, they have the option, they are just choosing not to take it"

Well, if you really, truly, genuinely think it's just a simple matter of choice, then there is absolutely no point talking about it. But I have to say it's the most extraordinarily blinkered, selfish, I'm all right Jack attitude I've heard in a long time. Just so long as your kids get what you want them to have, sod everyone else. But I don't actually think you really think that. People who support selective education have to believe impossible things- like everyone has an equal chance- or they wouldn't be able to live with themselves.

LaVolcan Tue 24-Dec-13 18:14:28

It is therefore possible that selective education actually has the potential to benefit these disadvantaged children most.

Possibly, if they are able to overcome the influence of these same peers during the previous 7 years and pass the 11+.

I thought that even in the days when the 11+ was the norm that there had been research to show that working class children did less well, even at grammar school.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 18:24:08

Do you believe that all children have an equal chance in a comprehensive system?

Because they don't you know.

I do think there is an element of choice actually, and that's not an opinion I have any reason to be ashamed of. And this is about children on FSMs, not all children who are disadvantaged. As has been pointed out numerous times, being on FSM doesn't automatically mean that parents are disengaged with education, or that children aren't as bright. Not being on FSMs isn't a guarantee of supportive parents and a stable home life.

It's not supporting disadvantaged children that I'm against, it's using FSMs and in turn the PP to decide who is and isn't disadvantaged and therefore who is and isn't worthy of extra help.

And again, just for the record, my experience is with a super selective, not a fully selective area. I'm fairly certain that I would very much dislike living in a fully selective area, despite the fact that if I was in one, both my children would go to GS.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 18:45:07

It's not only children with little parental support that can get distracted by unmotivated peers. That is something that can and does happen to teenagers from all walks of life. There are not some children that deserve to be protected from that more than others.

And it's not only children on FSMs that have unsupportive parents anyway.

I realise that children with unsupportive parents aren't likely to be put forward for the 11+, but that is a reason to do something to improve parenting. It's not a reason for the state, or an individual school, to basically say that one child's education is more important than another's.

This idea from Nonsuch will do nothing to help children with uninterested parents, because children will still need to be put forward for the test and be prepared for it.

curlew Tue 24-Dec-13 18:49:35

"Do you believe that all children have an equal chance in a comprehensive system? "

No, I don't. But the unfairness is not actually built into the system.

Mary1972 Tue 24-Dec-13 20:29:26

summerends writes it how it is. It is one reason I pay school fees for a very academic school so that the whole school tends to be hardworking and the children aren't able to drift towards a lazy low mean destined for non graduate jobs. The old grammar school system which got my parents out of poverty into university in the 1940s and was the making of them did that and they would be in an area where no parents would ever tutor and they were both very bright so did well in the 11+. That removed them from their peers and meant they got on to the extent we were all privately educated from age 4 as are all the grandchildren in the next generation. It was the state grammar system in a sense to which I owe so very much.

summerends Tue 24-Dec-13 21:38:46

Woowoo you are absolutely right but children with supportive parents have that distraction and anti education ethos counteracted by the parents (of course not always successfully) plus the possibility of supplementation outside school. I also am very careful not to equate poverty with lack of aspiration.
LeVolcan it would only work if the eleven plus was IQ rather than attainement, perhaps using tests that were repeated a number of times over a couple of years in the primary school.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 22:20:25

But the unfairness is not actually built into the system.

So you want to help correct unfairness in another system by building some more unfairness into it in the way that Nonsuch are suggesting?

I disagree that there isn't any of the same unfairness in the comp system. There will always be unfairness unless schools stop allocating places by catchment and start funding every single NT child equally.

There are ways of levelling the playing field without using so called 'positive' discrimination.

Summer, I agree with what you say, and it's because I don't link poverty with lack of aspiration that I disagree with the way PP money is allocated. It follows that I disagree with another measure being put in place that assumes FSM families automatically need to be given an advantage in education over others who have just as many valid reasons to be deserving of the same.

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