This topic contains 35 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  ratface 3 months ago.

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  • #4537


    I’m not happy with the announcement of more money for Grammar schools and Faith schools.

    Grammar schools fail to recognise late developers and kids who excel in some subjects but not all. They price people out of housing in their catchment areas. They are divisive.

    Faith schools – individual religions should have no place in modern education.

    What do you think? are they fair?

  • #4538


    I can’t comment on faith schools but on grammar schools I am in full support having benefited from such an education. In mainstream schools high and lower achievers often are unable to achieve their full potential because focus is placed on the ‘average’ student. many academies are selective and have received great funding and support, I simply do not see the problem with funding schools to teach high achievers – and am pretty sick of hearing (this is not at all aimed at you OP) the inverse snobbery that Grammar schools are something to be despised and that they are elitist. Yes, at Grammar school we knew we had passed an exam to get in while others had not, yes we were told we were bright but we were never made to feel like we were better than others, just that we had potential and were actively encouraged to fulfil it. I firmly believe that at another school I and many others may not have achieved the grades we did simply because the lessons and curriculum was not designed with us in mind. We still retained existing friendships with those who did not pass the 11+ and forged new relationships with people from other schools – my very best friend was from the non-grammar stream at the overflow school. My belief is that just like selective academies and any school really that tailors its teaching to provide the very best chance for its students to flourish, grammar schools are important in education.

    As I said, I simply do not see the problem with funding schools to teach high achievers, however I also think that funding other schools is equally important, much focus has been placed in recent years on academies, some are leading the way but others falling woefully short, many schools switched to become academies to capitalise on this trend. The problem is that some people seem to have an ingrained hatred of Grammar schools and see them as a dirty word, they dislike the ‘high achievers’ aspect and view them as purely for the middle and upper class – my experience is that there is no class in school, we were all equal and came from very varied backgrounds. I wouldn’t hesitate to send my child to any school that would give them the best possible education and teaching style to fit, be that Grammar, Academy, Faith school or whatever. I think many peoples problems with funding certain schools come far more from prejudiced than anything else.

    The only thing I will say about faith schools is that our local convent school had an excellent reputation for academic results and most of the girls there were not catholic, neither were they ‘pure’ if you get my drift, they had the worst reputation as party girls of all the schools lol

    • #4539


      I went to a grammar school. We were joined in sixth form by one girl who developed late and got at least five CSE grade 1s that allowed her to transfer. I don’t agree with a schooling system that makes it so difficult to move between streams. Or that streams on the basis of being the same level across the range of subjects. Or that allows middle class parents to buy a house in the catchment area that other parents can’t afford, and hothouse kids to make sure they get in.

      If more money is to be spent on high achievers, then in my view it should be spent in comprehensive schools, not grammars.

      Happy to be disagreed with, though.

      • #4542


        I do think its an interesting topic, I certainly know people who didn’t enjoy their experience and wish they went to another school and others that feel they owe a lot to that style of education. I think that Education is the one time I would always argue for selection and not against it, however I agree that movement should be easier, we too had students join at A’s from elsewhere, and I ended up moving to another school for my A’s which worked well for me as it was a private school with about 4-5 students per class for A’s. Others that left felt that college was for them the better option (anyway I digress). I do recall that we did have students join from elsewhere during the course of our time there however the big change came between GCSE and A’s.

        As I said, I do believe that selection is an important part of education, we have music academies, science academies stem academies, art, engineering and so on and yes, these are selective for one subject or area, why not have specialist schools for the high achievers who excel across the board. In comprehensive schools they do not reach their full potential and IMO To ask a comprehensive school to cater adequately for the average student, the high achievers and the lower achievers or those with SEN without people falling through the cracks is a huge ask. Students are easily diverted and every student is entitled to the highest possible education within a stable non-disruptive environment.

  • #4540


    as for pricing people out of housing in catchment areas – the same could be said of any good school, however my school (Torquay Girls Grammar) took students from around the bay Torquay, Paignton, Brixham (9 miles) and at least as far away as Teignmouth 9 miles in the other direction.

    Grammar Schools are not just based on Catchment area, if your kid doesn’t pass the entry exam it doesn’t matter if they live next door. I actually was living in Mid Wales when I took my 11+ got accepted to TGGS

  • #4541


    I agree with you, wholeheartedly.

    I benefited from a grammar school education as did my mother. Mum went to GS in 1944/5. Her father was a labourer and her mother had worked in an office (book-keeping, I think), Mum eventually went on to train to teach. That was genuine social mobility and there were girls that I went to school with who also experienced genuine social mobility. My classmates came from a broad range of backgrounds.
    However nowadays because there are so few grammar schools they are not instruments of social mobility, they affect the other schools in the areas where they are situated, so that ‘sink schools’ are created. If there was a return to the selective arrangements that were in place when I was at school but with really good alternative education for the less academically inclined, I would support grammar schools but definitely not as things are at present. There are no maintained grammar schools in my LA.

    • #4547


      I agree with this. If more money goes to grammars, then there MUST be provision for the kids that don’t go to grammars, if you want to teach kids according to academic ability then why should just the ‘book smart’ kids get the best? Especially when they rarely are the genuinely smart…the coaching middle class kids get to go through the 11+ is obscene, not to mention the hideously biased nature of the test itself.

      We don’t have grammars in my LA, but we have a school that used to be selective, and has an excellent reputation. It’s in a middle class area already but within that school’s catchment area house prices are astronomical, and no poor kids go there. By comparison there is my old school, which is in a poor area, and has been in and out of special measures and gets truly terrible results…my year group had 25% achieve 5 or more passes at GCSE!! I think it’s so unfair…there were plenty of super smart kids in my year, myself included, who’s results were never going to be as good as those in the nice area going to the nice school with a pool…I’ve lost my point, but I think it is that there are plenty of things to worry about in the education system before more funding for grammar schools!!

      I work in a catholic school, we get good results in an area with lots of excellent schools. We’re heavily oversubscribed and hideously underfunded (like most schools!!) In the current applications for year 7 we have 54 Catholics out of 500+ applications, but our local area is predominantly Asian – mostly Muslim and some Hindu. I’m not catholic, i don’t have any particularly strong feelings about religion in education, we have LOADS of different faiths in our school and they dont feel restricted or anything…we have a chapel and I think we do tooooooo much RE which is too catholic focused, and not enough sex ed, but that’s it really. Again…I think I’ve lost my point!!! But that’s my experience!

  • #4543


    I fully support grammar schools and I believe we need more of them. We have several within an 7 mile radius in our area.
    I was educated in a grammar school- we were encouraged to do our best and we were pushed.

    I am now a teacher in an academy. It is very mixed academically and, sadly, I believe some of our brightest students would be better off in a grammar.
    I believe we should celebrate academic success and push the bright children. Grammars are able to do this in a way that other schools can’t.

  • #4544


    ETA And atm when school budgets are so stretched just because of gvt policy, I think it is disgraceful that money is being targeted at selectie schools. Amongst other things it smacks of buying votes to me. I know of average-sized Primary schools which are having to make savings of over £100k for next year.

    If there is any spare money it should be spent on the existing schools.

  • #4545


    In Gloucestershire we still have a good selection of grammar schools, they are very popular (particularly Pates which is always in the top 10 of grammar schools!)

    I was brought up in Oxfordshire and my woolly liberal parents sent me to the local (rubbish!) comprehensive even though they had both gone to grammar schools in Yorkshire. I will wish to the end of my days that I had gone to a grammar school where I feel I would have been properly supported to achieve my potential! If I had had children I would have directed them to a grammar school if they had suited one

    As I don’t have any faith I really don’t feel able to comment on faith schools.

  • #4546


    I attended both a faith school and a grammar and have absolutely no regrets about either so I’m afraid I don’t support your argument OP. We have some good grammar schools here in Lincolnshire and I like the choice that provides. Just because a child is bright academically does not mean they are compelled to attend a grammar school if they don’t want to. I’ve only experienced one faith school so am not qualified to comment further really.

  • #4548


    These days grammar schools are so heavily coached for they don’t fulfil what they were intended to, even supposing that it was a good idea in the first place, which I don’t think it was anyway. Horrible to sit an exam at 11 and fail. I do think that some people are stronger at academic stuff and some stronger at practical and there is nothing wrong with helping them go the way that would suit them. Which I think could be perfectly well done at comprehensive schools if there were no grammars in the area. It is not as simple as separating children at 11 as academic or practical. It would be bad if people who were not strong in academic stuff or practical stuff felt out of place because they fitted nowhere.

    • #4549


      I don’t understand your last sentence ” It would be bad if people who were not strong in academic stuff or practical stuff felt out of place because they fitted nowhere”. What sort of people have you in mind and what type of education do they need? Is it special needs education or would they be best catered for at one of the specialist academies?

  • #4550


    I never know what I think about grammar schools, I’m very conflicted. On the one hand I do think that there should be specialist teaching for those with high academic ability, but on the other hand I was a child who desperately wanted to go to a grammar school as I was very academic and loved learning, but unfortunately I was never capable of passing the 11+ (heavily dyslexic and my reading and writing skills were still very poor at that age).

  • #4551


    I don’t agree in faith schools I think education paid for by the taxpayer show be secular .
    That’s because I am an atheist .
    I think grammar schools should exist as part of a mixed education system not all schools will suit all children.
    It’s a sad fact life is not a level playing field and of course your parents will affect your life chances .
    The answer is not to berate the middle class parents working hard to ensure their children do well but kick up the backside less committed parents so they do their job.
    Health and education.
    Provided by the state free at the point of unvalued by many of the users.

  • #4552


    I think it’s appalling verging on criminal. Just put money in to education full stop.

  • #4553


    My schooling was basically getting herded into the state system as infants and juniors then we sat the 11+ on one day that decided our secondary futures. Some posters above have cast doubts on the ethics of doing this as much emphasis is placed on the single day test having such a cruel effect. Well it might these days, I don’t know, I’ve had nowt to do with education for a long time but I would say that in my day the last year or even earlier at juniors was spent hammering away at passing that exam. I have the opinion that we ( my comtemporaries) were tested far more than children these days. My teachers were mostly sadists – you’d get a thrashing from any of them for being an inch out of line but they stuck to the curriculum even if they had to beat it into you because to them there was no alternative – no education or a poor education was having one foot in prison.

    At 14 we had the opportunity of taking a transfer exam to go from Secondary Modern to Grammar but my year and in my area the educationalists had started a pilot programme called Central Schools – rather aptly as they were pitched somewhere between the other two systems. We were all assessed continually in the last year of juniors as well as exam results – I went to the Central on merit but just missed out on the Grammar because they’d run out of places (I’m a baby boomer – you may have to Google) to me all that involved was switching one lot of sadists for an even worse bunch.

    Amazingly 20/30 of us keep up a Reunion – it’s dying on its feet a bit along with us now but most us find something good to say about the experience and ALL those who attend have at least one thing in common – we all done pretty good and wanna see if it’s better than the others! My mother and her brother went to the Grammar so they were naturally disappointed I didn’t – nor did I transfer at 14 despite passing the exam.

    One thing my school days taught me was that if I possibly could afford it – my children would go private and they did – I almost broke my firm paying for it. (Sorry thread creep) However, my daughter’s private schools still tested – a lot. They’d still take your scion if she was the village idiot ( if you could pay) but they wanted to assess constantly – no such thing as a failure – only a lost opportunity.

    This paradigm has been lost from all sides of the State system and it has been such a political football and still is – Corbin’s lot keep on about privilege ( yet half of them went private or send their kids) while the Conservatives see Grammar and private as preserving their way of life.

    I’d like to see everybody have the education my daughters had but exactly how you are going to provide it in some areas where Charles Bronson and Bruce Willis wouldn’t go is anyone’s guess.

  • #4554


    Another teacher here, I work in a mainstream school and as far as I’m concerned (and the entirety of the 15 person science department within which I work) the net effect of grammar schools is incredibly negative.

    We are a Gloucestershire school and the detrimental effect the grammar schools have on the comprehensive schools around them is horrendous. They do not support high achievers from poorer backgrounds, they merely create sink schools with students who believe they are worthless because they couldn’t pass the 11+, regardless of academic ability, because they’re fighting again students whose parents can afford to have their children tutored for it. We also do not have schools that are specialised for those who show talent in different areas (yes I am aware that we have tech colleges when you get to 16 and the occasional UTC, which from experience, are no where near doing the job they were set up to do) so why should more money be directed at people in the top end yet again? I would love like to point out to whoever said SEN students / low achievers get a lot of support – this is, again, often not the case. Funding for teaching assistants and parallel programmes has been slashed and we are loosing our dedicated SEN schools at a ridiculous rate.

    Faith schools I am undecided about, I have taught in a Catholic school and apart from having mass it was the same as the non-faiths schools I have taught in a the majority of students were not Catholic. As long as they receive a good quality of social education about other views and the ‘relgiious’ aspect is around things like food/allowing time for prayer/having time to discuss religion more openly without affecting the national curriculum based education I can’t say I have a problem with them. Equally I don’t think they should receive more funding than any other state school unless the excess is being put in by the religious groups themselves. (I say as a practicing Jew and someone that would only bother sending to a religious school (of any persuasion) if it happened to be my local)

  • #4555


    I went to a faith primary school. It was and still is a C of E school. It is still the main catchment school for the area and is over subscribed. Only a few children went out of the area and they went to the Catholic primary school three miles away. A handful of other failths went into the headmasters den when the vicar came along for the obligatory RE, otherwise you would not have known it was a faith school.

    I also went to the local grammar school, which was across the road to the high school. Each feeder school had an allocation of so many places, if a school for any reason could not fill a place, due to not meeting the standard, then the open place went on merit to the also rans.

    The comprehensive system came in while I was at the grammar school and it really had a bad effect on my years education. In my 4th or 5th year it went from being a school of 850 including staff to over 1500. There was not the infrastructure in place for that many people and we ended up having lessons in every corner of the hall and on the balconies, in the cloak rooms and the common rooms. Those of us who were old pupils got the short straw as we were smaller classes and expected to behave.

    This may have given me a bad view of the system but I prefer the selective school system.

    • #4556


      But that doesn’t mean grammar schools are the way forward – it means all students deserve the same resources, smaller class’s sizes, proper infrastructure, proper resources. You shouldn’t get ‘more’ of these things because you’re more academically able!

  • #4557


    How would you explain though that in a province where we have, from primary to secondary level, a mixture of faith, grammar and integrated (same as your comprehensive) schools, with an optional transfer test (11+) for those who wish it, we manage to produce the best overall academic results in the UK, if this system is so wrong?

    And contrary to popular myth, there are no actual restrictions as to where you can send your children. Mine went to a Catholic primary for reasons of geography and reputation, and I now have one at a “Protestant” grammar school for both academic and sporting opportunities, and another at the high school because it offers courses in agriculture engineering at GCSE.

    My kids are getting a fantastic education, far better than if I’d stayed in the south of England where they would have had no choice other than a huge comprehensive school with a poor reputation.

  • #4558


    I’m getting on in years and in my day life just was a competitive process and not one governed by centrally imposed quotas and targets and it was hard for some and not so hard for others. I was reading on the BBC website yesterday about how baby boomers like @FoldfogOldFogie and me have ruined the chances of millennials to own their own home. My first flat in Marylebone cost 7K off plan and the deposit was 1K. The deposit equated to a man’s average annual gross pay which is comparable to the deposit you would need today. My bank manager made it a condition that I had 6 months of mortgage repayments in an account that he controlled. I had a full-time office job during the day, worked in a wine bar 5 nights a week and was the tea time cashier at the Ritz on Sundays to afford that minuscule flat. I went to a third rate public school for the ugly, lumpen, unloved, unacademic daughters of the disappointed middle class where nobody wasted their time trying to educate you. My millennial son went to a first rate public school on a generous bursary but it was still a struggle so I did cleaning, parcel sorting and cricket teas around my full time job to help make ends meet. He really, really applied himself to pass his exams, achieve a place at a good university and enter an elite profession in which he works incredibly hard. No, I have no issues with a meritocratic system that rewards hard work. Success in life is not entirely governed by your post code or what school you went to. How much you want it and how hard you are prepared to work to get it also has an influence.

  • #4559


    I went to a grammar school that was 20 miles away from home. I loved it, although sport was a bit underfunded. Some from my primary school went there too, others went to the local comp. I didn’t get tutored to pass the 11+ and many of my friends didn’t either. It was pretty diverse too, some people more well off than others, others qualifying for free school dinners and travel assistance etc. My experience was great.

  • #4560


    My Grammar School turned to a comprehensive in my second year sixth form. I was utterly shocked. I’d been living in a bubble where all people were intelligent and well educated, where people did what they were told and all came from similar backgrounds. I still remember my horror when, as a prefect, I told a first year girl to stand in line in the dinner queue and she replied by kicking me. It was great life experience to have the school turn comprehensive, and prepared me for the real world.

    I have felt ever since that it isn’t right to segregate the academically able from ‘the rest’.

    I also dislike the downgrading effect that they have on other schools in the area. Kids learn by example, and of all the academically gifted kids have been siphoned off somewhere else, where is their example?

    Can the teachers who support Grammars explain to me why you can’t teach the academically able in a top stream in a Comprehensive school for the subjects in which they are top stream ability?

    • #4562


      Can the teachers who support Grammars explain to me why you can’t teach the academically able in a top stream in a Comprehensive school for the subjects in which they are top stream ability?

      We stream ours in some subjects and not others. So maths and English are streamed and then some other subjects (assume due to timetabling blocks) end up with them streamed and others don’t. My friend teaches languages and the girls are not streamed for her lessons. So she has grammar-school ability children in her group, with those who can’t string a sentence together in English, let alone another language.
      In my subject, computer science, the girls are streamed, but not every girl in our top streams are that academically able. They are streamed based on the overall ability of the girls in the year group, which actually may be very weak in general.
      So some of my top streams are very, very mixed ability wise. Our current year 10 was an exceptionally weak year group, there was hardly any difference between top streams and bottom stream.

      My top stream year 8 group are the exception in the current cohort. I believe there are at least 20 girls in that group (out of 32) who are grammar-school material. They are miles ahead of the other sets and I am challenging them and pushing them and they are lapping it up. My other top sets, I could probably pick 3 or 4 who would cope academically in a grammar school. They fly ahead of the rest of the group and are given more challenging extension tasks, but as a teacher in a room with 30+ kids, it’s very difficult to stretch them as much as they could go. This is why I believe they would be better off in a grammar.

      Our girls take an exam to come to our school, but they don’t have to pass. It’s simply to ensure we take a full range of abilities. So the papers are marked and split into bands and we take so many from each band. It’s a sort of 11+ style paper, but easier (similar style questions though). So we may have kids who have got into the 90-100% bracket and also those who might have scored 2%.

      I’ve been at my school for 9 years now and we went from private to an academy, so I have seen a LOT of changes, as you can imagine. At one point we had all upper school still from the original private intake and lower school from the academy cohort and it was very strange indeed.

  • #4561


    If there were more grammar schools then the effect on house prices for catchment areas would lessen?

    I’m going to throw this out there because I’m interested, what about if having more money thrown at them means that those kids are more likely to go onto be medics, or excellent disease researchers or come up with novel ideas to counter climate change etc? Does it matter what these kids are able to go on and do?

    I’m cautious that it may be taken that I’m then saying some professions are more worthy than others, I’m not, I’m just thinking that we do need to educate up some of the population to be able to do these things. hopefully that makes sense!

    • #4563


      It’s a good point, and I think definitely applies to some professions. However, I’m lucky to work in a very diverse workplace in terms of educational and economic background, with people with PhDs down to school drop outs, and there is brilliant and useless across the whole spectrum. In terms of work ethic, innovative thinking and standard of work, the people who are the most capable are reliably those who are bright but a bit ‘alternative’ – those that flunked school but really shouldn’t have done, those who did degrees late, those with weird and wacky upbringing….

      And I think that was the point that YCBM was trying to make in one of her posts – that a rich life experience is as valuable in an employee as pure knowledge

  • #4564


    I had one at Grammer (stepson) and one at a good local comp. I went to grammer and hated every minute, although I acknowledge that I was very naughty.
    Grammers here (Essex) are lovely middle class schools where you get a free education and only meet jolly nice people. They pile the pressure on and you either do very well or fail.
    The local comp gave my son an excellent education, he moved to another comp for sixth form as his first one did not offer the courses he wanted. He has a varied range of friends from different backgrounds and I am delighted about that. He works part time and so do most of his friends, which I feel is an excellent grounding for life. I cannot see how you would have time for that with a grammer, stepson certainly would not have done. My son got lower GCSEs than his brother, but then brother may have done that at the comp too, who knows.
    I do support grammers but they are not the be all and end all. I would rather the government raised the amount it spends on every child.

  • #4565


    I have no issue with Grammar or Faith schools. But to invest £50 million on those two sectors specially is morally reprehensible.

    State schools generally are hideously underfunded and if there’s £50 million going spare them it should be spread around.

    • #4566


      Apart from the reduction in school budgets, which is appalling, the High Needs budgets, which are administered by LAs, regardless of which school the pupils go to are also being reduced. This budget allows the most vulnerable children, the disabled (physically, emotionally, learning, sensory) to access the best education for them, that might be in a school in a different LA from where they live, it could be at a residential school, it might be within their own LA but at the other side of from where they live. It should provide transport to get them to school and any adaptations needed to keep them in mainstream (as opposed to Special school) if that is appropriate, as well as a low pupil:teacher ratio and other adult support/technology as required. Some of the extra support needed by SEN children is very expensive but the High Needs budget is being reduced. I took part in my LA’s High Needs Review recently, the introduction told us how much the budget was being reduced by, how many more children need support, and ‘We need to do more with less’!
      We know that it can take years for children with SEND to get a diagnosis, CAMHS have long waiting lists, many schools/LAs are miles behind in their conversion of Statements to EHCPs and yet the High Needs budget is being reduced.
      Surely if there is £50million on the magic money tree, it should be going into the High Needs pot? Or better still let’s fund education adequately for all children, whatever their ability or background. Schools are making staff redundant, not because of falling rolls but because they can’t afford to employ them!

      OF, Academies are simply State maintained schools which are not run by LAs (Councils), rather they are often in Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), which tend to be like mini-LAs but are unaccountable to the electorate and often have very highly paid Executive Heads, whom no-one can hold to account.

      Special Measures is the term used when OFSTED has decreed that a school is failing its pupils and needs to be taken over by a MAT, despite the fact that there is *NO* evidence to show that Academies get better outcomes for learners than LA schools. Many Academies that took over ‘failing’ schools have exactly the same results that the school previously had, because the school population is exactly the same as it was previously.

      I remember reading, several years ago, that one of the early Academies, in London had made great progress and was getting much improved results, compared tot he school that preceded it. The new Head explained the steps that had been taken to achieve this; a new uniform, a new behaviour policy, including a dress code and sanctions for ignoring the code and *a change in the catchment area*. How did that improve anything for the children in the area? Where did the pupils who used to go to that school go now? Presumably they were now someone else’s problem in a neighbouring school!

      • #4567


        @singer I agree with you but I have a big ‘but’ about some disabled children who are being ‘educated’ at great expense.

        I have a friend who has a profoundly disabled daughter. She can barely see, can’t walk, talk, feed or toilet herself, and has an estimated intellect of a very young child.

        Money was spent sending this girl to a local college where she is ‘taught’ by people with degree level qualifications and has laughably even been sent out on ‘work experience’ to the council plant nursery when she is incapable of even potting out a seedling or picking a daffodil. The college course was simply extremely expensive daycare.

        Why is the education system pretending to educate young people which such profound disability? Just because every child is entitled to an education to the age of eighteen? It seems like a terrible waste of education funds to me.

        • #4568


          @ycbm I see where you are coming from ycbm but where would you draw the line?

          I think it is difficult for those of us who are not directly involved with the individual students to quantify the benefit that hey get from such arrangements, or the benefit to the wider community of not having them shut away, out of sight.

          Gardening particularly stimulates all the senses, so it may well be that the girl you are thinking of got benefit from her experience that isn’t obviously apparent to the general public. I would imagine that those who came into contact with her at the Garden Centre also benefited from meeting her and gaining an understanding of her life and needs.

          I would not want people like this student to be ‘warehoused’ in care homes, looked after by unqualified care assistants on minimum wage, who would merely be attending to hygiene needs etc and the money for high level care has to come from one budget or another. I think ethically, it should come from the education budget, rather than health. TBH it is a drop in the ocean, compared to the money wasted on initiative after initiative in the education system, following the whims of successive education ministers. The High Needs budget is intended to educate students with a wide range of needs, most of whom are not so severely disabled as the girl you were thinking of but who do need more support than one teacher can give in a class of 30.

        • #4580


          @ycbm what would you have them do? I’ve two step kids, neither of whom are capable of working due to severe myotonic dystrophy and associated conditions (autism, epilepsy). Both have been to a special needs schools and then college. One has now finished college and has done various work placements. the other has just finished school and is at college three days a week-the rest of the time their mother or father has them-but father has to work now to make sure that financially we can take care of them in the future, mother has taken early retirement due to her health. the remaining grandparents are no longer able to look after them. the kids received a vast amount of useful stimulation from college and interaction with others and has done them both a world of good in dealing with relationships,confidence, vocabulary etc etc.

          • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  lucy.
  • #4583


    A lot of the problem, imo, with grammar schools is that they don’t suit all the children who go to them. Many of the children who are coached intensively to be able to pass their 11+, because of parental aspiration, struggle when they no longer have access to that intensive input. They cannot cope with the type of learning which is expected of them day in, day out. They are no longer expected to just remember and regurgitate facts (despite what Gove thinks!) but to use their own initiative. Pupils at grammar schools are expected to be high achievers in all aspects of the curriculum, which is not often true of many pupils, most of us have aptitude in particular areas. AFAIK (and I am not in an area with state grammar schools), there is very little movement into these schools after the age of 11.
    Whereas in good comprehensive schools pupils can be taught in appropriate groups, according to their ability in each subject, there is flexibility to tailor the curriculum to the needs of the pupils, to a degree.
    There is very little evidence to show that grammar schools produce better results/outcomes than comprehensive schools in areas where there are no grammar schools. Of course they produce better results than the other schools in their areas.
    At a time when all schools are desperately short of money, it seems counter-productive to me, to be increasing the amount spent on grammar schools, which must be going to be capital spending to increase their capacity, when they don’t actually make much difference in the great scheme of things.
    If we went back to a consistent system, across the country of having grammar schools in all LAs and also had very good alternatives for pupils with different aptitudes, rather than a watered down version of the grammar school curriculum and all were adequately funded, then i would probably support them. I certainly benefited from attending an all-girls grammar school but I certainly don’t support the latest initiative, which is meaningless really.

  • #4584


    If all state schools became properly funded and allowed to run in a way that benefitted their pupils I would have no need to write this post but instead would be profoundly grateful that sanity in educational provision had finally prevailed. Since it hasn’t and there’s no imminent sign of it happening I believe that, just as not all of us are 5′ 4″ tall, have brown hair and like R&B music (whatever that is? ) so we are all individuals when it comes to our educational needs and learning styles.

    The sausage mincer approach advocated by many will fit the needs of some pupils, true, but not all and it’s the ones that will fall through the gaps that concern me. I know for a fact that being forced into a mould and made to do things I was ill suited to do would not have allowed me to fulfil my own academic potential. For this reason i.e. lived experience rather than simply spouting idealistic dogma, I am very keen to see a society in which we are all, from children to the elderly, treated as individuals. Pushing every child into a mega school, a ‘one size fits all’ will not work. Some children will thrive on one to one attention, others will manage just fine without. Some children need a focussed academic approach to achieve their potential, others need the main focus to be on practical skills from football to fine art to music.

    I think that all sorts of academic and vocational educational establishments have a place in society and to single out intelligent children and make them into pariahs if they don’t or can’t fit into that sausage mincer is as unfair as singling out special needs pupils and castigating them for not passing their French A level.

  • #4585


    Ask yourself what other route can poor but bright children take to receive a similar education to those at private school? Children from rich families can have a private education purchased for them but poor children don’t have this option. I don’t think that being poor should exclude anyone from receiving the education that they deserve and that will benefit them the most but I do understand that not everyone feels the same as I do, honestly I do. I just don’t agree with them

    The clincher for me comes through lived experience. I didn’t come from a wealthy family and I remain profoundly grateful for the education I received. I got a small grant to go to a redbrick uni too, not much but it bought a few books and suchlike. I was able to enter the civil service on a ‘fast track graduate programme’ which path would also have been denied me if my education hadn’t been up to snuff. You can see where I’m coming from I hope?

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