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May backs grammar school expansion

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

  1. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Or we could just reduce class sizes, offer more subjects (including vocational), have more input into behaviour management, get serious about sport and the arts, employ more staff in all roles and ensure there are jobs for kids to go into that are decently paid and well-regarded.
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    like it was before this government started meddling you mean.
    cazzmusic1 and emerald52 like this.
  3. stupot101

    stupot101 Established commenter

    This is the big white elephant in the classroom:mad: Something the government will probably never do!!:mad:
    emerald52 likes this.
  4. redlamp2

    redlamp2 Occasional commenter

    Politicians are reading this forum :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:rolleyes:

    I don't think so. Contrary to how seriously a few take it this is nothing more than meaningless chat. Interesting meaningless chat, but don't kid yourself it's of any value beyond a few bruised fingertips.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    It's worth saying that I worked in a number of comprehensives and grammar schools - and there was no difference in class size. I also worked in a few independent schools, all of which had smaller class sizes than any state school I worked in. In one, for example, I didn't have a class larger than 17 (and many were 12-15...)

    That's really what fee paying parents are paying for, I guess.
  6. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Teacher pupil ratio in HMC independent schools is 1:9. I had a few classes that crept up to 20 early in my career, but most numbered between 10 and 16. A-level sets rarely exceeded 8.

    I think that is an important draw.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Yep, one of my Y9 classes was 38 last year.
    emerald52 likes this.
  8. SteveKindle

    SteveKindle Occasional commenter

    Nope. Nice try, but no.

    I very deliberately didn't use 'terminal' for that very reason. It's not deflection, it's pointing out what I quite deliberately said, for the reason I didn't want anyone to mis-read it.

    Which you obviously still did, but that's not my lookout.
  9. SteveKindle

    SteveKindle Occasional commenter

    I believe this is why Grammar schools use to just take the top 20%.

    Whilst I disagree with it, creaming off the very best 'works', and cutting off a small number at the bottom who we might very broadly call 'special needs' might 'work', but anything which places a line in the middle of the bulge in the bell curve makes no sense at all.

    We also keep touching on behaviour. Schools try to keep exclusions down as much as possible, but I remember from my days at a grammar that the worst behaved students would be 'disappeared' to a secondary modern, even if they weren't necessarily the least able. Bright students passing their 11+ will always be given a chance or two at grammar, but ultimately they'll be gotten rid of without a need for exclusion.

    One could imagine a system where there are 'special' schools for the worst-behaved AND least able 20%.
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    As I said before, the top 25% is more normal, as in Kent & Lincolnshire (although there are a few 'super' selective grammars that take about the top 8-10%).
  11. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    I think they may as well bring back grammar schools for what difference it would make. They were certainly never the vehicles of social mobility they are often referred to as being. Research shows it clearly but a little anecdote might highlight it better:

    looking across my peers who went to grammar school and SM schools ( that is those I went to primary school with and we then split up) most of those who went to grammar school, like those who went to SM, left at 16 and went into the same jobs in the same places often working alongside each other.

    Of those who went on to Sixth form (and the sixth form was centred at the grammar school) those who came in from the SM schools actually all went onto university,including some to Oxford and Cambridge. The numbers of SM pupils whop did this out stripped those who came through from grammar.

    However,of the rest, they all left school and went into the same professions and occupations (mostly teaching and banking). Those were the more successful. Several of them, not so academically able I guess or less willing, joined those pupils who had left at 16 and were doing the same jobs, this time though two years lower down the promotion ladder and under their 16 year old leaving peers.

    Only two ,as far as I have tracked them down ( and I have for the reason of wanting to bring together a reunion for an old teacher who was dying a couple of years back) have moved into "top jobs". One became an MP. The other a top academic. The academic was from the old SM. So no difference there then in social mobility which is pretty much what the research shows ( although the SM kid rising to academic heights is not so common).

    Looking at the teaching staff,well I think the grammar school did have the better selection of well qualified academics. The SM had largely teachers who were Cert Ed ( later B.Ed) trained. Thats didn't make them bad......but I think it is irrelevant in many ways.

    Personally, I think the desire to go back to this grammar school system reflects something else,something many will not acknowledge. It reflects a desire for social exclusivity.

    The grammar school then generally was a place where pupils behaved well and displayed a desire to learn. There was discipline. There were no pupils who showed inappropriate or aggressive behaviours and there were no pupils with learning difficulties or social and emotional issues.Indeed ,for the most part, the pupils came from stable, two parent families. Many were above average wealth

    Even in the SM there were fewer of the problems I outlined above, at least not in the top stream
    (for there were streams not sets). However, the SM did have a higher intake of working class pupils and there were disruptive elements in the school. Something those old Cert Ed teachers were good at dealing with - as was the system, which could exclude and did.In fact very few with any kind of special need or emotional difficulty made it into either school.They had special schools back then.

    Underpinning this constant call for grammar schools is indeed the desire of many to have their children in schools where the parents share their own values about education, are not disruptive, do not have behavioural and emotional difficulties and generally the school is a place where learning ( in their view) can thrive. In short, social exclusivity - taking out the disruptive and difficult pupils. Those with significant social and learning problems and ( by definition) removing the main obstacle to learning for many.

    Personally ( and I know this will be a red flag to the bull here). If they just re introduced far more special schools for those with learning difficulties and more mal adjusted schools (thats is what they were called) and removed the behaviourally challenging pupils to them, the effect would be the same. This of course also takes out certain societal groups where such behaviours seem to concentrate.
  12. SteveKindle

    SteveKindle Occasional commenter

    As I say, 20% is what they used to take, back when the whole country was grammar/SM.
  13. SteveKindle

    SteveKindle Occasional commenter

    It has to be remembered that, when everywhere was selective and grammars took 20%, far fewer than 20% went to university. Today it's around 40%.

    Having most university students being the product of secondary modern schools just seems bizarre.

    Nonetheless, it's not completely clear what's been suggested here. It currently doesn't look like a wholescale return to selection across the country. Well, not at the moment...
  14. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    The single sex grammars round me are not local schools. They have 90 places each and over 900 applicants each. Students travel for miles since the cost of a season ticket is far less than a fee paying school. They still chuck out those not achieving enough in year 9 and 11. They also recruit the top gcse kids from local comps into the 6th form. Their success doesn't look real to me.
    palmtree100, vannie and SteveKindle like this.
  15. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    It was around 20% I believe,although that varied from place to place. In some areas ( Wales I recall was one) many more pupils could get into grammar school because there were fewer children chasing the places. In big cities and conurbations there were far more children ending up in SM because there were fewer grammar schools per head of population. So chances often depended on where you lived.

    There was an old theory about social mobility and the introduction of grammar schools post 1944 education act called " Sponsored mobility"( which is where the idea of education and social mobility got tied together I think). It was an extension of the old scholarship system of the 1900 - 1940's where certain able pupils from " poor backgrounds" would be given places in grammar schools ( which were then fee paying). That didn't work too well either as I recall my statistics but nonetheless.

    The whole idea of sponsored mobility and the idea of 11+ selective education was one which reflected the whole notion of social stratification in this country. Essentially, a few promising candidates would be "sponsored" to join the ranks of the professionals and elites to supplement their numbers and bring in fresh academic brains. The sponsorship was extended to become a vehicle of the " meritocracy" post 1944 but in essence mostly it was middle class pupils who passed the 11+ and were given places at grammar schools.

    The system was designed to ensure society remained fairly stable even though it was sold to the population as a means of mobility. Nothing has changed.

    [There used to be a poster on here who knew all about this . Where is she? A sociologist/psychologist who had a Ph.D in it I think? I recall clearly a debate about grammar schools and SM schools going on when I first came here back in around 2007/8? Shows how long this issue has been playing around in education. Nothing changes does it?]
  16. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I'm sure their success is very real. I feel sorry for the other 810 students who probably could achieve the same fantastic things the ones who got in could, but were condemned to Bog Standard Chav schools, and have to sit in the same class as feral children, doing monotonous tasks while the teacher spent most of their time dealing with their behaviour. They could be doing the wide range of exciting, stimulating and character-building tasks we teachers all used to incorporate in our lessons and in cross-department projects when I worked in a grammar school. Instead, their education is being dragged upon by a few out-of-control kids, whose rights a few bleeding hearts want to defend at the expense of the vast majority of students, who could shoot for the moon if only they could be taught in an environment free from these idiots.
    monicabilongame and saluki like this.
  17. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Binary I now am sure you are not a teacher as I have never heard such awful language about children in my long career. Please read my previous post as I assume all this is a cry for help.
    CraigCarterSmith and vannie like this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The language is maybe not what we'd deem professional, but the concept of the 'just below' not achieving all they could because they are held back by others is reasonable.

    In some independents and grammars it isn't the teaching itself that makes a difference to the child but 'everything else' that is offered at a higher level. There are a great many parents who try to move heaven and earth to get their child in, knowing that the tide of achievement will carry their child along and open their eyes to more than they would think of otherwise.

    There is just the one state grammar in the town where I work, and a reasonable number of independents. There are something like nearly 100 applicants for each place at the grammar, which gives a clue as to what parents who care about education want.
    claire_jean_ likes this.
  19. stupot101

    stupot101 Established commenter

    SteveKindle likes this.
  20. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    After reading num3bers post I now think that we need to bring back grammars for the brightest; decent comprehensives for the majority - differentiating according to ability with support for those who need it, and the equivalent of borstal for those who are mal adjusted and have behavioural problems.
    It is a fact that there are many well behaved low ability students who are not doing as well as they could because their education is being disrupted by the students with challenging behavior.
    Yes, I know that PRUs exist, perhaps we should have more of them.

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