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Isn't it time to dumb down grammar schools to make them more like Bog Standard schools?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by binaryhex, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Increasing familiarisation with the type of questions and giving experience and strategies for answering them certainly improves outcomes for those who have been coached.

    A tutor is more or less essential now to deal with the maths content - the Kent test is sat in September of year 6 and the content of the paper can include anything from the entire Year 6 curriculum to GD. They're not going to absorb a curriculum that hasn't yet been taught to them just by being "bright".
    koopatroopa likes this.
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    You'll notice that I was specific about the type of Tests l was commenting on. And as I worked in grammars that selected on ONLY VR tests and those that included Maths as well, I found no advantage in the ability of the students seelected with Maths as distinct from those that weren't. Indeed the best schools l worked in used just VR tests.
  3. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    I did and I still disagree with your point about VR and NVR not being coachable.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    We'll have to agree to disagree then...

    l see the tutoring industry for those tests as essentially snake oil sellers offering something of no more value than any family can do - much cheaper - for themselves.
    peter12171 likes this.
  5. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Your faith in the ability and capacity of the average family is heartwarming.

    11+ tutoring is something I disagree with whole-heartedly having seen some absolute drongos coached from lifelong scores in the 90s to Kent test scores in the 120s - it gets them places in grammar schools which they can't, and often don't, sustain. The tutoring of maths, however, is made virtually essential by the stupid nature of the test scheduling and content coupled with the "ban" on moving brighter pupils into the next year's curriculum. The pre-tutoring era when the 11+ was sat in February was much fairer. It's almost as though it is setup now to support failed teachers to develop their tutoring businesses.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  6. peter12171

    peter12171 Lead commenter

    I’m catching up on the BBC series on grammar schools from about a month ago. A very salient point was made in the first episode - the issue isn’t so much money but parental support and encouragement. It is a generalisation, but parents in wealthier areas tend to offer more of those than parents in less well off areas. Hence the skewed figures.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    I disagree. If you are familiar with the type of questions asked it is much easier to pass.
  8. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    Any family?
    If it needs a book of practice papers and some parental coaching I think you're disadvantaging many children who may have the potential to do well but aren't supported at home.

    The books seem to be around a tenner. People are using food banks. Do you think they can blithely spend £10 on a book rather than food, clothes or electricity?

    I don't tutor and have no vested interest here.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    'Parental coaching '? No, just buy the book and follow the instructions. TBH if a child can't read that they are unlikely to be successful in the selection process.

    And Yes, l do think any family can spend that if they value their child's education.

    What is child benefit these days?;)
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    And the books of practice papers provide such familiarity....
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    So you agree that reviewing the potential material with a parent helps but think that coaching doesn't influence results?
    There are a number of people who support grammar schools on the grounds of social mobility who seem blind to the very real barriers which stop the very poorest children accessing them. Your assurances that "any" family can spend the money is typical of this, as is your failure to engage with the idea that some children live in chaotic homes and simply don't have the parental support needed.
  12. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    There are a number of people who support grammar schools on the grounds of social mobility who seem blind to the very real barriers which stop the very poorest children accessing them. Your assurances that "any" family can spend the money is typical of this, as is your failure to engage with the idea that some children live in chaotic homes and simply don't have the parental support needed.

    Quite. The professional / middle classes are far better at working the system, fighting to avoid their little ones being sent off to the local sink school and paying to overcome the challenges of the 11+ than those at the bottom of the heap. I once believed in grammar schools. Now I don't. They are very very unfair on many exceptionally bright but poorer students, condemning them to an education in their local madhouse Bog Standard school, with all that that means.

    I would support grammars if the split was 80% Pupil Premium children and 20% better off children.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  13. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    My local barbers is always staffed by people from overseas, and it's quite interesting to talk to them. Earlier in the year I had my hair cut by a young man from Italy who spent the whole time telling me about his love of Florence and art. I never get that from indigenous barbers.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    My daughter did her 11+ a couple of years ago, and the NVR paper was the one thing we did work on. She found it tricky to begin with, but once I'd pointed out that the questions generally relied on a couple of skills, and mostly just counting, she was fine.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    As a generally left-leaning liberal, I'm in two minds about grammar schools. I didn't think that I agreed with them, but my daughter was keen to go, and I realised that sending her to the local (and perfectly acceptable) comprehensive wouldn't bring the whole system crashing down; they'd just give her place to someone else.

    Now she's there, I think I'm warming to them. It's exactly what she needs; she's very bookish and was already getting asked by the other students in primary school why she "knew everything". In that sense, why are grammar schools any different from other schools that cater to a student's individual needs? I've never heard anyone criticise special schools or PRUs because of their impact on social mobility or the percentage of FSM students.

    I can see that there's an issue with the selection process, but I've also seen that with special schools - I've known students who appear "normal" to me get into special schools, while others with quite severe issues are denied a place.
  16. gainly

    gainly Established commenter

    I completely agree about the test scheduling in early September. Some children will have been having intensive tutoring and attending classes over the summer whereas others will have done nothing for 2 months.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    The Tory party was complicit in the process of comprehensivisation. It was , and still is, a policy that comes from the political left, centre and right.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I think you are making an argument here for stricter controls over parenting - with inadequate parents having their children taken away. It's a bit controversial, but certainly any parent who can't find £5 or so for a book of practice papers probably isn't up to the job...
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Except that wouldn't be a grammar school as it wouldn't be selecting the most able. It would simply be a form if social engineering based on what sounds like class envy....
  20. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    If Grammar Schools are so effective how come St Olave’s Grammar Achool in Kent had to force pupils out half way through their A levels? The 150 page report from Bromley Council details the callous policies of this supposedly outstanding school. Off-rolling pupils to protect results was blatant. My comprehensive frequently had to accept similar pupils from the local Grammar school and independent schools.
    vannie likes this.

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