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Bits of news on the grammar school issue

(267 Posts)
HPFA Fri 07-Apr-17 18:48:33

Two snippets of news

Unclear exactly why grammar teachers are being targeted to tempt people into teaching. Perhaps to tempt recruits by suggesting they can have a nice career only teaching the easy kids.

And another piece of news:

This is perhaps hardly surprising. Since faith schools are already so heavily criticised for being socially exclusive it would hardly do the C of E's image much good to open up schools explicitly targeting the already advantaged. Still welcome news to those of us on the pro-comprehensive side.

mumsneedwine Fri 07-Apr-17 18:57:29

Not sure many schools will want to convert. And most teachers won't want to work in - we can be a bit lefty and believe in opportunities for all, not just a select few. I work at an Outstanding Comp and we will not be even looking at it. Was brought up by Govenor and SLT laughed.

mumsneedwine Fri 07-Apr-17 18:58:10

Apologies for duelling 😁. Cooking a Chinese while browsing MN and speaking to my dad.

mumsneedwine Fri 07-Apr-17 18:58:23


HPFA Fri 07-Apr-17 19:01:01

I work at an Outstanding Comp and we will not be even looking at it. Was brought up by Govenor and SLT laughed.

Well done to your school.Sadly while it cannot be forced to become a grammar it could well be forced to become a de facto secondary modern. This is the danger that people need to be alerted to.

mumsneedwine Fri 07-Apr-17 19:04:15

I know the SLT at most schools in my area and none of them want to change into Grammar schools. Most teachers don't agree with the idea and as we will be the ones expected to work in them I'm not sure anyone will try and force it. Because as a maths and science teacher I can currently go wherever I like v easily.

LordTrash Fri 07-Apr-17 19:04:59

Dc's outstanding comp is on the site of a former grammar and secondary modern (they adjoined each other). There's been a bit of turbulence with the leadership over the last year and I'm worried they'll be tempted to go grammar, which would be seriously retrograde, as their outstanding rating had a lot to do with how well the school caters for children of all abilities and tailors the curriculum to suit individuals.

All the other schools in the area are rated 3 or 4, and have a much more limited range of courses and qualifications.

HPFA Fri 07-Apr-17 19:13:27

I actually think the way forward on this issue is for schools to join together and publicly commit to remaining comprehensive. Windsor schools have done this so I see no reason why others should not join together in the same way.

mumsneedwine Sat 08-Apr-17 10:15:23

That's exactly how most schools feel HPFA. Most don't want to change and will fight to remain as Comps. Most more rural areas don't have a choice of school due to distance (my own kids catch a free bus to their catchment school as it would be an hours walk). Grammar schools would cause mayhem on the roads. And selective schools only serve the monitory leaving the rest to pick up the scraps. They are only thought of as a good idea by parents who have tutored their kids to get into one and people who have never worked in education (like the PM). Kids develop at different rates and all deserve the same quality of education. Rant over.

bigmack Sat 08-Apr-17 10:18:53

If a school converts what happens to the children who are already attending?

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Apr-17 10:37:36

Comprehensives banding together to say they won't convert doesn't stop the possibility of a free school grammar opening. Remember the Green paper was mostly about forcing universities and private schools to open free schools and they might be more likely to choose the grammar option as more in their line of work. The restriction to 50% selection by religion was also to be removed specifically to get the Catholic Church to open more schools and they already run some grammars so aren't averse to the notion (would the announcement by the CofE shame them into avoiding this?).

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 08-Apr-17 13:38:46

noble is right and I think the government's policy is really about free schools, not about grammar schools per se. We're likely to see far more church schools than grammars because churches have already stated they want to open many more schools. They are socially selective even if they don't use an academic test.
I just get a feeling that policy is entirely dictated by a combination of economic ideology and the personal religious and educational bias of the prime minister. There's no evidence produced to back the policy, only a pretence at consultation and a ruinous funding policy that the grammar schools, along with the rest of the state sector, have quite rightly condemned.

HPFA Sat 08-Apr-17 14:00:51

noblegiraffe Obviously schools banding together doesn't stop free schools BUT there are now a lot of Fairfunding groups -some of whom are already active on social media against new grammars. I went to my local FairFunding meeting and there was BIG anger about new grammars - once questions were open to the floor it was the first issue raised and feeling was very strong - luckily all heard by the Conservative Chair of the County Council who will hopefully convey the message to local MPS. He was clearly against the policy although understandably couldn't speak too freely. If local schools band together, publicly take a stand against selection AND engage parental support then I think there will be massive anger about any proposed new grammars being built whilst existing schools are losing teachers.

As to the Catholic Church they are officially in favour of removing the 11+ in Northern Ireland and some Catholic grammars there are actually in the process of removing selection

So I think it unlikely that they will be very keen on re-introducing grammars here - they know that faith schools are under fire already and, like the C of E, will probably think it is counterproductive to officially promote social segregation (whatever we may think of how they do that in practice!!)

What is desperately needed now is for Lucy Powell's formative all party group to get together with teaching unions, sympathetic MAT chiefs, parental opposition groups and formulate a battle plan.

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Apr-17 14:19:33

It would be great if the anger at school under-funding scuppers the grammar school plans.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sat 08-Apr-17 14:35:21

Plenty of lefty teachers in the grammar system too you know. We are not the enemy. The government and their ridiculous policies are.
As it happens most of the grammar teachers I know are against grammar expansion. Certainly in our area. Would defeat the point really.
Just wish they'd find the schools we already have properly!!

HPFA Sat 08-Apr-17 14:37:42

*Plenty of lefty teachers in the grammar system too you know. We are not the enemy. The government and their ridiculous policies are.
As it happens most of the grammar teachers I know are against grammar expansion. Certainly in our area. Would defeat the point really.
Just wish they'd find the schools we already have properly!!*

Nothing I can disagree with there!! This whole policy is bonkers.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sat 08-Apr-17 14:41:43

The DfE really seem to have lost it. The Accounts committee has called them out and they keep talking about increased funding and ignoring the increased costs. Some beyond their control (population growth - but no surprise) and some due to their ridiculous policies (constant changes to the exam system).

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Apr-17 14:53:23

The DfE line on this is exactly the same as their line on the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. They always parrot that teacher numbers are higher than ever completely ignoring the reality of the situation on the ground that involves more factors than simple teacher numbers.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sat 08-Apr-17 15:09:41

Indeed. There are many many more part time teachers at my school (including me) than when I started for example.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Apr-17 10:08:49

Well this is pretty shady

Rumours ministers will try to buy support for grammars from the unions with a school funding deal.

HPFA Mon 10-Apr-17 10:53:19

Noble That's really shocking. I find it hard to believe the Union membership would be very happy about it either.

HPFA Wed 12-Apr-17 13:46:07

And another little snippet of news: according to pro-grammar supporters there is now another category of people who aren't allowed to be in favour of comprehensives. Owen Jones came under fire for being in favour of comps even though he went to one because he went to Oxford. So the current requirements for people being allowed to support comprehensives are:

1) Not having parents who sent you to a grammar. This counts even if you went to sec school before comprehensives existed.
2) Not having failed the 11+ yourself because this means you're jealous.[Notice how these two together exclude anyone over about 50]
3) Not sending your own kids to a grammar even if you live in a selective county and don't have a choice.
4) Not having been to an independent school or sending your children to one.
5) Not been to Oxbridge even if it was from a comp.
6) Not sending your kids to a "good" comprehensive - the definition of which remains unclear. This effectively excludes most people in rural counties who don't often have much of a choice.
7) Not sending your kids to a good primary school - yes, really.

This is actually less facetious than it sounds - it is actually quite difficult to support comprehensive schools in any public forum without running into a barrage of this.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 13:55:19

8) Not having been to a good comprehensive

I saw Laura McInerey challenged over this on twitter. She said she went to a comp and someone said it was probably a good one so she had to clarify that it was a crap one that had since been shut down and academised.

Even today someone said to her something about middle-class journalists for the Guardian who send their kids private being against grammars, so she had to point out she went state, taught state and didn't have any kids.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 12-Apr-17 14:05:46

To be fair, there are people on both sides who can be really horrible (talking from experience).
What a lot of people are missing here is that a lot of us in the grammar system as it exists are against these changes too. For a variety of reasons.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 14:28:28

I wouldn't say picking at which school someone went to is horrible, rather a poor debate tactic. Playing the man not the ball.

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