Grammar schools

(85 Posts)
var12 Fri 09-Sep-16 09:44:08

They aren't a magic bullet that will solve all the G&T problems, but IMO they are a fantastic step in the right direction.

I suspect that they will be up and running too late for my DC to benefit but at least other children will have the chance to do a bit more than just follow the national curriculum because that's all the school aims to do.

I never liked Theresa May, but had she let people know that she would reintroduce grammar schools, I'd have been willing to campaign for her.

irvineoneohone Fri 09-Sep-16 16:38:10

A bit of hope for children like my ds...but I doubt it will be up and running by the time he goes to secondary.

var12 Fri 09-Sep-16 19:53:27

It will be hard to see how any bill will pass through the house of commons given that all labour MPs are against it, all (8) liberal mps and against it, several tories are against it and the SNP are against everything in England just on principle.
Then the house of Lords has been flooded with Labour and Liberal ex-MPs, so even the bill got through the House of Commons, it will be killed off in the House of Lords.
Shame.

Moominmammacat Mon 12-Sep-16 22:44:01

What if your child doesn't get in? Bet you won't be so keen then!

var12 Tue 13-Sep-16 00:32:40

What if your child doesn't get in? Bet you won't be so keen then!
I suspect you are right - see my second post at the very start of this thread.

I'd have been on tenterhooks for 2 years.

GiddyOnZackHunt Tue 13-Sep-16 00:37:30

One of mine might thrive. Would certainly get in.
One of mine wouldn't get in.
Having been G&T in comprehensive in the 80s?
I'd rather we invested grammar school money at both ends of the spectrum in comprehensive rather than tending towards 'enough'.

var12 Tue 13-Sep-16 00:43:45

oops.. sorry. i am confusing threads!

MumTryingHerBest Tue 13-Sep-16 16:36:30

var12 I'm not sure a school housing the top 25% is really going to make a massive difference to a G&T DC. Perhaps what you are really thinking of is a SS which caters for the top 5%-10%(which, in my mind is nearer what G&T is).

WhattodoSue Tue 13-Sep-16 18:38:31

I do think superselectives are a good idea. A friend of mine has a seriously bright child (state school told his parents to take child out at year 5 because they couldn't do anymore!?! They could afford private and so the child went there. No more depth, but much more breadth). But for those children, the really gifted (5% or so), I think it is good. Still wouldn't catch all children in that category, but it would leave a much healthier mix in the secondary schools. it would also provide a higher level working for those who are at least 2+ years ahead. But at the same time, secondaries need to improve, and not just so that children know how to pass tests.

twofalls Tue 13-Sep-16 18:46:18

How about investing in schools snd teachers so the needs of children at both ends of the spectrum are met?

Grammar schools are divisive and will not improve social mobility and probably won't do much for the true G&T either. What us going to happen to the kids who don't get in? Given the mess the government have made of SATS I don't hold out much hope the 11plus will be a true test of potential.

Blue4ever Wed 14-Sep-16 13:52:45

I have a really negative view on grammar school based only on my local experience. I am not from this country and can see, now that ds1 is in year 6, that the children applying for grammar schools are tutored to the max, and the local grammar school is filled with children of wealthy parents who can spend thousands on private tutors. The grammar school is excellent academically but extremely competitive, in a not so healthy way. Sports facilities there are poor, and there is very little room and time for any creativity, art, drama, dance, etc.

I would chose our local comp any day of the week over the grammar school, as I feel it has a much better balance. Ds2 is G&T not ds 1, but both our kids will go to local high school because we feel it's the best choice for them.

I prefer a school where my kids will interact with children with a large variety of abilities, in all areas not just academic.

Private tutors will make an absolute killing if we start having more grammar schools...

ReallyTired Wed 14-Sep-16 14:26:47

State comprensive do teach beyond the curriculum. My worry is that the new grammars will be stuffed to th gills with hot housed middle class kids. A really gifted child from a low income family might miss out if their parents don't enter them for the exam.

There are lots of reasons why a truely gifted child might not do well in one test. My daughter's class has a new girl who can't speak English. Her mother says she was top of her class in Belgium, but the language barrier makes it hard for her at the moment. Comprehensive schools give the flexibility that such a child needs. A child who is taken out of key stage 2 French lessons to work on english may well shine in two years time.

var12 Wed 14-Sep-16 14:39:30

State comprehensive do teach beyond the curriculum.

Not in my experience, and that makes sense because the national curriculum has to be the first priority, so a school would only move onto something new when everyone has learned what the NC requires.

I am guessing that there would be more entry (and exit) points from the new grammars than the old ones, and also if they become part of the state system, it will be up to the primary schools to prepare their year 6s for the test, not relying on the parents hiring tutors.

var12 Wed 14-Sep-16 14:43:46

How about investing in schools snd teachers so the needs of children at both ends of the spectrum are met?
Now a bad idea, but how much money and who decides what the spending priorities are set?
Currently, the main issue seems to be with finding decent teachers and retaining them. Undoubtedly, a salary hike would attract more, but you don't really want people who are only in it for the money as they don't make good teachers. You want the ones who want to teach and you want to pay them enough to make it worth their while.
So, instead of throwing money at the problem, the govt should be looking at what is making teachers quit the profession in such large numbers and address that (hint: it isn't just about money).

var12 Wed 14-Sep-16 14:45:51

However, IME schools are more focused on those who need the most help getting a decent grade. That awful "bright children will do well whatever" attitude means that the most able are always at the back of the queue.

fatbottomgirl67 Wed 14-Sep-16 15:09:40

Dd1 is at a ss grammar and we are most definitely not middle class . It was the best decision we could have made for her. She's super bright and a bit of a nerd- as are the vast majority of the girls. She has had the best education with so many extra opportunities offered to her. It's a great environment for those wanting to work . Dd2 is at the local comp and is doing very well. Great school. Ds1 also at comp and he's doing ok though he's dyslexic so finds it all a bit difficult . I would love it if there was a proper technical college that would offer him the vocational training he's going to need rather than the school trying to teach him French and Spanish when he's struggling with English. I just think s bit more of a common sense approach would be helpful. It shouldn't have to be discriminating against some kids it should be a way of helping kids find the best place for them to learn

GHGN Sat 17-Sep-16 11:37:50

I am a fan of selective education but not a fan of the grammar system in this country. You can't identify how good a kid is at 11. I am so lucky to have taught a few really gifted mathematicians. One of them was only identified as very good until year 10, like top 10 in the school. Only when I started teaching them something different that he started to show his true potential and likely to represent the UK at Maths competitions in the near future.

I am sure that a lower level, there will be many kids that are not identified who are actually much better than some of their grammar school peers. I teach in quite a few grammar schools already and I am quite angry sometimes at the coasting students, who once in grammar think they can get away with very little effort.

The system can be much better if they only start selection at 14 or at 11 and then again at 14. It keeps the students motivated and give kids a second chance to go to grammar. There is a big gap between 11+ and 16+.

var12 Sat 17-Sep-16 12:47:42

The problem is that waiting until 14 is a long wait for the majority of the very able. What we need is a system with greater movement between the two and a way of getting rid of any stigma attached to not going to grammar.

DS1 is like the boy you describe, but he was showing a high ability when he was 8. He's 14 now. The last six years have dragged and he's learned to think that his talent is just a nuisance to the school, something to throw standard top set stuff at and then ignore, as far as possible

yeOldeTrout Sat 17-Sep-16 13:05:47

Ah, what a shame. I thought from the other thread that var12 was open-minded about GSs.

I loathe GS in principle and would prefer my very clever kids were educated amongst a range of types of kids with a high range of ability.

DD is a very ambitious hyper-drive overworker high achiever. The idea of putting her into an envt. where she was pushed even harder than she pushes herself and had even more reminders to aim high, that quite horrifies me.

I overheard a young guy taking piss out of a tradesman... "One doesn't meet many people like that very often" he was saying. I took the piss in return... I couldn't understand how he was so sheltered... I knew nothing then about the UK grammar school system, or that most of the people in that set of my friends had been privately educated.

var12 Sat 17-Sep-16 14:10:54

I am open minded about them, but I am tending towards thinking that they are a good idea overall.

I don't loathe them on principle, nor love them on principle.

On the other thread, I am learning a bit more about them and thinking that if so many loathe them on principle as it appears, then surely they won't want to send their children to them, so the whole idea is bound to fail.

var12 Sat 17-Sep-16 14:13:32

In my case, the debate is purely academic though, because my youngest is in year 8, so if grammars do get off the ground (which i doubt), it will be too late for my children.

That's the thing isn't it? By the time you've gone through the whole system - with an open mind - and you've learned that it is highly flawed, and possibly discriminatory against a particular segment, its too late to do anything about it.

Atenco Sat 17-Sep-16 20:11:18

On the other thread, I am learning a bit more about them and thinking that if so many loathe them on principle as it appears, then surely they won't want to send their children to them, so the whole idea is bound to fail

You obviously haven't been listening to the arguments, have you? About how the standards in neighbouring schools drop because there is a grammar school skimming off the 20% with the best social and academic advantages. About how if more funding goes into grammar schools, then less funding will go into the other schools.

I went to a grammar school, back in the sixties. It was either that or go to the local school that seemed to only be a holding ground for kids until they were of legal age to go off to work in the factories. I doubt I have ever again studied so hard or sat an exam that so much depended upon.

var12 Sat 17-Sep-16 20:49:33

I don't follow? Which arguments have I missed? Are you sure you aren't only reading the arguments that reaffirm your existing beliefs?

Atenco Sat 17-Sep-16 21:54:24

Maybe I didn't make myself clear. The reason people who don't believe in grammar schools might still send their children there is because the presence of grammar schools has a detrimental effect on the surrounding comprehensive schools.

And sorry, my interest is purely academic, considering that I live in another country and no longer have school-age children.

var12 Sun 18-Sep-16 01:57:37

In that case, we are in the same position, as my interest is purely academic too since my children are too old (youngest is 12) to have any hope of benefiting from a change to the system. Grammar schools will take years to arrive, if they ever come.
TBH no one really knows it will help their children since the children who will be possibly be eligible for grammar school, by the time that grammar schools come into being and are running properly (if ever), are only babies now. So, its an academic question for everyone at the moment.

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