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Selective education, Kent's 11 plus and Grammar School system

(170 Posts)
TootingJo Mon 29-Jun-15 11:00:19

I moved to Kent unaware of the selective system and found out most of my daughter's friends had 11 plus tutors. We got her a tutor with just a few weeks to go but I feel it was too little too late and she failed the Kent test.

She judged herself a failure, saw all her best friends go to Grammar schools, and went to a school that got closed down after being put into special measures. Her latest school has just had a poor Ofsted rating and disruption in class is a real problem.

I feel that Kent's system is great for those that achieve Grammar school places, but that the quality of teaching suffers in the rest of the schools. I love that my daughter is now in a local school, her Grammar school friends have hours of travel each day while she can walk to school. But as a middle class mum who's seen 'the other side' of local education I would love to have regular comprehensive schools here. I know no education system is perfect, but this one seems to serve the bright 30% at the expense of the 70% who fail at eleven. Looking at Ofsted stats it's clear that the best teaching is in Grammar schools in this county, but surely good teaching should not be reserved for the brightest pupils?

I would love to see a referendum on the school system in Kent, to allow the people here to choose the education system. It could be that I'm a lone voice and everyone else loves it! Any thoughts?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:15:47

It won't change. Not yet anyway. Many people support the system. My only gripe is that I think it should be for local children, and there should be a catchment area. But obviously people whose children travel to the grammar schools would disagree with that.

thehumanjam Mon 29-Jun-15 11:16:37

I completely agree with you and I'm glad that we do not live in a Grammar school county. However I think public opinion is on the side of Grammar schools, everybody assumes that their child will pass and don't worry about the other 70% until their child is one of them. The tabloids harp on about Grammar schools being a vehicle of social mobility when the opposite is true.

Cloud2 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:35:28

It may not be the teaching in the ordinary school is bad, it may be the students. The students in th grammar school normally would work hard and thus have a good enviroment.

We don't have grammar school system in our area, so you have to have money to buy a house in a better area. We have one of the best comprehensive school just half an hour to us, unfortunately we are not in the catchment area. Had it been grammar school, DC would definitely get in. I think it is much fair by exam entry rather than house location.

Cloud2 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:00:19

We have to admit, when you mix all ability students together, the able student would suffer. Not only able students learn at a fast pace, but also less disruptive. So even not in the grammar school, normal school would have set to seperate the students into different group. So I don't think it is the grammar school system should be responsible for the falling schools.

We are not in the grammar school, richer family have moved to the catchment of an outstanding school. All the schools left are quite bad. However, there is one school,with a very good leadership team, it is turning around. As this school is beside a concill estate, so no matter how good it is now, there are always some students are quite disruptive, at one point , school has to cancell the break time to stop students fighting. This school has put all its' best students into the fast class, also provide opportunity for these bright children to attend Math challenge etc. Also, they try to encourage students to achive high, the atmosphere in the school has generally changed. Now every year , there are a few children would get into Oxbridge, the general results has improved as well.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:04:08

I'd love to see a referendum as well. A clear, well publicised one. The problem I believe at the moment, is that the most articulate and vociferous have children that go to grammar, so are quite happy.

It's often the parents who don't know how to voice their doubts and concerns that aren't heard, the parents of the children who don't pass. Maybe they think it's what they deserve, or it's what is right for their children, little knowing the gulf of difference between a secondary modern and a true comprehensive.

Anyone that I know with any clout in the education system in Kent, and I know quite a few, do not have children that go to secondary moderns.

Heels99 Mon 29-Jun-15 13:09:56

Would you be saying this if she had passed?

TootingJo Mon 29-Jun-15 13:19:22

Heels99 I think that's the point. I will be pushing my son to pass the 11+ and paying for tutors. The fact that my daughter didn't pass has been an absolute eye opener into the divide in education here. The self interest of all the 'people like me' is served by the Grammar school system.

I look at my friends and know they will have children in the excellent Grammar schools. I look at the other playground mums and think think 'their kids will go to Grammar school' or 'their kids won't go to Grammar school.' It's not nice to divide people this way! For one thing I think a mix is a useful thing for kids to experience.

The smart vocal people are never going to push for a change in education in Kent, because the system suits the smart vocal people. I think only a referendum would reach the people who don't usually kick up a fuss, write letters and start campaigns.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:22:55

I have a DC that passed and I think the system is shit, Heels.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 13:26:56

" It's often the parents who don't know how to voice their doubts and concerns that aren't heard, the parents of the children who don't pass."

I dont live in Kent, but I find your suggestion that parents of children who dont pass an IQ test are probably uneducated and illiterate downright offensive.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:34:03

Well then you are reading something into it that isn't meant. I didn't say that parents of children that don't pass are illiterate or uneducated. I said that often parents of children that don't pass don't know how to voice their concerns or doubts.

Not that all parents of children who don't pass don't know how. Not that they don't know how because they are illiterate or uneducated.

I know a LOT of people in Kent who have children who didn't pass. None of them are uneducated or illiterate. Of the people I know well, they wouldn't speak up as either they are not confident enough, don't feel they know enough about education reform or who to contact to speak out, or are downtrodden by the whole process inc appeals they don't have the fight left in them.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:37:37

Oh and it's not an IQ test. I suggest commenting on subjects you know something about.


SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 13:38:34

yes it is an IQ test

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:43:55

It is NOT an IQ test.

I suggest you do some reading on it.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:49:14

You could find some correlation between the reasoning test, which forms one third of the Kent test score, with an IQ test. But the majority of the marks, two thirds, are made up of Maths and English ability.

So NOT an IQ test.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 13:50:32

it looks like an IQ test to me rash.
What is it then? A test of potential ability?
That does come down to the same thing in the end.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 13:51:28

why are you getting so irate about it?
An IQ test is an IQ test...

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 13:53:13

Er because it's not an IQ test. Potential and ability are different things. [sigh]

I'm not irate, it's you who is professionally offended about something you clearly know nothing about.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 13:57:23

oh 'professionally offended' is it now? Oh please, spare me your tired cliches.
I do know something about 11 plus tests, even though I don't live in Kent.
Amazing isnt it?
And I still think your post about parents of those who fail was offensive.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 14:02:07

If you don't know about the difference between potential and ability I would guess that your knowledge of 11+ tests is limited.

You read something into my earlier post that wasn't there.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Jun-15 14:02:48

An IQ test is an IQ test, and the 11+ isn't!

Indantherene Mon 29-Jun-15 14:07:40

A pressure group tried for many years to get a referendum from Kent parents. Their attempts failed because the only parents interested were those whose children failed the Kent test.

I find your attitude breathtakingly arrogant. You moved to Kent and didn't know about the grammar system? Then because you cocked up you think no-one else should get to go?
fwiw my 4 grew up in Kent. 2 went to grammar and 1 went to a High School. I wish everywhere else had grammars too because where we are now is selection by postcode / house price which is much less fair.

ASingleJourney Mon 29-Jun-15 14:10:11

Please help me understand, in the 11+ context, what is the difference between "potential" and "ability"? They appear to be synonymous.

RashDecision Mon 29-Jun-15 14:15:11

In very basic terms, ability is current. So in this context, the test should be an accurate reflection of a students current Maths and English ability. So in an ideal test, a score might reflect the childs current NC level ha!

Potential or capability as it is sometime called, is a future prediction.

TootingJo Mon 29-Jun-15 14:16:22

I think the fact that people are arguing about the differences between 'the kind of people who fail' and the people who pass shows the unpleasantness of the whole system.

I know that it's not supposed to be about class but 25% of our county's population is judged 'academically able' and go to Grammar schools, and they are mostly middle class kids. It wouldn't surprise me if 'the rest' took a knock to their confidence and were less likely to petition for education reform.

The intention of this system might be good, but it has so many side effects. It seems the best teachers choose to teach in Grammar schools, with able kids, more parental involvement, and higher pass rates.

Where does that leave the other schools?

My daughter's school has a hairdressing and beauty school while Grammar schools teach latin. confused

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