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Government won't fudge grammar school proposals

(24 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sun 05-Feb-17 13:07:55

Ed Dorrell of the TES says that he has spoken to a few people and it's not good news for anti-grammar campaigners - the government is not going to back down on grammars. A response to the Green Paper is expected in March (so probably not March but much later).

Someone on twitter pointed out that Ed should not refer to 'pretty much everyone in education' as the 'anti-grammar campaign' as it gives a false impression of balance.

CruCru Sun 05-Feb-17 20:03:11

Am I right in thinking that councils will have to apply for some schools to be made Grammar schools or for a new Grammar school to be set up?

If so, then only areas with Tory councils will get Grammar schools (as Labour have said that they are opposed to pretty much all selection).

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Feb-17 20:09:45

New grammar schools will be opened apparently only in areas that want them.

However multi-academy trusts will be able to designate one school in the trust as a "centre of excellence" (stealth grammar) and start bussing kids in and out without any council input, as far as I can tell.

CruCru Sun 05-Feb-17 20:11:52

Ah I see.

CruCru Sun 05-Feb-17 20:31:12

Thanks - that's really helpful. So Grammar schools probably aren't going to exist in central London (apart from Westminster).

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Feb-17 20:45:46

I know nothing about London, but doesn't it already have quite a few selective schools?

I would say nothing is certain at the moment.

CruCru Sun 05-Feb-17 20:49:22

There are loads of selective private schools but selective state schools are fairly rare, I'd say.

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Feb-17 20:55:58

Well in that case while certain councils may be ideologically opposed to selection, they will also need to bear in mind that neighbouring councils may not be nearly as high-minded and be first in the queue for grammar conversions.

And if a school in a neighbouring council becomes a grammar then it will start hoovering up the bright kids from over the border leaving their results plummeting and their Ofsted ratings faltering.

It's going to be an arms race.

NonnoMum Sun 05-Feb-17 21:01:53

It's an absolute disgrace that so much money is being spent on these ridiculous proposals when Education funding is in such a mess and good, thriving schools that cater for ALL children (v v clever and v v notsobright) are thinking about shortening hours due to the unfair funding that currently exists (see West Sussex WorthLess campaign) and ALL educational experts know that the evidence is that grammar schools in contemporary society ARE NOT educational best practice.

CruCru Sun 05-Feb-17 22:10:10

Well, my council (Islington) are Labour. Our nearest councils are Camden and Hackney (also Labour). Actually I'm not sure where the nearest Tory council is.

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Feb-17 22:16:35

I'm not sure it's up to the council, academies are outside of LA control. Have you got any Harris Academies nearby? They've said they'll consider converting some schools to grammars, as have the AET academy chain.

CruCru Sun 05-Feb-17 23:50:54

That's interesting. Our nearest Harris Academy (according to Google) is either Tottenham or Bermondsey, both of which are quite a schlep from Islington.

Badbadbunny Mon 06-Feb-17 08:06:30

If so, then only areas with Tory councils will get Grammar schools (as Labour have said that they are opposed to pretty much all selection).

Not necessarily. Our county is a Labour held stronghold and has been for decades. We still have grammars. Labour controlled the county in the 60s and 70s when most grammars were converted to comps. Our nearest two grammars have both grown and increased their intake recently (despite the Labour controlled county council who didn't campaign against it - in fact they were remarkably silent!). There's a certain amount of hypocracy in play. They may say they're against grammars as a policy and then support them anyway if it's to their benefit. Don't forget Dianne Abbot and where she sent her children despite being vehemently against that kind of school in public!

MixedGrill Mon 06-Feb-17 08:20:41

But the LA have no say over what Academies do, or what Free Schools are set up, so how will the politics of the LA have any influence?

Bloody ridiculous anyway. What a waste of money, how much MORE upheaval must go on in our children's education, all on an unevidenced whim?

They haven't even given current initiatives (e.g Progress 8, the introduction of level 9 to stretch high achievers) a chance to be evaluated.

I wish the teachers' bodies had been able to set up a parallel portal to gather all the responses. I do not trust the government to be honest about all the feedback.

CruCru Mon 06-Feb-17 08:59:55

Oh, I didn't know that. I thought Free Schools had to be approved by the council.

catslife Mon 06-Feb-17 12:14:16

But surely it isn't just about what the PM wants, don't a majority of MPs have to vote in favour of these proposals?
Why don't the government give schools money for more "gifted and talented" type programmes that would benefit able children including those who are gifted academically across all schools in an area rather than having selective schools / segregated education.

HPFA Mon 06-Feb-17 16:45:24

I think the government wants us to believe that it's a done deal so that people stop trying to oppose it. There is no certainty that this will get through the Commons let alone the Lords. It was not in the Conservative manifesto so the Lords are able to block it.

The NUT says that their lawyers believe that selection within MATS would be illegal - won't know till it's trialled in a court of law.

The one school that has balloted parents about becoming a grammar (Meopham) has decided to set up a grammar stream instead having not received a positive response from parents.

I think at the moment the anti-grammar campaign has not switched from arguing the case (where they have overwhelming evidence) to focussing on actually stopping the proposals. Best hope lies in Heads and teachers linking up with parents in the developing anti-school cuts movement.

OCSockOrphanage Wed 08-Feb-17 20:15:59

If our local community college sets up a grammar stream I will run naked through the streets........... They don't bother to challenge their bright children so the emphasis will remain squarely on childcare, catering and health and beauty.

DriftingDreamer Wed 08-Feb-17 20:18:00

How depressing....

noblegiraffe Wed 08-Feb-17 22:02:40

More details here:

FFS they haven't even published the responses to the consultation but they're already ploughing ahead. £50million for within academy chain conversions. Any school would be looking at the upcoming funding cuts and seeing how they could get themselves a piece of that pie regardless of the local demand/good of the kids.

The bit that really pisses me off is
Ministers and officials agree with us that there are a lot of people, who are philosophically opposed to selection, who keep saying it damages the education of other pupils but present little or no evidence to support this claim," said the head teachers.

Little or no evidence? Tonnes of evidence was provided!

What a load of bollocks. Consultation? Liars.

HPFA Thu 09-Feb-17 07:34:28

Ministers and officials agree with us that there are a lot of people, who are philosophically opposed to selection, who keep saying it damages the education of other pupils but present little or no evidence to support this claim," said the head teachers.

This is an alternative fact that Donald Trump would be proud of.

On the subject of MATs I don't get how this is supposed to work. How will a MAT agree on which school will be the grammar and which the secondary moderns? Given the shortage of Heads why would not any Head of one of the new secondary moderns simply find another job? Same for the Maths and Science teachers etc.

And how on earth are these schools supposed to be aimed at the JAMs? Are the children sitting the exam going to be means tested? If not then how can you say the pupils will be from this group? Interesting that the govt has apparently given up on the claim that grammars were to promote social mobility. Will they come up with an alternative justification or simply not bother?

Incidentally, some of the grammar schools in Lincs do have a more representative sampling than most due to their geographical isolation. For High Achievers specifically six of these grammars actually have a negative Progress 8 score -the lowest being a gobsmacking -0.38 - a comp near me has actually had OFSTED called in for a low score like that - no doubt the grammar will be left well alone.

Is anyone interested in setting up a discussion group to talk about ways of opposing this? Don't know the technical details but I believe you can set up Facebook groups for this purpose. Anyone interested PM me.

bojorojo Thu 09-Feb-17 10:39:57

The grammars near me had higher progress than the secondary moderns. One sec mod was at the same level as the grammars. It is perfectly clear where the best progress is made - in the outstanding grammar schools.

However parents are not clamouring for a comprehensive system. Some of the secondary schools are well liked and actively supported by parents because they offer a good education and their children achieve well in a supportive atmosphere. What pulls the progress down is that it is only the secondary schools who have children with learning difficulties that put them in the low achieving cohort. These children have difficulty accessing the curriculum and need a great deal of attention to make good progress.

Having said all of that, new grammars will be a disaster. It totally alters the dynamic of local schools and it does produce a them and us culture. I would imagine that setting up a grammar in a city will get plenty of applicants. It will be easy to get to because of good transport links. There would be enough suitable applicants. In very rural areas it will be impossible really. Never underestimate the power and prestige these schools exert. They are an elevated group in my county. The secondary mods do get some good Heads but not the calibre of the GS Heads and constant in and out of RI tells the story of many of the sec mods.

It depends if the Lincs grammars are in the lowest category for progress. If they are, ofsted may be visiting. If they are average then they may be ok. Whatever position they are in, they will needs to draw up plans to improve!

HPFA Thu 09-Feb-17 12:01:43

bojorojo Great post. I'm not sure really how well Progress 8 is working. in Bucks the grammars pretty well dominate the tables - only a couple of secondary moderns creep above the lowest performing grammars whereas in Kent its much more mixed - a couple of the secondary moderns are near the top and around the Progress 8 scores between 0 and 20 the grammars and secondary moderns are intertwining with plenty of the moderns outscoring the grammars. Of course they're very different counties but the pattern is strikingly different - easier to see when you look at the D of E tables than me trying to describe it!

noblegiraffe Fri 10-Feb-17 15:03:37

Interesting blog about Progress 8 here:

I quite fancy working at the Free School for Chinese Girls from Affluent Families who Enter The UK in Y4 with No English.

My school is putting Y11 through ECDL angry

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