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Do we want more grammar schools?

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Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:18 am

England still has 164 grammar schools, but there are now no grammar schools in Wales or Scotland. Charles Windsor thinks there should be more, but whether ‘the meddlesome prince’ should be sticking his nose into what is a political issue is something which can be discussed elsewhere. In his autobiography, ‘A Journey’, Tony Blair says that the way grammar schools were abandoned in favour of comprehensive schools was tantamount to "academic vandalism”, but he didn’t restore them during his ten years in office, creating academies instead. Boris Johnson says the loss of grammar schools was “a real tragedy” and that the system was “a great mobiliser and liberator". It is UKIP policy (well it was when I last checked) for there to be a grammar school in every town. Predictably, David Cameron, who in opposition warned his party members to drop their obsession with grammar schools, has caved in to the Tory right and backed the expansion of grammar schools. Are all these people correct?

Let’s just remind ourselves what happens when you have grammar schools. In their primary schools, Year 6 pupils are given a test known as the 11 plus which is similar to, but an expanded version of, the one found here:-
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7773974.stm
Based on the results, about 20% of children in an area will be offered a place at a grammar school, while the rest go to secondary modern schools from where, until 1965 (when the CSE exam was introduced) all would leave at the age of 15, without any formal qualifications, and be expected to find a job.

Those who support grammar schools will tell you that, according to league tables, they produce some of the best results in examinations. The journalist Frances Ryan answers that one: “Grammar school children do better than comprehensive kids? That’s the point. Otherwise, why did we separate them in the first place? Dividing two sets of people by current advantage creates future advantage. Just ask the offspring of the wealthy walking into private schools and out the other end into this country’s power and money. If we wanted children to be equal, we’d treat them equally.”

Those who support grammar schools will argue that they increase social mobility by providing an opportunity for students from low-income families to escape poverty. However, the intake of grammar schools tends to be firmly middle class, as evidenced by the low number of students on free school meals at grammar schools. It‘s been argued that the system benefits the middle classes who can afford private tuition for the 11 plus exam. A BBC Radio 4 programme found that some middle class parents spend as much as £1,800 on private tuition to help their children pass.

There are other objections to the 11 plus. It has a negative effect on primary education, since it puts schools under continual pressure to train pupils to pass the test. A child’s cognitive development continues well past the age of 11, meaning that the 11-plus system ignores late developers. The idea that taking a test at the age of 10 or 11 can determine your potential ability to pass exams at the age of 16, 18 or 21 seems absurd if you think about it.

Is the grammar school system socially divisive? Does it lead to a waste of talent in those who fail the test at the age of 11? The veteran politician Roy Hattersley has long argued that there is an adverse psychological effect on many of the pupils who are considered failures at such an age. And as Tim Wigmore has written: “Selective education works for the chosen few, but the rest do worse than under a non-selective system. The debate about selective education suffers from a selection bias: we only ever hear from those who went to grammars and attribute their success to it, never those whose education suffered after failing to get in.”

Sources used:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammar_schools_debate

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/borisjohnson/11223101/Scrapping-grammar-schools-was-a-real-tragedy-for-Britain-Boris-Johnson-says.html

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/17/david-cameron-grammar-schools-tory-right-ukip

http://www.newstatesman.com/education/2014/05/grammar-schools-widen-gap-between-rich-and-poor-why-are-we-still-surprised

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/05/grammar-schools-don-t-help-poor-evidence-grows

Further reference:-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/11263222/Leading-Tories-call-for-more-grammar-schools-pledge-in-next-manifesto.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7773974.stm
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:13 pm

Do we want Grammar schools at all?

Does a rose, by any other name, smell as sweet? The first problem to be addressed may simply be the amount of baggage carried by that description "Grammar School". Perhaps the debate would be cooler if they were instead described, not inaccurately, as "Preparatory Schools", which specifically prepare kids for further education at a University PROVIDED THEY ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

I totally subscribe to the principle of fair shares, and an equal opportunity for any child to receive the best possible education, but it's plain daft to pretend that there can be a valid argument for a University of the Mediocre. The evidence is abundant that the mere possession of a degree is not the key to a magic world of guaranteed riches. Examine if you will the quantity of student loans which will not be repaid.

So the only problem is sorting the wheat from the chaff, in the right way and at the right time. If you are not to have a culling of undeveloped 11-year olds, would it be any kinder to allow those ultimately shown to be less able to find themselves spat out (at 13, 14, 15 or 16 years of age) in the way that professional tennis players or golfers are in a Masters tournament?

I'm very relieved not to have responsibility for that kind of decision.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:56 am

As a Grammar School old girl, I have to say attending a Grammar School gave me access to an educational experience that just wasn't available to those who failed the 11-plus, without which, I might well be working in a shop or an office, with little prospect of being able to retire any time soon, probably with varicose veins and all the other health problems working class woman is prey to.

Because I got the coaching to get me through GCE's rather than leaving at 15 without qualifications, I was able to leave my industrial home town and go to university in another and more attractive part of the country, where I met people from other walks of life and other social classes, and acquired maybe a few social skills that helped me eventually to find a job where I could use my very moderate talents while earning a decent income and amassing a sensible pension pot. When I'd had enough of work, I was able to retire, and suffer no hardship.

So far, so good, right? What's not to love?

However, as the item points out, the gains for the minority who get this type of education are largely on the backs of the majority who experience the residual educational system. It was clearly understood when I was a child that if you failed your 11-plus you were going into some form of manual occupation - you wouldn't get the chance to do O levels and A levels, you wouldn't go to university - you might go to college for occupational training (bricklaying, carpentry or the like), you might get training through your employment - but at 11 maybe such thoughts were not uppermost - failing the 11-plus was a major disappointment for many (and their parents) and gave an early experience of failure that some never really recovered from.

And, of course, as a poor working class child attending a Grammar School, there are a multitude of social humiliations to encounter - teachers who think they should not have to deal with kids from the council estates, pupils who have got there because their parents paid for extra coaching, and whose school uniform is of better quality, better fit, and replaced more  frequently - and you can bet the teachers were extremely alert to any infringements of school uniform - teachers who regularly singled out the few of us who had free school meals, to be sure the other pupils knew who we were. I had the experience of being accused of cheating on an exam because the teacher thought my vocabulary was better than it should have been for a child of my class. My accent was ridiculed in class and the deficiencies of my uniform pointed out to everyone - by staff, whose job should have been to ensure I got the maximum benefit from my education. We were regarded as an 'elite' but of course everyone defines 'elite' in their own way - for many, including teachers 'elite' meant 'from a prosperous middle class family' - not 'able to handle academic subjects'

On the whole, my experience of school was largely one of keeping my head down and my mouth shut, and I was glad to leave.

I think a divisive educational system creates a divided society - if some kids deserve access to 'quality' education, surely all do?
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:09 pm

Impossible to discuss Education without becoming mired in the British class system, isn't it? But Society needs hewers of wood and drawers of water as much as it requires Leaders. In some cases, more so.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:13 pm

And those hewers of wood etc should have just as positive an experience of education and as much opportunity to achieve their potential as barristers and surgeons - all work has value to society and all citizens also have value
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:19 pm

oftenwrong wrote:-
If you are not to have a culling of undeveloped 11-year olds, would it be any kinder to allow those ultimately shown to be less able to find themselves spat out at 13, 14, 15 or 16 years of age?.........Society needs hewers of wood and drawers of water as much as it requires Leaders. In some cases, more so.
This article by Anna Villeleger tells a similar story to the one posted by boatlady on this thread:-

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/03/grammar-schools-aren-t-answer-and-i-should-know-i-went-one

In 23 European countries, children don’t start formal education until the age of six. Personally I think that’s early enough, as long as free nursery provision is available before they start school. We used to have a middle school system in parts of the country, from which children went to a comprehensive school at the age of 12 or 13. The idea for middle schools came from the Plowden Report of 1967, and there were 1,400 middle schools by 1983, but by July last year there were only 163 left in England. Crawley, which is just up the road from me, closed its middle schools in 2002.

http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/index.cfm?9B1C0068-C29E-AD4D-0AEC-8B4F43F54A28

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_middle_schools_in_England#West_Sussex

I’d like to see a system where children attended a first school (from the age of 6 to 10) and then a middle school (from 10 to 14). From my own experience of teaching, the difference between academically and technically inclined children is much clearer at the age of 14 than at 11. So 14 is the age at which I would ask children and their parents to choose (not be selected for) either an academic or technical education until the age of 18.

The implication from the grammar school system is that if you’re not academically inclined at the age of 11, you’re meant to go and do either technical or menial jobs when you leave school, as if such occupations are second class and only for people who have been labelled failures. The country has more need for plumbers, builders and electricians than it has for Old Etonians with degrees in PPE from Oxbridge. Maybe if those more practical pursuits were placed on an equal footing with academic ones for 14-year-olds, they might be seen as more attractive and might be more valued.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:32 pm

At the top of many companies providing plumbing, building and electrickery services you may find an Old Etonian Chairman who read Greats at Oxbridge though knows little and cares less about the practical functions of the business.

But he definitely knows how to make a lot of money out of the work done by those plumbers, builders and electricians he employs.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by snowyflake on Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:46 am

oftenwrong wrote:But he definitely knows how to make a lot of money out of the work done by those plumbers, builders and electricians he employs.

Which makes him an asset to his company since the business of any business is making money.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:53 pm

Greed is good.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by snowyflake on Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:25 pm

oftenwrong wrote:Greed is good.

If you say so...
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:52 am

oftenwrong wrote:Greed is good.

Good is a relative concept. So your premise is subjective.

Mr Gekko.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:39 pm

Allusion correctly identified. The phrase is by now so discredited that, IMHO, it provided the perfect response to an asinine remark.

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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:29 pm

And in relation to the primary question about Grammar School education, I think the page I was on was that people who create wealth (plumbers, builders, electricians and the like) ought really to get a fair share of the wealth they produce rather than all the profits going to the Old Etonian Chairman who read Greats at Oxbridge though knows little and cares less about the practical functions of the business.


Greed is not, of course, good, and I imagine that comment was intended ironically
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:38 pm

Thank you for the summation, boatlady. There seems no adequate punctuation mark signifying "irony", though various suggestions have been made and apparently rejected by the general population:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony_punctuation
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:27 pm

Sometimes, coming into the middle of a discussion, nuances of meaning can be lost - your meaning was clear enough to anyone who had been there from the start
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:14 pm

Some evidence that grammar schools don’t assist social mobility and do help to create more inequality in the form of a wider pay gap:-

The selective system as a whole yields no mobility advantage of any kind to children from any particular origins: any assistance to low-origin children provided by grammar schools is cancelled out by the hindrance suffered by those who attended secondary moderns. Overall, our findings suggest that comprehensive schools were as good for mobility as the selective schools they replaced.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21361903

The average hourly wage difference between the top 10% and bottom 10% of earners in selective schooling areas was £16.41 between 2009 and 2012, while in areas with comprehensives, the equivalent earnings gap was just £12.33, said researchers from the universities of Bristol and Bath and the Institute of Education, University of London.”

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/may/29/grammar-schools-create-wider-pay-gap-study-finds
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:14 pm

A new book throws historic detail at the seeker of knowledge:
"The Old Boys" by David Turner

http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300189926

One sentence leaps out of a review in The Independent;

".... the main purpose of private education is avoidance of the poor."
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by snowyflake on Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:01 am

oftenwrong wrote:Allusion correctly identified.  The phrase is by now so discredited that, IMHO, it provided the perfect response to an asinine remark.


Can't be any more asinine than the post it responded to.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:56 pm

Bring back grammar schools? Great news - for the rich

Extracts from an article by Sam Bright:-

"Few grammar schools now exist in modern Britain. To most of today’s political parties, particularly those on the left, the remaining ones represent the lingering residue of a failed political experiment. Expert in the politics of illusion, UKIP has not conformed to this common belief; the party seeks to open a grammar school ‘in every town’.

Intelligence tests would have to be employed to filter pupils under Farage’s proposed system. The best would succeed and gain access to the cherished grammar schools. The losers would be relegated to secondary modern schools, or analogous institutions, and led to believe from the age of eleven that they were just not good enough. In the 1950s and 1960s, less than one-in-five children from manual, working-class backgrounds won a grammar school education. In contrast, over half of children from professional and business homes gained entry. Similarly, once at grammar school, the working-classes noticeably underperformed. A mere 0.3% of all grammar school pupils who achieved two A-levels were from unskilled working-class backgrounds.

In UKIP’s nostalgic utopia, a land with warm beer, white faces and a resuscitated grammar school system, the social stasis of the 1950s would be revived. Far from opening up new horizons for the poorest, this world would entrench the social privilege of the affluent middle. Garbed in a populist rhetoric, UKIP has seized the image of a working man’s party. But, beneath the pinstriped suit, it’s nothing of the kind
."

For the whole article:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/bring-back-grammar-schools-great-news-rich
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:05 am

I do begin to wonder if UKIP are beginning to lose the plot - and with it, any chance of being a serious contender in the General Election
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:09 pm

Even Nigel now seems to realise he's almost the only credible horse in the UKIP race for parliamentary seats.

But as for the effects of selective education, the evidence is to be found in Call Centres. A business model in which hundreds of "customer service operatives" read from a script devised by someone who went to Uni.



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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:21 pm

And those scripts, it seems to me, seem to have been designed specifically to enrage the caller and prevent any useful business being transacted
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by stuart torr on Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:13 pm

Well believe it or not folks I actually went to a grammar school, and it was merely due to my exam marks than my parents paying for me, as they could not rub two halfpennies together.
Which put me out of line with the other pupils as they were all rich so and so's, I did not go to college though as my parents could not afford it, and at that time my brain was two years ahead of the children the same age as myself, and they did not know what to do with me teaching wise.
I do believe that had something to do with my brain virus or whatever it was that short circuitted my brain, and has left me as I am now.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:54 pm

First 'new' grammar school in 50 years

From an article by Sean Coughlan:-

England is to get its first "new" grammar school for five decades after it was agreed an existing school could build an "annexe" several miles away. Weald of Kent School in Tonbridge will open a site in Sevenoaks, side-stepping a ban on new grammar schools. A previous plan for such an extension of that school was turned down. Ministers were not persuaded that it would be a branch of an existing school rather than the creation of a new institution.

Labour passed a law in 1998 banning the creation of new grammars - which are selective state schools - but existing schools are allowed to expand if there is sufficient demand. Education secretary Nicky Morgan said this was a "genuine expansion" of an existing school and not a change in policy on selection. The annexe for 450 girls will mean more places decided by passing an exam, but the education secretary ruled out a wave of new grammar schools.

Labour described the decision as a "hugely backward step". Melissa Benn, of 'Comprehensive Future', said that academic selection at the age of 11 was "unfair, unnecessary and divisive". She said it was "absurd" to suggest that the school would be an annexe, rather than a wholly new school, adding the decision could have "far reaching consequences".


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34535778
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:38 pm

Cue a "mushroom growth" of private cramming schools precisely to prepare pupils for the current version of selective-entry examination.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Claudine on Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:11 pm

My first year of secondary education was in a school which had just finished its 11+ tests.
It meant that all of the teachers were still in grammar school mode and that teaching was in a grammar school style. I have to say that my secondary education was outstanding.

On my first day at the school, as I stood outside of that imposing building which I would come to love, I wasn't alone. There was a large group of parents outside the school who were protesting against the calibre & quality of this new intake of pupils.

I remember being asked by a particular parent why was I allowed to go to this school. How did I manage to get in?

Looking back, I now see that while it was an ex-grammar school it was still seen to be exclusive in a way. The expectation was that only the best could be suitable to attend it.
I wish I could have spoken to that angry parent a few years later and shown him my 10 0-level certificates with A and B grades. I would have loved to see his face.
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:01 pm

The ingrained prejudice of our British Class system is inescapable in such matters.

The question "How did you do it?" does not always spring from a desire for knowledge of the process, but may really mean "How on earth did YOU do it?"

As a Nation, we are currently making an assumption that every "refugee" heading in our direction is an economic migrant, which is clearly an over-simplification. The total breakdown of Syrian civilisation means that Doctors, Teachers, Poets and Artists are forced to flee a Country which is no longer safe to live in. Cameron's "plan" to pay for them to lodge in Lebanese or Turkish tents is squandering the intellectual value of such people.

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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Claudine on Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:59 pm

The "How did you do it?" question stemmed from a matter of race. There were very few people from the black community in my school and he wanted to know why a person of my ethnicity managed to infiltrate his 99% white school.

Yes, it was that pitiful!
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:02 am

Theresa May to end ban on new grammar schools

Theresa May is planning to launch a new generation of grammar schools by scrapping the ban on them imposed almost 20 years ago. In a move that will be cheered by Tory grassroots, the PM intends to pave the way for a new wave of selective schools.

Mrs May is understood to see the reintroduction of grammar schools - banned by Tony Blair in 1998 - as a key part of her social cohesion agenda. The historic shift in education policy is expected to be announced by the end of the year, possibly as early as the Conservatives’ annual party conference in October.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/06/theresa-may-to-end-ban-on-new-grammar-schools/
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:25 am

It's not easy to see what might stop Mrs May from passing any measure she pleases concerning Grammar school education, so perhaps the best thing would be to examine ways to improve the selection process. "Winner takes all" eleven-plus exams were rightly condemned for labelling some kids a failure before they had even begun secondary education, so perhaps the promotion and relegation model of professional football might be applied. At the end of the first Year there could be a reassessment of the situation of children slightly above and slightly below the passmark achieved earlier, followed by a final relocation.

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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:15 pm

I also think Grammar Schools need to become more socially inclusive - as a working class kid from an impoverished single parent family, it was always clear to me that, although I might often be cleverer than my peers, my teachers rather wished I wasn't.

My form teacher was particularly keen to single out the two of us in the class who had free school meals, leading to bullying and ostracism; and on one occasion I was closely questioned about a free French translation I did, on the grounds that no child from my type of background could ever have come honestly by such a sophisticated vocabulary - the implication of course was that I had cheated.

If children are to benefit from selective educational opportunities it does need to be entirely on the grounds of merit - and as OW says, the selection process needs to be frequently revisited
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:56 pm

I was a working-class grammar school pupil – our success is built off those left behind

From an article by Dr Frances Ryan:-

Theresa May is ready to scrap the near 20-year ban on grammar schools, launching a “new generation” of selective education. Creating more grammars will aid “social mobility”, a government source said. “If you’re a really bright kid you should have the opportunity to excel as far as your talents take you.” Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of education or inequality in this country will know each word of that is myth and contradiction.

Grammar schools – far from a benefit for smart working-class kids – are simply another way for the middle classes to entrench their advantage. More than four times as many grammar school pupils now come from private prep schools than the number entitled to free school meals. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that more deprived children are significantly less likely to go to grammar schools than the most advantaged – even when they achieve equally good results aged 11.

The debate over selective education is not simply about grammar schools but wider, warped attitudes about poverty, education and status in this country. It is the ideology of conservatism in a nutshell: the fetishisation of personal responsibility and convenient amnesia towards structural inequality. In this system, grammar schools are sold as a way for the poorest to escape where inequality puts them. You almost have to respect the gall of May and her grammar school supporters. Not only have they found another way to kick the life chances of working-class children but they are doing it under the guise of helping them.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/07/working-class-grammar-school-theresa-may-inequality
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:33 am

Yes, much better put than my musings

It's a bit counter-intuitive to see it in this way, but she is on the money
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:51 pm

Ivan wrote:....

The debate over selective education is not simply about grammar schools but wider, warped attitudes about poverty, education and status in this country... .

Yes, of course. All true. If you wanted to improve matters you wouldn't start from here - but HERE is where we are.

A big problem affecting Education Policy is that everyone who ever went to school thinks that makes them an expert. Every change of government Minister seems to require an upset of the previous arrangements, to the obvious detriment of staff and students.

Now PM Theresa May has joined in with a call to revive the availability of Grammar Schools with predictable results, since many regard them as divisive, helping the spread of inequality. Clearly there should be equal opportunity for every person to have the best possible education, with no financial or social restraint on a naturally bright child to succeed regardless of their antecedents. However that cannot mean that everybody is equal, because it's unfortunately not true. Various attempts to broaden the availability of a University education have inevitably been patchy as not everybody is suited to that regime, nor is there much advantage for society in general in producing over-qualified graduates for whom there are no jobs. In some circumstances that produced a situation where everyone was a Chief but there weren't enough Indians to perform the actual work.

The UK currently finds itself in an unhappy place following upon the referendum to leave the EU. Political and economic ramifications present the administration with an enormous task, but also an opportunity to examine why we do some of the things we do. Somebody has to decide something positive about immigration, in particular what it means if the British firms who now largely rely upon foreigners for a work-force can no longer do so. Food growers and the service industry all say that Brits don't want to do that hard work for minimum wages.

What if we have been educating some people too far ahead of their natural capacity to perform a useful job?


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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:07 pm

I think what has happened in the past 30 or so years of education is that people have been increasingly 'trained' rather than educated - so they can perform various functions and act as useful cogs in the machinery of the modern world - with the outcome that even quite 'educated' people operate according to paradigms and models provided for them rather than thinking things out for themselves.

Whenever you're dealing with any professional person or even any semi-skilled person, you can be pretty sure they have an algorithm in front of them that dictates the questions they ask, the responses they give and the actions they perform
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:35 pm

Grammar schools are the perfect embodiment of the ‘divide and rule’ strategy which has made the Tory Party such a successful if malign force in British politics. Create another layer of privilege, ostensibly to assist social mobility for working class children, and you get some more people on the side of the rich and powerful while condemning 75% of children to an inferior education. It’s the same tactic, if more subtle, as Osborne’s hateful ‘strivers versus shirkers’ and check your neighbours’ curtains comments, designed to pitch one part of the community against another while the rich carry on milking the country.

These extracts from an article by Liam Young palpably demonstrate that grammar schools do not promote social mobility:-

Theresa May may be planning to lift the ban on grammar schools and launch a new generation of selective state schools; it seems that the new PM is returning the Tory Party to its old ways. This government is preparing to reinstate an outdated policy that will only exacerbate the problems we already face. The grammar schooling system, and the process of selection, does not tackle but merely reinforces class structures.

A report from Bristol University supports the idea that the grammar system relies on recruitment by class rather than by innate ability. A recent study by the Sutton Trust found that, of the 164 grammar schools still open in 2014, 119 had fewer than 3% of students eligible for free school meals; the national average across all state schools was 18% - not a figure representative of a system that promotes radical social mobility.

Given that this is a historical system, we also have the benefit of looking back at results over decades. The Gurney-Dixon Report of 1954 found that only a tiny proportion of grammar school students from an unskilled working class background ever gained entry into university; two-thirds left without achieving three O-levels. In the 1960s, the Robbins Report showed that, while the working class community represented 26% of the overall grammar school intake, just 0.3% achieved two A-levels or more. That is a record of abject failure on the stated goals of the grammar system: social mobility and academic attainment. That is all before we delve into the complex discussion of the psychological effect of rejection and mass competition at the age of 11.


http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-grammar-schools-lift-ban-education-bring-back-grammars-no-champion-of-social-mobility-a7177216.html
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by astradt1 on Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:39 pm

I remember back in the mid 1960's taking the 11plus exam, I didn't pass and went to a secondary school. One of girls in my class was devastated that she had also failed and was in tears on the first day back in school after the results had be sent to our homes, our teacher took sympathy on the girl and comforted her, It was interesting that over the next couple of weeks an appeal was lodged against her result and she was then marked up to a pass grade and she went to the local all girl grammar school, of course the fact that she was the daughter of one of the largest farmers in the area had nothing to do with it, or did it?
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by Ivan on Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:39 pm

Maybe this had something to do with it?  scratch

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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by boatlady on Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:01 am

It's certainly true that Grammar Schools can be a factory for producing new Tories - I have been surprised to find how many of my old school mates ridicule me for having a largely socialist consciousness - in their view socialism is a fallacy and not even worthy of consideration - I'm sure they didn't learn that from their ship-building and coal-mining fathers
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Re: Do we want more grammar schools?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:34 am

It's possible that Mrs. May was just "flying a kite" to test current public attitudes to the idea.
Following on from her fight 'burning injustice' and take on the 'privileged few' Downing St speech.
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