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Bring back secondary moderns?

(83 Posts)
user1471516728 Tue 13-Sep-16 12:46:28

OK alternative tack on the grammar school debate. Assuming 80% of children would attend secondary moderns (not comprehensives) after a full roll-out of grammar schools, why would that be a great idea for those in the 80%?

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Tue 13-Sep-16 12:55:13

Well, it wouldn't, clearly. I'll tell you what will get said though:
~ they can have lots of focused teaching because the staff will have the time and resources to give it (even though at the moment apparently staff in comprehensives don't spend time or money on the top 20% anyway, so I'm not sure where the slack will come in)
~ they won't feel embittered and jealous of the top 20% and resentful of their own relatively tiny abilities (because the top 20% being taken off to a different place will certainly make them feel better about that!), and so they won't have to waste their little arms throwing chairs at the bright kids in the refectory.
~ they can spend lots of time Learning Valuable Vocations.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Tue 13-Sep-16 12:56:20

Of course, the other answer will be 'life's not fair and you can't make it fair, so we mustn't worry unduly about the 80% for whom we're about to make it deliberately much less fair, I have to worry about my own kids not anyone else's'

BertrandRussell Tue 13-Sep-16 12:58:01

They will be at an advantage because failing is a vital part of learning to win.

user1471516728 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:12:07

It's a genuine question, does everyone who thinks grammars are a good thing think so because their kids (or other 'deserving' kids) will get into them, or because they think the whole system is better for everyone?

I'm not in a grammar area (although close to the Bucks border so know of it), my kids went to a decent comprehensive and are now at college, I went to a rubbish comprehensive so have no direct experience of the system.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 13-Sep-16 14:20:44

everyone who thinks grammars are a good thing think so because their kids (or other 'deserving' kids) will get into them yep, pretty much!

BlueGazebo Tue 13-Sep-16 19:27:14

I would like to ask everyone in favour of grammars if they would be happy for their child to fail the 11+? Let's say that they failed by a couple of marks. They might be classed as top 22% rather than the top 20% and therefore not suitable for a different, more academic type of education. Perhaps they excel in one field but are weaker at some subjects. I personally would not be happy if this were my child. I wouldn't want my child to feel like they had failed at the tender age of 11 and feel that their education wasn't as important as the top 20%. I would want them to have the opportunity of being in top sets. I am therefore against grammar schools. But, I am guessing that everyone in favour of grammars must by default be in favour of secondary moderns and therefore must be happy for their children to attend one?

PettsWoodParadise Tue 13-Sep-16 22:00:01

I failed the eleven plus and never was made to feel a failure. I like the current idea of TM's for those who prove themselves of being able but failed at 11 to move into a grammar at 14 as that may have given me a route out of being ridiculed for liking learning. I loved my sixth form as when I joined as those who didn't want to be in formal learning had left. I had friends I kept in touch with who were finally happy to be out of school doing courses they wanted to do or were working. That sounds shock horror but different schools and different paths suit different children and some develop interests at different ages so I see the new proposals in a positive light.

titchy Tue 13-Sep-16 22:03:30

Where are all these vacancies for 14+ entry going to come from?

PettsWoodParadise Tue 13-Sep-16 22:08:37

Just like in sixth forms, schools adjust according to supply and demand. Some sixth forms are smaller than their y11 cohort, some are larger. I imagine it would be similar at 14+.

Myredrose Tue 13-Sep-16 22:10:49

I am happy with that, I have a dd at secondary modern, a ds at superselective and dd at private.
It works for them all.

Myredrose Tue 13-Sep-16 22:12:40

I only wish that those on here who have been obsessed with grammar schools for the 13 years that I have been here were as concerned with decent housing for children and medical care.

DrudgeJedd Tue 13-Sep-16 22:17:03

I suppose you could always move the low performing children out of the grammar to make way for the 14+ intake?

titchy Tue 13-Sep-16 22:17:43

Sixth forms are smaller because they're not compulsory - years 10 and 11 are!

So again, where are all these year 10 and 11 places going to come from? Will grammar schools only select the top 15% at 11, even though they have space for more, so that they have space for another 5% to join at year 10?

PettsWoodParadise Tue 13-Sep-16 23:01:20

I have seen children in selective schools who have been over coached. Some voluntarily leave as it is clear it is not the place for them. And shock horror they do well elsewhere without feeling inadequate next to their academic peers and they still achieve. Why can't there be movement between schools why should children be shoe horned into a school that might appear a good fit at first but turns out not to be further down the line. Why do parents fear moving house or taking up job opportunities elsewhere once in a good school, it should be more fluid than that. Yes stability is good for a child but just as bad is staying put out of lack of choice or options.

PettsWoodParadise Tue 13-Sep-16 23:04:13

I also add that some schools have smaller sixth forms as they are not good or are less popular. Yes some leave for courses that are not run by school sixth forms. Some schools have a larger sixth form than their Y11 cohort as they are doing an amazing job and are in demand - the same would apply for other years.

BizzyFizzy Wed 14-Sep-16 05:30:40

I did my teaching practice at a Bucks Secondary Modern. I knew nothing about the system at all (having been educated in the independent sector in Scotland).

It seemed fine to me. We taught the GCSE curriculum. Children had access to a full academic curriculum, with a few vocational subjects onsite (unlike at comprehensive schools where students go offsite for hairdressing and motor mechanics).

There was no sixth form at this school, so students went to the grammar school for A-levels.

yeOldeTrout Wed 14-Sep-16 07:35:18

If there are Uni places for 45% of school leavers, then the top 1/3 of students at the hypothetical sec-moderns would be university bound. And need to be prepared for university in the same way as the top 20%.

EmmaB7 Thu 15-Sep-16 15:32:51

Schools are funded on a per-pupil basis, so moving pupils around between schools creates budget problems, quite apart from the practical difficulties of getting pupils from one school to another. (Pupils may also experience problems from having to have studied similar/the same curriculum- no good moving to a school because it does more languages, for instance, if the other pupils doing them have done 2 or 3 years more of that language). In areas where schools are full, the budget pressures will be less of an issue, but outside urban centres schools are often under-capacity because it doesn't make sense (and there isn't the money) to bus children around the countryside for miles. For the same reason, arguments about choice are hugely problematic from a practical perspective outside towns and cities.

EmmaB7 Thu 15-Sep-16 15:36:04

For all Theresa May's protests, it's impossible to see how a return to selection cannot also result in a return to a two-tier system, if they come up with another name for secondary moderns. And that's in no-one's interest, in my view.

bojorojo Thu 15-Sep-16 16:30:52

I live in a grammar school county. Children do indeed move to the grammar schools at 12 and 13 and for 6th form. Very few apply though. The majority of our secondary moderns are good schools. A few are not. One is outstanding. Loads and loads of the children going through these schools into their 6th forms then go to university.

The money follows the child. This is standard procedure and taken account of in the census of pupils each year. There are no budget problems caused by transfer to grammar school, however, because, in effect, hardly any children move. Far more move due to parental relocation.

The least favoured grammar schools (there is a pecking order) can usually squeeze a few more in. They also take from far and wide and do not stick to catchment area. If entry is at 12 or 13 plus, the grammar school sets the exam not the LA. No-one transfers at Y10 or Y11. Grammar schools are not allowed to keep places open for late transfer. They accept everyone who passes the exam for entry in Y7 and do so, as far as I am aware, but it may not be the first choice grammar school. However, not all cohorts taking the exam are the same and some years they do not fill up. They do not lower the pass mark, to keep standards up, but then can take children who "blossom" a bit later.

In the case of schools not having a 6th form, of which there are few here, they can also transfer to the secondary modern 6th forms who nearly always have places.

People who post on these threads have never been near a secondary modern. They have no idea that A levels are available or that children get 55% and upwards of GCSE's at A*-C including Maths and English. If any of you have time, take a look at Waddesdon, John Colet, The Misbourne, The Amersham School, Chalfonts and Great Marlow School and you will see schools you will not recognise as secondary moderns. Some have in excess of 30% high abilty children so why would they not offer A levels and academic GCSE's? It would be failing the children if they did not.

As for the bitter disappointment of failing the 11 plus, the Review process often offers to candidates who score one mark below the pass mark. Frequently children get in who are 3, 4 and even 5 marks off the pass mark on appeal . Some people do not appeal because they are happy with their allocated secondary modern.

The big problem is closing the gap in our secondary schools. This is being addressed by Pupil Premium funding. Hopefully, there will be improvement. I have met very, very few parents who have transferred out of the secondary moderns to the grammars. Usually people who are rather "stuck up" but not affluent and do not see themselves, or their children, at the same school as ordinary children. They cannot afford private, so they agitate to get their children into the grammar schools. I have seen children (two near me) pushed to breaking to achieve 12 and 13 transfers. (Bed wetting, bad behaviour etc). Most people do not do this to their children and are quite happy with the schools they are allocated.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 15-Sep-16 17:57:23

As for the bitter disappointment of failing the 11 plus, the Review process often offers to candidates who score one mark below the pass mark. Frequently children get in who are 3, 4 and even 5 marks off the pass mark on appeal.

But sometimes the initial decision to appeal is taken just by the HT with no independent/ parental input and the likelihood of going to appeal varies widely between HT some schools never go to HT appeal because the SMT don't like grammar schools. Parents can appeal but then the decision is not known until the summer before they start. A more transparent process would be good - e.g. all cases reviewed if 1/2/3/4 marks off.

BizzyFizzy Thu 15-Sep-16 19:10:36

Great post, Bojo. My teaching practice school was on your list smile

MumTryingHerBest Thu 15-Sep-16 20:21:53

bojorojo Thu 15-Sep-16 16:30:52 As for the bitter disappointment of failing the 11 plus, the Review process often offers to candidates who score one mark below the pass mark. Frequently children get in who are 3, 4 and even 5 marks off the pass mark on appeal . Some people do not appeal because they are happy with their allocated secondary modern.

As you are in Bucks this might be of interest:

"It's interesting to note that it is becoming harder to win a Review case on higher scores, but easier to win a case on a lower score."

Sadik Thu 15-Sep-16 21:10:19

"unlike at comprehensive schools where students go offsite for hairdressing and motor mechanics"
Just to note that DD's comprehensive offers hairdressing & other vocational subjects on site - and in fact the Engineering department offers various courses & I know is popular with students across the ability range.

I think the range of pupils at a high school in a prosperous area like Bucks/Kent is going to be quite different to the selection in a poorer rural area, so it's not really directly comparable. If you creamed off the 20% of highest achievers from dd's comp, you would be left with pretty much no-one sitting higher tier maths papers, just for example.

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