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May has got her Grammars.

(243 Posts)
ScrubTheDecks Fri 11-May-18 12:15:52

Despite widespread lack of support from the education sector. Despite not having got a majority for her manifesto determination on this. Despite the Tories having cancelled BSF. Despite schools budgets being SLASHED.

She has introduced a 'slip it past' programme of expansion for existing grammars. So: no access to the newly funded grammars in areas where they don't exist. Weasel words about lowering standards for disadvantaged pupils to ensure, admitting they don't bloody work as agents of social mobility or inclusion!

Why not invest in Outstanding comps all over the country that are doing well by all students, including the disadvantaged? Why not invest n comps all over the country that are struggling to recruit teachers and need standards raising?

A nostalgic move by a grammar school educated vicar's daughter (faith schools expanding too - hooray, what a great move for the religiously declining, multi-cultural C21st that is!) for a golden age of grammars that never did what they were supposed to do in the first place - except for a minority of lucky pupils.

I am utterly disgusted by this. Totally anti-democratic move.

I understand those MN-ers in a grammar area where you have no choice but to buy into the grammar system, or those who have, on an local level, poor schools and for those with bright kids, grammar is the only salvation. But grammars and disadvantaged / under achieving schools are to an extent are symbiotic .

Good comps getting their budgets cut should go on strike right now. Oh, but they can't / won't because of the public exams. Nifty timing, T May.

Is there a march I can go on?

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marytuda Fri 11-May-18 13:36:01

I totally agree, this is tragic. What is wrong with these politicians? For heaven's sake, they should ask us - state school users - before they do something like this, which will impact us all.

BrendansDanceShoes Fri 11-May-18 13:46:24

The social mobility argument worked for me in the early 80s, a grammar school girl whose dad was out of work at the time. We were assessed for grammar achool at 13+ entry based on last year at primary and first year at secondary modern. Without grammar, i would never have gone to Uni.But the argument of social mobility simply DOES NOT work anymore, based on the sheer number of pupils tutored by the middle classes to get their kids into the grammars now that assessment is by 11plus exam. I'd much rather the money was spent on making ALL schools good and outstanding. My local state comps are all poor, in a non grammar area. I'm having to use my hard earned cash from getting a better job thanks in part to a grammar school education to pay for my kid to attend independent. Theresa May has rose tinted spectacles about her own experience. And as for single sex schooling in the grammars... that's a whole other argument on top.

ScrubTheDecks Fri 11-May-18 14:33:25

MaryTuda - they did ask us, there was a consultation Sept-Dec 2016. The independent assessment of the responses was published in March here. As you can see the 'consultation' was not actually about whether selective education should be extended, it starts entirely form the [premise that it should and must. All the questions are predicated on a Gvt idealogical determination.

What a whitewash.

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ScrubTheDecks Fri 11-May-18 14:39:54

Responses on selection per se:

"Outside of the specific questions asked above, a significant number of respondents used
the forum of the consultation to raise concerns about selection itself, and selective
schools – many of whom did not give further detail.
Some disagreed with selection schools per se, and cited a preference that selective
schools should not be expanded or should be closed. Specific objections to the
expansion of selective schools centred around perceived concern with the accessibility of
selective schools, the impact on other surrounding schools and children who are not able
to attend, and requests for government resource to instead be focused on supporting
non-selective schools.
Others were concerned that selective schools may not necessarily be better placed to
support attainment in non-selective schools. Many of these respondents suggested that,
in their view, non-selective schools may have as much, if not more, to offer selective
schools than vice versa. "

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KittyMcKitty Fri 11-May-18 15:39:59

I am in Bucks so we have a 100% selective system and no comps. My children are in a grammar school.

If we ignore the woeful state of many Bucks Uppers I am really concerned about May’s expansion plans. Maidenhead has been mooted as an area for a satellite of SWBGS- Maidenhead currently has some great comps and a number of children who travel across the border to Bucks Grammars (a small part of Maidenhead is catchment for SWBGS as both twins are on the county border). A satellite grammar in Maidenhead would imo have a nagative impact on the comps.

DinkyDaisy Fri 11-May-18 16:05:07

Grammar schools will always negatively impact comprehensives nearby.
The gov have been trying sweetners with teaching profession in the last week or so round Ofsted etc.
Trying to sneak this awful idea through under the radar.

OMVM2 Fri 11-May-18 16:59:19

I am scratching my head thinking how is this funding going to help social mobility...

We lived in Bucks and I kid you not, people 'train' the kids from year 3 / 4 to pass these exams. Otherwise they would not pass.(am I sure there will be an army of mums saying 'my child did not get tutored and passed. Right.) It is not about being just clever but about being clever and having money to pay for tutor.

If they create more places, more snobs who spend hundreds a month on hours of tutoring will get these places. Poor people cannot afford it. Middle class can barely afford it.

Test children in areas where there is no grammar schools and see how many pass the 11+ to the standard that Dr Challoner accepts.

Kids who do not pass in Bucks, go to normal schools; where everywhere else it would be just normal - there, they are being looked down at by ex primary peers and start secondary with low esteem.

This produces two very opposite layers of young people - one arrogant and entitled and the other judged and with no confidence from the start.
Well, there is the third one - if you are rich enough and do not pass 11+, you go to a private school. No different to number 1.

Awful, outdated system for privileged being treated in a privileged way by getting funding no other school will get.

KittyMcKitty Fri 11-May-18 17:39:24


We lived in Bucks and I kid you not, people 'train' the kids from year 3 / 4 to pass these exams. Otherwise they would not pass.(am I sure there will be an army of mums saying 'my child did not get tutored and passed. Right.) It is not about being just clever but about being clever and having money to pay for tutor.

Any reader to be so rude and unpleasant? Some people may tutor from year 3 or 4 but no one I know. I did some DIY prep over the summer term of year 5 and that was it. My children are still friends with their primary peers who are in Upper Schools - they socialise together and play in sports teams together- no one is looking down on anyone. My children are not arrogant or entitled- nor are their friends- I am confused how you can pass judgement and make such unpleasant comments about young people.

I am not a snob, I have not spent £100’s on tutoring. My children are bright and on track to achieve 8’s and 9’s in their GCSEs.

Why are you quite so unpleasant?

Btw you need no higher score to gain entry to either Dr Challoners school then any other Bucks grammar.

KittyMcKitty Fri 11-May-18 17:40:07

^ any reason not reader.

OMVM2 Fri 11-May-18 18:24:55

I am not unpleasant. This is my first hand experience.

Like I said, there will be lots who say - I never tutored my kids. They are just bright and getting into grammar by themselves.
This is not true. Out of 26 kids in my son's class, most were already being tutored in year 4 and all I could hear at parties was who is your tutor, should I do more than 2 hours a week, etc.

The leaflets that were posted through my postbox, and ads appearing each September on the lamp posts and lawns on the way to school, said hour is no less than £40-60. This is hundreds a month.

I do not have a problem with paying for children's education which I do, but be transparent and say how it is - they give the unprivileged no chance although they want it to sound like they do.
They say anyone can have a go at grammar as long as they are clever and it is not so either.

Sorry if you feel like I am being rude, just making me angry that privileged are being treated even more privileged and the rest gets nada.

MissEliza Fri 11-May-18 18:56:19

Our nearest grammar school is one of the top in the country. Yet it is located in a town which has a high number of low income families and AWFUL comprehensives. People apply from far and wide and spend a lot of money on tutoring for the exam. Local families from under privileged backgrounds have absolutely no chance against the middle class parents determined to push their way in. It feels so wrong. I highly doubt that this money will mean more kids from underprivileged backgrounds at grammar schools.

KittyMcKitty Fri 11-May-18 19:02:17

OMVM2 I’m guessing you lived near the Chalfonts.

I don’t and I am telling you my experience of my children and those at the other local schools. I have told you that I did not pay for a tutor and that I don’t know anyone who has tutored from year 3 / 4. I have said I am not rich and that my children are not obnoxious etc etc - are you saying I’m lying?

Whisperquietly Fri 11-May-18 19:20:46

Won’t more grammars mean that there is less pressure on the existing ones, making them all more accessible? The (alleged) 11+ tutoring is surely a direct consequence of the few grammars being so oversubscribed.

The grammar school system certainly used to aid social and economic advancement. My DM was the daughter of an agricultural labourer and got a grammar school place in the 1950s. She received a fantastic education and was able to get a job / standard of living that her parents could only have dreamed of.

ScrubTheDecks Fri 11-May-18 21:08:58

Whisperquietly: she was lucky! Right from the start Grammars have not actually offered the social mobility of their reputation. This from the Wikipeadia page on Grammars :
“According to Anthony Sampson, in his book Anatomy of Britain (1965), there were structural problems within the testing process that underpinned the eleven plus which meant it tended to result in secondary modern schools being overwhelmingly dominated by the children of poor and working-class parents, while grammar schools were dominated by the children of wealthier middle class parents.[18]”

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Peregrina Fri 11-May-18 21:15:38

So what happened to your DM's contemporaries Whisperquietly, who didn't pass the 11 +? I don't doubt that some made good, because the economy was expanding.

Talking of tutoring - back in the old days of the 50s and 60s it wasn't necessary because the schools did the cramming for the 11+. My old junior school rigidly streamed and only the A stream pupils really had a chance of passing, meaning that selection was really starting at 7, not 11. Smaller schools with only one class would probably only get one or two children through the 11 +. A friend was one of only two passing in her year. Another friend from a village school said they only allowed 1 per year to pass. That year someone was a bit better than her. Anecdotal, but I think you would find many such anecdotes.

justicewomen Sat 12-May-18 07:32:20

A cultural contribution from a favourite poet of mine

JustRichmal Sat 12-May-18 08:25:33

One way of making grammars easier for less wealthy children to get into would be for state schools, rather than spreading the lie that it is best not to tutor for grammar, to actually actively tutor for grammar.

If May is actually serious about making it easier for less wealthy children to get in to grammars, quotas could be set for feeder primary schools, with a higher proportion for less desirable primaries in poorer areas and a quota of zero for private schools.

Of course this will not happen, because it is not about social mobility, but about reassuring middle class parents their children will not have to be educated in the increasingly financially constrained comps.

JustRichmal Sat 12-May-18 08:39:47

DIY tutoring is still tutoring. It does not count as a child having had no tutoring because it was the parents, not a paid for tutor, rather like a partner's chips not counting as calories.

Peregrina Sat 12-May-18 09:15:41

JustRichmal - school tutoring didn't work back in the 50s and 60s as far as getting disadvantaged children in and there is little reason to suppose it would be different now. I like the idea of quotas, but even then it could be open to exploitation - one measure of deprivation is entitlement to Free School Meals. How many self-employed people will order their affairs for a year to make sure they have a low income in a qualifying year? But then back to normal when the Grammar School place has been obtained.

I agree it's not about social mobility, or at best that's a bit of window dressing, but it's to buy a few votes from middle class parents either avoiding cash strapped comps or priced out of independent education. I don't think it will work. Last year I went to a talk about education in the county. One spokesperson reckoned that about 50% of children would be classed as of grammar ability. No one is talking of creating sufficient grammar schools for that number of children, so there will be a lot of disappointed middle class parents - as there were back in the 1960s.

Peregrina Sat 12-May-18 09:22:34

Just adding that Dennis Skinner did get to grammar school, from a working class background. He had two advantages:
- a mother who valued education and had been denied her own grammar place,
- the War was on, so the uniform requirements were relaxed to only requiring the House cap. Otherwise it would have required a uniform from an expensive Outfitters in Chesterfield, and the family wouldn't have been able to afford that.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 12-May-18 09:23:42

I am so very, very angry about this. As a school governor, I sit through lots of meetings where we talk about the desperately unsustainable financial position that our school is in, and how most local schools are in an even worse position than we are. Our existing schools are really, really struggling, but all the fucking Tories want to do is chuck more money at selective education and faith schools!

We don't need more of either, we need proper investment in all of our schools to ensure a better start in life for all children, not just the privileged few. Has Mrs May not read the research?

Peregrina Sat 12-May-18 09:28:26

Has Mrs May not read the research?

Do you need to ask? I am sure the answer is No. Grammar worked for her, and if she hadn't got in, there would have been money for a little private school. She was at such a school for her middle school years, so some believe she slid into grammar via a back door.

TheWizardofWas Sat 12-May-18 09:30:40

Of course she has not read the research and it would not sway her anyway. Pure ideology going on, pandering to idiocy and hatred of teachers at work. Hate the tories, so much.

ScrubTheDecks Sat 12-May-18 09:35:20

Thank you justicewoman !
I see I have been invited by the anti-faith school petition I have just signed to Express by point of view in interpretive dance. I might leave it to the professionals grin

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