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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:55 pm 
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Greetings to all disgruntled and gruntled PPs (pushy parents)
Self and Amber started going off topic on the Pates strand so I though I would try creating a new one ripe for debate.
I can't work out how to copy our relevant posts across though.

Is selection at 11+ sensible?
Does it actually function well?
Is it fair?

E.g. My DD is in top 120 SHS and Pates but her best friend, as bright as she, did not get a pass mark. Quare? (DH has editted my Latin)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:01 pm 
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We can't possibly answer the ' is it fair' as we aren't able to see the workings.. To my mind though two boys with a score of 234 for strs should get the same rank for pates... And clearly they don't..,


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:08 pm 
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I would go broader in the Is it fair? question.
there are a variety of different types of test to be chosen from by each area. Some areas use 3 or four types of test e.g. VR, NVR, Maths paper, English paper. Some e.g. Gloucestershire, use only one VR.
Each type of paper is testing a limited aspect of intelligence.
Do 2 VR papers, testing a particular brand of problem solving give an accurate judgment of the suitability of our DCs for grammar?

At the basic level, is it right to select at all?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:15 pm 
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There is still the mystery of Pushkin's twins.
Between their results for HSFG and Rib, one gained 10 points and the other 19 from presumably the same birthday.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:17 pm 
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While I may have been instrumental in starting this, I really feel I should not continue in it. My views are probably rather well known: I've studied international education to quite a high level and am still doing so; I am a teacher and have lived abroad with my children. The PISA and IEA data all bear out 2 basic premises: one is that countries which teach mixed ability from the word go have better (ie more equal) outcomes and the other is that countries with federated education systems (ie devolved responsibility for education) do worse. This latter point is only relevant if you take 'federated' to mean 'county', which to be fair it doesn't, strictly.

Nothing will ever persuade me it is right to do what we do in this country; particularly in this county (superselective grammars with no catchment areas). Our system is fragmented and flawed but no-one has the political will to change it because there would be riots on the streets (well almost). And yes I have bought into it too and have one child at grammar, one about to go. So as well as being opinionated, I am a rotten hypocrite.

Thought I would say it before anyone else does!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Amber wrote:
countries with federated education systems (ie devolved responsibility for education) do worse.


This has woeful implications for the Govs favoured Academy system and "Free" schools, both are completely devolved.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:27 pm 
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Indeed.
A very influential Scandinavian academic was commissioned by the incoming coalition to report on the success of the Swedish Free school system and the prospects for transferring it here. The recommendations of this person's very lengthy report were that there was little chance of it succeeding here.

The rest is history.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:47 pm 
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I just wrote a long reply about whether Grammars should exist but I don't think that's what you meant, I went off into my thoughts...

Is the test fair? I doubt it. I am assuming there must be some evidence to suggest that the test used is a good indicator of intelligence and I do think that it takes a certain type of thinking which I don't have but others do. I doubt I'd pass the test! However it does not allow for different upbringings/parental interest/ambition which can affect how a child will eventually turn out. I personally feel that all children should be assessed, as it used to be. This has implications too (as my father in law found out but that's a different story...) but would give the child whose parents aren't particularly interested the opportunity to go to a school which suits them. The drawback with that is would these uninterested parents be willing to help their child travel? Those of us on a low income have seen this week that unfortunately the cost of travel has to be considered and can be difficult! If the system were different then travel for those who needed it could be offered but then the world is not ideal!

I've gone off on a tangent again sorry about that. :oops:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:56 pm 
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lassett wrote:
I just wrote a long reply about whether Grammars should exist but I don't think that's what you meant, I went off into my thoughts..


lassett put in your Grammar not Grammar arguments too! That what I meant by Is it right to select?

In those areas that have them, Grammars may be a significant part of providing for the special educational needs of the most able DCs (SEN are at both ends of the spectrum)

juicy debate please


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:11 pm 
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I have been thinking about this recently and I'm in two minds. On one hand I think that here in Gloucester, especially because of the number of Grammars for a small town, the effect of Grammars is not a good one. With the 'brightest' (possibly only at the test style) being taken away from those who either didn't have such a good test day/didn't try for it/would not have passed it, leaves a very obvious two tiered education which unfortunately leaves the other school appearing to be a lot worse than if all the children were together and showed the full spectrum of abilities in exam results. I think that when compared to Cheltenham with just one Grammar there are a great many more children who are 'bright' spread through the comprehensives therefore raising the exam results accordingly. Of course this doesn't take in to account the children living and studying in different towns.

Of course the 'good' and 'bad' schools are determined in our minds with exam results and that is not ideal either. Surely a child with the understanding of a subject and/or willingness to learn will always be more likely to perform better in an exam though I appreciate the cohort may shape a child in many ways but then that leads to all sorts of difficult sociological debates...

On the other hand should all children have the same sort of education at the same speed and level? Unless a system was set up and fully embraced by every school which had very different sets to allow all children to learn at their own speed and level then I don't see how some will not be negatively affected. I know that schools do use sets but from what I have seen at Primary school, so perhaps rather different, the work seems the same with the top set fractionally quicker but not quick enough for the very bright who need the extra speed. For my children this has led to disinterest and boredom. I am talking about 1, 2, 3, 4, maybe even 5 different sets which would be a headache for the school and need an awful lot more teachers. Plus, which parents would be happy to hear their child was in the 5th set? Also, with the national curriculum as it is and all exams being the same at the end of year 11 what would those in the top sets be doing once they'd worked their way through the curriculum? I don't see that it would work...

Perhaps I am looking at it too simply! As I've always understood it Grammars were set up to allow bright but poor children a chance to go to a school at their level hence where many were built - on council estates. As one of the poor with bright children I am grateful for the opportunity that they have to attend Grammars despite living near none of them! The system was different though before comprehensives and where exams were not universal. I can understand why some counties did away with the Grammar when comprehensives began...Forgive me if I have my history wrong.

I think if I were given the job of changing the education system it would look very different to how is it now and perhaps not include Grammars but this is the system we have and we have to work with what we've got if we can't change it!

Having read back through that I manage to confuse even myself!


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