To think that grammar schools should either be scrapped altogether or available in every county?

(1000 Posts)
Perriwinkle Sun 27-Jan-13 21:22:02

How can it possibly be fair or reasonable to have them only in certain counties?

I know that many people will say "how can a system that supposedly favours the brightest ten percent of children, ever be fair?" but personally, I've actually got no beef with that provided that the opportunity to attend these schools is available to the brightest children in all counties.

How can it be equitable that the brightest children who live in counties which do not have a grammar school system are routinely failed by the comprehensive system whilst those who live in certain counties are not because they are able to attend high performing State-funded grammar schools?

I think if you're anti grammar schools altogether you should probably hide this thread. This is not meant to be a thread about the pros and cons, relative merits, inequalities or shortcomings of either the grammar school system or the comprehensive system. It is a simply a question of wishing to hear any reasonable justification that may be put forward for the continued existence of the grammar school system in its current guise.

How can it be fair to continue restricting the opportunity to enjoy a priveliged grammar school education (akin to that which many people pay handsomely for in the private sector) only to children who live in certain parts of the country?

CecilyP Fri 01-Feb-13 18:19:52

^Soooooooo - in the GS top-set for Maths (in my DH's experience, and the exprience of friends), you will have a dozen or so, of the best of the best. Not a single one is less than exceptionally good at Maths...homework is extensive...the lesson moves at a lightning pace because it can.

GCSE Maths is taken at least a year early...an A* is a forgone conclusion...pupils can then challenge themselves further and faster taking Advanced, Pure & Applied Maths...a high percentage go to Oxbridge...^

For an alternative experience, I was in the top set for maths at a grammar school. OK, it was a small 2-form entry all girls school. Yes, we took O level maths a year early. Nobody in my year got an A! Only 5 people sat A level maths and only one passed - she got a C and did go on to study maths at London University. Nobody from my school went to Oxbridge to study any subject in the entire time I was there. I do think you are viewing grammar school education of the past through somewhat rose-tinted spectacles.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 01-Feb-13 18:18:55

No, and to be honest there are other things which China doesn't apparently fret about the fairness of which I wouldn't be so happy with. Bloody love my two girls, I do.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 01-Feb-13 18:18:30

LaQueen You're probably right for a superselective grammar. Not for a regular grammar. Not necessarily.

LaQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 18:16:36

Does anyone really think that Asia/China is fretting about whether selective education is fair hmm

I doubt it...

Educationally, apart from the few preserves of the good independents and grammar schools, we have fallen woefully behind other emerging countries in terms of our educational standards. Very, very far behind...

thegreylady Fri 01-Feb-13 18:04:44

LaQueen you talk a lot of sense.I went to GS in 1955 when they were widely available and I received an education that a kid like me [council estate in pit village] couldn't dream of today.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 01-Feb-13 18:02:14

Mm, but as I've said before, if the three brightest who would have gone to grammar if there was one get their a*s, and so do at least some of the rest, and some get as who might not have made it into grammar at all but are top set in a comprehensive, then I don't see the problem.

LaQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 17:59:18

Russian of course you get excellent comps.

But even at an excellent comp, their top-set has to comprise of a wider, more mixed ability group, than the top-set in a selective grammar.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 01-Feb-13 17:57:35

The good thing about gymnastics, of course, is that nobody has to do gymnastics at all if they don't want to!

BegoniaBampot Fri 01-Feb-13 17:56:34

Just curious as to how many they are and where they are, will google. Why have some survived, while they have been banished from other parts of the country.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 01-Feb-13 17:38:17

Begonia as I pointed out upthread the best grammar schools are NOT all in the southeast. Leafy or otherwise.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 01-Feb-13 17:36:27

LaQueen of course you can compare the top sets of some grammar schools to the top sets of some comps. I bet the top sets at my old school are easily comparable (and probably better than) the top sets of some of the Kent grammars. I think people are getting a bit over excited here. There are some very very very good grammars. The superselectives. There are some very very very good comps - usually in areas with no grammars and few posh schools. There are grammars which do not perform as well as the best comps. And there are grammars which perform comparably with the best comps. There are a lot of comps that aren't 'the best comps' but this doesn't mean that there aren't some very very good comps. You claim never to have encountered one, but I can assure you they do exist.

LaQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 17:31:01

And, I seem to remember (with even more amused cynicism) on an earlier thread, there were howls of protest at the thought of the poor, ickle grammar school top sets, being brutally forced to sit GCSE Maths a year early...oh the hideous pressure...the psychologcial damage it would cause them... hmm

I mentioned that to DH, who barked with laughter and reminisced that while taking his O Level Maths a year early, during that year, he'd actually expended far more effort and thought on playing Advanced Dungeon & Dragons...he still got an A grin

seeker Fri 01-Feb-13 17:29:36

"Did someone you know only fail by 1 mark seeker [head tilt...]"
Nope. But I do know someone who passed by one mark. And she has had access to a much broader and fuller education than she woe have got if she had been one mark less lucky.

BS I have been accused of many weird things over the years, but flaming???

LaQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 17:25:14

"There are a number of comp school teachers here on MN and, judging from their posts on homework threads, their attitude to the above is that it is too much pressure and is of limited benefit."

And, my argument with that observation BS (I know it's not your observation) is that if a pupil is academically very strong, then frankly the 2 hours of homework isn't a pressure.

The whole point of them being at the grammar school in the first place is that they are perfectly capable of doing this level and intensity of work FFS hmm

BegoniaBampot Fri 01-Feb-13 17:24:58

But there must be a huge amount of very bright kids who are GS standard who are being expected to cope in the comp system. I understand parents grabbing the opportunity to send their kids to a GS, so don't blame them for making the most of what's available to them, I possibly would too. But where does that leave all the other equally bright kids who don't get that opportunity? The whole education system seems very much dog eat dog. Shame it has to be that way. Ideally it would be great if the really bright kids from poor backgrounds who attend crappy schools really got the chance at GS. But is doesn't seem that really happens. Kids, that would probably do exceptionally well anyway are getting a leg up with a superior education which is not available to everyone. Why do these grammar schools all seem to be mostly in the leafy SE, or have I got that wrong?

LaQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 17:20:19

BS you simply cann't compare the top set of a GS to the top-set of a comprehensive.

A GS top set will comprise of the best of the best so to speak. A comprehensive top-set will comprise of the best of a whole mixed bag...

So, obviously, in a comprehensive top-set you will get a few of the very brightest...but, and here's the rub...you will also get a large slice of pupils who are just above average, and nothing more.

Soooooooo - in the GS top-set for Maths (in my DH's experience, and the exprience of friends), you will have a dozen or so, of the best of the best. Not a single one is less than exceptionally good at Maths...homework is extensive...the lesson moves at a lightning pace because it can.

GCSE Maths is taken at least a year early...an A* is a forgone conclusion...pupils can then challenge themselves further and faster taking Advanced, Pure & Applied Maths...a high percentage go to Oxbridge...

In contrast, the bog-standard, comprehensive top-set has to cater for a much wider banding of ability, yes, even in its so called top-set. There will be a goodly number of pupils who are good at Maths...but, only a few will be exceptionally good..so the speed and intensity of the lesson and the homework is reflected accordingly.

And, that's why the very bright pupils aren't pushed so hard.

bringmeroses Fri 01-Feb-13 17:11:37

begonia would these really bright grammar kids really do worse at a comp?
Yes they would, lots of people have said so, and there are lots of reasons why. You might get some comps that outperform the grammars in terms of grades or oxbridge achievement but these will be verrrry few and far between.
As for the people just below the brightest of the bright - in an ideal world all kids would have an education that would bring out the best in them as individuals, of course. That would entail more selection and possibly using other criteria than just academic ability. Would this be a good thing - I don't know.

TotallyBS Fri 01-Feb-13 16:53:01

Begonia - In a perfect system the top stream at a comp would push their kids equally as hard as the kids at a selective school. In practice this doesn't happen.

My DCs get roughly two hours of homework each night and I'm talking about proper work as opposed to colouring in a map or drawing a poster. They have a test most weeks and exams at the end of each term. This is the routine at their school and their ranking is a testament to their approach.

There are a number of comp school teachers here on MN and, judging from their posts on homework threads, their attitude to the above is that it is too much pressure and is of limited benefit.

With such attitudes do you seriously think that very bright kid is going to be pushed in the same manner at a bog standard comp?

TotallyBS Fri 01-Feb-13 16:38:14

seeker- Yes there are other people who I disagree with but their posts aren't as 'interesting' as yours.

Come on seeker, there must be a part of your brain that deliberately court people's attention. I mean, you make sweeping comments about how GS parents don't care about the other 7x% and then almost in the same breath accuse others of making sweeping comments about SMs.

You pontificate about comps despite neither of your kids going to one. You then flame parents for commenting on GS/SMs because they don't have kids at either.

Do you deliberately post what you do to gain notoriety or is this what you seriously believe? And if you seriously believe what you post then surely there must be a part of your brain that tells you that you are not a true believer in the comp cause?

BegoniaBampot Fri 01-Feb-13 16:29:03

Someone mentioned earlier that if the brightest grammar kids had to go to a comp then they might or probably would get lesser grades, doesn't this also apply to the very bright, bright and average kids who go to comps. Surely they will equally get lesser grades, is that considered ok then? Also, would these really bright grammar kids really do worse at a comp? Surely with being bright and having the kind of parents who are really invested in their education would mean they would still do better than the other kids. Or do people think that there are no very bright kids at comps on par with the very bright grammar kids? Know I'm banging on, but this whole grammar thing is new to me.

bringmeroses Fri 01-Feb-13 15:46:44

LaVolcan OP also said

I think if you're anti grammar schools altogether you should probably hide this thread. This is not meant to be a thread about the pros and cons, relative merits, inequalities or shortcomings of either the grammar school system or the comprehensive system. It is a simply a question of wishing to hear any reasonable justification that may be put forward for the continued existence of the grammar school system in its current guise.

So I'm interested to hear whether OP would advocate getting rid of grammars altogether or reintroducing them nationwide on a "there should be xx grammars available per 10,000 children" basis?

LaVolcan Fri 01-Feb-13 15:34:55

LaVolcan are you saying there should be selection for all, or that grammar schools should go beyond being academically selective?

I was asking the question whether such an exam existed if the argument is that you were being selected for the appropriate style of education, which follows from seekers point that being one mark short in an exam means somehow that you are/were more suited to a vocational education.

I am not making an argument for selection - I am yet to be persuaded of the need for separate buildings for children who are more academic.

I do question those like OP who stated that the brightest children are failed by the comprehensive system. There are something like 3000-4000 comprehensives in the country so no one can possibly be in a position to say that they all fail unless they can prove that only grammar schools produce the A/A*s and get children into RG/Oxbridge, which seems to be the measure by which success is being evaluated.

(And yes, I did send my children to comprehensives and would not choose to live in a grammar area. I think they got a better education that either me or DH did at our grammar schools, but comparisons with systems thirty years apart are of limited value.)

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 01-Feb-13 15:14:51

Were they all in band c? sad DD1 know several kids whose younger sibs haven't got in.

If our test is changed like the bucks one is apparently changing I doubt DD2 will get in either when the time comes. Picture recognition? For a dyspraxic? Yeah right. sad

Yellowtip Fri 01-Feb-13 15:11:25

Five DC in DD4's class took the test this year, only she passed and each one is going to the comp. No-one has railed against their fortune even though I know one set of parents were hugely disappointed, with reason.

bringmeroses Fri 01-Feb-13 15:11:24

Russians yes I thought that was the way round it usually is rather than vice versa. LaVolcan are you saying there should be selection for all, or that grammar schools should go beyond being academically selective? I think private schools offering music/art/sporting scholarships meet some of your criteria. And a good all rounder would have a choice.

Yellow and LaQueen is there room for one more on the bench smile [tries not to get LaQueen's cross glitter on clothes]

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