Are grammar schools better for above average children?

(230 Posts)
celticclan Tue 16-Jul-13 21:24:59

I'm talking about your bog standard Grammar in somewhere such as Bucks not Kent (not super-selective schools). Are they better for the top 30% than comprehensive schools? In what way?

I'm personally not keen on the Grammar school system but lots of people are and I'm interested to find out why.

celticclan Tue 16-Jul-13 21:25:35

Sorry meant to say Bucks AND Kent!

tiggytape Tue 16-Jul-13 22:16:29

I don't know that they are better as such. Just like the super selectives, they get decent results by choosing clever children. There isn't necessarily anything magical about selecting children who do well in exams at 11 and churning out children who do well in exams at 16 and 18.

But I think that I'd be more concerned about the comps being a bad for such children in an area where the top 30% go to grammar school (as opposed to some areas where it is only the top 5% or less).
In parts of the country where only a very few children make it to grammar school, the comps are geared up to catering for the needs of top group children and children who will get top grades and go to to top universities. I don't know how true that is of comps not expecting to get any / many top group children. For that reason I think there'd potentially be more pressure on parents of bright and borderline children in those regions than on families living in the crazy super-selective regions.

Bowlersarm Tue 16-Jul-13 22:21:48

In the bit of Kent I'm in they mainly are super selective.

If my children were in the state system I would rather they were at the grammar schools than the comprehensives. They generally produce better exam results and the children (or the parents of the children) are more aspirational. There are exceptions, obviously. The facilities are slightly better, although i'm unsure whether class sizes are similar.

DS1 (and soon DS2) goes to a single sex selective secondary, but went to a mixed ability primary, so as a parent I've experienced both.

These were our reasons for choosing a selective secondary over the mixed ability alternatives:

I like him learning with students who are in the same ability range as him, because they drive each other on to achieve even more. In mixed ability primary he was always top of the class so got a bit lazy.

I like the single sex aspect because it is cool for boys to work hard and achieve. In mixed ability school he was the only boy who was very able, and got teased for it. Being high achieving was seen as a thing for girls.

I like the fact that the subjects on offer are suited to his aptitude: Latin, economics, further maths etc. He has no interest in technical or vocational subjects, and the mixed ability school is more skewed in that direction.

I like the fact that every student wants to be there and wants to learn. He says there is very little disruption in the classroom and high levels of respect for the teachers. In the mixed ability school that many of his friends attend, a small minority of children don't want to be there and sometimes disrupt learning for the rest.

Selective schools aren't the right environment for everyone, but they do seem to work for some children.

celticclan Tue 16-Jul-13 22:41:27

You would expect the results to be better though wouldn't you?

You can't compare the results of a Grammar to a Comp because the intake is different.

If I compare my local Grammar (Grammar county) to the top 25% of my local comp (non Grammar county) the results are very similar so why is everyone so keen to spend a fortune on tutoring to get their children to the Grammar school in the neighbouring county?

It seems pretty cool around here to study and get on so I can't see that peer pressure is a problem. Is is that the parents don't understand the figures and see the higher results at the Grammar and wrongly assume its better or am I missing something?

Talkinpeace Tue 16-Jul-13 22:46:22

The tops sets of a Comp and the top sets of most grammars are interchangeable
they are all expected to get A*/A

and good comps push their bright kids really hard
as do grammars
and private schools

From personal experience, yes. Going from primary to secondary grammar was life changing. From being ignored because I could do the set work easily to actually being expected to think. My self esteem was rock bottom at primary, the work was fine but teachers weren't interested or actually were pleased to show other kids my work when I got something wrong. It improved dramatically when at a school where I was stretched and rewarded for effort. However, that's just my personal experice.

celticclan Tue 16-Jul-13 22:52:49

If they are all expected to get A's a Grammar school isn't any better than the average comp.

Back in years gone by when kids left school at 14 there may have been a place for them but I can't see a reason for their existence now. If a Comp is capable of achieving as good results from its top sets what's the point in Grammar schools?

englishteacher78 Wed 17-Jul-13 06:24:28

I went to a grammar and have taught in grammars in different counties. They are different to comps. But then all comps are different. Ask to visit the schools on a normal day and see if they're right for your DC. All children are also different.

xalyssx Wed 17-Jul-13 06:34:05

I went to a grammar school and it wasn't right for me, as I was in the lower grade boundary there the school just ignored me. If your child is in the top 5% then I would recommend a grammar school, otherwise not.

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 17-Jul-13 06:40:05

We're lucky enough to have the choice of several grammars AND an excellent comp that has good results in turning out kids that are happy and reached their full potential be it all A's or vocational / diploma type qualifications.

To me the choice is whatever best suits your DC's personality and apptitude not what grades the school churn out. If they are happy & stimulated they will do well regardless of the type of school.

Merle Wed 17-Jul-13 06:59:14

From personal experience, yes. The selective (L5 ability, but not a super), my boys go to/will go to, is a dream.

No more behaviour 'issues', no more boredom. My eldest fits right in and is doing better than we could ever have expected.

Tigerblue Wed 17-Jul-13 10:29:01

If you are starting to consider your options, it won't do any harm to look at both. My daughter wasn't willing to even look at the practice test papers for the grammar, so we said if she wasn't willing to prove she could work hard, it would have to be a local comp where she would have less pressure on her to keep up with everyone else.

There were four very bright ones in my daughter's year (which included her) at primary school. She is now at comprehensive school and in all the top sets and tells me she's about average in them, so there are obviously children from other schools who are higher achievers. In English and Maths there is extension work at the bottom on homework for all those who want to do it and I know of one set of parents who are requesting work for the holidays for their daughter and have been given it. What I'm saying is that if you get the right comprehensive school, they can certainly still be stretched and work to the best of their ability.

Another great thing for my daughter is the fact she is only five minutes from the local school, so has many friends in the immediate area who she can easily see. I know most of us think about schools from an academic point of view, but I also think the social side is something to consider - it's good to have friendships but also learn from them.

celticclan Wed 17-Jul-13 11:22:01

I agree that the social side is very important and you can't underestimate the convenience of a secondary school child having a school and friends on their doorstep. It means you can allow them more independence as they grow older.

I think that exceptionally bright children are catered for very well at Grammar schools but in my opinion I can't see that Grammar schools offer advantages for fairly bright/slightly above average children.

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 13:22:37

Interesting the people who say that the grammar cured the problem of bright bored kids.
No. The large cohort cured the problem of bright bored kids.

DCs junior was single form entry - 30 pupils.
They both spent year 6 at the top of the group bored out of their minds.

Come year 7 in a 300 pupil cohort they are suddenly in the middle of the top set and surrounded by people like (or brighter than) them.

And because its a big school with non academic kids there are lots and lots of extra curricular sports, arts, music activities where the non academic can trump the lot.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 17-Jul-13 13:34:32

As ever with these questions - it depends on the individual child, and it depends on the schools available. For my DD, the girls' grammar was definitely the right choice; apart from that she is the sort who does benefit from being somewhere where everyone is bright, the subject choices available exactly suit her and aren't available at either the comp or any of the independents near us. There's a girls' comp on the other side of the town which might have suited her quite well (also has strong emphasis on science) but she simply wouldn't have got in there because of catchments - whereas the GS 20 miles up the road was possible as she got a residual place.

She's got bright friends at the local comp - which is the sort people move house to get kids into - so I guess I'll be able to answer this better in a couple of years time.

gazzalw Wed 17-Jul-13 13:53:11

It's a difficult one isn't it? I know that some of DS's classmates who went to comps (and didn't pass the 11+ exams) are in the G&T stream and being pushed to the nth degree. DS who comfortably sailed thro' his three 11+ exams is at a super-selective grammar, but isn't exactly doing brilliantly at the moment. I think the super-selectives expect them to be very self-motivated and DS is by nature quite lazy.

legallady Wed 17-Jul-13 14:04:57

Agree with most of what's said above - right school for the right child etc.

However, as just one additional research tool when looking at different schools, the Dof E performance tables can be useful - ( They allow you to compare the outcomes of high/middle/and low achievers (i.e. those coming out of primary school with a Level 5, 4, or below) at GCSE. So for example, you can compare a grammar and a comprehensive and see what the average grade of children who came out of primary at a level 5 is. In my local area, the average gcse grade for high achievers at my local comprehensive is a B but the average grade for high achievers at the nearest superselective grammar is an A*.

Of course, Level 5 encompasses a huge ability range and so you are not necessarily comparing an identical cohort of children. However, it is worth asking what the grammar is doing to get these Level 5 children to an average A * grade at GCSE which the comprehensive isn't.

Before anyone flames me, I would like to reiterate that no assessment tool is perfect and there is so much more to finding the right school for your individual child than just the academic results of another group of children. The performance tables also only give the "average" outcomes and there will always be children who do considerably better than average grin.

musicalfamily Wed 17-Jul-13 14:10:07

Also, many comprehensive schools (around here anyway) only set for English and Maths. Although these are important subjects, surely it must be demoralising for a child who say loves history or art, to be sat in a mixed group with children who have zero interest in the subject?

Or do some schools set for everything?

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 14:13:05

That is entirely logical.

The superselective has taken 10 out of the top 30 kids (allowing for tutoring and private preps) from every one of the schools in the area.
Therefore all of the kids there should get A*
Every other school is missing ten of its A* candidates, but none of the E grade ones, so the average will be suppressed.

A better comparison would be to look at the grades of those taking, say, triple science and see how the non selectives do.

And in a non grammar area, roughly 10% of the kids are expected to get A* = the top set

I ignore SAts grades - they are a fix

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 14:15:18

most of the ones round here (except Thornden) set by subject groups so yes, they are in sets for everything
very, very few schools do NOT set for most things by year 9
and years 10 / 11 are effectively set by the subject choices

tiggytape Wed 17-Jul-13 14:15:24

Yes - some comps set for everything. Some have a grammar stream in fact where the top group children are almost totally separate from the rest of the school, study extra languages and work at an advanced pace.

This is London though where only a tiny % of top group children get to go to grammar school so most end up in comps who cater for this.

legallady Wed 17-Jul-13 14:29:20

Talkinpeace, I am in a non grammar area. The superselective takes a tiny number of children from the local area - the children who get in travel from all over London and beyond. The presence of the grammar has a negligible effect on the intake of the local comp (3-5 children at most based on information published by the grammar.) Also, the average I was talking about is the average of the "high achievers" so you really shouldn't be factoring in the E grade candidates for either school.

It still doesn't explain why the average grade of the "high achievers" in one school is 2 full grades below the average grade of the "high achievers" in another. Interestingly in another comp (not my local but close enough) the average gcse grade of high achievers is an A. Again, what is one school doing that the other isn't?

I'm not saying there is any easy answer to this, but sometimes I think it's worth asking the questions!

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 14:47:53

In that case they probably need a kick up the backside!
I defend comps, but not lazy ones grin

NB "high achievers" is a rather esoteric number : at my local yob central, its 10% of the kids, at the aforementioned Thornden its nearly 50% of pupils. "Above level 4" can mean a 5c or a 6 (what the superselect will be full of)

curlew Wed 17-Jul-13 14:54:29

Not forgetting a couple of important facts.

A non selective school in a selective area is not a comprehensive school.

Comprehensive does not mean mixed ability teaching -even if once it did.

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 14:58:22

looking at the stats for much of London, I can accept that the numbers siphoned off by the superselectives is less than those at Private school so the rest of the schools are as comprehensive as they will get.

The grammar counties are a different matter.

Some kids from here bother to get the train into Wiltshire to go to the grammar. Most stick with the comps - DCs school loses around 2 pupils a year to the grammar. I'd say that makes it pretty "comprehensive"

curlew Wed 17-Jul-13 15:01:13

Agreed. Should read "non selective schools in wholly selective areas are not comprehensives schools"

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 15:01:47

THis page is interesting to play with .....;sort=ks4_12.ptac5em&set=20&no=136417&superview=sec&sscla=886

go to BBC league tables, click on a school and then click on the compare box ....

legallady Wed 17-Jul-13 15:04:45

Agreed Talkin about "high achievers" being rather esoteric. It will be interesting to see if next year's tables differentiate between level 5 achievers and level 6. I know only a tiny fraction of all children get a level 6 but if the very selective grammars are crammed to the rafters with those level 6 children, then that would go a long way to explaining the discrepancies.

CecilyP Wed 17-Jul-13 15:26:12

In terms of KS2 results, high achievers means level 5 which is achieved by around 30% of the ability range, and is, coincidentally, around the same percentage who achieve 5 grade Bs or above at GCSE.

Therefore a superselective taking the top 10% of children will, in effect, reject 67% of those level 5 high achievers, so is it really surprising that their pupils do better on average than level 5 pupils in other schools?

Added to which, in many parts of the country, the 11+ is an opt in system, so that only children from homes where they will get continued encouragement to do their best will be likely to apply.

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 16:34:14

Superselectives take much less than 10%
If you look at the area that the blessed Tiffin picks up from, its around 1% from each area
The catchment alone is
KT1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19
TW1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
SW13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20
W3, 4, 5, 7, 13
UB1, 2
which is around a million people!

CecilyP Wed 17-Jul-13 17:09:05

Good point, well made. Superselectives often quote 5-10% but I think the real answer is that nobody knows the exact figure.

gazzalw Wed 17-Jul-13 18:24:59

Well for what it's worth DS, at a superselective, got decidedly average end of year results. Nevertheless he still came home saying that his form teacher told him he was still in the top 5% academically in the Country! Not entirely sure that's the right approach to take though....not for DS anyway!

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Jul-13 18:33:45

and public school kids are constantly bombarded with messages that they are the best

not ideal for motivation but probably true!

xylem8 Wed 17-Jul-13 23:21:48

All the research shows that borderline 11+ passers do better in a grammar school environment.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 10:37:53

how can they have measured that?
such a small proportion of kids take the 11+
nobody round here does because we do not have selective state schools

curlew Thu 18-Jul-13 12:50:55

"All the research shows that borderline 11+ passers do better in a grammar school environment."

I think there is a little research by the Sutton Trust that points in that direction, although the sample was too small to be very helpful.

No research done on borderline 11+ failers. Not surprising really- no one in any position of power or control ever thinks their child might fall into that category. The failing majority are consigned to the cutting room floor in the film about selective education.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 13:34:45

So no research to see whether those borderline passers might have done EVEN BETTER in a comp ....

xylem8 Thu 18-Jul-13 18:34:43

'I think there is a little research by the Sutton Trust that points in that direction, although the sample was too small to be very helpful.'

There is a lot more research than that to show that weaker students do better when working with those of higher ability

No research done on borderline 11+ failers. Not surprising really- no one in any position of power or control ever thinks their child might fall into that category. The failing majority are consigned to the cutting room floor in the film about selective education

but the subject of this debate is do average children do better in a grammar school!
You are right though.Grammar schools are great for those that are there.The trouble is (particularly in area grammar schools) they are detrimental to the surrounding schools who are no longer 'comprehensive'. Our local grammar wrecks at least 3 other schools nearby

FormaLurka Thu 18-Jul-13 20:35:05

Yay! A GS versus Comp thread! Its been about three weeks since the last one so I guess we are due for another one hmm

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Jul-13 20:57:53

the GS system as it exists today in England is
- incredibly divisive and stressful where it operates
- massively increases the carbon footprint of schools
- takes in many of the sharp elbowed rather than all of the brightest
all funded by taxpayers who do not get to "enjoy" it
'tis hardly a surprise that it is a source of controversy.

If I genuinely thought Grammars were the best option for the children who pass the 11+, that entry was truly on merit and that those who did not get in still got a good education at all of the surrounding schools, I'd not be set against it.
But I've never seen any evidence to disabuse me of the opinion I have formed.

gazzalw Fri 19-Jul-13 10:33:24

Well I can offer an opinion based on a slight sense of disilllusionment! For what it's worth!

DS got into a super-selective but is not doing brilliantly (although he is only at the end of Year 7). In fact his report was all Bs and Cs (with more of the latter than the former!) and really it made for quite disheartening reading (and that's not me being super-critical but really the rather negative view of the teachers!). And this is a boy who passed three super-selective 11+ exams without being tutored. He is by no means thick but I'm beginning to think that he is in danger, unless he ups his game considerably, of being marginalised. And certainly it seems to me that they expect all the boys to be self-motivated learners from the off!

I am questioning whether his very mixed primary school actually furnished him with the right skills to be able to revise brilliantly and write superly-constructed and argued essays at the age of 12, as the other boys seem to do. I know for every bright child there will be some that are much, much brighter and they obviously have some super-super-bright ones there, but I am starting to worry whether we did the right thing encouraging him to apply (although he himself was keen to do so) - is he going to up his game academically or is already starting to feel like he's 'second rate'?

And I am beginning to think that the very raised 'bar' academically is raised even higher by the ones who are being tutored (still) so that they get their places at law/medical school etc... hmm.

We have a very, very well regarded comprehensive (with a grammar intake) nearby too, which one of our DS's former classmates is at. Their approach for the grammar school level entry classes seems to be the reverse...constantly being on their case and setting very achievable targets - and I think that those possibly applies to the rest of the intake too....

tiredaftertwo Fri 19-Jul-13 11:15:00

Gazzalw, we have been in a similar situation - no, the primary will not have taught him these skills - you may have to, depending how good a job the school is doing. IME, he may well 'catch up' as he sounds very very bright and as the work becomes more demanding in analytical or numerical terms, and less about organisation/presentation/structure/focus. It may also be that Bs are normal for the cohort and because the school is dealing with very clever children, they do set out to nail any weaknesses. it is hard to know as people are not truthful always. You may have to recalibrate.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 19-Jul-13 11:43:20

Gazzalw The school may be using its own idiosynchratic marking system. A DD1's school, reports give two grades/scores - one for attainment one for commitment. The attainment level is given in terms of 'for this school'. Not in terms of NC levels or anything like that. So A=above expected level for X school, B=expected level for X school, C=slightly below expected level for X school (but we were told, when DD1 was in Y7, that many Y7 kids got some Cs and that the important thing was the effort grade) D= very below expected level for X school (I think this would be one to be concerned about). They have the same delineations for commitment.

I personally found it really unhelpful. But having been confronted with DS's reports from his comp, which use NC levels, effort grades, progress grades, Target levels and aspirational target levels - it's designed to confuse. And now I realise that DD1's school's way of doing things is much much better. A means really something special by any standards. B means completely fine in the context of that school (which is a high performing SSGS). C means fine by normal standards, but perhaps a bit more effort or help needed to reach to well known standards of the school. That does all make sense and is easily understandable. Is it possible that your GS has a similar system? How did parents' evening go?

Theas18 Fri 19-Jul-13 11:49:28

Superselective area here. I agree with the comment above that " non selective schools in a grammar school area are not "comprehensive" . That is Really important.

DD1 is 20 now and DS 17. They went to grammars. They had mates who were "just fails" for 11+ who re joined the grammar system at sixth form ( each school takes about a form of newcomers) . The kids that join don't seem to ever quite " catch up". For instance DD1s mate came to 6th form with 5A* and 6A-C grades at GCSE. I know the details because it was on the " aren't we wonderful" board at the open evening at the non selective we went to with DD2, they were celebrating her as their highest achiever.

Looking at the year group results published by the grammar this was probably lower than all their grades from in house GCSE candidates ( and it should be I guess!).

Fully comp schools are different, but I don't think a non selective in a selective area is a place to be as a "fairly bright" child.

Just my experience

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 19-Jul-13 11:59:59

I don't think going to a grammar always means no behaviour problems. I live in a town on a county border, and some children go from the town to the boys/girls grammar in a city in the next county. I guess these schools are super-selective, because they select from all over the city, and probably take 1-2 children from each primary school.

However, the boy's grammar especially is in one of the rougher areas of the city, and they are often target by drug dealers as they are percieved to be richer. Whilst I don't think the school has a drug problem as such, I have never heard of anyone selling drugs in the comprehensive school in the town I live in.

Both the grammar schools and the comprehensives have basically the same grades for entry to their sixth form- the grammar schools ask for 6a*-c inc English and Maths with B or above in the subjects you wish to study. The comprehensives/sixth form colleges I know of ask for 5a*-c with b or above in the subjects you wish to study. To me, this suggests there's not that much difference in the levels many of their students are achieving.

I also think travelling a long way to school each day can make children's social lives more difficult.

gazzalw Fri 19-Jul-13 12:03:56

Thanks for your illuminating words Tiredaftertwo and RussiansOnTheSpree!

Yes, DS's report indeed as you describe DD1's, RussiansOnTheSpree.

and yes, Tiredaftertwo, I think we do need to recalibrate. Have to keep reminding ourselves and DS that it's not an average school.


tiredaftertwo Fri 19-Jul-13 15:36:17

"Average" at his school may well mean 10 A/A*, with more than half A*s. My DCs' reports also use expected standard for this school etc.

They would not be doing their job, I guess, if they said yep, he is on his way to being average, nothing more to say.

Tough on the children though, until they get used to it, and then praise really means something.

And it is also I suppose possible to miss a genuine concern because you adjusting their comments!

RiversideMum Sat 20-Jul-13 08:37:27

I think the problem is that the selection at that age is not appropriate. I have family in Bucks. One of their DCs got into grammar only because he was (a) young in the school year and (b) male. He ended up doing brilliantly. Their other child was also a borderline pass and is really struggling and is unlikely to get the results needed to stay on for A levels.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 20-Jul-13 08:47:20

Riverside At the margins it's obviously an imperfect science. Not so further into the selected or not selected pack. Also, Gazzawl and myself are talking about superselectives - Bucks is not a superselective county. I have nieces at a bucks grammar and it's a quite different deal from the SS my Dd1 attends.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 20-Jul-13 08:48:22

Also - it's a bit harsh saying a DC only got into a school due to being young in the year. That's the sort of bitter thing that parents of kids who didnt get in say.

curlew Sat 20-Jul-13 08:51:06

"One of their DCs got into grammar only because he was (a) young in the school year and (b) male"

What make should think this?

curlew Sat 20-Jul-13 08:52:20

"What makes you think this?" is what I meant to say.

xylem8 Sun 21-Jul-13 18:24:35

Usually there is an adjustment for age, not sure about for gender though-I wouldn't have thought that was legal!

tiggytape Sun 21-Jul-13 18:45:20

In some areas it is easier for a boy to get into grammar school simply because there are lots of boys' grammar schools locally but only 1 for girls.

In other areas, the girls' grammars have a catchment area (so are easier to get into due to less competition) whereas the boys' grammars are open to all and therefore getting a girl into grammar school is easier.

Talkinpeace Sun 21-Jul-13 18:51:48

I rest my case

curlew Sun 21-Jul-13 19:12:24

In the 50s, the 11+ pass mark was higher for girls because it was assumed that boys mature later, and were therefore at a disadvantage!

<lines case up next to talkinpeace's>

Fairdene Sun 21-Jul-13 21:51:14

Multiple choice tests favour boys, so in co-ed schools with more multiple choice tests than not, boys will have an advantage.

Talkinpeace Sun 21-Jul-13 22:05:10

link please

exoticfruits Sun 21-Jul-13 22:19:15

No- if there are no grammar schools they are all in the top sets of the comprehensive.

Fairdene Sun 21-Jul-13 22:19:43

Link to what? It's well known. It forms part of the re-think about the 11+ tests.

Fairdene Sun 21-Jul-13 22:21:04

On the whole boys do mature later curlew.

curlew Sun 21-Jul-13 22:22:58

Well,bid it's that well known, there'll be loads of solid research you can link to, surely?

Fairdene Sun 21-Jul-13 22:23:07

And young in the school year is piffle. The adjustment is enough to make the marking fair but certainly not enough to make a summer born baby pass or an autumn born baby fail.

Fairdene Sun 21-Jul-13 22:25:34

The research is out there for sure but I've never had the need to have it to hand. I'm happy to accept it as fact, given those who've told me it as fact.

curlew Sun 21-Jul-13 22:30:59

I've just tried to find some- and haven't, on a first search, been able to. It certainly doesn't apply in the bit of Kent I live in, where the gender balance of the pass rate reflects the gender balance of the people who take the test.

ArgyMargy Sun 21-Jul-13 22:32:16

What is a super selective school please?

curlew Sun 21-Jul-13 22:33:45

"And young in the school year is piffle. The adjustment is enough to make the marking fair but certainly not enough to make a summer born baby pass or an autumn born baby fail."

How does this work? One mark can mean the difference between passing or failing. So a summer born could get through on a score where an autumn born wouldn't.

Fairdene Sun 21-Jul-13 22:48:00

Given the standard developmental differences, no, the adjustment would be fair: autumn baby needs to score higher, since it should. That's not hard to compute.

LadyTaylor Mon 22-Jul-13 00:15:47

Wonderful grammar schools in Northern Ireland, achieving top results!

Theas18 Mon 22-Jul-13 07:15:01

argymargy a superselective is one that ranks students in order and fills from the top of the list down. The " pass mark" ie the mark at or above which kids are admitted varies year on year depending on the cohort .

"standard" grammar schools set a % mark above which kids get in I understand.

curlew Mon 22-Jul-13 07:38:53

LadyTaylor- how are the secondary moderns?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 07:58:47

A superselective has no catchment area.

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 08:15:41

Superselectives also tend to cream off the top 5 - 10% rather than the top 20% that other grammars do

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 08:21:06

Gazz they don't claim that though (I agree it's probably true). Ultimately, catchment area or no catchment area, geography and transport links will play a role. If you're a very brainy kid in south west London with wealthy parents, you are more likely to end up a Pauline or Paulina than at Tiffins. So how superselective is Tiffins really? Actually, since one if the Tiffins schools has introduced a sort if catchment area, I guess it can't properly be described as a SS anymore anyway.

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 08:24:44

Hi, RussiansOnTheSpree!

DS, as reported upthread, didn't have a particularly sparkling report but he specifically reported back that his form tutor had told him he was still in the top 5% of pupils on the Country! That is not the type of thing that DS would have absorbed anywhere else.....

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 08:28:45

But might you not think that the Pauline or Paulinas (given how fiercely academic they are) would be in the top 0.5%??? And much more likely to have been educated privately all the way thro' so academically pushed from the age of 5, whereas many of the children at superselectives will have come thro' the state school system and not been pushed to achieve their maximum potential (DS most certainly wasn't!).....

DS certainly has boy in his year who was offered a scholarship to Westminster but because of where they live (further out than a London Borough) opted for a grammar school instead...And this boy is SERIOUSLY smart!

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 08:51:01

Gazz I'm sure the Tiffin and Sutton schools are great but ultimately, while they are incredibly competitive to get into, they don't then find themselves at the top of the tables for GCSEs or A levels. The competition from the many posh schools in London (which offer bursaries galore of course) must have an impact that isn't felt by, for example, CRGS. Or Pates (which my iPad just autocorrected to Pâtés ). But you're right, even in London the SSs probably are coming in at top 10% or lower (higher?) of the available kids because there are so many kids in London. The SS that DD1 attends says consistently that kids in top 25% will be suitable for an education there. Like many parents I believe the reality is that it's a 5-10% school, too - but they don't claim that in the info for prospective parents.

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 09:08:13

I agree entirely......

One would have to be deluded to think that the grammars in London can necessarily compete with the most fiercely academic public day schools (or even the boarding ones). However there will undoubtedly be children at the super-selectives who would merit places at these public schools had they applied.

Personally I am totally against public school education and would not consider it for our DCs,whether they were deemed bright enough or not. I am pretty sure there are plenty of other people like me who for ideological reasons would not consider places such as St Paul's or Westminster. So it is quite possible that some of the children attending super-selectives are part of the same academically distinguished cohort as the Paulines and Paulinas.....

Theas18 Mon 22-Jul-13 09:37:40

Round here it seems that it is rare to turn down a grammar place in favour of an independent place ( not london). In fact several kids I know ( incl my DD2 but in cohorts with all 3 kids) have turned down bursaries at independents in favour of grammar schools.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 09:45:57

Where I live the independents are decidedly inferior to the SSGS. In terms of results. Not in terms of built environment.

NewFairy Mon 22-Jul-13 09:49:29

"So it is quite possible that some of the children attending super-selectives are part of the same academically distinguished cohort as the Paulines and Paulinas....."

Just to pick up on this point, in areas without Grammar schools, it is also probable that some of the top 5-10% nationally, are also to be found in Comprehensive schools.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 09:51:54

NewFairy Of course it is. However it is unlikely that there will be many of them in any given comp. That's the problem. You can have a top set but it will never work for the outliers - they will still be outliers. That's why grammar schools are needed for them.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Slipshodsibyl Mon 22-Jul-13 10:20:11

Gazzalw, I would question whether there is a difference in the academic quality of the intake at London Independents and Grammars. I think differences in results are due to factors such as resources - chiefly class sizes and teacher/pupil ratio so that individual teachers are spread less thinly in terms of time.

The grammars also tend to have a larger number in the year group so might have a few children at the lower end who wouldn't quite have made it into a very selective London school. It takes only a couple of students with a few slightly lower grades to knock a school down the league table, but in addition, it is just harder to stay high in the league tables with a larger cohort as there is more chance of the odd pupil under performing.

I accept there is a tiny no of exceptions. Westminster and the two St Pauls would be the most obvious.

There will also be more likelihood of parents with extra income supplementing their children's study with good tutors at exam time. These can be easily 60 pounds per hour.

curlew Mon 22-Jul-13 10:47:43

There are no comprehensive schools in Canterbury.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 11:15:24

thegirlwithnoname, Curlew is correct. Kent is an Entirely Grammar / Sec-Mod county. THere are no comprehensives at all in Kent.

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 15:06:30

Talkinpeace. There are Comprehensives in Kent because they are non selective and accept all abities.Having said that I do not like Comprehensive Schools one bit because they are no good for anyone who is not middle of the road and i am sure that the top 30% of the abilty range would benefit from a Grammar school education. On other posts it has been explained that a malignant 5% or so destroy the education of the many. If there was a expansion of Grammar Schools places and they took 30% of pupils, the High schools took 50% of pupils the malignant 5%educated in special units permanently not temporary, the pupils educated in the High Schools the mainstream 50% of pupils education would be greater enhanced by not being brought down by the malignant 5% of pupil. The other 15% of pupils who though no fault of their own are struggling for a decent education and need specialist help to achieve a relevant education for them they would be in relevant education whether that be vocational or an other type of education. Until politicians/ teachers and unions accept that the malignant 5% need to be permanently seperated from the mainstream .The education of the many will suffer, Its time as i have said in other posts that these people realise that not everyone should be educated together and surely above average and even average abilty kids would benefit from a Grammar School education. I realise there is absolutely no chance of this happening but nevertheless you can live in hope.

curlew Mon 22-Jul-13 15:20:59

A comprehensive school is one that educates all abilities. There are no comprehensive schools in Canterbury because the "top" 23%!go to grammar schools. So there are no all ability schools.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 15:27:43

A comprehensive school admits every child in the locality.
There are no schools like that in Kent because it is a Grammar county.
As is Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire.

No school in Kent teaches children from all abilities, as the most academic 20-30% are at one school and the rest at another.

Here in Hampshire, all of the state schools are Comprehensives because there is no testing or selection at age 11 at all. Admission is by locality.

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 15:47:04

TALKINPEACE/CURLEW. Are you saying that in Kent there is nobody who scored over 360 which is the Kent Grammar School pass rate being Educated in a non Selective School in Kent. Assuming(I KNOW THAT THERE ARE PUPILS ) at these non selective schools these pupils in definition would be above average or high abilty pupils. Therefore these non Selective Schools are educating all abilties. I admit there might not be very many in each non selective School and these Schools might not achieve good results and are letting down these kids and other average abilty kids. I know that non selective Schools in selective areas do have a few high abilty kids within them, so in definition there are kids of all abilties been educated within one School. (IN MY IGNORANCE I THOUGHT THE TYPE OF SCHOOL EVEN IF IT HAD 1 HIGH ABILTY PUPIL AND 1 LOW LEVEL ABILTY PUPIL AND OTHER LEVELS OF ABILTY IT WAS A COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL).

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 15:48:59


curlew Mon 22-Jul-13 15:51:09

No- you are wrong- and shouting doesn't make you right! A comprehensive school is one that educates all the children in the area, regardless of ability.

curlew Mon 22-Jul-13 15:52:59

"Therefore these non Selective Schools are educating all abilties. I admit there might not be very many in each non selective School and these Schools might not achieve good results and are letting down these kids and other average abilty kids. "

-0andnthisnis a wrong and unwarranted assumption too!

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 15:59:55

A question for Talkinpeace/Curlew. What type of School is a School that achieves 72% A TOC English Maths thats in a fully selective area. is it 1 A sink School OR 2 A outstanding School. With these oustanding results despite losing 30% of pupils to other Grammar Schools in its L.A . It is not important what label you call a School, surely the only thing thats important is that the School enables its pupils to achieve their potential and not what the definition of what type of School it is called.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 16:19:04

The basic fact of the matter is that any school in Kent is not comprehensive. By definition and by stated policy of Kent County Council.
The fact that some of the non grammars get fantastic results does not take away from the fact that many do not, and the children who have been segregated out of the academic school are not given the same opportunities as those segregated in.

Look at the number of Kent Schools getting under 10% Ebacc
compared with the number of Hampshire Schools

the Secondary Moderns in Kent do NOT give the full range of Comprehensive learning

curlew Mon 22-Jul-13 16:22:11

I think the problem you have is thinking that "high/secondary modern school" and "sink school" are synonyms.

You can have good and bad grammars, comprehensives and secondary moderns/high schools. The school you describe is a obviously a very good high school. Presumably it is either good or outstanding according to OFSTED.

What is your point?

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 16:40:08

Curlew/Talkinpeace. The school is more than outstanding it has gold medal status or something like that. The point i am trying to say is that it is possible that a non selective school in a selective area can ensure that all students achieve their potential. Unfortunatly High Schools/Secondary Modern Schools have been tainted with the label of failing or sink schools before the School/Schools have been able to demonstrate that they can enable their pupils to achieve their potential when infact in many cases they can. TALKINPEACE. I thought EBACC was not being taken seriously even by Grammar Schools.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 16:46:03

The point of the blerdy Ebacc is that it does highlight the schools that stuffed their results with Btec woodworrk and general studies
ie it highlights the number of children being given the right academic grounding to go to top flight Universities and employers

much less of an issue now that the curriculum has changed, but statistically in a comp it should be possible to get 33% EBACC (as per those listings) so any school getting less than that has either had its most academic kids sent elsewhere or has questions to answer.

It is also very much the case that the Kent 11+ has been so mangled by prep schools and tutoring that many bright kids are ending up at the High Schools - seeker's DS as a case in point - and doing rather well
but that is SO SO dependent on the individual school rather than comprehensive opportunities for all.

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 17:08:57

Talkinpeace. If Seekers DS gets As and Bs in his G.C.S.Es and that enables him to get in to the Grammar School for the 6th form and ultimately University then all Seekers worries will have gone. It is quite possible that the School that Seekers DS is at, realise that he is probably one of their most able students and are teaching him and other high or above average abilty kids in a different and more academic way than other students within their School . An approach like that may enable him to have an equal education to that he may have got at the Grammar School, which is where he should probably be with his academic abilty.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 17:12:14

Seeker isn't even here now. I don't think it;s fair talking about her Or her DS anymore.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 17:13:46

but what about all the kids who do not have parents as motivated as her (and siblings at the Grammar school)

if you lived in Deal, would you really be happy with Walmer?
or in Ramsgate at Marlowe?
or in Swanscombe at Swan Valley (which has the lowest Value Added in the county to boot)

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 17:18:43

Russians, I did not realise she'd decamped. no worries

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 17:27:03

Why are the Schools you have described so awful? The Marlowe academy must be one of the worst Schools in the country. I dont think the MARLOWE ACADEMY would be any better even if there were no Grammar Schools within Kent. The problem with Schools like the MARLOWE ACADEMY, are related more to the problems in places like Ramsgate and the problems of deprivation and low aspiration. These in places like Ramsgate and Hull and in a lot of these coastal towns there is no north/south divide just deprivation in equal measures. I do not think its CLARENDON HOUSE GRAMMAR or other Grammar Schools in the near locality that causes the problems that face the MARLOWE ACADEMY or other Schools you have mentioned.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 17:51:11

Looking at the results of Clarendon and Chatham
it is clear that Marlowe does not stand a chance because it combines low local opportunities with 11+ failure.
At least if all the kids in Thanet were given the same opportunities (I know East Kent pretty well BTW), those that currently get dumped into Marlowe might have a chance.
But Thanet is an oddity.

How do you explain Swanscome? : in an area with excellent rail links to Canary Wharf etc and easy access to the Motorway network and better opportunities

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 17:53:38

Oh no, what's happened to Seeker? Thought it a bit strange that she hadn't chipped in to this thread.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Jul-13 17:55:45

I dunno. But it's sad. She is much missed, by me anyway, even though we rarely agreed.

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 18:07:23


beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 18:11:54

TALKINPEACE. Ive just looked at SWAN VALLEY School is that SWANSCOME? 24% 5 A TO C Maths and English 22.9% F.S.M so high but the School is going in the wrong direction 2010/2011 it had 34/35% 5 A TO C respectively. Maybe the School could do with a new head or perhaps trying to specalize in perhaps a sports college and try to establish relationships with local football and other sport clubs and maybe that could encourage parents with middle abilty DCs to apply there.

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 18:16:14

Try to specalize in becoming a sports college. My grade E G.C.S.E English Grammar letting me down SORRY.

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 18:33:22

It was 1988 so with "Grade Inflation" i can say with some belief it would be an A* Today HA HA HA.

LadyTaylor Mon 22-Jul-13 21:31:16

Secondary schools achieve excellent results with great teaching staff! Very well equipped with high standards expected of both pupils and staff.

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 21:36:20

there are no specialist schools any more other than just in name : there has been no money for specialisms for a couple of years
and actually becoming a sports college will drive the academic even further away

1988 GCSE : youngster grin

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 22:16:07

Talkinpeace. So the new fad is Academy status god knows in 3 years Acadamy status will be where specialism is now. 1988 I was in the first year to take G.C.S.Es and I had to take them at a college because my school would not let me take any. That was how bad Education was then if you had special needs. But enough of me moaning!

Talkinpeace Mon 22-Jul-13 22:28:59

Academies - at least Gove style - have a lot more to do with breaking the power of LEAs than anything to do with education.

beatback Mon 22-Jul-13 23:22:02

Talkinpeace. It could be that SWAN VALLEY School is suffering because two local Schools LEIGH TECHNOLOGY and DARTFORD SCIENCE COLLEGE. where Leigh Technology College/ Dartford Science 61/52% 5 A TO C Maths and English respectively.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 12:28:02

absolutely : its a secondary modern - it IS one of the sink schools you referred to up thread and "parental choice" reinforces that vicious spiral every year

beatback Tue 23-Jul-13 16:48:37

Talkinpeace. One of the main problems for SWAN VALLEY and other Schools like them is even by changing their names people will always remember how bad they were 20 or 30 years ago, and no matter what they do the stigma will always remain the same. Another problem for SWAN VALLEY in particular is that the kids who dont pass For/choose WILLMINGTON/DARTFORD GRAMMAR will have SWAN VALLEY as 3rd choice so the aspriational parents will choose LEIGH/ DARTFORD SCIENCE COLLEGE meaning that the only kids SWAN VALLEY can attract are kids from families who dont value education or parents that have had negative experiences from their own education. One way schools like SWAN VALLEY could improve their image is being very strong on Uniform and behaviour outside the school, because one thing i have learnt in life is you become like your surrondings and if the kids go to school thinking there going to a dump and whats the point of even looking half smart the standards will always drop. If pupils entering schools like SWAN VALLEY could believe that their were not entering a dump in their own minds that surely would be a positive start. If OFSTED could set realistic targets for these Schools in SWAN VALLEY"s case maybe 30% 5 A TOC Maths English and not expect them to straight away get 50% plus. It is very sad that the perception in the uk that if the School was a sports College the academic side would be poor and this is only the case in the state sector, because all the best public schools set great store in their sporting achievements and were massively over repersented in the medals at the Olympics and the State Schools that did have ex pupils who won medals were not the SWAN VALLEY"s. Another way things could be improved is if philanthropists started building schools not for their own egos like "LORD HARRIS CARPETRIGHT" REG VARDY JUST SO HE CAN PREACH CREATIONISM" but because their wanted to put back some of their wealth in to society and not to ask anything for it other than for the common good. One of the U.Ks greatest philantropists was WILLIAM MORRIS founder of Morris Cars who though his lifetime gave away over £30 million pounds the equivalent to over £1 BILLION POUNDS TODAY ,and created amonst many things the NUFFIELD FOUNDATION. He was not looking for an ego boost just to make things better for the common good.

beatback Tue 23-Jul-13 17:04:47

And then after the philantropists have built the schools let the professionals run them the correct way not in the ego centric way of themselves.

beatback Tue 23-Jul-13 21:55:33

ON a current thread about HARRIS ACADEMIES it says despite having a cohort not dissimilar from the Dover Grammar Schools achieves average results so perhaps the professionals should be allowed to put that right without the ego of the "OWNER OF THE SCHOOL" .

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 21:57:38

How well do you know Dover? I very much doubt that Harris would be able to work their magic there. Especially with the kids split between different schools.

beatback Tue 23-Jul-13 22:13:59

I dont know Dover other than looking at statistics and i was actually saying that the harris academy is only producing average results with an above average cohort so were actually not doing very well.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 22:19:20

Harris area bit like Marmite .... as is Dover grin

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 22:20:12

yes definitely

beatback Tue 23-Jul-13 22:28:36

I have been on the ferry quite a few times though and its a lot faster than the crossing from ramsgate but not as quick as the tunnel from folkestone. HA HA HA.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 22:31:15

that is the exact reason why Dover is ........

well Dover

I lived there for a while.

beatback Tue 23-Jul-13 22:34:41

You mean the sort of town where everbodys been but nobody has been. JUST A TRANSIT TOWN!

DownstairsMixUp Tue 23-Jul-13 22:45:20

I think they just need to go, TBH. Plenty of other boroughs perform fine without them, and infact, loads of boroughs WITHOUT them perform far better than Kent, even Havering is above Kent and it always had a rep of being a bit shitty when I lived there (and it's where I was educated) I just think they need to phase it out and concentrate on putting all schools in these places up to a good level.

Also selecting kids at age 11 to go grammar might make it more likely that they get 5 good gcses but kids will decide what path they take as they get older, you can't set it for them at 11. My OH went to a very selective grammar school in kent and it was something ridiculous like less than 40% of kids actually used their gcse's to further themselves and go to uni etc etc.

Also, 11 is far too young to determine how a child will always perform. Lots of kids at grammar schools end up scraping by with C's because people change, and vice versa, a child at age 11 may do their 11 + and feel very nervous and not sure of their abilities, but may gain this as they age. I know that 100% happened to me, I wasn't predicted good grades at age 11 but I gained confidence around my mid teens and ended up doing very well. Just concentrate on making ALL state schools good, not just tutoring kids to get into the super selective grammars!

forehead Wed 24-Jul-13 13:18:23

Good post Downstairs.
I have no problem with Grammar schools.
However, I do feel that 11 is definitely too young
to decide.
My dsis was put in the bottom sets at school.
At about 13 years old she pulled her socks up and now has
a PHD.
People develop at different rates. A child who was thought of as academic at 11, may not be the same at 14.
One must also remember, that even if your child passes the 11 plus with flying colours a very academic grammar school may not be right for them. They may in fact benefit from attending a school which is less pressurised. Alternatively, there may be those who just scraped the 11 plus, but would thrive at a grammar school.
I think it is vital that students look at their child as an individual and decide what is right for them.
However, I do accept that I am fortunate to live in an area which has a decent Catholic school and therefore I do not feel the pressure to get a grammar school place for my kids.

beatback Wed 24-Jul-13 18:03:48

Forehead. Although i believe very much in Grammar Schools i can accept that different people mature and develop at different ages whether 11 is to young i dont know, what i do know is that they should be different ages to transfer if a Grammar School becomes the right school for a particular child and pupils who are struggling at the Grammar School should be able to transfer to the right school without any stigma or embarrsment. Grammar Schools should not be about social status and class and should only be about teaching the subjects at a different pace . Because of the stupid target of trying to get 40% of kids going to University, Grammar Schools were they exist have become honey pots to the aspirational and pushy, partly out of fear that the COMPREHENSIVES/HIGH SCHOOLS will not enable their DCs to access University. A lot of the problems of low aspiration and achievement in these COMP/HIGH Schools are created by the troublesome 5% of pupils who infect many pupils in to thinking its un cool to be bright and therefore become C/B students when in the right enviroment they could be A students. Even though the bright students are separated in sets from the troublesome 5% their influence still spreads though the school and the kids who are not totally focused on their study"s are still infected by them.

beatback Wed 24-Jul-13 18:30:24

That there should be different age transfers available to Grammar Schools if it is the right school for the pupil.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 24-Jul-13 18:55:32

>That there should be different age transfers available to Grammar Schools if it is the right school for the pupil.

yes, ideally...but how would that work in practice? To allow that, the GS would presumably have to turn away people for whom it is right at 11 (given that they are always oversubscribed). DDs GS has had some pupils transfer in from other local schools, but I think that this could only be possible because a few of the original cohort have moved elsewhere (only one has transferred out because she was finding it too hard).

curlew Wed 24-Jul-13 19:03:58

">That there should be different age transfers available to Grammar Schools if it is the right school for the pupil."

I think that's called a comprehensive school, isn't it?

beatback Wed 24-Jul-13 19:05:37

GrimmaTheNome. You would need to have spare places available(NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN) i know at both Selective and non Selective Schools. The pupil who left your DDs Grammar, did she suffer from embarrsment and stigma caused by other pupils and perception of not being quite good enough for her chosen school.

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 07:23:44

Grammar schools never- slight exaggeration, but hey ho- have spaces!

exoticfruits Thu 25-Jul-13 08:34:06

Equally they should be moved to the secondary modern if they don't cope. It is wrong to keep a place you got at 11yrs if you are not up to the standard.

The comprehensive allows for movement, either way,which is much better.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 10:06:41

The usual situation at DD1's school is that everyone who gets in does Very Well (this year, who knows, of course sad ). The issue lies with the ones who didn't get in but would also have done Very Well, rather than the ones who do get in. Sadly. Grammar schools are not allowed to expand, at the moment, and that is the real problem - I reckon you get get a whole 25% more kids going to DD1's school (ie a whole extra form at entry) without lowering the standard at all.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 10:08:21

>You would need to have spare places available(NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN)
as I said, really hard to see how to do that in a school which can't take everyone who passes the 11+ who wants to go there. Schools are physically limited in size - already they've taken one or two more than can really fit in some classrooms (28 desks, 28 lockers, 29 pupils)

>The pupil who left your DDs Grammar, did she suffer from embarrsment and stigma caused by other pupils and perception of not being quite good enough for her chosen school.

I don't know - DD reported it to me as a simple matter of fact that one girl had decided to leave.

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 10:43:45

"The usual situation at DD1's school is that everyone who gets in does Very Well (this year, who knows, of course ). The issue lies with the ones who didn't get in but would also have done Very Well, rather than the ones who do get in. Sadly. Grammar schools are not allowed to expand, at the moment, and that is the real problem - I reckon you get get a whole 25% more kids going to DD1's school (ie a whole extra form at entry) without lowering the standard at all."

<sigh> which is why they should all be at a efficiently streamed comprehensive school.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 10:55:40

Curlew <sigh> No they shouldn't. This is a top performing SS serving a gigantic geographical area including 4 (or possibly more) LEAs. Disperse them all to their 'local' comp and you'd get probably 2 or 3 per school. They would be outliers, they'd be forced to work at a slower pace than they are easily comfortable with, and they would be completely let down by the system.

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 10:57:18

I have to agree with Curlew

round here the "grammar" kids are the top sets
late maturers move up the sets over time
early maturers or those who were over tutored slide down the sets

but they stay in their same pastoral tutor group, with their friends, and the sports and arts and transport all in place
rather than the pain and cost of changing school

AND parents relax and support their children, safe in the knowledge that EVERY child has the chance to get into the top sets at any time

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 10:59:01

They would be outliers, they'd be forced to work at a slower pace
a nice piece of self aggrandisement for which there is no evidence at all

they are not 'outliers' they are merely the tail of the normal distribution and the next kids along the tail are within 0.1 IQ points of them

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 11:21:12

Talkin I have a child at the comp my DD1 would be at if she wasn't at the SS. She would most certainly be an outlier there, and she would be as isolated as she was at her primary school. It's not self aggrandisement at all, it's actually a bit sad. And she would most certainly have been forced to work at a slower pace since the kids at her school do all their GCSEs at the end of Y10, which is not the case at the comp. I don't agree with the Kent/Bucks system, and I can see why people think the outcomes from a completely comp system in those counties would be better - but that is not the case for the SSs.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 11:59:03

>which is why they should all be at a efficiently streamed comprehensive school.

That throws up problems too - setting everything is difficult logistically (so you may end up with too much of a mixed ability in non-core subjects) and streaming can be a disaster for pupils who are strong in one area but weak in others.

there just isn't a one-size fits all solution. Breaking parts which do work well for the pupils they serve doesn't seem too helpful to me.

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 12:08:05

Why is setting so difficult? Lots of schools manage it fine. And if it is difficult, then surely the solution is to sort it the difficulties with setting nationally rather than maintain an antiquated, divisive system in a few pockets.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 12:16:27

How can setting everything not be logistically difficult? working out the timetables for GCSEs to allow pupils to do the combination of subjects they want seems to be difficult enough. (Of course, quite a lot of schools don't seem to allow pupils to do the subjects they really want, instead getting very constrained 'option blocks')

Its not something that could be addressed 'at national level' - the devil is in the detail.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 12:22:33

Grimma Oh they very could address the GCSE timetable thing easily at national level sad And it would look like this: Every child does 2xEng, 1 MFL, 1xmaths, 3xscience or 2x science 1xhistory 1xDT 1xRE (maybe. Or 1xGeog). Bye bye music, art, drama, extra maths, kids studying more than one additional language etc etc. Unless you go to posh school then you can do good stuff.

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 12:30:58

Sorry, what I meant by at a national level is that all schools should be expected to do it. How individual schools manage it is up to them, but there should be setting in all schools. That would mean grammar schools were no longer needed.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 12:40:10

Curlew No it wouldn't it would just mean that some kids were not having their educational needs met by the state system (as is already the case in those areas with no access to super selectives).

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 12:43:05

I've never come across a comp which doesn't do some sort of setting or streaming. I'm sure some manage it better than others but you hear problems with it (combined with 'option block' woes) all the time on MN. The commonest is probably the 'top set only allowed triple science' - with strict limit on numbers determined by the size of one or two classes.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:13:01

Or, top set forced to do triple science whether they want to or not....

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 13:17:18

"Or, top set forced to do triple science whether they want to or not...."

I can't imagine circumstances where top sets shouldn't. They certainly do in grammar schools- or "the top sets of comprehensives" as the same children are called in rational LEAs

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:19:31

curlew That'll be because you did triple science. (Your lack of imagination, I mean).

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 13:20:52

At DCs school only those who were in the top science sets are forced to do triple science

those who are arty or musical or sporty are most certainly NOT forced to do triple science : it would be a waste of the school's resources

they all do double (except for the lowest set)
but only those with a science mind do the triple

PS Thornden does not set at all ... but it is very unusual

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:21:26

also - I don't believe all grammar schools do force everyone to do triple science. Although they do at DD1's school. I know grammar schools where they don't force triple science on the unwilling.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:22:54

Talkin you do realise it is possible to be arty, musical, sporty and top set science?

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 13:24:18

of course .... DD is wink

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 13:25:50

It's also possible to be "academic" and "good with your hands"

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 13:34:30

But whatever, if the lab can hold X pupils and there are X+2 who want to do triple and are capable of it, you're still usually going to get 2 who aren't allowed to do it. Its the same sort of problem as selective schools in miniature. (and, to be sure, decided at 13/14 not 11)

katydid02 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:35:51

I think they are better in areas where there are grammar schools because they are with like minded kids. However you do get the same impact in areas without grammar schools - my DD's school divides each year group in half with a mix of abilities in each half. They are then divided within the halves into 7 sets according to ability, those in set one are only with other really bright kids and they all motivate each other, it's not unusual to see them getting high level 7 and 8s in year 9.

katydid02 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:36:29

It helps that the school also don't hang about re moving children down sets if they don't keep motivated and do the work - they can and do move children up and down if they aren't pulling their weight.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:37:30

curlew It's also possible to be "academic" and "good with your hands" Did anyone say it wasn't? Not me, certainly.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:39:02

Talkin So what did your DD do - did she want to do triple science (hence no problem) or was she forced to do it at the expense of eg Drama? And if so do you agree with Curlew that that is the right thing to do, regardless of her wishes?

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 13:43:36

Russian- it's what people usually say about selective schools. The system is wonderful because it allows academic children to be academic and the others to be "good with their hands" and do metal work.. It's like people think blind people have super hearing- if you're not academic you must be "good with your hands"

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 13:44:46

she is doing double English, double Maths, triple Science, Spanish, Latin, Geography, History and Textiles. She does music lessons and plays in the school Orchestras and is at grade 6 in her dancing

many of her friends are doing very similar stuff : not doing Music GCSE because they play socially and do the grades

those not doing the triple science are doing extra languages or Art subjects

she's top 1% bright but I know that she is not top 0.1%

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 13:45:59

That sounds good...but you need pretty huge schools to do it. I started secondary in the year my school was transitioning from GS to comp - it had to double in size, which had a lot of downsides.

The OPs title was 'Are grammar schools better for above average children' - DD is in a school which consists of essentially 4 'top sets' , I've very little doubt it is better for her than the local comp - which is a very good one (we don't live in the GS area so it's a true comp). I know we're bloody lucky to have had both options available for her.

HisMum4now Thu 25-Jul-13 13:51:06

Thinking of the OP question , why?
Grammar schools are the only affordable alternative to public schools.

The two tier system distorts the chances of those who are not in top 30%. But if you abolish GS, there still will be two tier system with private schools that would give an advantage in access to good universities and jobs.

In places like Kent, if they were to abolish GS, desperate parents would set up selective free schools or scratch the bottom of the barrel to pay day fees in expanding private schools.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:51:34

Curlew - as far as DD1's school is concerned it's not a difference between being academic and good with hands. It's a difference between being one type of learner, and not. I said there were probably up to 30 kids each year (from the massive area feeding the school) that might do just as well there. There are loads loads loads more who will do really well, better maybe in some cases, at different schools but who wouldn't suit the way they do things at DD1's school. I don't for one minute think my destined for triple science quite happily, super good at maths son, who goes to the comp, is not academic (although he is better with his hands than any of the females in the family since we all have dyspraxia). But I do know that DD1's school is not the right place for him hence we never even considered it.

It's very easy for people who live in Kent to view things through a Kent prism. BUT Kent is not the world. Kent is in fact a strange place, and I agree with many Kentish people that the Kent system is a bit poo.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 13:55:57

Talkin Well, if she's happy then great. What about a similar kid who wanted to do arts subjects instead of triple science?

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 14:40:24

Russians. You are pro Super Selective but anti the type of system in Bucks/Kent and other fully Selective areas, i find this odd. Why do you only want a tiny percentage of DCs educated in an Academic way and do not think the other 25% with the required Academic abilty should not recieve a Grammar School Education. Im guessing the super selective school that your DD attends is "COLYTON GRAMMAR" what COLYTON GRAMMAR does is get A* Students A* passes, what Grammar Schools should do are get the students who would be C/B students A grades and guessing from previous posts from you have said i guess your DS would have benefited from a normal Grammar with a top 25% of abilty range intake. I hear people saying how bad the Kent/Bucks system is all the time, as i have mentioned at other times there are other fully selective local authorities that achieve great results for all thier students, but time after time when the name of these two high performing areas come up, i am not going to name people say" AH BUT THESE ARE DIFFERENT" Kent/Bucks have no excuses for poor High Schools except in the case of Schools like the MARLOWE ACADEMY in RAMSGATE where problems could be have particular problems linked to SEASIDE Towns. On a personal note its great that DYSPRAXIA SUFFERES like your family have achieved very highly within education and means you and yor DCs must have worked very hard to overcome difficulties and the perception of other people and suffering from DYSPRAXIA myself i know how difficult it can be.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 14:46:34

The MARLOWE ACADEMY. Which could have particular problems linked to SEASIDE Towns . Sorry i tongue twisted myself there.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 14:57:41

A positive bit of news this morning in the Times was that KELMSCOTT SCHOOL in Walthamstow east London had introduced LATIN on to its Curriculum. Only for a chosen 14 students but a start and great on the school for trying to offer something that is not offered in many other schools in more salubrious areas "WELL DONE TO THEM".

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 14:58:46

Beatback Please don't SHOUT AT ME I'm NOT DEAF.

25-30% Grammar schools are neither fish nor fowl. That's why I don't think they are a great idea. The sort of Grammar school you describe (which I am not sure exists anyway I do not think most kids going to a catchment GS are C students) would not solve the problems that kids at the extreme end of the ability range have in comps. And they probably create more problems for other kids, both in the Grammars and in the local comps.

I don't think I have ever worked particularly hard, I'm lazy, me. Bare minimum. Life's too short.

HisMum4now Thu 25-Jul-13 15:00:11

Could it be argued that Buck/Kent system is good for middle ability students as well?
In high performing selective LAs secondary modern type of schools do better at GCSEs then most other fully comprehensives.

Once the most academic students are gone to GS, the remaining pupils in the secondary modern comprehensive get more attention and help to get good results. So the top 50-30% ability range kids get good GCSE that they wouldn't have if the most academic stayed in the same school.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 15:07:24

Russians. When you say extreme end, do your also mean the problems the bottom 20% of the academic range suffer from, who have to work "VERY HARD" just to achieve Ds and Es in their G.C.S.Es then.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 15:15:39

I think you need 3 types of school. Top 10%, Bottom 10%, everyone else. Or even top 5% bottom 5%, everyone else. Then everyone will get a fair crack.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 15:15:49


RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 15:16:02


beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 15:20:58

Russians. With reference about whether the type of Grammar School i mentioned exists. I can tell you my newphews Grammar School is one of the types of Grammar Schools i have mentioned and he has just finished his G.C.S.Es at a top 25-30%abilty Grammar School. we are hoping for 2 As 4Bs and 4Cs so the type of Grammar School i was talking about does exist and does the type of job that it should.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 15:23:35

How do you arrive at 5 or 10%? At what age(s) would you make the selection?

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 15:25:47

I think putting capital letters in the wrong place and lack of awareness is called Dyspraxia along with struggling with the correct use of Grammar and poor fine motor control as well as terrible handwriting.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 15:25:53

Oh - also - that percentage might work in a city but probably difficult in more rural environments. The old 25% GS model could involve pretty big catchments.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 15:30:23

Top 5%. You mean so the likes of Eton and Harrow/Wycombe Abbey can have more access to the top Universities and top jobs in the Establishment then they already have then.

allmycats Thu 25-Jul-13 15:35:37

Agree with the post on page 1 by 'skiing gardener' my experience was the same and I do feel that if you can a grammar school education pays dividends in the long term.
I went from infant/junior being mainly left to get on with it just because I could to state grammar where I found that I could be stretched and I
also found that I was not as bright as I thought I was !!

swingofthings Thu 25-Jul-13 16:10:55

One of my close friend's DD goes to one of those top Kent grammar school. We live in a non grammar school county and so my DD goes to the local comprehensive. They finished primary school with similar levels and 2 years DD actually has higher levels than her girl and yet I don't feel my DD is challenged enough in her school. From what my friend tells me, I really can't see that much difference between her DD's lessons and mine who is in top sets classes for all set subjects.

If we lived in Kent, I would have pushed for my DD to go to grammar school for the reason that this is where the top pupils go, but Kent don't have more academic children than other county and local comprehensive still have to cater for their local academic children, so I really don't think it make that much of a difference.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 16:45:37

Grimma By testing. At 11.

Beat Dyspraxia is a medically/ed psych diagnosed condition. It does not mean that you shout at everyone on the internet, nor that you struggle with grammar - it's not an excuse for either of those things, either. And the school that you describe doesn't sound like a grammar school to me, really...

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 16:46:44

Grimma - sorry, catching up. Superselectives cover humungous areas, they don't have defined catchments.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 16:47:53

swing Exactly.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 16:52:07

Most (maybe not all, not sure) 'superselectives' are in fairly densely populated areas. My DDs 'normal' GS has a large catchment (plus some residual places) which makes it as big as you'd want a kid to travel every day. (It gets excellent results BTW.)

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 16:53:10

Grimma Not the one my DD1 goes to.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 16:55:25

Also, I believe people travel very long distances for Tiffins (one of which has now established a catchment, right? Local places for local people?) and for CRGS. And for Pates.

But yes, it probably wouldn't work everywhere. Which is a shame but there you go. It would never happen anyway so no harm in speculating what would be the optimum model.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 17:01:06

But presumably there is some practical limit in reality of how far the parents are willing to have their kid travel (or the school will allow)?

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 17:05:28

Well Russians he took the 11+ and passed it and its a state school so i guess its called a "Secondary Modern". Granted it only gets 9% AAB at A level so is not in the Top 50 Grammars in the Country and 95% A* To C Maths and English but is located in a fully selective L.E.A it is 100% a Grammar School maybe not a Super Selective top 3 to 5% of abilty.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 17:05:42

Some GSs seem to manage very well with the 25% approach, so I wouldn't get too worried. (The Colyton place everyone seems to mention on GS threads says 'we offer a selective education to students in the top 25% of the ability range' - maybe that doesn't accurately reflect their actual intake but evidently not beneath consideration.)

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 17:08:43

Grimma I don't think schools ask, do they? My DD1 has about a 60 mile round trip every day. She loves her bus time. It enables her to work on her relationship with her ipod. I adore the amount of travel I do for the same reason. grin

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 17:15:20

Russians. Do you want me to mame the school so you can check the Dept of Educations definition of the school that my newphew attends. Also Russian why where you so demeaning to me when i was offering you a compliment on your achievement in getting to Oxford and if your Dyspraxia has never been a problem to you than you are "Super Human" and believe me i might not have the Academic Qualifactions or Academic IQ as you but believe me in many other ways i would be the equal of you.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 17:19:23

Do you want me to name the school.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 25-Jul-13 17:19:58

Beat I didn't go to Oxford, I went to Cambridge. I am sure you are a better person than me in every respect. In the light of that I'd prefer it if you didn't shout at me or indeed berate me in any way before. You appear to have selected me as your new 'victim' since the last one name changed. I won't stand for it as long as she did. Or indeed, for any time at all.

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 17:22:31

just got back in from work
a very arty friend of DDs is doing English Lang, English Lit, Double Science, single Maths, History, Art, RE, French, Spanish

the school is 300 per year intake - absolutely standard for Hampshire and many other counties

I find the thought of the carbon footprint of kids doing 30 miles each way to school horrific

chillax. Kent is an anomaly. The rest of the country tries not to think about them (other than on Mumsnet)

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 17:30:48

I am not a better or worse person than anybody just equal i have not selected anybody as a victim. I do not pick on anybody and i am not a TROLL . I am always on this site because i like talking to people who have far greater Academic qualifactions and knowledge, partly because i never had the chance/confidence or abilty to access higher education. Although i have had a very comfortable life. but please excuse my confrontational way of putting things across, that was the way i got noticed having been a victim at school. I am very sorry i have giving you the wrong impression of me.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 17:32:26

Afternoon Talkinpeace. I have decided to be polite to everybody now.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 17:34:47

I am very sorry i have given you the wrong impression of me.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Jul-13 17:42:02

>Grimma I don't think schools ask, do they

about feasibility of travel? DDs school (and the equivalent boy's GS) does, for the residual places. We're near the bus route (the school bus is the social club, no hardship) - if we weren't, it wouldn't have worked.

piggywigwig Thu 25-Jul-13 18:21:11

"Also, I believe people travel very long distances for Tiffins (one of which has now established a catchment, right? Local places for local people?) and for CRGS. And for Pates."

There's no arguing with the position CRGS occupies in the league table, but people also travel vast distances to get to that other hallowed superselective school in Colchester - namely Colchester County High School. There's girls from London in DD's class and I suspect that the geographical areas students travel from, would be pretty comparable in the two schools. At induction, a prominent member of staff took great pains to express her utter surprise incredulity at how far away from ColCHS some girls lived.
Not really relevant but I wanted to mention it en passant.

HisMum4now Thu 25-Jul-13 18:33:43

Would DC with A* from a superselective have an advantage vs a DC with A* from bog standards grammar taking top 30% in university admissions?

Talkinpeace Thu 25-Jul-13 19:07:21

no, but DC with A* from a comp would do .... grin

FormaLurka Thu 25-Jul-13 19:13:00

But isn't that the same as saying that a First from Oxbridge is the same as a First from Thames Valley?

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 20:07:26

Talkinpeace. I think its right that some advantage should be given to the DC from the Comprehensive. It has to be measured and not blatent, "positive discrimination" because in the end that does not benefit anyone especially the DC from the Comprehensive.

beatback Thu 25-Jul-13 20:34:18

Piggywigwag. It is a shame that the parents of those DDs believe it neccassary to enforce a 2-3hr journey to school and back each day. Due to the fact that a suitable education for their DDs is not available in a more accessible location.

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 23:55:34

"But isn't that the same as saying that a First from Oxbridge is the same as a First from Thames Valley?"

No, it isn't.

gazzalw Fri 26-Jul-13 08:40:35

I have to comment though that we live in a neighbouring borough to where DS attends his super-selective. The bus journey isn't any longer than it would be for him to cross our home borough for some of the comprehensives. We only considered the super-selectives because they are effectively on 'our doorstep'....

I really cannot understand parents subjecting their children to really, really long journeys of a couple of hours just to go to school. And I'm pretty sure that a lot of these children don't live in towns or boroughs with no decent schools....

It's all gone a bit pear-shaped, hasn't it?

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 09:00:22

It used to take me an hour to get to my comp in south london, on public transport, back in the 80s. Because of the way the buses were. Mind you, it only took half an hour to walk, but it was uphill all the way and through woods and a park. I didn't mind walking home but walking there was a bit much.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 26-Jul-13 11:08:52

Well, in London (and some rural areas) you hear of kids having horrible long journeys (on public transport, not actual school buses) because of one set of parents sending kids miles to a faith school and then families who live near that school having to send their kids miles to whatever's left over - so they aren't even doing it because the school is in any way better for them. I'd want to fix that part of the education system first TBH - anyone else interested see here.

But that's a whole other thread!

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 11:15:04

Grimma I imagine the parents sending their kids to the faith school would disagree. What you describe as a 'fix' would likely be seen as a 'destruction' by many.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 11:35:06

"Grimma I imagine the parents sending their kids to the faith school would disagree. What you describe as a 'fix' would likely be seen as a 'destruction' by many."

There was, possibly, an argument for faith schools, Catholic ones at least, in the time when Roman Catholics were under an obligation to educate their children apart from children of other faiths. Nowadays, they are simply a method of back door selection, whatever people say about the ethos. This is proved by the simple fact that undersubscribed faith schools do no better or worse than comparable non faith schools. It is only when over subscription criteria are applied that results are noticeably better.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 26-Jul-13 11:39:52

As I said, that's a topic for another thread -I don't want to derail this one. smile

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 11:44:08

Catholics are still under an obligation to educate their kids in the catholic faith. Many catholics don't get the opportunity though since the distribution of catholic schools is not uniform throughout the country and no longer matches the distribution of actual catholics throughout the country. Many oversubscribed catholic schools are oversubscribed because non catholics want to go there too, not just because there are too many catholics (although this is sometimes the case). There are indeed plenty of no great catholic schools and sometimes they are oversubscribed and sometimes not.

Telling though that you mentioned only catholic schools, Curlew. There are for more C0fE schools and they are the ones that do selection by the back door.

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 11:44:48

But anyway faith schools are a completely different issue so I'm a bit hmm as to why Grimma even mentioned them in the first place.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 11:53:35

I only mentioned Catholic schools because they were the only ones that three was ever any justification for, because Catholics parents were once obliged to educate their children separately. While they are still obliged to educate their children in the faith, there is no obligation for segregation.

Which means that there is no justification for any faith schools, of whatever denomination. And they are all no a cover for back door selection.

Read posts with care, pigbinJosh, before you insinuate discrimination.

HisMum4now Fri 26-Jul-13 12:11:41

Is it possible to 'abolish' selection?

GrimmaTheNome Fri 26-Jul-13 12:20:02

> I'm a bit hmm as to why Grimma even mentioned them in the first place.

only in relation to the distance kids have to travel to school, and I didn't mean to derail the thread!

(but just to clarify one thing: 'I only mentioned Catholic schools because they were the only ones that three was ever any justification for, because Catholics parents were once obliged to educate their children separately. While they are still obliged to educate their children in the faith, there is no obligation for segregation'
No, they weren't the only ones - nonconformists had similar problems. But mostly they got rid of their own schools way back (pre wwII) when non-church state primaries were introduced - they weren't necessary any more.)

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 12:24:57

Curlew Your use of the word 'Roman' was sufficient thanks. I don't need a lesson in reading comprehension. And catholic schools are not and never have been a back door for selection. That is why the only criteria for entry is activity in the church, not depth of pockets and ability to buy a house in a desireable catchment area. Catholic parents have never been under an obligation for separate education - the distribution of catholic schools makes that a nonsense. There are many areas with no catholic schools.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 12:29:33

Since when has the use of the word Roman been discriminatory? Genuine question.

And all faith schools are a vehicle for back door selection. Any school where parents have to jump through a hoop to get a place (even if the "hoop" is part of the fabric of that family's life) will get better results than a school where all you have to do is wait for the allocation letter.

And you are wrong. Catholics were once obliged to educate their children separately.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 12:30:42

And if your riding comprehension was that good, you would have noticed that Catholic schools were the only ones that ever had any justification, even though none do now.

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 12:39:48

Catholics are supposed to send their children to a catholic school (still). If there isn't one then you can't. In some places, there isn't one.

The only people who use 'Roman' are people who are sniffy about catholics since its not what we call ourselves, it was originally a made up name by protestants who wanted to pretend that they are the true 'catholic church' and we are some offshoot instead of the other way round. The only people who use it these days are people with an axe to grind, typically these days in an attempt the stress the 'foreign otherness' of catholics as a way to advance the cause of abolishing our schools. It's a very loaded term indeed. As I have no doubt you knew.

CofE schools are sometimes a back door for selection since they have property based entrance criteria. Catholic schools are not since they don't.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 12:46:21

There was nothing in my post that could be considered discriminatory. I find the implication very offensive. Or I would, if it wasn't so incredibly stupid.

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 12:47:36

Curlew I've explained why it was. The fact that you don't accept that demonstrates that you meant to use that term and knew what you were doing. The usual form when people use loaded terms unintentionally is to apologise. Even stupid people.

PigbinJosh Fri 26-Jul-13 12:48:15

Although maybe not incredibly stupid people.

curlew Fri 26-Jul-13 12:52:44

I am a Roman Catholic. I do not consider it loaded.

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