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Justine Greening grubs around for grammar school support after disastrous consultation

(216 Posts)
noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 09:29:28

Despite the grammar school consultation only closing recently, the results not yet being published, and many high-profile education organisations condemning the plans, Justine Greening has decided to try to whip up Tory support for grammar schools by sending an email to Conservative party members and backers asking for them to support a grammar school campaign.

Ignoring all the evidence that this is a stupid and costly mistake, with real implications for parents who want to send their children to comprehensive schools and for disadvantaged children, she has described how 'popular' they are with parents, who perhaps aren't as well informed on education issues as the organisations and professionals who publicly responded to the consultation.

Is this pigheaded or just desperate?

Ontopofthesunset Thu 22-Dec-16 12:16:14

I think both. Not good for my blood pressure before Christmas.

HPFA Thu 22-Dec-16 12:29:20

There has not been enormous enthusiasm for this in the Conservative party itself. Oxfordshire County Council rejected despite being a Tory council. The leader of Hampshire CC (Tory)spoke at one pro-comprehensive gathering. Ed Dorrell said at fringe meetings at the Tory party conference he was amazed not to find more support.

The trouble is, Tories are deceiving themselves. They look at figures showing that people would prefer their child to go to a grammar than to a secondary modern and tell themselves that means people are anti-comprehensive. When of course it means nothing of the kind. I think many Tory MPs are wary of bruising local battles as there is actually nowhere to cite a grammar school that will not threaten good comprehensive schools.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 13:41:28

I did see the 'popular with parents' summed up nicely on Twitter: Two thirds of parents would send their child to a grammar school (per yougove poll), however grammar schools will take less than a third of children.

Parental support will wane when those two thirds of parents realise that the choice for their child to go to a grammar school isn't theirs, and they may well be faced with sending their child to a school that is not as good as it would have been if the grammar school didn't exist.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 13:43:34

Oh, and 'would you send your child to a grammar school' isn't a measure of popularity of grammars. People may well consider sending their child to a grammar rather than a secondary modern, while still hating the existence of grammar schools.

lovelearning Thu 22-Dec-16 14:11:07

For academically able children

from mid- to low- income families

Grammar schools would be a godsend.

Parietal Thu 22-Dec-16 14:17:17

so for one tiny section of society, grammar schools would be good.

for everyone else, they make things worse (or not much change).

so why bother?

lovelearning Thu 22-Dec-16 14:24:45

academically able children

Many of them.

Across the length and breadth of the UK.

Grammar school student yesterday, leading the country today.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 14:28:10

Low-income academically able kids tend to be very underrepresented in grammars. They could be good, but the kids aren't getting in.

There are, however, excellent comps with a high proportion of low-income kids who are doing very well by their students.

Why propagate a failed model over a successful one?

admission Thu 22-Dec-16 15:47:49

The government really are in trouble with this and would be well advised to just do what they know they can get through legislation, which is allow grammar schools already in existence to expand if they wish (in most cases they do not) and also allow "satelite " branches of grammar schools where appropriate. Anything over that is just going to be so difficult to achieve given the near total negativity to the proposals.

And there is also an issue that is going to start becoming more and more of a challenge for grammar schools and that is being defined as a "coasting" school. They need to make good progress and in too many instances the school is achieving good attainment results but there progress is not good as the pupils enter from such a high point. Watch out for some grammar schools going into "requires improvement" over the next few months. What does that do for this proposal?

GreenGinger2 Thu 22-Dec-16 17:22:14

There are few excellent comps with low income kids,they just aren't getting in as well you know. It's a big problem bemoaned by many. Getting low income kids into the best comps is harder than getting them into grammars. With grammars you just need to educate parents more re it being a possibility and support them through the process. With comps many would need to move to areas well out of their pocket- an impossibility.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 17:29:24

King Solomon Academy in London is stuffed with low income kids and got ridiculously high GCSE grades and progress 8 scores.

If you want to improve the chances of low income kids why would you
A) only concentrate on the bright ones
B) look to grammar schools who have systematically failed low-income kids?

Why would you not look at comprehensive schools like King Solomon Academy as a model instead?

Everytimeref Thu 22-Dec-16 17:36:15

Even Ofsted think they are a bad plan.
" With every "sucessful" grammer school there a 4 underfunded secondary modern schools." quote from outgoing head of Ofsted.

roundaboutthetown Thu 22-Dec-16 17:38:11

You just need to educate parents and support them through the process?! And why is this simple plan not working to widen access in areas that have been grammar school areas since the 1940s?! As time goes on, it seems the proportion of children getting into state grammar schools from private primary schools has just gone up and up. Kent and Buckinghamshire have had plenty of time to sort this little local difficulty out and have abjectly failed!

GreenGinger2 Thu 22-Dec-16 17:42:15

GreenGinger2 Thu 22-Dec-16 17:49:18

Frankly I don't think either system can brag about catering for the poorest. Would love to hear the plans on getting the poorest kids into the best comps.

That said this country isn't just made up by the poorest and richest,there is a massive group in between which can access grammars if they so wish,not the best comps though.

Clavinova Thu 22-Dec-16 17:52:18

King Solomon Academy looks like a fantastic school and is often named as a model school to copy - but no one seems to have noticed that there are only 60 pupils in each year group. To quote from its website, "We are a uniquely small secondary school where pupils are known and cared about as individuals." It's also an 'all-through' school now and so almost all the year 7 places will be taken by the 60 pupils in the junior school - how is this model easily replicated?

It's a myth that grammar schools don't do well for value added/progress - which grammar schools are likely to be classed as 'coasting'?

roundaboutthetown Thu 22-Dec-16 17:59:42

Is an article from 2010 helpful? And one which, as you point out yourself, only appears to be interested in the poorest and richest and tells us very little about the majority in between? Besides, that article clearly advocates access to schools via lottery, not entrance exam.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 18:01:54

Would love to hear the plans on getting the poorest kids into the best comps

Admission by lottery. Done.

GreenGinger2 Thu 22-Dec-16 18:03:03

Don't hear many plans or enthusiasm from Torys for it.

roundaboutthetown Thu 22-Dec-16 18:05:26

Grammar school entrance exam tutors and private schools boasting 100% success in the 11 plus do excellent business in Kent. People are paying for extra tuition for their children from as early as year 1 of primary school in their bid to ensure their children pass the 11 plus when the time comes. I do not see this as a healthy model, just another attractive hoop for the middle classes to jump through.

GreenGinger2 Thu 22-Dec-16 18:09:02

Not all counties with grammars follow the Kent model.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Dec-16 18:14:28

Maybe Green you should read Education Datalab's response to the grammar school consultation. They have all the data you need to see this idea sucks

TresDesolee Thu 22-Dec-16 18:16:51

Don't like grammars on principle, but my son is at one of the worst 100 comps in England and Wales (discovered this sad fact recently) because of house price selection. He'll be ok, I hope, but 65% of kids leave the school without 5 decent GCSEs. So I'm rather less starry eyed about the comp system than I used to be. In too many areas they aren't genuinely comps because they're not taking a genuine cross-section of the local kids. In areas like mine where affluent parents either go private or monopolise the best comps, there are some truly shit ones and they ruin children's chances.

Imo Giraffe is right - comps + lotteries is the only solution. Stop rich parents being able to monopolise the best comps. Oh, and abolish private schools of course - there's no genuine long term solution without that. But it's all cloud cuckoo land because no politician would ever have the guts. So on we go, ruining children's life chances.

eddiemairswife Thu 22-Dec-16 18:21:25

In the days when bright working class children got into grammar schools, a far higher percentage of the population was classified as working class; tutoring was unheard of for state schools; there was a massive expansion of white-collar jobs, and the school leaving age was 15 up until 1975. The situation is very different today, and those older people who look back to the 'golden age' when they were young seem to have forgotten those points.

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