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Abolishing the 11-plus.

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Mathsteach2, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    I don't think that this is helped by SMs calling themselves Comprehensives. If you are in an area with grammar schools, the other schools aren't Comprehensives, they are Secondary Moderns. Funnily enough, people don't like it when I point that out.
    num3bers likes this.
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    You are quite correct - for us child 1 -went to single sex grammar, child 2 didn't want to go to a single sex school, so went to the much larger mixed 'comprehensive'... As it happens both went to Russell group Unis & came out with 1st Class degrees.. :D
  3. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Yet another piece of anecdotal evidence that home life, culture and parental expectation have a much larger impact on life chances than schools. Another inconvenient fact that people don't like when I bring it up.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I agree..though there is one other point - child 1 did Sciences at school & University (& now as a career), child 2 did arts/social sciences. I'm not sure the 'comprehensive' had the quality Science staff to get child 1 to the level he was... But we'll never know for sure!
  5. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    I dont think there is much doubt that the outcomes are dictated more by home and background . Mine certainly was. It isnt about outcomes though. Its about the actual experience at school ( and that covers a broad spectrum of issues) and in education. Thats why I want my own kids to go to the grammar school or an independent. The point is missed if you just look at outcomes.
  6. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Yet our schools are almost entirely judged on outcomes.
    afterdark likes this.
  7. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    Exactly, but it misses a great deal . School isnt just outcomes, it is the experience as well. We seem unable and unwilling to acknowledge that . I work in a small fry independent school. Many of the parents send their children to my school citing the issues with their children failing to thrive or not being happy with the experience at other schools ( usually state schools).
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My very ordinary comprehensive was great. And my sons' was very similar. Expectationsw high but not ridiculous. Loads of extra-curricular activities and masses of music. Schools are not bad or good because they're grammars or comprehensives. I think selecting children out at eleven is cruel and unnecessary. Overall children do better in a comprehensive system.
    chelsea2 likes this.
  9. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I sent a letter to our local newspaper The Nation and they have published it (Wednesday, 19th JUne). I will post it here for anyone who might be interested. If there are any replies I will try to get hold of them, but The Nation"s website is limited, we have to pay a subscription for the full paper and we no longer buy the newspaper version.
    "Dear Editor,
    I am a retired school teacher from the UK, now living in Barbados. Remaining interested in education, apart from here I also visit a UK teachers' website (www.TES.com). During my teaching experience the 11-plus was abandoned by Margaret Thatcher, the then UK Education Minister, and introduced the so-called comprehensive system. After our Prime Minister's speech here last week I was interested to hear how they were getting on with it in the UK. I started a conversation on their website entitled "Abandoning the 11-plus?" in the forum "Education News", if anyone is interested.
    An interesting outcome there has been the continued existence of grammar schools in a few counties (parishes here). A school sets its own entrance examination, which parents can go for if they wish. They hope for success, otherwise their children go to the local comprehensive, or pay for private education if they are prepared to find the money, often by sacrificing other interests.
    All of us, including those parents who opt for private education, pay our taxes for which we want services: schools, hospitals, emergencies, police, infrastructure, etc., but the business for government in providing a school system for all is extremely complex. At the moment we mostly have primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, presumably for sound educational and administrative reasons. The 11-plus is about transfer, and to have a one-off test for all 11-year olds is, as Mia Mottley strongly declared, totally wrong.
    However, parent's, and child's, free choice as to which school they will attend is of paramount importance, and must remain so. The children may not get where they would like to go, but that is life and we all have to think what else we can do if we do not get what we want. We still hope and pray that we get what we need. Most parents want the best for their children, but there will always be some who do not care one way or another.
    Every school, both government and private, is different. I think for most parents here they will be happy for their children to go to the local comprehensive, if that is what they will be called. It should certainly save on transport costs and ease the congestion on the roads. Many children should be able to walk or cycle, giving them some necessary exercise. Along with the choice parents must have, teachers will choose the type of school they wish to work in. For me, I was trained to teach secondary physics and wanted my pupils to be interested in the subject at eleven years old. I would not tolerate disinterest or, even worse, disruption, in my science laboratory. I wanted the best for them, which meant that I only taught in a grammar school or private preparatory school. Other teachers, God bless their souls, would be interested in special needs or behavioural management issues, and choose an appropriate work setting, and have adequate training to do the job well. Most children develop their special interests a little later in their early teens, and therefore their school must have ways of accommodating this, even including transfer to another school if necessary. Such transfer would be bound to depend on the availability of places in the destination of transfer, which could be another setting in their school or another school. Some secondary schools organise a timetable which allows setting by subject.
    I offer this letter as a small contribution to our ensuing debate here in Barbados.
    Yours sincerely, Mathsteach2 (pseudonym)."

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