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Legal challenge to grammar school annexe in Sevenoaks put on hold

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    It's still not entirely clear what the on-site grammar school will provide. Presumably the teachers from the main site will commute between the two and the core curriculum will still consist of Maths, triple science, English, MFL, Humanities and maybe a few more options or will there actually be a portal to another educational world on site?
    To pass Ofsted, teachers will still have to perform their party pieces and do what everyone else does?
    If it goes ahead, the old arguments will just come to the surface again. Who deserves a place? High-fliers might not be good at everything so a maths whizz might be hopeless at Spanish so they'll bring down the averages, a music prodigy might be dyslexic so they won't get a place.
    Grammar schools belong in another age.
    Comparison with the German "Gymnasium" system are unrealistic because German education varies from state to state. There are regional differences and different classifications of schools, but all are much better funded and teachers are not bullied into submission on a daily basis.
    Basically here it's about money.

    1. Funding for the existing infrastructure is already compromised
    2. More affluent parents will pay for coaching to help their kids pass the entrance exams
    3. Teachers delivering an enhanced grammar school programme will presumably be classed as super teachers and demand their £65k as advertised on TV. Thus the pressure to get off the charts results out of every single student will really be intense.
    4. Will they just be hot-house crammers or will they ape the public school model of vast ranges of enrichment activities (rowing, skiing, theatre, orchestra, on-site flying corps, after school prep. Saturday activities etc.) to satisfy the Oxbridge personal profile criteria and if so, who will pay for it?

    Maybe the school in Kent will work. Maybe it won't. It's a gamble so there will be winners and losers.

    If the LEA can find the cash, why not give it whirl? It can't be any worse than some of the pathetic Free Schools that have already come and gone.

    Those of us who went to grammar school will remember the kids who didn't get in. How their parents appealed. How this embarassed the kids and left them uncooperative at their second choice school. How the boys' grammar schools always seemed to have much better science and sports facilities than the girls' equivalent. And the bullying was on another plane. Clever kids are much better at devising cruel plots and hiding how they torture the weak ones. I remember the behaviour at our school was like St Trinians and we got away with it because we were smart ass, sassy little minxes. We even took a legal challenge out against the school's no smoking policy and won. (at that time the legal age was 16). So we compromised and had designated smoking areas in the sixth form block.
    We booked coaches and took ourselves out on trips without staff.
    We booked a couple of heavy rock bands who were on tour at the time to do a gig at the school disco, it was a complete riot. Party on, dudes.
    Yes, I loved grammar school but for all the wrong reasons.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Sevenoaks doesn't have a grammar school as the two local independent schools used to take 45 local pupils each per year on '11+' places. This avoided pupils from Sevenoaks having to commute to Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells and also taking places from local pupils ( who had also passes the 11+) in those towns.

    The ending of this system under Harold Wilson's Labour government in the 1970s exacerbated the problem and has caused a squeeze on places in grammar schools in this part of Kent ever since meaning some pupils pass the 11+ but can't go to grammar school. The best solution would be to build a new Sevenoaks Grammar school. The current proposal is, however, better than nothing.

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