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Grammar school tests to be made 'tutor-proof'

(419 Posts)
breadandbutterfly Mon 05-Nov-12 17:16:02

gazzalw Sat 09-Feb-13 12:22:56

Maybe the whole issue of social mobility wasn't directly correlated with grammar schools. Maybe a lot of it had to do with a whole cohort of young men having been killed off in two World Wars, leaving a social and professional vacuum which had to be filled?

Copthallresident Sat 09-Feb-13 12:36:56

In my class at my direct grant grammar out of 24 there were at least 4 on FSM , in that they told me, you wouldn't have known otherwise, and plenty came from the one and two up terraced housing that characterised the city. There were certainly only a small number paying full fees. (The direct grant system meant that those places that were not free by dint of being city or county scholarships which accounted for half the places were fee paying according to a scale which was determined by parental income, the rest being made up by a government grant).

Tiffin has 1.3% on FSM compared to 8.7% for the borough

gazzalw Sat 09-Feb-13 12:46:56

Yes, it's about the same number in DS's super-selective....

8.7% for the whole borough is incredibly low though isn't it.... I know there are pockets of deprivation in Kingston, but you would never know it shopping there....It is a town exuding gentility to my mind!

so the direct grant schools worked on sliding scales - well that would have been more helpful.

I think again that maybe grammar schools in industrial towns/cities might have attracted higher percentages of disadvantaged children than those situated in leafy suburbs....DW went to one and although there were council house children at the school, the majority had parents who were professionals, academics or successful business people.

There is also an issue here about gender. I think that in the past it was very much more the case that parents would pay for boys to go to private/public schools and the girls would get sent to the local grammar (if bright enough) or convent (if not bright) instead.

So I am wondering whether this trend meant that there was a greater opportunity for boys to climb the social ladder than girls? That and the fact that the boys grammar schools were often larger than the girls ones so took a higher % of the boys despite the fact that boys did less well than the girls in the exams (I'm not making this up and have read documented research to this effect but sorry I can't quote sources).

Copthallresident Sat 09-Feb-13 12:50:27

gazzalw Well it hadn't sucked up enough women by the 70s for us not to be outnumbered 10 to 1 by men at uni!

Whereas my school had enabled my mum to go to college in the 50s and have a successful teaching career from a back to back house with two working parents , dinner lady and mill worker. Though it was also a very cultured home, especially in terms of music and books. The local cultural framework that enabled that sort of mobility had been in place since the Victorians.

Copthallresident Sat 09-Feb-13 12:56:46

X posted but I think we are thinking on the same lines

gazzalw Sat 09-Feb-13 13:03:46

Yes, I think there is a very middle-class misconception that being working class means that you don't give a damn about education. That is not the case and never has been. Although theoretically I guess I'm not working class any more, we are not well-off, but we are a cultured family and place a high importance on learning/developing a wide range of knowledge. I would not say I was brought up in a cultured home myself and my parents certainly did not have aspirations for me to go to the grammar school (but I was cussed enough to want to go and defied them on that!), but my Dad did sow the seeds of culture and of a love of learning which stood me in good stead.

Yellowtip Sat 09-Feb-13 13:14:06

Copthall I don't think there were too many job opportunities for East European intelligentsia after the War, so it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they took up work in the mill. Pretty much anything would do if it meant food on the table.

gazzalw Sat 09-Feb-13 13:22:42

Has it not always been the case with newly arrived immigrants? Certainly many of the Ugandan Asians who came here in the 1970s were professionally qualified but unable to get equivalent jobs over here so ended up running shops etc...?

Copthallresident Sat 09-Feb-13 13:23:12

Actually the impact of immigration is an interesting one too, my Grandparents were the children of Irish immigrants (married by Patrick Bronte!) and that was the source of their hunger for culture and education, yellowtip is right , there were many Eastern European girls at my school whose parents might work in lowly jobs but had very rich cultural lives, one mother spent every non work waking hour playing the cello, leaving us to party unsupervised below!! Tiffin has a much higher BME than the surrounding area, I doubt the Daily Mail considers that side effect of multi culturalism.

Yellowtip Sat 09-Feb-13 13:32:23

Of course gazzalw.

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 13:48:27

"Yes, I think there is a very middle-class misconception that being working class means that you don't give a damn about education."

I agree. And it makes discussion very difficult. The reverse is also true- the misconception that being middle class automatically means you care about education.

However it is discussion that has to be had, because in general working class children do worse than middle class children, and something has to be done about it. I always say poor/disadvantaged- not ideal, but less generalising. In general poor/ disadvantaged children don't get into selective schools, where they exist, and do significantly worse than their cohort where they don't.

Copthallresident Sat 09-Feb-13 14:03:21

seeker But it does need to be a discussion that we have with reference to the sort of values that distinguish the disadvantaged children who succeed from those who don't. I work with a charity that seeks to link up bright West Indian children in poorly performing schools with positive role models who have succeeded in education and business. However for some teachers in those schools the idea that their bright pupils should be influenced by West Indian role models who have had success in the business world, as opposed to the negative influences many of them struggle with, is seen as unacceptable. Better that they are discouraged than made into capitalists.

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 14:55:15

Really? How very bizarre of them. I'm not sure where that fits in to this- are you saying that teacher's expectations are significant ion poor/disadvantaged children's underachievement?

Copthallresident Sat 09-Feb-13 16:54:03

seeker The charity has encountered many bizarre attitudes amongst teachers, I am sure some would prefer a drug taking rap artist through their doors than an Oxbridge educated banker angry. It isn't the only, or the main, barrier but I am quite sure that teachers expectations and aspirations are affecting children's chances in poorly performing schools. When charities like this one, and universities go into poorly performing schools they almost always uncover talent that would go to waste without giving the pupils the role models, know how etc. to encourage the pupils to overcome their disadvantages, and when they are given support the pupils go on to achieve great things. Obviously there is the research down in universities that demonstrates that but the results are even more striking for those the charity has mentored. I would be surprised if there were not similar attitudes in primary schools affecting disadvantaged pupils chances of trying and succeeding to get into selective schools . Of course it can work the other way around, when DD was sitting Kingston Grammar, I got talking to a single father with a toddler in tow. His older son's teacher had encouraged them to enter for a scholarship, had given the son extra tuition and had paid their fare to get to the exam. I have always wondered if his son was successful, I hope so.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 07:24:08

I suppose that could be part of the reasoning behind the LEAs insistence that Primary schools should not prepare children for the 11+ at all-so that teacher's expectations don't influence who takes the test and who doesn't.

parent2013 Fri 16-May-14 22:31:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Lemiserableoldgimmer Sat 17-May-14 07:35:10

The simple answer is to do what is suggested at the end of the Telegraph article: award places to children selected by primary schools in year six. Teachers who've spent a year with a child know if he or she is bright enough to cope and thrive in a grammar.

The grammars could offer a proportionate number of places to children from private schools (so if 5% of the borough's children were privately educated the grammar could allow private schools to select 5% of the intake).

Retropear Sat 17-May-14 09:54:05

Year 6 is too late.They'd only have had 2 weeks in school and I don't think schools do know.Many teachers wouldn't have a clue,not even having visited said grammar schools being far too busy with more important things.Several parents at our school try and get their kids into a non catchment comp near us,should teachers get involved with this too ie say who should and shouldn't apply?

Going down this route I am seeing how primary schools focus on quite different things than the 11+ requires.

I also think in classes of 30 bright quiet kids can easily fly under the radar.

Lemiserableoldgimmer Sat 17-May-14 13:25:51

So a teacher who has marked a child's work for a year and spoken to them daily for a year wouldn't know if the child was bright enough to cope in a grammar environment? (Because if this system was put in place schools would have to find a way of drawing on the opinions of all the child's teachers over the period of time they'd been in the school)

But one test done on a single day, marked by a teacher who has never met the child can?


Retropear Sat 17-May-14 14:26:19

They're looking for different things.Most of what my dc are doing are things they never do in school.

Also marking work isn't fallible.And marking what work?Maths,English,Maths&English,Science,Speaking and Listening...?Some kids are all rounders,some aren't but may well be just as bright.

Also can you image the fall out in the playground.Parents of those not put forward would quite rightly want concrete evidence as to why.The competition and upset throughout from re. would be above and beyond reading book debacles as a lot would be riding on it.

Schools have enough to focus on re the 95% of kids who wouldn't be going to waste time on a fraction who would.

HercShipwright Sat 17-May-14 14:27:53

How lucky your kids must be to have had one teacher teaching them for the whole time in Y5 or Y6. My DD2 has had more supply teachers in the last 2 years than I've had hot dinners in that time (I'm not a big fan of hot dinners it has to be said. But I normally have at least one a week. She's had some weeks with two or three different supply teachers. Or even more).

Retropear Sat 17-May-14 14:35:50

With my children both are doing great.However the quiet day dreamer,never picked for anything who has consistently been placed in groups just below his G&T twin is the one rocking the 11+ prep so far with a slight edge on his twin- as I knew he always would.

Kids can get pigeon holed very early on.Bright but quiet,slow to mature or day dreaming kids not into writing can easily get overlooked.Says nothing about their intelligence or how they'd perform in a grammar school.My family have 2 or 3 fly by the seat of their pants kids who excelled at grammar- my dad for one.grin

I'd hate my son to be written off and denied a chance on the say so of one teacher who nay not even know him that well at all.

Retropear Sat 17-May-14 14:36:56

And yes mine also have a job share,several teachers/assistants teaching different subjects and a shed load of supply.

Lemiserableoldgimmer Sat 17-May-14 14:42:48

I'm amazed you all think that a teacher who has probably spent more time in your child's company in the last 3 months than you have wouldn't have any insight into their intellectual abilities.

And that a short written test marked by a stranger is the most accurate way of identifying bright children.

Lemiserableoldgimmer Sat 17-May-14 14:44:11

"day dreaming kids not into writing can easily get overlooked.Says nothing about their intelligence or how they'd perform in a grammar school"

I'd wonder if a child who is 'not into writing' and can't keep their mind on their work might struggle a bit in a grammar school.

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