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Grammar schools - unequal opportunity?

On 11 Oct 2016 at 9:43am educator wrote:
I've been thinking about education especially now the spectre of more Grammar schools is on the cards. I wonder if indeed there are are any old stats. comparing the paths of ex secondary modern pupils with their contemporaries then in the grammar schools. I know that secondary mods in East Sussex achieved better results than those elsewhere but then discovered that for instance the Lewes grammar schools recruited one of the lowest no
pupils per catchment area (wide) in the country. Many ex pupils can recall lots of bright children falling at the last post of the of the 11 plus. In my opinion there was clearly in the past a correlation between your position in the class
system and your chance of going to Grammar school. Then as now
those schools were colonised by the middle class helped by private coaching and in the past at least by the enormous cost of the uniform that precluded many poor pupils. Inside the schools further selection took place - Latin or German at year 8. Back then you couldn't take an arts degree without a Latin GCE. This meant too that any 13 plus candidate was handicapped from the start. The proposed return to Grammar schools seems such a retrograde step - set up it seems to appease the new middle class for electoral reasons.
I think the elephant in the room is indeed class. The rich in the UK continue, unlike most of Europe to send their children to private schools and they do this for good reason. They are of course buying an excellent if unimaginative education; just look at the top of the table results ( though perhaps not so in the growing plethora of minor private schools) excellent contacts, and above all the accent and mores of the still ruling class.
Whilst this worst example of our caste system continues to exist I believe there can be no real levelling of educational opportunity in this country. Money
buys many class signifiers as well as the actual education.The prohibitive cost of a university education is the final nail in the coffin for working class pupils. The gate is being clanged shut for poorer pupils trying to enter academia.
There can be no true comprehensive education whilst private schools exist and state schools are so grossly underfunded And no equality of access to higher education whilst that remains a market commodity created by our political masters' economic policies.

On 11 Oct 2016 at 9:49am Local wrote:
If the education that children get is directly related to the interest that parents invest in their offspring, perhaps that might force a few more parents to get involved with the education process, rather than washing their hands of it and blaming schools for everything that's wrong with their kids.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 10:09am Grammar school gal wrote:
Back when? I went to grammar school in the 70's - did Latin too but very few of us ended up with Latin 'O' level and although I think you needed a language qualification to get into Oxbridge it wasn't needed anywhere else - I didn't know anyone who got tutored to get in - we took our 11 plus and your life changed dramatically on the result of it. Interestingly I have since read that the selection process was skewed to allow more boys than girls through. I loved my school as it gave me (from a poor background) a great education but there's no doubt it was hugely divisive. My old best friend (who just missed out and went to the local comp) ended up doing pretty well career wise but I think she had to work harder for her success
On 11 Oct 2016 at 10:17am Tim wrote:
I don't recognise the arguments about class put forward in the original post. I went to Eastbourne Grammar School in the 1970s. My dad was a grease monkey, we didn't own our own house and couldn't afford holidays. Basically, we were poor.
I flew through my 11 Plus, simply because I was good at solving logic problems. However, when I started at the school I really struggled with the subjects particularly the French, Latin and German. Things improved when I was able to choose my subjects and I achieved Grade A in my O Level Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical Drawing and Art. I failed all my languages and maths however.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 10:28am Gregory wrote:
I do feel that the Grammar schools of the past operated correctly allowing naturally talented children from any background the ability to better themselves. But today think wealthier parents tutor, tutor and tutor to get their child through the eleven plus. It is not done purely on their natural ability therefore I disagree with more Grammar schools being set up today.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 10:47am Clifford wrote:
There are a large number of myths about the popularity of grammar schools in the 1950s and 1960s.

“At political meetings at the end of the 1960s, Edward Boyle [Minster of Education from 1962 to 1964] was torn limb from limb by conservative voters, infuriated that their children who had ‘failed’ the eleven-plus were being sent to secondary moderns, along with 70-80% of each age group. They had regarded the grammars as ‘their schools’. The eleven-plus, they said, lost them the 1964 election and would lose them every one until it was abolished. Margaret Thatcher recognised this as has every Tory party in practice ever since.”

Check it out here »
On 11 Oct 2016 at 10:53am sense wrote:
Grammar schools resulted in the most meritocratic, well taught generation this country has ever known and propelled thousands of bright working class kids into hitherto unattainable areas.
How crazy to have people defend selection by wealth (private schools, buying an expensive house near a good state school) and not by academic ability.
The usual ones to block grammars are Labour champagne socialists who then send their kids to private schools they would rather bring everyone down to the same level rather than have competition.
The way forward is to have new grammars bu tot also fund excellent technical colleges alongside for those who are not academic but equally intelligent in more practical ways.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 11:41am trooper wrote:
Some years ago in addition to managing a company I used to teach part time mechanical and design engineering to young students many of whom had failed their 11 plus to grammer school, many of these went on to do well for themselves. Alas this college is no more it is now a housing estate as the Brighton Tech college is now luxury flats. It is not grammer schools we need it is Technical colleges, the country and the young people need the skills.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 12:55pm Bloke wrote:
From what I see children tend to segregate themselves into ability groups within school socially anyway. It really isnt much fun trying to get on with people with very different IQ.
The least able don't magically improve their abilities just because they have gifted children in their classrooms.
Ultimately we are responsible for our own education and expecting the state to care about our advancement is rather niave. There are some great teachers out there though.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 2:12pm House repair wrote:
Now there's an idea - bring back technical colleges and train our youngsters to mend cars, do plumbing, electrics, house painting - the skills you used to be able to hire in Lewes but now sadly only available from the soon to be departing Polish tradespeople...my ex b/f went to tech, got an apprenticeship, became an engineer, setup his own business - not an O level in Latin in sight.....
On 11 Oct 2016 at 3:57pm Grammar then Tech in the wrote:
60's 70's down Mountfield Road. Just scraped into the Grammar and really should have been in Sec Mod. as I struggled all through. There was a good metalwork room and a great teacher ( George Swan ) but both the teacher and the room were under used during the 60's. Left in '70 and the Tech did me proud. No I wouldn't say more Grammars. I would agree with those who say more Techs.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 4:47pm Meic wrote:
I was the in the last year of grammar school intake in Cardiff. One thin I noticed was the very able students who joined us in the 6th form having been "failed" by the 11+.
My father was Head of English at a secondary modern. He absolutely hated the most prominent grammar schol (John Humphrey's alma mater) because it only seemed to care about its top stream, and, as he saw it, abandoned the rest. Every year my father took the top stream (he said every single pupil) successfully through O levels. If the 1+ was an accurate test then all his pupils were supposedly less able than the the grammar people.
A good comprehensive, such as Priory (I speak as a parent of two who were very well educated by Priory) offers grammar-school level teaching to all who can benefit, without branding kids as "failures" quite unnecessarily.
On 11 Oct 2016 at 7:31pm Clifford wrote:
sense wrote: 'Grammar schools resulted in the most meritocratic, well taught generation this country has ever known and propelled thousands of bright working class kids into hitherto unattainable areas.'

Sense, why don't you read the link to 'myths about grammar schools' I posted? You may learn something.
On 12 Oct 2016 at 12:25am Smudge wrote:
I was never given the opportunity to take my 11+ and I'm still absolutely fuming! The secondary school I went to in the 70's knocked every ounce of aspiration you may have had out of your system. It was made clear from the start by the way we were taught that we were to become factory or office workers. Nothing more than that.
My old school has been recently renovated and now has words like 'Aspire' written on the walls. When I was there, we got detention if we dared come up with an opinion!
A waste of 5 flipping years, that was!
Still fuming......
On 13 Oct 2016 at 10:38pm lewes resident wrote:
Grammar schools can be wonderful and have helped many bright children from poor families . It is a great shame that we have massive comprehesives like Priory .Pupils are still streamed and the rich socialist middle class families in Lewes are certainly keeping the private tutors in work.

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