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In praise of comprehensive schools

(894 Posts)
FreshHorizons Tue 23-Aug-16 14:51:07

It was cheering to see the Sutton Trust announce that 60% of Team GB medalists came from comprehensive schools.

I have finally come off a thread where certain people can't find a good word to say about comprehensive schools. They equate them with mixed ability teaching, poor behaviour and an inability to stretch bright children.

I would like a thread to celebrate the best of comprehensive education.

In my case it allowed my 3 , very different, children to be able to go to the same school without being judged by outsiders. It meant the stability of knowing one school over a long period of time and them knowing our family. It meant that days off and parent evenings didn't clash and that money was saved by handing down uniform. They were able to move up with the bulk from their primary school. They were able to mix with children of different abilities and backgrounds, as you do in adult life. It meant being able to enjoy education for the joy of learning new things, without the stress of an exam that would determine their path in life, aged only 10 or 11yrs.

Those things didn't really matter, although they were helpful.

What really mattered was that they could all blossom at their own rate.
They all got a good education and are now happily established in careers- the careers that they chose.

It wasn't all about the academic side- there were opportunities in sport, music, outdoor activities etc.

It would be nice to have some success stories. Please don't post about crap schools- start another thread for that if you have grievances you want to air.

It is the summer, the sun is out and some happy, optimistic stories would be nice. smile

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 23-Aug-16 14:56:29

I am 100% in favour of comprehensive schools. Could we just have a lot more school places in London, please?

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 23-Aug-16 14:59:05

Am pretty disgusted to see an in-your-face moving advert for 11+ tutors on this page, tbh! What the what??

OddBoots Tue 23-Aug-16 15:09:29

I am so grateful that we have comp state schools and virtually no private schools around here.

My ds has ASD, he works well above average at STEM subjects but struggles with essay based subjects - I have no idea how he would fit into a selective system. I think (but would never be able to prove) that DD would have got into a grammar as things used to be years ago before intensive tutoring but these days we'd have to be wealthy enough to afford the money (and/or time) to get tutoring. We are very lucky to have good comps nearby.

sandyholme Tue 23-Aug-16 15:11:00

I am very pleased that state schools in general have done very well in this Olympics . It also a huge improvement from 2012 when 80% of gold medals came from privately educated athletes .

Last week i made a comment to 'family' suggesting that over 80% of medalists would come fro private schools , so i am delighted to have been proved wrong.

Does anyone know the % of gold medal winners from state schools ?.

HPFA Tue 23-Aug-16 16:04:39

This link is the most informative I've found:

HPFA Tue 23-Aug-16 16:09:34

Best pro-comp story I know:

Goddaughter got into vet school (need a bunch of A stars at A-Level) and godson got 7 good GCSEs despite severe dyslexia at the same school.

Ironically it's actually called a grammar school but isn't.

DD also goes to great comp.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Aug-16 16:12:47

I started a thread ages ago asking people whether their top set comprehensive kids were ever hassled for being clever- I think I got about 100 "nos" before the thread got derailed.

MatildaOfTuscany Tue 23-Aug-16 16:33:44

Stuff I got out of it: mixing with people from a wide range of social backgrounds and abilities. Learning how bloody lucky I was. Encountering horrible snobs at social events who ignored me when they found out I went to a comprehensive (this may sound an odd thing to be pleased about, but actually learning early on that some people are complete wankers, and that it is their problem, not yours, is a valuable life lesson). A wonderful physics teacher who was prepared to mark my attempts at Oxbridge entrance papers.

Stuff I'm grateful about on behalf of DS: knowing that our local area has a system which won't chuck him on the educational scrap heap aged 11 because he's dyslexic and wouldn't have a hope in hell of passing the 11+

Peregrina Tue 23-Aug-16 20:08:34

Glad you started this thread FreshHorizons. My old school is a million times better as a comprehensive than it ever was as a girls grammar school.

It now boasts an Olympian and Paraolympian from the 2012 games, students getting to Oxbridge and medical school, but is also just as proud of the young people who get good BTecs and those getting good apprenticeships.

It is in a 'leafy' area, but that is by virtue of being on the edge of a National Park. Otherwise, it serves a town which I would say was quite working class, and was hit hard by the decline in industry in the 80s.

It can be done.

Lovefromhull Tue 23-Aug-16 20:11:49

Wonderful to read. A comprehensive system is fair and allows all children opportunities. Thank you for starting this thread.

Bitofacow Tue 23-Aug-16 20:20:46

We live in a grammar area. My 2 ds did not do the 11+ , although I was told they stood a good chance of passing.

They go to an excellent comprehensive(ish) I could not wish for a better schools. They are in top sets, no bullying, good sports, bright kids pushed, less able supported. Some still send kids by bus to local grammar I have no idea why.

Fresh thanks for starting this positive thread.

Wellywife Tue 23-Aug-16 20:21:42

Sadly my ex grammar is now a failing comp. You could see it happening in the first couple of years (I was in Y4 at the time). Or maybe it was just rowdy boys that changed the atmosphere.

However, here in Trafford we have some great secondary mods that are known locally as comps:- Wellington and Ashton on Mersey for example. Get excellent results, and AoM in particular have fab facilities for SEN. Not adversely affected by the Grammars.

FreshHorizons Tue 23-Aug-16 20:26:32

I decided it was better to be positive. I started to make a list of really good comprehensives, but got bored because I found so many.
I thought that I would open it up to those people who had a good comprehensive experience, either as the pupil or the parent.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Aug-16 20:26:51

"Sadly my ex grammar is now a failing comp"

Can I ask what you mean by failing?

Peregrina Tue 23-Aug-16 20:27:53

Just like to repeat FreshHorizons' request:
Please don't post about crap schools- start another thread for that if you have grievances you want to air.

There's enough threads about Grammars and Wonderful Sec Mods which are oh so much better than the comprehensives can ever be, so let's keep the postings about them there.

bumpetybumpbumpbump Tue 23-Aug-16 20:28:55

Great to hear this!

But many sports persons are given opportunity due to parental input and dedication, later lottery funding etc. The education system can hardly be given credit, especially the comprehensive system where sports provision can be pretty poor.

FreshHorizons Tue 23-Aug-16 20:32:27

Thank you Peregrina. I am sure that we could have a thread about great secondary moderns- I went to one. However, comprehensives need the entire range to be comprehensive.

I hope that this isn't going to get into an argument. The last grammar school one started 'let the sparring begin.......' which set the tone.

This is for praise and celebration. ( or that was the intention)

Clavinova Tue 23-Aug-16 20:32:39

I hate to point out that at least 9 of the medal winners attended grammar schools not comprehensives:

Sophie Bray - Tiffin Girls, Sam Querk - Calday Grammar, Dina Asher-Smith - Newstead Wood Grammar, Scot Durant- Lancaster Royal Grammar, Joanna Rowsell - Nonsuch Grammar, Jack Laugher - Rippon Grammar, Jon Schofield - Clitheroe Royal Grammar, Ruaridh McConnochi - Cranbrook (selective with entrance exam), Saskia Clark - Colchester County Grammar and Philip Hindes was educated in Germany at a grammar school (Gymnasium).

Steven Scott attended the same secondary modern school as Dame Kelly Holmes in Kent. A least two other medal winners attended secondary moderns in Lancashire and West Yorks.

Not entirely sure that England can take the credit for the education of 9 medal winners from state schools in Scotland.

Wellywife Tue 23-Aug-16 20:33:49

Can I ask what you mean by failing?

It's OFSTED report a few years ago unfortunately.

FreshHorizons Tue 23-Aug-16 20:35:26

It is always the way in any state education, bumpety . We had an Olympic competitor from my school, years ago. She did it all outside of school but we all felt she was 'ours' and felt very proud.

bojorojo Tue 23-Aug-16 20:35:34

The government's Leaugue tables give you a ready made list, Fresh. Nothing wrong with any type of good school but they all need to be good for all children. It should not be that poorer areas in the North/Midlands have the worst schools , according to Ofsted. There are brilliant comprehensives and some utter rubbish ones. Some comprehensives never get a child to a RG university, never mind vet school! Every child deserves the best chance .

FreshHorizons Tue 23-Aug-16 20:37:40

I think if you look on the Sutton Trust website it said 8% grammar school.

I think it is a shame if this becomes yet another argument.

It is a celebration of comprehensive schools.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Aug-16 20:38:18

"Can I ask what you mean by failing?

It's OFSTED report a few years ago unfortunately.,

So, a 3 or a 4 a few years ago? What's it like now?

FreshHorizons Tue 23-Aug-16 20:39:02

I give up!!

I made it quite clear what the thread was about in the OP.

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