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 Post subject: I really don't know.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:42 pm
Posts: 19
I came across this forum by accident a few weeks ago and have been facinated by the ongoing developments and sagas unfolding day by day. I have never really felt the need to write on anything to do with the 11+ but some of the posts have scared me. I would dearly like to believe that all the parents pushing for appeals or citing mitigating circumstances are doing it for the benefit of their children-not for themselves. I would like to think that the parents willing for their children to travel long distances to school are doing it for their children-not for themselves. I would also like to believe that the parents who refer to 'bog street' comprehensives understand that some kids actually can achieve because they are bright and able to work. To achieve at this sort of school is surely a greater achievement than years of tutoring and then spoonfeeding.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:05 pm 
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samsa - I hear what you're saying but ...

Firstly, I'd like to say that not all of us are dismissive of comprehensives, even if we have, for whatever reason, taken the grammar school route for our dc.

Secondly, not all comprehensives are equally good. There are, unfortunately, some out there that are not going to give our dc a straightforwardly good experience for their schooldays.

So ... some of what you hear may well be down to simple stress, when parents know that the options on offer are ... challenging.

Some of what might be said on here I put down to its being an anonymous forum, where people can vent and say things they wouldn't say in RL. And you wouldn't say it because, actually, you can't run down a school that your dc may well end up attending, or your friends' dc, or anyone's dcs, for that matter. Even if you, with the eyes of an adult, can see it may not be great, you can't say that, because you need to be positive and build confidence.

I, personally, attended a comprehensive - and it was a v. good comprehensive. It's nice to hear you say you think I may have put more personal effort into my achievements that someone attending a grammar. I'll take that as a compliment. Though I'm not entirely sure it's true - I had some fantastic teachers who really, really helped me. And a brilliant time socially.

However, I do know that there are far "trickier" comps than the one I attended - so I don't dismiss the real stress I sometimes hear. It's not a straightforward grammar/comp divide, imo.

And grammar schools aren't all bizarre hothouses, filled with the offspring of right-wing traditionalists. I've visited one where the boys study capoeira and ballet. They can often be far more liberal than comprehensives, with a divers cultural intake. And that potential liberalness is very attractive to some of us.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:59 pm
Posts: 65
Samsa - I took a while thinking about the second part of your post, and I'm still thinking ... but:

I think what you're asking is whether parents are not listening to/taking account of their dc wishes and also "living through them/over-identifying with them", in that they're pushing their dc for their own self-aggrandisement; a reflected glory in their dc's achievements? Would I be right?

Personally, I think you're wrong but, well, if they do, 11+ parents don't have the monopoly on that! I see it all the time at primary school, irrespective of the dc's destination at secondary transfer!

I think what you're reading is something different. As I said before, a lot of it, is, I think, down to stress.

Secondary transfer is weird. It's one of those significant stations on the pilgrimage to adulthood for a child. It's a point when, almost ritually, you as a parent are forced to let go a little bit more.

I think that is where some of the stress comes from. Parents post here the thoughts that don't get expressed in RL, and certainly not to the dc! They are, I think, amplified by this RL inexpression. I sometimes think it's like a confessional!

Fwiw - I don't think the stress is, in fact, all about schools. I think it's existential. And it's unmapped because too many existential philosophers aren't parents - or don't think as parents.

It's the stress of easing your hand, slowly, from that of your dc. But, you know, let go we all do. Allow them increasing autonomy, we all do. Witness and enable their freedom, we all do. Whilst all the time carrying within us the absolute knowledge of their vulnerablity, their irreplaceablity,the knowledge of the absolute devastation that we would experience should we, somehow, fail to protect them. And all the time knowing that the urge to protect and cosset has to be held in check - their freedom is a gift we must give.

So, in RL, we bend down, and try and see the world as they see it, while keeping in our mind's eye the horizon we see as adults. We try and balance the choices they make, with the experience and years of a (wise) child, with those we would make, for them, with our, different, experience, and the longer time of an adult. Hopefully, we get the balance about right.

In our heads, though, ... well, something quite different may be going on! That suppressed urge to do it all for them, to take any of the risk that necessarily attends the gaining of wisdom and experience, protect them from any future pain - well, it has a loud, insistent voice!. But, hopefully, it's an internal monologue. And maybe some of it gets voiced here. And maybe it doesn't.

And, of course, I'm talking about far more than schools here! But, weirdly, secondary transfer brings all that, far deeper, stuff to the surface; partly because of its strange ritual quality! How mad!!

Anyway, I just don't think all the parents on here are driven lunatics, sacrificing their children's happiness for the sake of reflected glory.

But then, I am a sunnymummy!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:16 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
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I also suspect that there are a disproportionate number of parents with children aiming at the super selectives on here, and that does skew their perspective a bit!

My dd goes to an outstanding grammar school which has practically never been mentioned on this forum. She took the test - passed (by 2 marks!) and went. 3 marks less, and she would have gone, with the majority of her friends, to the High school. I would have been disappointed, but it wouldn't have been the end of my - or her - world. I suspect that for the majority of grammar school parents in real life, rather than posting on here, that is the case.

I say High school, because secondary schools in Grammar school areas cannot, by definition, be called comprehensive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:14 am
Posts: 138
Location: Middlesex
I have seen parents actively discouraging their children from studying because 'there is no money in education.' I am sure we are more likely to accept such parents. They are only making it easy for their children, should we applaud them? We, the bad parents, who set high targets for our children, help them achieve these targets must be doing something wrong because we make life difficult for our delicate offsprings. Of course life is such an easy affair that all struggle and, specially habit of setting goals and achieving them in early age must be crushed.

There is nothing wrong with the comprehensive system. The schools are well-funded, over-staffed and over-administered, still they can't show results. In a society where the basic concept of excellence in education becomes synonymous with 'hardship', abuse and coercion, no amount of money and resources poured into an education system can improve it. The very basic hatred for excellence and achievement in education is at the root of the failure of our comprehensive system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:42 pm
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Thank you for your replies. I certainly didn't mean to be critical of parents wanting the best for their kids, I have three and totally agree that if I were faced with the prospect of a failing school for them I would do all it took to find an alternative. What I am worried about though as a teacher for more than twenty years, state, independent, grammar and inner city is the change in emphasis. I don't know how many times children have left clubs they enjoyed only to rejoin a year and a half later after the tests. I don't know how many children I have taught recently who are so tutored they then need that continued at secondary level to keep up. Trying for a grammar while there are grammar schools around I have no objection with. What I do question is the abandonment of all else for the end goal and then if not successful the road to appeals when it might just be for the best that they did not get in. I have seen parents in tears this year outside school gates. What sort of message is this sending their children? I have also noticed a brand new set of mobile phones appearing after the results came in, to children who had passed. Nothing for the ones who worked damn hard but didn't pass. Even on this forum there was a parent/grandparent thinking of appealing even though the child had actually failed the test. Yes, go for the best for your child. Yes, strive for excellence in education. But no, don't do this at the expense of children and their childhood.


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 Post subject: i really don't know
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:59 pm
Posts: 65
Samsa - i agree with so much of what you say, i almost don't know where to start!

But i think i should start out by saying - i agree with much of that, and yet ... here I am on the website! So is it really fair to sort of imply that 11+ parents are like that? And you are, sort of, implying that ... . I don't want to be mean, but your op didn't sound like the opening of a window onto a discussion of the ethics and styles of parenting and academic aspiration in the early twentieth century ... .

Is it possible that you are inferring an intentionality to the posters here that is actually based more on what you have interpreted from your observations in your own RL? Are those perceptions influenced in any way by the media?

Those are genuine questions. I don't know if it's the case. It's just that it seems a bit of a leap to infer all that to the posters on this site.

You know, many of the parents on here are self-tutoring - so they're stopping well short of "doing whatever it takes". And to take me, for an example, I experience a physical shudder at some of the things you describe. And I can think of at least two other posters who are clearly, from their posts, pretty similar to me.

I do get your point and, as I say, I think it's worth saying, and saying it loud. There's a good, strong boundary between opening the door to an aspirational confidence in a child and the sort of behaviour you outline. I think you gesture towards a very dark psychological terrain. One that most parents strive earnestly to avoid.

Again, I don't think 11+ parents have the monopoly on that (though we may not have a saintly absence thereof, either!). In fact, I can think of one, big, media story, that has all the elements of that misplaced parenting, right now. And that's not a "grammar school" story.

Also, I think tutoring in secondary schools is on the up. I have a lot of friends with secondary age dc and they are all tutoring. Statistically, 100% of them are at comprehensives. But that is only because most of the dc I know attend comprehensives.

Really, I do agree with you - and I realise other posters will and other posters won't.

In fact, the only reason, really, I am responding is so that people browsing this website will not be put off; from this site and from taking the 11+ generally. This site really is a great resource, in many ways. And, oh browsing reader, parents whose dc take the 11+ are often quite normal, really!! It doesn't have to be done in the way you describe. Indeed, like you, i would say "don't do it like that!" (But that's just my pov.)

Just to reiterate, we're a varied bunch on here - honestly!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:42 pm
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Thanks for the reply. I only posted really as a warning. In the middle of trying to do so well for our kids we sometimes lose our objectiveness. I am not really aiming this at any particular parent or any member of this or any other forum. Every parent believes they are doing the best for their children, or I hope they do. All I really wanted to do was just ask and hope for some perspective.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:31 pm
Posts: 1192
I don't think you can expect parents to behave rationally; they are too biased/warped/confused/worried/stressed.

:lol:

Luckily for the teachers its the kids that go to the schools rather than the parents.

Regards
SVE

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:01 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Richmond
I find it slightly odd that someone who does not approve of the 11+ would bother to come on an 11+ website. ( In the same way iot is even starnger that those politically opposed to independent edcuation bother to post in that section....) This is only part of our interests - and clearly we post here only what is relevant to the site. I would not go on a gardening website and assume that the people there are obsessed with gardening because they post there - doubtless they are rounded human beings with other interests that are not pertinent to that site! We do may things with our children - choosing the best/most appropriate school for them is only one aspect ofparenting - it just happens to be what we discuss on this site. Particularly since many of us have extesnive experience in education as teachers ourselves, it somewhat patronising to assume that we have not considered alternatives...

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