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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:15 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:36 pm 
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Mmm, this is a thorny topic...

It's a subject that provokes quite strong reactions, as it raises all sorts of issues from our own childhoods and educational experiences. Not all those experiences will have been good, it may bring back memories of 'failing' the 11+, of old snobberies and divisions, even prejudices. Emotive stuff!

We too have only shared our good news with people who have asked.

But equally we experienced a very spiteful remark made by someone who overheard a conversation about results - out of nowhere - to the effect that our daughter was headed for eating disorders and self-destroying competitiveness.

So no 'well done' to a little girl who set herself a goal, worked hard to get into the only school she wanted, and has (probably) achieved that goal when many others have sadly not.

For some people it's not about our children, it's about them.
We have to take this into consideration.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:11 pm 
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Location: Gloucestershire
We've told some friends - quite a few were aware of her taking the test, 95% supportive, 5% anti 11+ (both teachers who lament the abolition of a really good comp in Nailsworth some years ago to save the Stroud Grammars). But mainly we've had more pressing matters to talk about (DD2 G2 piano exam, my performances, birthday parties at Stroud Ceilidh for DD1 and more).

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:27 am 
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Location: Stroud, Glos
There is a legitimate argument, which I happen to share a belief in, that a grammar school system diverts resources and children from a truly comprehensive provision.

There is also an argument that says even if a system is there, participating in it is effectively supporting it. I have certainly taken that line in the past over other issues having joined boycotts of various sorts.

That's not what I've done here, but I can completely understand why other people may find my choice politically distasteful - I have the same reaction to some other viewpoints. Life is complex.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:10 am 
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Interesting topic!!

Our circumstances are we are out of catchment and personally know of only 1 other OoC who also took the 11+ (but are not close, so cannot compare etc).

DD's HT, class teacher and other teachers within the school have been VERY supportive (indeed one of the teachers had been to proposed GS herself and regaled us with tales of said teacher's time there!).

Only a few parents within the school know DD's taken and passed 11+ (and passed well) - we didn't go around broadcasting it. Of those who know 99% have been supportive, the other 1% hasn't so much been unsupportive, but asked if she'd passed in that 'sneering' way (I think you all know what I mean LOL).

Family and other friends have been exceedingly pleased and proud of DD's results.

The one I find most interesting is my neighbours.

To set the scene: our catchment school is a failing one - it's currently in special measures and no-one wants to go there. The rest of the schools in our town are fabulous but anyone on the wrong side of town (ie: US) doesn't really have a cat in ****'s chance of getting in - too much competition from the local residents and outlying villages who are given precedence (villagers are also given precedence over those who live closest to the schools - you can see we're onto a loser before we even start!)

So, back to the neighbours - on one side I have a child one year younger and I suggested they try for it - mother openly said her child wasn't of grammar standard and wished DD well (positive support).

The other side of me consists of a household with 2 teachers who, several years ago BEFORE they had children poo pooed the idea of picking and choosing schools and had the opinion that all schools were good. Surprise, surprise, now they have children they want to go down the grammar school route and if that doesn't work they will put their children into private education (the route we MAY have to take).

Which brings me on to my next point! People's reaction when you mention private schooling. Not just to parents you know but I also get the feeling it slightly rankles with people on this board too. Sometimes it's people's ONLY option - I sure as heck don't relish the thought of living on beans on toast for the next 7 years!!

Everyone goes on about equal opportunites in education, but in reality it isn't so - no matter which route you go.

The saddest I find are those who live on the wrong side of town, don't pass the 11+, cannot afford private education and their only option is the failing school which is in special measures.

Unfortunately it's a dog eat dog world out there, no matter how much we try to sugar coat it with politeness.

PS: the censored word is where the devil lives - sorry!!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:11 am 
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PMJ - Grammar Schools are some of the most under resourced schools in the country. Most parents’ comments after open days are about how shabby buildings and facilities are. High performing state schools receive the most basic funding.

In relation to creaming off the best pupils and the impact on local schools. North Halifax Grammar wrote an interesting article on this.


Quote NGHS http://www.nhgs.co.uk/mindex.html
NHGS Response from Governors and Staff to the CR (May 2007)(pdf)

Quote:
Assuming that the pupils, who were admitted to NHGS in 2001, if they had not been offered a place at NHGS would:
· have accepted a place at one of the other three secondary schools in North Halifax
· have been equally distributed between the schools
· have all achieved 5+ A*-C (including English and Mathematics) grades
then it would have had an impact of between 1 and 3% on those schools in terms of their attainment in 2006.


That is a marginal difference!

Attitudes to Private and Grammar education are varied. It's a good idea for parents and more importantly children, to develop a thick skin.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:22 am 
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Clearly this topic is a pandora's box.

The provision of education is surely a measure of a society, and as a society we should be able to provide a good, comprehensive education for all.
I'm in agreement with PMJ, personally I wish there was a genuinely comprehensive system that catered for all talents and abilities.

We find ourselves living in an area where this option does not exist, so have to make choices from the available schools. Trying for the local (and yes, very lovely) girls' grammar was about having the widest possible choice. It is open to all on ability, not ability to pay.

So on this point, with respect Snowdrops, I feel the state / private debate is quite a different one, although you are at pains to explain why you feel you have few choices where you live. Again it is about choice, if you can afford it then it is your choice. It is an option available to the very, very few.

But for me, it would be an appalling shift backwards if a good education was only available to those who could pay, and so good state education must be fought for.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:41 am 
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staycalm wrote:

But for me, it would be an appalling shift backwards if a good education was only available to those who could pay, and so good state education must be fought for.


But this is the state of things in our town unfortunately.

Only the wealthy have available to them the good schools, by virtue of living in the part of town where the good schools are (thus pushing up house prices in an already expensive town).

The poorer part of society have available to them ONLY the failing school which is in special measures.

I agree it's my choice to put my daughter into private education, should it come to that - but when you weigh up the options, it's pretty much a forced choice!


I'm totally in favour of grammar schools, I see no reason why the most able shouldn't benefit from this type of education.

But I also don't think that education should be about money either - our town is a classic example of ' a good education was only available to those who could pay'.

All this nonsense about catchment areas hasn't just affected education, it's also affected house prices (and we could extend that into the credit crunch etc, but wont go there just now LOL)

I think a MUCH fairer system, which would allow everyone to have a fair bite of the cherry, no matter what their income was or where they lived, would be a lottery system. For example, fill in your CAF as you do now, get put into the draw for the school/s of your choice, and you get pulled out of the hat - simple but fair. This might then stop the jealousy and nastiness which comes from choosing schools - felt when entering primary and secondary education no doubt!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:07 pm 
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This is such a difficult one. Education is such an emotive subject for all of us - it affects us all in our everyday lives and so we all have an opinion.

DD passing for Pates has left me feeling slightly awkward (but inwardly absolutely delighted !!) and I have resisted telling people because of the sympathy I have for those who had wanted to get in and not been successful. Its made worse by parents not knowing where their child has been accepted, and so the positives of another grammar school ( and there are very many as they are all fantastic ) are difficult to see.

On the wider point of education, I think choice is the key. I am particularly keen on grammars, because I think they give all children a chance to benefit from an education based on ability, not means. For those who don't get in, they should have an excellent but perhaps less academic education based more on their abilities and geared towards what will serve them best in the future. This is what I hope for for DD2, who is totally unacademic and would die in a grammar school ( which she would never get into anyway).I personally don't think both these strands can be successfully delivered in a single school ( e.g. a comprehensive) because the emphasis in each is so different.

Lastly a lot depends on the parental view of how important schooling. To me its paramount, but I realise there are many to whom its almost irrelevant and whose children would not be given an opportunity to sit the grammar tests. A real shame - but hubby is "one of them". Its a good thing that I'm in charge!!

p.s. apologies if I have offended anyone with my personal views. I said it was emotive...


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:30 pm 
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silverflora wrote:
I think they give all children a chance to benefit from an education based on ability, not means. For those who don't get in, they should have an excellent but perhaps less academic education based more on their abilities and geared towards what will serve them best in the future.


I agree. Unfortunately so many people see it as a 'pass/fail' thing, rather than a way of selecting the most appropriate, and therefore best, education for each child. Not passing the test means that your child end up in one of Gloucestershires excellent comprehensives, where they'll get a great education. After all, all the comps stream pupils - some by subject, and at least one (Sir William Romney) by IQ - there is a top stream class who stay together for all subjects, apart from sport, I believe.

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