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To think that grammar schools should either be scrapped altogether or available in every county?

(1000 Posts)
Perriwinkle Sun 27-Jan-13 21:22:02

How can it possibly be fair or reasonable to have them only in certain counties?

I know that many people will say "how can a system that supposedly favours the brightest ten percent of children, ever be fair?" but personally, I've actually got no beef with that provided that the opportunity to attend these schools is available to the brightest children in all counties.

How can it be equitable that the brightest children who live in counties which do not have a grammar school system are routinely failed by the comprehensive system whilst those who live in certain counties are not because they are able to attend high performing State-funded grammar schools?

I think if you're anti grammar schools altogether you should probably hide this thread. This is not meant to be a thread about the pros and cons, relative merits, inequalities or shortcomings of either the grammar school system or the comprehensive system. It is a simply a question of wishing to hear any reasonable justification that may be put forward for the continued existence of the grammar school system in its current guise.

How can it be fair to continue restricting the opportunity to enjoy a priveliged grammar school education (akin to that which many people pay handsomely for in the private sector) only to children who live in certain parts of the country?

Phineyj Sun 27-Jan-13 22:19:23

I think saying you can't have a comp in a grammar area isn't quite true -- where I work the (superselective) grammars draw from a very wide area of the SE and London borders, while the high school / all ability schools (it's been years since I've heard the term 'secondary modern' used, btw) draw mostly from the local population. So I think you can have both together.

PolkadotCircus Sun 27-Jan-13 22:19:31

You can.

We have 2 comps or the equivalent to choose from,the grammar is further away and many schools feed it. Some primaries won't have any going to it as many parents aren't interested others say 1 or 2.

HollyBerryBush Sun 27-Jan-13 22:19:55

One or two posters have referred to their local grammar and comprehensive schools. You cannot have both in the same place. If you have a selective school then the other one cannot be a comprehensive; it's a secondary modern.

You can - they are bi-lateral (ie have official grammar streams and by default are comprehensive) as opposed to sec mods which just have grammar ability sets.

SanityClause Sun 27-Jan-13 22:20:00

Conference I live in a borough with two super selectives, and the rest are comprehensives. I live very close to a grammar area. There are some children who live near me who are choosing between a grammar, secondary modern or comprehensive.

discorabbit Sun 27-Jan-13 22:20:38

think choice is great but schooling should be focuseed on area

why should't it be? if an area is good enough to live in it should be good enough to be schooled in

HollyBerryBush Sun 27-Jan-13 22:21:18

Bromley ahs comprehnsives and superselectives, Bexley on the other hand has grammars, sec mods and one bi-lateral

DonderandBlitzen Sun 27-Jan-13 22:21:51

Sorry to hear about that Holly. It must have been very tough for him. I hope your son is getting on ok now.

pointythings Sun 27-Jan-13 22:21:54

I'm with you, greylady. We need schools where very academic children can thrive and be challenged. We need schools where children whose talents lie in the practical arena can thrive and become the engineers, mechanics, builders etc. of the future. And these schools need to be valued equally and funded properly.

What we have at the moment is some areas where parents who can afford tutoring can buy a selective education for their children - and in those areas, non-selective comprehensive schools struggle, because they just haven't got a balanced intake.

What we also need is the flexibility to move from one stream to another, because some children just will not come into their talents until they are older - selection at 11 is a very, very bad idea for many.

Yellowtip Sun 27-Jan-13 22:22:41

ConferencePear in an area with a single selective taking kids from a fifty mile radius it's entirely accurate to label the local non selectives as comps. In an area such as kent maybe not.

sausage I've always subscribed to the little fish in a big pond theory, but that's just my preference. I think the difference in ethos is important and perhaps the lack of focus on self.

Phineyj Sun 27-Jan-13 22:23:31

discorabbit nice idea but across large swathes of London and the SE not many people can afford to live in the good enough areas! And if they can they can afford private school anyway...

CloudsAndTrees Sun 27-Jan-13 22:23:37

Yellowtip and Sanity I think the points you have both highlighted are part of the problem. Grammar schools vary so much, and I think there is a big misconception that they are always educationally better. At least, that's what it seems to be like in my area among parents of Y5/6 children. And it's just not like that. They can be great for the right child, but I don't think every child is suited to grammar school just because they are bright. Although that view is based mainly on the one GS I know well.

The SS I have a child at is all about academics and sport, very little is given to creativity.

I'm just glad I had the opportunity to find that out before I put my youngest child in for the test!

HollyBerryBush Sun 27-Jan-13 22:24:55

What we had, and I'm not that old, I was school in Bexley ....was the 11+ so you had grammars, but you also had a 14+ and children were resorted into technical schools (ie vocational schools) or stayed in sec moderns and were destined to be office fodder. Some did get sent down to the sec mods from grammar. The tripart system seems good to me. Academic, vocational, and office fodder! that is the way of the world (I was office fodder BTW grin)

Yellowtip Sun 27-Jan-13 22:28:05

You're quite right Clouds. The remaining grammars vary massively in almost every aspect.

Dereksmalls Sun 27-Jan-13 22:30:01

Hell no, keep them as far away from my DDs as possible. My friend lives in Kent, her DD isn't four yet and she is worrying about grammar school places already. It sounds like a complete mess and from what she's told me leads to parents sending their DCs to private primaries to try to boost their chances of getting into the grammar which completely invalidates the whole "pushing the brightest" intention.

Those keen to get DCs into the grammar because the alternative schools are so crap - don't you think those things might be related?

What is a "super selective" grammar school?

ReallyTired Sun 27-Jan-13 22:30:13

There are different types of comprehensive. A large comprehensive which uses setting/ banding can provide for the entire ablity range.

I feel that eleven years old is too young to decide if a child should follow an academic or vocational path. If a vocational path is going to be respected then it needs to be competitive to get into. It should not be the default option for a child who failed the 11+.

tethersend Sun 27-Jan-13 22:32:21

Which counties still have the 11+?

If it were reintroduced nationally, would all grammars get such good academic results, or is it more likely that some areas would be higher achieving than others?

Harriet35 Sun 27-Jan-13 22:33:02

Isn't there an intake to grammar schools at 13? That's how it worked when I was at school, although the school I went to wasn't strictly speaking a grammar school becausae anyone could go there. But all the classes were streamed and the upper streams were run like grammar school classes.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 27-Jan-13 22:37:08

Derek, a super selective is where the school takes the students with the highest marks in the test. So if they have say 150 places, they will take the students with the top 150 scores. If there are another 50 children who all scored highly enough that they are considered suitable for the school, they won't get a place.

Whereas in the Kent system like your friend is in, all the students that pass the exam will be found a place at a grammar school in the borough, even if its not the first choice grammar school. In these areas, the county sets the test, whereas at SSs, the individual school sets the test so they are much harder to get into.

I think that's how it works anyway, please someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Yellowtip Sun 27-Jan-13 22:37:46

A superselective has no catchment area as such so competition for places tends on the whole to be fiercer. Broadly speaking a superselective takes the top 5 to 10% of the ability range whereas a grammar in a fully grammar area will take the top 25%.

Yellowtip Sun 27-Jan-13 22:38:19

Cross posted.

HollyBerryBush Sun 27-Jan-13 22:42:14

Which counties still have the 11+?

LB Bexley
LB Bromley
LB Kingston

hang on - I'll get you a list!!!!

[hide] 1 North West England 1.1 Cumbria
1.2 Lancashire
1.3 Liverpool
1.4 Trafford
1.5 Wirral

2 Yorkshire and the Humber 2.1 Calderdale
2.2 Kirklees
2.3 North Yorkshire

3 East Midlands 3.1 Lincolnshire

4 West Midlands 4.1 Birmingham
4.2 Stoke-on-Trent
4.3 Telford and Wrekin
4.4 Walsall
4.5 Warwickshire
4.6 Wolverhampton

5 East of England 5.1 Essex
5.2 Southend-on-Sea

6 South East England 6.1 Buckinghamshire
6.2 Kent
6.3 Medway
6.4 Reading
6.5 Slough

7 South West England 7.1 Bournemouth
7.2 Devon
7.3 Gloucestershire
7.4 Plymouth
7.5 Poole
7.6 Torbay
7.7 Wiltshire

8 Greater London 8.1 Barnet
8.2 Bexley
8.3 Bromley
8.4 Enfield
8.5 Kingston upon Thames
8.6 Redbridge
8.7 Sutton

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 27-Jan-13 22:48:16

I'm glad I'm Scottish! Go to feeder primary, go to secondary done. Most people go to their catchment school and I think they have to give you a place if you are in catchment. They will try and fulfil placing requests, but there aren't that many - and certainly not this ridiculous scrabble for places in England.

Pilgit Sun 27-Jan-13 22:52:02

I went to a true comprehensive. I was in the top set for everything. Academic ability meant jack shit at my school - sport and sporting achievement was everything. I was also in the music crowd and did a lot of stuff for the school but there was never any acknowledgement from the school of what any of us did for it, the only people given any sort of approval or reward were the sports crowd. Schools should create an environment for every child to thrive and for every child to achieve to the best of their ability and each to be recognised as worthwhile. How that is achieved is a matter of debate and personally I am against mixed ability teaching (any experience I had of it was utterly dreadful)

bringnbuy Sun 27-Jan-13 22:53:46

seriously hard to get into grammar within walking distance to where we live. 20 years ago dd would have walked into that school as naturally clever however she doesn't stand a chance. i know someone who is a teacher there. the girls there are SERIOUSLY heavily tutored ie lots tutored more than once a week from year 2/3. about 1500 give or take apply even though only 130 places. apparently they have to have tutors there giving special tuition as there are a fair few pupils who have got in that aren't naturally clever enough, just got in by being geared up to sit the style of exams. i went to state school, i don't have a problem with state school, cannot afford private. the thing that always stands out in my mind that appears to be different when i look at the girls coming out of the grammar compared to the average girl i see coming out of two local state secondary schools is that the girls coming out of the grammar school look totally focused on achieving whilst an awful lot of the girls coming out of the two local state schools look like their main concerns are getting laid and what their hair looks like/landing a wealthy footballer to take care of them sad

seeker Sun 27-Jan-13 22:57:13

Thee is possibly an argument for super selectives- there may be children who are so very bright that their needs cannot be met in a comprhnsive school. But they are a very small %. Like the tiny % who are so talented in music or sport or whatever that they need specialist education whic accomodates them.

But apart from that, selective education is divisive, unfair and counterproductive.

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