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May backs grammar school expansion

Discussion in 'Education news' started by emerald52, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Issues such as this around education are firmly based in moral belief, also sometimes led by research but also experience and dare I say lessons from experience or the past. E.g. when the Tory MP Rhodes Boyson supported the comprehensive system over the tripartite system it was widely accepted that he did so for two key reasons; the former had appeared to be flawed and the comprehensive system appeared at the time to be a cheaper form of educating the masses for their place in the workforce.

    Let us not forget private education in this discussion since its existence still represents the deep seated social barriers which reinforce the status quo, which are not changed by a small percentage of grammer school educated students who are in turn indoctrinated to learn their place and stay there.

    The big question here is whether we believe as Ms May clearly does that, people are not born equal but some are innately gifted with higher intelligence and capacity to perform at an academically higher level... the old nature Vs nurture debate.

    It follows that if we do believe this we can justify all the shinnanigans involved in leadership in politics for example, since they are the ones best placed unquestionably to decide what is best for the masses; some of which may have no idea what this actually involves but will protest as they feel what it involves later; or simply perhaps what they read in media and more frequently social media.

    We should remember that from this point of view extremes of wealth and poverty can also be justified, since clearly the wealthy are simply more intelligent as they go to the better schools and universities, which then justifies a better salary. This disregards inequality and debunks it as irrelevant. The idea behind the tripartite regurgitation is likely to ensure the masses know their place and one they do they are far easier to control. This is more important in a world where access to information via technology ensures both valid and invalid information is freely available.

    It does not surprised me that many support this after all we voted Tory and Brexit.
     
    Middlemarch and emerald52 like this.
  2. delnon

    delnon Lead commenter

    64% of us did not vote Tory.
     
    SteveKindle, FrankWolley and vannie like this.
  3. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    I'm not suggesting that at all. Just pointing out the self serving hypocrisy of the middle classes who move heaven and earth to get their children onto grammars and then argue that they are instruments of social mobility. They aren't. For true social mobility we would need a level playing field. There will always be a 'lucky few' but they are always going to be few and far between.
     
  4. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Won't hope for a level playing field anytime soon, it appears to be getting more mountainous by the week :oops:
     
  5. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    It was an instrument of social mobility for me and my brother. Our family struggled financially and lived in an area that, if respectable working class then, is a hellhole now. If we hadn't passed the 11+ we would, by dint of our address, have gone to the sec mod that became a local byword for Prison Prep. As a converted comp, it regularly sat on the bottom of the ltown league table.
    We were the only children in any of our surrounding streets that passed 11+ and it most certainly improved our prospects, as did Robbins, without which our parents couldn't possibly have afforded to send us to university.

    I don't understand how people can maintain it doesn't assist social mobility.
     
  6. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Calpurnia, your story is set in the context of the time. Now grammars are few and far between. You would be competing against those with intensive coaching. The results in grammars were not great either but only a few went to university.
     
  7. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    The whole point of this thread is that if there were more grammars more people would get more opportunities. People from humble backgrounds would not be elbowed out by those who could afford coaching.
    I don't know which grammar you went to emerald but my grammar and other local grammars out performed all of the local secondary moderns. In those days O levels were much nearer today's A levels, most of us got at least 5 O levels and some got 8 -10 O levels. In secondary moderns the most able students may have got English and Maths O level and a few people would have got some CSEs. Many, many of them were just glad to get out at 15. Yes 15. What is more, many of today's students would be only to glad to leave school at 15 or 16. Not everyone is academic and not everyone wants to be academic.
     
  8. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Ideally there should be a society based on meritocracy.
    Ideally.
    Who truly believes that Teresa May is going to release the sort of funding that would be required to provide the facilities and teachers to deliver appropriate teaching and learning conditions for all children of all levels everywhere?
    What we are discussing is purely theoretical. It was a patchy and imperfect system in its day. sSome grammar schools were great, some were rubbish. The gender gap in many and the insistence on academic subjects and the classics actually limited some people's life chances.
    In the meantime society has changed. Universities are sponsored research facilities with a bit of teaching thrown in. Degrees are prohibitively expensive. Social mobility via education is an ideal. Not one that a Cabinet of millionnaires views as anything more than a catchphrase. Why did they cut all grant aid to the poorest students within minutes of being appointed?
     
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Just to take issue with your points here:

    1. There is no 'plan' to ensure that a system is put in place ensuring all children have at least the chance to get into a grammar; rather, existing free/academy schools will be able to change their entry criteria and new free schools will be able to select by ability. These will not be 'placed' in any specific areas but will rather be wherever the people running the schools fancy having them. Therefore, it's most unlikely that "people from humble backgrounds" (as you put it) will have much of an opportunity to get into one.

    2. "most of us got at least 5 O levels" Any grammar that failed to achieve at least 8 O levels for every pupil was a poor excuse for a grammar school, don't you think?

    3. "In secondary moderns the most able students may have got English and Maths O level and a few people would have got some CSEs." Indeed! Proving that the system failed the majority of children. Comprehensives today achieve massively better success rates than the old grammar/secondary mod system did.

    4. "Many, many of them were just glad to get out at 15. Yes 15." You defeat your own point here - there is nothing laudable and much that is contemptible about that state of affairs.

    5. "What is more, many of today's students would be only to glad to leave school at 15 or 16." How many? And so what? That doesn't mean it's in their interests to be allowed to. "Many" of today's students might like to drop maths, modern languages (insert almost any subject) but you (presumably) don't think that should be allowed?

    Here's the thing: The Tories have no intention of doing anything other than allowing any free/academy school that fancies to select by admission. The ones that do will have no lofty notions of supporting "social mobility" or "offering a leg up to the poor but bright"; they'll do it purely to take in only those children they like the look of and keep out those they do not.
     
  10. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    My grammar converted to comp, as did all the local schools, while I was in Y9, so it's difficult to make a comparison. However the four streams that constituted the old "Grammar" intake for the year did considerably better exam-wise than did the other six. In my class, we all took 10 O-levels as standard, and more if we passed RE, Eng or Maths early. There was a clear social bias towards middle-class in those streams because the personal qualities and circumstances that lead to middle-classness are those which facilitate academic success, just as those which lead to poverty, instability, unemployment or low-paid work (I do not use the term "working class" for this) do not.
     
  11. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    So Middlemarch, which grammar did you attend and what are your 10 O levels?
    Do you teach many 17 year olds with learning difficulties who are being made to take GCSEs although they struggle to read and write?
    When was the last time you discussed education with your milkman/plumber/decorator/car mechanic/hairdresser/dustman/electrician/builder/ dog groomer/delivery man/leg waxer? All good useful members of society. All are likely to say 'I couldn't stand school, couldn't wait to get out'
     
  12. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    Are you suggesting that Middlemarch, a Headteacher, is lying about her qualifications? I never got further than HoD but managed 11 O-levels, 4 at Grade 1 (the top), 3 at Grade 2 and the rest at Grade 3. 6 was the lowest grade you could pass at.

    Just as a POI, my hairdresser and nail technician both went to an FE college to gain their qualifications in their chosen field, and the hairdresser attends career-improving seminars and conferences as part of her personal and professional growth. I wouldn't say that bespoke hating education.

    What's the comment about 17 yr olds about? If you're complaining that too many kids are being herded onto a path that is fundamentally unsuited to their skills, disabilities or interests, I couldn't agree more; but whilever the traditional academic route continues to bag the best jobs, and is more heavily populated by middle-class children, misguided social engineers will fight it.
     
  13. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Really?
     
  14. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    It's hard to come up with a system that can't be gamed.
     
    SteveKindle likes this.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    It is, but Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning tests can be practised through specimen papers available from the Grammar school (and also bought cheaply from High Street outlets such as W H Smith). Doing a few, say 3 or 4, in advance provides adequate familiarity and coaching is, literally, a waste of time & money.
     
    needabreak likes this.
  16. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    When I sat the 11+, we did nothing in class for months but practise past papers.
     
  17. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    Without being nosy, can I ask if this was a while ago?

    I was referring to my experience over the last 2 decades in a number of selective schools in different counties, all of which used VR & Non -VR exams...
     
  18. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    What are you talking about? I went to a comprehensive. I have 9 O levels and 3 A levels.

    I've no idea what your other questions are aiming to learn, either.
     
    palmtree100 likes this.
  19. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    So, you have no experience of a grammar school education, which you so vehemently oppose. I didn't think so somehow.
    As I previously stated, I went to school a long time ago when o levels were the equivalent of today's AS levels. Things have been dumbed down an awful lot since I went to school. I too, have only 9 O levels, I did not do Latin because I had no aptitude for languages, although I have French. In those days 'average' students were only capable of taking CSEs and were catered for at S Modern schools. My brother was one of these, in fact he left before taking any exams because he was one who hated school. He did an apprenticeship.
    My point about 17 year olds is - I teach in FE. I teach the low achievers, the ones who hate education, the ones who don't want to be there. They don't even like their vocational subjects. You say it was not a laudable situation for students to go to Sec mod and leave at 15, it was better than forcing non-academic students to continue in education for ever and a day. I have several students who want to work in a supermarket or pub when they leave college - and there is no harm in that.
    Let the academic students who want an academic education have it. Allow those who don't want an academic education not to have it. I believe it is called free choice and democracy.
     
  20. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Anecdotal experience doesn't trump evidence.

    Anecdotal experience that some people say they'd have preferred to leave school doesn't mean that bringing back a situation where - as you describe - a large number cannot access the same exams as those lucky enough to get into grammar schools.

    PS At my comprehensive I studied both Latin AND Greek to O level.
     
    emerald52 and needabreak like this.

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