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Grammar schools pays lip service to expansion rule

Discussion in 'Education news' started by slick, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. slick

    slick New commenter

    2.1% of students in the Kendrick Girls Grammar School are eligible for Free School Meals... not a total surprise that the school can exceed in the Performance Tables. Taking more high-ability FSM students into the school (which does not seem to be the plan) would only take them from the local state schools and increase the 'gap' between FSM and non-FSM students. Life is so fair...
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I don't know if things have changed since I retired, but when I was working in grammar schools they didn't know whether applicants were in receipt of FSM or not (indeed I think it would have been illegal to have actually asked the question), and, of course, someone in receipt in Y6 might not be in Y7 (due to a change in family circumstances), or vice-versa.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    These days the kids on pupil premium would be identified. FSM info has been available for years.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Maybe, but to my certain knowledge it wasn't collected in the grammars I worked in until after the test results were known when pupils were being inducted in the summer term before Y7.

    Of course things may have changed recently.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    Ofsted don't judge schools on context anymore - just results. :cool:
  6. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Senior commenter

  7. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    This is a valid points because we KNOW that the children getting into grammar schools are predominately from the more affluent families which means these children would have either

    a. been to a private school from Years R to 6 or
    b. been privately tutored prior to taking these exams

    A lot of parents can not afford such luxuries so I NEVER understand how, if grammar schools are aiming to get more disadvantaged children in, they can achieve this, if ALL the children have to take the same tests and those with the highest points get in.

    When the 11 plus exams were changed recently to make them more 'fair,' i.e. more tutor proofed, I remember reading less disadvantaged children actually got in. So those parents who struggled to pay for a tutor to get their children out of poverty, got nowhere. However, parents who are teachers, lawyers, doctors i.e. graduates, and able to support their children learning, naturally, from the cradle, are more likely to get their children in.

    Schools used to be a place where the bright kids, regardless of their parent's academic background, could excel. Not any more.
  8. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    In my experience very few children who get into grammar school have come from private schools...
  9. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Interesting, because in my area it's more the norm. I suppose in areas where the education is good as opposed to severely deprived areas where being taught by UTs is the norm, the chances of state school children getting into grammar schools is higher. I live in a borough that definitely does not excel in getting the best results for its children, therefore, a lot of children in my borough are NOT getting into grammar schools and those that are, have been privately tutored or are in private schools.
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    My experience is from a few years ago now, but the number of pupils in Y7 coming from private schools each year (in more than one school, btw) could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And tutoring though certainly happening, hardly helped when most entrance exams were VR or Non-VR ones.
  11. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I'm glad to read that in other boroughs, children who have not had the advantage of having private tutors or having been to private schools are making their way into top grammar schools. Unfortunately, this is not the case in my area.

    I hope this extra funding for grammar schools makes a real difference as in my area, a lot of children are failing well below the National Average.

    It is however it is an area where in schools, at the first sign of a grey hair or a varicose vain, you're out!:(
  12. slick

    slick New commenter

    A level playing field is required...
    catbefriender likes this.
  13. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    No grammar schools would help!
  14. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Please don't misquote me - I said in my experience "very few" children who get into grammar school have come from private schools...and that having tutoring for VR or Non-VR tests "hardly helped".

    It's also worth noting I wasn't just talking about 'boroughs' - a lot of my experience was in two selective LAs (e.g. Kent). I would also point out that these schools were not allowed to enquire into the socio-economic background of applicants (or to interview them) in case this led to favouring middle class pupils.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Are there no favoured schools in non-selective counties?;)
  16. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    If you are saying 'very few' does that not mean that most of them are coming from state schools (which is good) and going straight into grammar schools as I have understood it? If this is the case, then that is positive and it means that the state schools are doing a good job at helping these children get in.

    In boroughs were the state primary schools aren't performing as well, unfortunately a lot of the children getting into grammar schools are from the private schools or those fortunate to have private tutoring.

    Re VR there are some really good books, which are incredibly boring and highly abstract that can support VR tests, but nothing beats a child who has had a natural exposure to a higher level of speaking, listening and reading.

    I reiterate, let's hope the extra funding in grammar gets more disadvantaged children on a path that could dramatically and beneficially change their lives. I remember this old lady I use to met on the bus, who lived in a council flat near where I lived, who told me her two sons went to grammar school and one was a judge and the other a surgeon and they bought her council flat and took her on holidays and wanted her to move in with them in the Westminster. It's wonderful what a grammar school education has done for so many people from poor backgrounds over the decades.

    As much as I love inclusive education, and there are great schools that cater for all academic abilities, the children who have had a grammar education still have a greater advantage.
  17. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I'm sure there are - but the overall effects are less than deliberately choosing your whole cohort from those who perform best in a few tests for which those with the money have been extensively coached. So the playing field is a little more level.
  18. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    In my borough it's like the children are fed solely on a diet of supermarket bargain branded ready salted crisps. HoDs of Maths with only a GCSE in Maths, CSs, TAs covering classes all the way up to GCSE, very poor academic results......
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    In my experience (1981-2013), esp the near decade I was on the SLT of two grammar schools (in different counties), yes I can say unequivocally the vast majority of entrants to the grammars at age 11 were from state primary schools (at 16, for A levels, there was another, smaller, group who joined - a larger proportion of those would often be from independent schools).

    In the grammar I was on SLT for longest, which happened to be situated in a very ordinary town, with a relatively large working class, we (the SLT) tried hard to make the entrance exam open to all. For example the HT used the powers given to schools (was it GM? Can't recall which acronym now) to change the entrance examination to focus on Maths, VR & Non-VR with English only being used in cases of borderline candidates or entrance appeals. His thinking was, explicitly, that VR & Non-VR were a better guide to intelligence not parental background than any other type of tests. Later the county adopted a very similar approach, so I guess that was right.

    FWIW When my son took the exams, we simple bought a book of VR & Non-VR tests and he did about 5 or 6 of each over the summer holidays. My only input was to mark them...Luckily they came with the answers because I didn't have much a of a clue. :eek:

    Needless to say FW minor aced them... :)
  20. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    The recent BBC2 programme comparing a grammar school with its neighbouring comprehensive has shown that the impact of grammar schools varies massively depending on location. The experience of those students in Bexleyheath was different from students here in almost every way. There, more students go to grammar school, so there's a greater sense of being left behind if you don't go, and their 11+ results letter effectively said whether they'd passed or failed, whereas here it only contains your score.

    I didn't think I agreed with the principle of grammar schools, but my daughter is at one because I realised that not sending her wouldn't bring down the whole system; they'd just give her place to someone else. Now she's there, I'm beginning to wonder what my objections are, and why grammar schools are considered different from other forms of school that cater for students with special educational needs.

    But then maybe that's because I live in a county with only five small grammar schools, rather than the 30-odd they have in Kent. Here only a very small proportion of students go to grammar school and it's seen as the exception, whereas, in Kent, presumably, you only need to be above average. My daughter also got in on merit - she didn't go to a private primary school and she wasn't tutored.

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