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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?

tiggytape Sun 27-Jan-13 22:59:01

The Scottish system sounds wonderful but if they gave everyone who lived within a reasonable distance a place at their local school they'd have hundreds per year group in some London schools. It has densely packed areas with flats and hundreds of children of the same aged crammed into a mile or two. To limit it to 60 or 90 per year plus siblings, some schools cannot offer beyond 200m and some secondaries not beyond 1km despite taking nearly 300 pupils per year.

Grammars nearest us are super selective so only cream off about 2-8% of local children. Hundreds pass the test but places only go to the very top scorers - many who pass the 11+ and hundreds who are a little below that standard start at the local comps.
Top set at our local comps comprise level 5a and level 6 children all predicted straight A and A* at GCSE. All local comps send some children to Oxbridge and RG unis. From that point of view the limit on grammar places (nearly 2000 apply from all over London for just a few hundred places) is a good thing. It offers a grammar edication to a few truly exceptional children but has no negative impact on the comps who still offer separate sciences, get high grades, have a grammar stream for top pupils and serve the needs of clever children just as well as comps in areas far away from grammar schools. I am relieved that we don't have more of them I think - I prefer that children are set and reassessed all through school rather than set once and for all by a test at 11.

DonderandBlitzen Sun 27-Jan-13 23:05:22

I read that in Edinburgh one in four children go to private school. Is that right?

DonderandBlitzen Sun 27-Jan-13 23:06:45

Oh yes it seems it is true

cricketballs Sun 27-Jan-13 23:30:50

we have 1 selective grammar here; but they still can't get 100% GCSE 5 A*-C....

HollyBerryBush Mon 28-Jan-13 06:39:34

selective education is divisive, unfair and counterproductive.

In my experience, people only say that when they or their children missed the mark and didn't benefit from a different education that they know is superior and have a massive chip on their shoulder about it. . And it is a superior education. As the Head put it "by coming here, you are getting the best education money can't buy' - and he was right.

The funny thing about the grammars, the children know they are there by invitation, there are some right characters who would have been little sods in a non-selective school but they darent risk pushing the boundaries too far - the disgrace of being excluded and ending up with the masses is too awful to contemplate. The environment ensures they thrive. Self motivation and competition is promoted - which is neccessary for the real world of work. They encourage aspiration.They give you the tools to achieve - whether you do so is down to you.

I always wonder how the grammars can mange to offer such a varied curriculum with so few pupils when the budgets are the same.

sashh Mon 28-Jan-13 07:12:26


That list is wrong, I went to High School in Lancashire and the 11+ had been abolished, that was late 70s early 80s. There were still grammar schools but with entry at 13+ ad not in all of Lancashire.

Where I lived the local RC secondary schools were comps and the grammars only took 13+ so every one went to a comp for at least the first three years, the RC schools didn't send anyone to the grammars, all the other comps did.

BTW anyone in Kent etc, in Lancashire a high school was a girls' school. The local girls' grammar was called a high school.

I'm currently in Wolverhampton, there is only one grammar and it is all girls so only a few pupils take the test to get in.

Kirklees - I was at primary school, my brother went to middle school, there was no grammer and no 11+. I have cousins who have gone through the system in Kirklees more recently and again no 11+

seeker Mon 28-Jan-13 07:18:02

*"selective education is divisive, unfair and counterproductive.

In my experience, people only say that when they or their children missed the mark and didn't benefit from a different education that they know is superior and have a massive chip on their shoulder about it."*

In my experience people only don't say this when they don't actually care what happens to the vast majority of children who are denied the "education they know is superior" by an unfair discriminatory test at the age of 10.

Fakebook Mon 28-Jan-13 07:20:28

Yanbu. We live 15 miles from a grammar school county and dh's side of the family live there. I'm pushing for us to move there by the time dd is 8 or 9 so she gets a better chance at education than she has now. Our catchment secondary school is not very good and we see pupils out and about in uniform all day swearing and drinking red bull hmm.

sausagesandwich34 Mon 28-Jan-13 07:24:24

With all due respect you are taking out of your backside IMO

'The threat of ending up with the masses'
Did you mean that to sound so rude?
You do realise that the vast majority have either no access to grammar school or don't get 'invited' to attend

You also might want to add the phrase 'some grammars' in your post somewhere
Some grammars don't produce 100% a-c or bac scores
Some grammars expel pupils and have teenage pregnancies

And some grammars produce self entitled,work shy youngsters who feel that certain things are beneath them because they have been told they are far superior to the oiks turned out by the school down the road

But I'm sure your children aren't like that

sausagesandwich34 Mon 28-Jan-13 07:27:56

Kirklees has 1 grammar in heckmondwike but it not super selective so you need to live quite close

Meglet Mon 28-Jan-13 07:41:26

Yanbu. TBH until I came on MN I didn't realise they still existed, because we don't have them in hampshire. So it's the choice of an average senior school in our town, or trying to get the kids into a 'nice' senior school in winchester and bus them in every day.

Yellowtip Mon 28-Jan-13 07:46:42

seeker you don't hold a complete monopoly of the moral high ground on education you know. You simply don't accept any validity in the alternative view.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 07:48:09

Again with the accusations of 'not caring' Seeker. You know damn well this is not the case. As far as I'm concerned the fact that you continue to trot out your un-nuanced hackneyed old lines in this (neverending) argument demonstrates that you do not care one jot for the really bright kids. You want everyone to be the same, within one SD from the mean. But they aren't. Every time somebody mentions that you sound bitter, you trot out this old rubbish. I don't understand why it winds you up so much. I have a DS who is bright but wouldn't have passed the exam to DD1s school - and would have completely hated it there. I get annoyed when people imply he isn't having as good an education as DD1 but that's it. I don't get annoyed about the fact that my two, different, kids have different needs. I know some people are incredibly controlling and I know you can't do anything about that but you really need to accept that your kids are individuals.

Yellowtip Mon 28-Jan-13 07:49:13

Holly that description probably only describes the very best of the grammars, which are varied beasts.

Weissdorn Mon 28-Jan-13 07:55:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Mon 28-Jan-13 08:02:42

I was replying to a poster who asserted that only people whose children "missed out" think it is unfair divisive etc. I was saying this is not true. Only people who don't care about the remainder would say that the system is completely fair etc. there are many people whose children haven't missed out who have concerns about how it works on the ground, including you two, Mordion and yellow tips. The posted concerned then went on to say some very bizarre things about grammar schools, which indicated that she is one of the "devil take the hindmost brigade.

Yellowtip Mon 28-Jan-13 08:05:09

Well tbf seeker I grew up in a fully grammar school/ secondary modern era and sat the 11+.

cory Mon 28-Jan-13 08:05:58

Well, I don't want to see them around here, that's for sure.

Noone who has ever taught dd has doubted that she is among the 10% brightest, but she was ill for a long time in Yr 6 and unable to do herself justice in the SATS *(and hence no doubt in any 11+), so she would have ended up in the comprehensive away from all her gifted and ambitious peers.

Instead she is having her needs met in a school which also caters for the needs of the remaining 90%, she is learning to get on with people of different abilities (which may well prove useful in the workplace), and she does not feel that that traumatic period has decided her life.

Ds is as lazy as they come, so would be very pleased to subsidide in a school with lower expectations where he was not confronted with the spectacle of ambitious children who make the most of their educational opportunities. I am very pleased that this is not going to happen.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 08:06:38

Seeker - I think that the Kent system is nuts, yes. But that is just one of the issues I have with Kent, to be honest. I do not think that the system, as it is where I live, is wrong except that I think our school could be a bit bigger, I think there are probably at least another maybe 30 or so kids each year who don't get in but do 'belong there' and it could be fairly funded (at the moment, it isn't, our school gets significantly less funding per pupil than the comps do).

PatButchersEarring Mon 28-Jan-13 08:07:19

Not read the whole thread, so apologies if I'm repeating.

In my view, the comprehensive system is far more divisive than the Grammar. Rather than schools selecting on ability, the comprehensive system effectively divides children on the basis of their parents' wealth. Those areas with the better schools attract wealthier parents, effectively pushing up housing costs and out-pricing the less well off parents.

Thus meaning that the bright offspring of those parents from lower socio-economic groups are relegated to poor performing schools, regardless of academic ability.

I fail to see how a system which does this can be deemed as 'fair'.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 08:09:02

Seeker - although I grew up in the same borough as Yellow, because I'm one or two years younger, I didn't get to take the 11+. And I had the benefit of being at a former grammar school and seeing the benefits of a selective education for my best friend (one year older) and not getting some of those benefits for myself. I know which I prefer for kids like DD1 and like I was.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 08:09:54

@pat of course it not fAir. The only people you ever see defending the catchment selection system are the wealthy. MN is no different in that respect.

wordfactory Mon 28-Jan-13 08:14:05

My own view is that the comprehensive system is inefficient and in need of huge renovation. It has been tried and tested and is moderately successful at best. However, I remain onconvinced that the answer is the return to grammar schools.

Verycold Mon 28-Jan-13 08:18:38

Weissdorn I agree. The German system is far, far from perfect and in fact is widely criticized in Germany.

lotsofdogshere Mon 28-Jan-13 08:29:24

I don't know about Seeker, but I was in the age group that took the 11 plus, though I missed it as we were moving house when it was sat - and went to a secondary modern. I was lucky in that we had a head teacher with determination and a creative approach to education. The A stream sat O levels, and all the school were taken to the ballet, opera, art galleries and involved in all kinds of drama/speech productions. This didn't stop a student teacher telling us, age 11 that we were failures, never would achieve anything other than factory work - unlike the girls at the grammar across the road. I would never support a return to selective education at 11, it is divisive, unfair and reduces the opportunities for the majority of children. I went to university as a mature student, something that would be impossible for young mothers (as I was then) these days because of costs. Comprehensives can be excellent, inclusive and as others have said, they stream children in each subject to help them achieve the best they can. We need excellent education available for everyone, not a minority

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