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Theresa May to end ban on grammar schools part 2

(1000 Posts)
noblegiraffe Tue 09-Aug-16 21:47:53

Continuation of the first thread from here www.mumsnet.com/Talk/education/2702565-Theresa-May-to-end-ban-on-grammar-schools

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Aug-16 21:53:18

relax the best predictive tests meaning that if you take the top 25% you will place 1 in 5 students in the wrong school comes from this Sutton Trust report (page 20, electronic page 35) www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/SuttonTrustFullReportFinal.pdf

relaxitllbeok Tue 09-Aug-16 21:57:14

noble OK, but so what? I still don't see where your 1 in 10 top grade students comes from.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 09-Aug-16 21:58:45

hpfa it's actually more like not getting the job because you were told you weren't allowed to apply. And again it's the consequences that are the issue.

teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Aug-16 22:04:23

Anecdotally, but from fairly long experience now, i would say that 1 in 15 to 1 in 10 children (ie 2-3 in an average class of 30) have 'mismatched' ability in Maths and English (within top few in class in one subject, within bottom group in the other) and thus would niot be well served by either school in a selective system - because the 'top' school would not go low enough in their 'weak' subject, or because the 'lower' schoolwould not go high enough in their strong subject.

That's before you even introduce testing error, in which children either side of the pass mark could have been differently placed on a different day.

MumTryingHerBest Tue 09-Aug-16 22:04:25

relaxitllbeok Explain your reasoning here

I can give a few examples where children may have lost out on a place at a selective school.

My DC was in a room of 83 children (overflow room due to an increased number of children sitting the exam as a mock). 1 child sat at the back of the room cried throughout the entire exam. I don't know why they were crying but I would imagine that it may have affected the performance of one or two other children around them. Certainly my DC found it a bit distracting.

My friends DC was sat next to a child who was caught with a calculator stuck up their sleeve. The other child was removed from the exam room but my friends child watched what was happening and lost time. It’s quite possible that one or two other children were also distracted by the commotion that took place.

Last year a child vomited over their exam paper, the smell and commotion may have been off putting for other children.

Last year my friend had a DC who was sat close to another DC who wet themselves during the exam. I would imagine that the disruption in removing the child and cleaning the mess was off putting for some children.

Last year my friends DC had to leave the exam room during the exam to go to the toilet. They lost 20 minutes of their exam time by doing this.

I know an 11 plus tutor who claims that a DC didn't see the questions on the back of the last page of the exam paper so didn't even attempt them.

Many tutors advise children to ensure they have only turned over one page at a time. Sometimes the pages stick together so if a DC is not careful they may miss out questions without realising it.

BertrandRussell Tue 09-Aug-16 22:04:50

Oh, this "You should know and if you don't know I'm not going to tell you" routine is just juvenile and tedious.

You made a statement that the number of disadvantaged children in grammar schools is increasing. And now you are refusing to back it up. Which is silly. And does not contribute to the discussion.

BertrandRussell Tue 09-Aug-16 22:06:49

But even if the children are in the right school, that doesn't make it a good system. Why would anyone think a system that divides 10 year olds irrevocably into "academic" and "not academic" is a good idea?

TaIkinPeace Tue 09-Aug-16 22:07:15

For work reasons I have the full 2014/15 DFE performance tables open on my computer today.
There are 5207 secondary schools in the country.
THe smallest "comp" schools (ie with no religious or other selection on intake) have cohorts of less than 20.
THere are 80 "comps" that have less than 100 in a cohort - it is not possible to offer a "comprehensive" education in a school that small within the state school funding formula.

Maybe the governemt should look rather more at making all schools better and ignore the distraction of a very few of them.

HerdsOfWilderbeest Tue 09-Aug-16 22:07:44

goodbye I don't know if you will find your way onto this thread, but if you do, you will find this link interesting, as it shows the big increase in grammars prioritising disadvantaged students in their admissions criteria.


teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Aug-16 22:11:05

On the 'numbers of disadvantaged pupils are increasing' - a superselective I am aware of has introduced a rule that if a child on PP gets into the top [slightly larger number], they will be deemed to be in the top [smaller number that is actually admitted], and will thus gain a place. I think the difference between the two numbers is around 50? people in an overall field of multiple thousands, and will often represent only a very small number of actual marks on the day (there may be many children on exactly the same mark).

Despite the policy change, i don't think that many, if any, children have been admitted under it, because the bar - a couple of marks in a very hard time-pressured test, requiring very significant exam technique and knowledge of at least all the current state primary curriculum for Y6 just after the end of Y5 - is still too high. But it allows them to argue that they are making adjustments to accommodate the more disadvantaged....

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Aug-16 22:13:20

relax 1 in 5 students will be placed in the wrong school so half of those (1 in 10) will be bright kids who don't get into the grammar, and half will be more average kids who do get into the grammar.

Bertrand but even if you disagree with your premise that it is wrong to separate children into successes and failures aged 10, then you've got to face the fact that grammars are not good for social mobility (which Theresa May is apparently championing them for) and they don't even reliably take the most able students.

sandyholme Tue 09-Aug-16 22:13:42

HPFA. The AAB grades at A Level for Skegness Grammar at 6% (2015 tables) are very poor considering Altrincham's 'Secondary Mod' achieves 5% AAB grades at A level ....

It must still be a Secondary Modern according to Bertrand ( as opposed to a highly academic all ability school) .

They are some interesting statistics from Wellington School though for instance only 39% of its 'disadvantaged ' students achieved 5 A*-C compared with 81% of non disadvantaged students overall 76%..

teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Aug-16 22:18:22

Talkin, exactly. The effort, time and money put into creating grammars would be better used closing / amalgamating / pairing up the really poor ones (one interesting model locally was to pair up a 'failing' school with the nearest 'very good' comp - ie the school that many people who lived in the catchment of the failing school wanted to get into. Very successful - good head at failing school has had support, mentoring and backup, staff training across both schools has been helpful in both directions ('failing' school has specific expertise in SEN, which the honeypot com had a historically poor reputation for), flow of students from 1 catchment to the other has been significantly reduced, much better results and Ofsted).

If the religious / more MC / honeypot comps whose pull left local schools lacking in the pupils who would be their higher attainers with more engaged pupils had to pair up with, support or even become joint institutions with the local schools - and were rewarded for their success in doing so, rather than simply on their stand-alone success, it might be a possible way forward.

TaIkinPeace Tue 09-Aug-16 22:20:06

That blog is great, but its not supported by the DFE tables I have open.
If you sort the Kent or Lincolnshre schools by FSM there is a gaping chasm between the grammars and the rest.

Peregrina Tue 09-Aug-16 22:20:45

Altrincham is leafy and wealthy South Manchester. Skegness is impovershed Lincolnshire. So yes, Altrincham's schools are going to do better.

Turbinaria Tue 09-Aug-16 22:21:06

I went to a primary school with multi ability teaching and it was hopeless I think I spent 2 years doing and redoing the same maths problems and resding the same book. The able were bored the lowest ability dcs couldn't understand the work despite endless explanations.

Then I went into the grammar stream of the local comprehensive (had recently converted from grammar to comprehensive and the head was from the old grammar school) and my education improved no end.

All my old class mates from primary also went to the school so we use to meet up for PE, lunch and break times. I didn't need to be in a separate grammar school but I needed to be taught to my ability.

BertrandRussell Tue 09-Aug-16 22:21:41

Oh, so what we're talking about is the provision made by a minority of grammar schools to offer priority to disadvantaged children ^who pass the test" This will make no difference in wholly selective areas because it they pass the test they'd get a place anyway.

I don't know how many children have got into superselectives on this criterion- does anyone else?

TaIkinPeace Tue 09-Aug-16 22:22:25

thing is that my failing school is a sponsored academy with a groovy new building and tons of resources available through their MAT
the locals did not want that chain to take it over
and the catchment is still solidly 10th decile for deprivation
so nothing will change until the chain is forced to hand it back to the LEA

teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Aug-16 22:23:15


Mixed ability teaching is a red herring. in know of no comprehensives - and actually no grammars either - where children are not organised into sets according to their ability for some or all subjects.

Different abilities in the same building does not mean mixed ability teaching.

teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Aug-16 22:25:17

Talkin, so it is the community that is deprived - and that does indeed have an impact on the school, as I keep saying. Where is the NEAREST, LOCAL, honeypot school? MATS - especially the national academy chains - are NOT the situation that I was describing, which was a partnership between two neighbouring schools.

TaIkinPeace Tue 09-Aug-16 22:28:39

We do not really have "honeypot" schools.
My local one is the plague school !
The comp mine went to, and its neighbour that teenandtween sent hers to, are both about four miles from here.
In the other direction there is a reasonable one about 3 miles away, a so so one about 2 miles away.
All of the schools (other than Yob Central) have between 1000 and 1600 pupils in Y7-Y11 ~ 6th form is separate

teacherwith2kids Tue 09-Aug-16 22:37:43

So one of the ones 4 miles away? Certainly not too far for decent mentoring, joint training events, teacher swaps etc.

PonderingProsecco Tue 09-Aug-16 22:40:51

I dislike terms such as 'yob central' and 'honeypot' schools.
A school can be a 'honeypot' not because it has better teachers but just an advantaged intake which of course encourages an advantaged intake...
Yob schools? Well, charming. My ds going to more disadvantaged intake secondary. It has been taken over by a forward thinking MAT who certainly are transforming outcomes for disadvantaged and also keen to promote their skills with ALL children- if they could get them through the bloody door. Well time will tell how my ds does... I am keeping a close eye...The MAT are certainly working hard....
As for the 'honeypot' school? They get 'results' but so they bloody should with such an easy intake. They are not the 'better' school in my opinion, just the favoured one...

TaIkinPeace Tue 09-Aug-16 22:42:20

except they are in a different LEA smile

You are right though, there used to be this crazy idea called Clustering - where a couple of secondary schools and all of their feeders would work together to provide training and support and staff

but then the moron Gove pressured schools to become Academies and fight against each other rather than work with each other.

Both the 4 mile schools are stand alone academies - they have separate accounts. They thus cannot easily share resources.
Yob central is part of a MAT.
The 3 mile school is a stand alone
the 2 mile is an LEA school
so no easy methods for them to do anything other than undermine each other.

Nice one Gove.
We will never forgive you for this mess.

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