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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 11:24 am 
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An interesting article in the Times today, and a further challenge to David Cameron's stance on grammar schools:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article1848439.ece

I'm not personally convinced by the argument - I think the uplift in results has more to do with the fact that Grammar Schools are in more middle class areas.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 12:43 pm 
Perhaps grammar schools are in more middle class areas because the more middle class refused to let them be closed. This was a mistake, if you like, because it created fewer grammar schools for the less well off to choose from. It should have been more grammar schools or none at all for it to be a fairer system. I don't believe that abolishing all grammar schools would have been the correct thing to do. But cutting back the choice is definitely why we have this "middle class" problem with our selective schools. Only those with the educational/financial ability will survive in such an environment created by politicians who think they know best! That goes for the best performing comprehensives as well as grammars.
:cry:


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 1:48 pm 
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Location: Finchley - Barnet
Quote:
I'm not personally convinced by the argument - I think the uplift in results has more to do with the fact that Grammar Schools are in more middle class areas.


I am afraid that you have a point; this is called spurious correlation. Two variables move in the same direction but rather than the one causing the other, the movement is the result of a third variable (middle class %) which affects the former two in the same direction. However the Chinese and Bangladeshi benefit argument sounds a bit more convincing.

Other cases of spurious correlation is the famous finding of an increase in the mumber of storks in a country and a corresponding increase in the number of babies delivered in that same country. ..It makes one wonder :?

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sj355


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 6:48 pm 
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Well (obviously), I live in Bexley, a borough in Greater London. We have poorer areas within the borough, but even the more affluent areas would not meet my idea of middle class.

My children attend a larger than average local primary.In most cases one parent works full time and the other, maybe after a short career break, has to work part-time. No-one I am aware of has a 2nd home, au-pair or is considering a private school.Most shop mainly in Sainsbury's or Tesco rather than M&S or Waitrose. Our shopping centres are more high street than haute couture!

However, every child sits the eleven plus exam (except in the rare instance when a parent withdraws a child, mainly due to the parent thinking they are highly unlikely to be 'deemed selective')and given the thousands attending the open evenings at the 4 grammar schools in the borough, most would be more than happy for their child to attend one.

In fact, it seems that it is more competitive to get into the 2 most popular comprehensives than it is the grammars, with people moving house to get within the mile catchment for the 2 most popular non - selectives in the hope of securing a place if necessary(probably as parents would be happy with any of the grammars, but only one or two non-selective secondary schools).

Anyway, the middle class argument keeps cropping up in the papers and I just don't feel it is true in this area.

We have previously lived in North London. The area where we lived had some great private schools, some excellent state schools with tiny catchments and amazingly high house prices or some awful schools for those that couldn't afford the £500,000 plus (10 years ago!) price tag went to. This was a non-selective area, but out of the two, I know which has offered my daughter more choice.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 11:19 am 
I believe that Bucks schools get the highest results in the country (along with Surrey) and that this is because our upper schools get very good results as well the grammars. Schools like Waddesdon get results that are better than good comprehensives. Just because we have grammar schools doesn't mean the uppers aren't very good in fact it means they can concentrate on ensuring their pupils get the best grades they can allow the pupils at the top of their sets to get excellent marks and still being able to offer a wide range of courses to suit the ability range - not having to deal with the 30% who go to grammar allows them to focus on getting the best for the rest. Has someone got access to the data that shows upper schools in Bucks do better than comprehensives in neighbouring boroughs? I believe it is available.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 4:21 pm 
Dobby wrote:
I believe that Bucks schools get the highest results in the country (along with Surrey) and that this is because our upper schools get very good results as well the grammars. Schools like Waddesdon get results that are better than good comprehensives. Just because we have grammar schools doesn't mean the uppers aren't very good in fact it means they can concentrate on ensuring their pupils get the best grades they can allow the pupils at the top of their sets to get excellent marks and still being able to offer a wide range of courses to suit the ability range - not having to deal with the 30% who go to grammar allows them to focus on getting the best for the rest. Has someone got access to the data that shows upper schools in Bucks do better than comprehensives in neighbouring boroughs? I believe it is available.

Performance data for each school is on the DfES site. It's not straightforward to use it to compare LEAs, because independent schools are included in the summary figures.

You say "schools like Waddesdon", but surely it is unique: a CofE school that selects 15% of its intake based on music grades, and is 5 miles from the nearest grammar. It may be that Bucks uppers do well compared with comps in London boroughs, but that's not comparing like with like. Comprehensives in Herts (excluding partial selectives and schools with an unrestricted intake near them) score significantly higher than Bucks uppers in the GCSE tables.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 5:00 pm 
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WP,

No-one gets into Waddesdon on the music criteria - places are usually filled from criteria 1 [catchment] and 2 [strong C of E commitment - at least 3 years attendance twice a month at church]!

It is different though as a few local children who reach 11+ qualifying do choose to go there.

There are other Uppers with good results that out-perform Oxfordshire Comprehensives:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/performancetables/


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