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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:51 am 
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Hi all,

I often hear how teachers and heads disapprove of selective education and offer little or no support for the 11+, yet I've never heard both sides of the arguement and don't understand why it's regarded as a bad thing.

If a child has special needs, they receive additional help and support, so if a child is bright, why shouldn't they receive a more challenging education, better suited to their needs? In the big economic world beyond education, to be successful and to get a good start off the blocks you need to have a decent education behind you.
Isn't it all about 'adding value' these days? One very bright child in a class of 29 other average children would surely perform less well than in a class of 29 equally bright children...unless of course they are lucky enough to have a good teacher who sets challenging targets (extremely few and far between in my local comp).

Can anyone shed some light on the debate? It's always baffled me.

I guess the responses may be weighted in favour of Selective Ed seeing what forum we're in, but I'd appreciate a balanced viewpoint.

Thanks,
MK Mum


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:46 am 
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I really don't know!!

Why would anyone choose to work in Bucks if they did not agree with the system? It makes no sense to me at all!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:52 am 
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There are a range of arguments against selection - for example, that age 11 is too young to pigieonhole children. In the comprehensive system there is (should be) more flexibility.

There is the impact on those who do not pass the test, who often feel they have already failed - I remember as a child speaking to an older girl who had moved from primary to secondary. I asked if she had passed the 11+ and she pointed at what she was wearing and said, "This is the failing uniform".

There has been research (sorry, I don't have references) indicating that mixed education benefits all, bright children being able to progress regardless, and the less able having the benefit of the presence of the more able.

In theory, a teacher should be able to cater for all abilities in the class - from the SEN to the GAT.

I'm listing these as a brief summary of the main points I have heard in opposition to selection, not because I disagree with it myself. I don't, however, believe that in this country it works in the way that it should. It ought to be a more straightforward choice between a range of good schools, with different strengths, and each child being able to go wherever suits them best - Germany, for example, has a far more efficient system.

I think the idealism of the comprehensive system sounds good, but in practice too often fails to live up to that ideal. And inclusion doesn't help, either.

As for teachers working in Buckinghamshire who disagree with selection, I have no answer to that, either. Except that for some, factors such as availability of work, and family circumstances, can limit where they may go.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Quote:
As for teachers working in Buckinghamshire who disagree with selection, I have no answer to that, either. Except that for some, factors such as availability of work, and family circumstances, can limit where they may go.


I don't agree with you. Bucks is surrounded by non-selective authorities - nowhere is far from the border - there is choice within a few miles. I would not have taken the post in a GS if I did not believe the system works for the vast majority of children.

There is selection everywhere - even where there are comprehensives they are not all equal.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:15 pm 
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Then you are very fortunate.

Yes, there are non-selective counties bordering Buckinghamshire. But that does not mean that every teacher who wishes to, is automatically able to find a post in a school in one of those counties.

Not that it explains why some teachers, if they oppose selection, do actively choose to teach in Bucks if they are able to find a post elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:43 pm 
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Jobs in teaching are plentiful in this area - I've never come across anyone who could not find a job.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:11 pm 
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I think maybe what MK Mum is getting at is why are schools in Milton Keynes so unsupportive of the eleven plus? Am I correct?

I too am in the unfortunate position of living in Bucks but being part of MK education authority. Our school (despite discussing it with the Governers at my request) would not help by allowing the children to sit the eleven plus at school, we had to go to Aylesbury).. The impression I got was that it was 'political' and they had to toe the party line i.e. schools in MK don't want their brightest pupils going elsewhere for their education as it poses a problem for the MK schools who miss out on that top tier of pupils as obviously us parents will try our best to get them into a good GS!!

I hope I havent been too contraversial here but I think that is probably the answer to MK Mums question.

By the way MK Mum I have read some of your other posts and you are in the same position as me - good luck come allocation day!! By the way we thought Sir Henry Flloyd looked really great.

_________________
Mum of 3


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:41 pm 
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MK has to protect its own schools it advocates comprehensive education.
If you live in Bucks and qualify you are assured of a GS place it's not so if you live in MK. Although saying that if you apply to SHF you will very likely get a place.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Location: Bexley
Here in Bexley we have the 11+ system but no school help re the actual tests. If you are a parent going through it for the first time you are completely in the dark.

If you have a bright child who is consistently in the top 25% then you would expect that child to pass the 11+ and go to grammar school. WRONG.

The ones who go to grammar are those in the private sector or those who have parents who are savvy enough to know the system.

But in Bexley it doesn't stop there. When your child fails the 11+ and clearly warrants a selective education you are told to try the 12+ but there is no automatic entry at this age. As kids do not leave grammars in droves there are rarely entrants from the waiting lists. So failiure at 11 denies a child a grammar place.

Parents here welcome the system but only if it is open and not the big state secret it seems to be. We want all children to have an equal chance of a grammar place but too many times we see clever children fail and go through the joke of an appeals system simply because the parents trusted the system.

That is why a lot of people around here don't like it. I have a daughter at a grammar and she needs the challenges it provides but I don't like seeing other kids who should be there too denied the opportunity because there parents fell into the sats trap aka the 3x5s! That's all that matters in Bexley primary schools.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:41 pm 
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I have seen evidence of some very good comps in MK. Of those we visited, Walton High struck me as a fantastic school. Ofsted score was excellent (1) but that aside, we had a great impression from the HT, staff and pupils. The huge problem that MK suffers is that the very good schools are so over subscribed that they can't always accommodate catchment children, so there's little/no chance of anyone outside catchment being offered a place. Therefore, in order to obtain an education which would suit and challenge my DS, we were left in the rediculous situation of applying for a GS 16 miles away where we'd have a much greater chance of successfully acquiring a place than we would applying for a school just 4 miles down the road.

The range of standards across MK schools (in my humble opinion) is huge. Unfortunately we don't live within catchment of any of the better schools, and being the cynic that I am, I could see the council seeing the benefit of sending him to his local comp in order to raise their stats a little.

I believe children should be able to attend whichever school is best suited to their needs i.e. schools which specialise in special needs and which have a higher than average no of SENs on the role are surely likely to add greater value to the childrens' education than some other schools, as the teaching staff are better trained in this field. Equally with selective education, bright(er) children can be taught alongside equally able children, thus facilitating them to reach their true potential/add value.

As far as the stigma of failing the 11+, whether it's because we live in MK or not, but I see or hear nothing to suggest that one exists. Perhaps it's more of a throw-back from the days when 11+ was widespread - and heaven forbid in these PC days we should ever allow our children to be competitive or risk having to adapt if the dream is not quite attainable.

Or crikey don't get me started on all that... OK soap box has quickly been put away :)

MK Mum


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