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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2093
Location: Birmingham
Articles from the Daily Mail tend to be a little difficult to follow and even harder to verify, but this looks interesting:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... laces.html


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
As I'm in Warks, this is interesting. Dd2 has just started at Rugby High School, but I think she has a wide social mixture in her form. I know nobody in her form came from a private school. Obviously I don't know who has free school dinners. It seems about half in her class are local - I think on induction day they noted where they came from to get to know each other.

What annoys me - not directly related to this post, I am too quick to go off topic, sorry - is that to qualify for a free bus pass, you need to live 3 miles or more away from school.

I know of 2 pupils who get free school dinners, who live 2 miles from school, who get free bus passes. This seems unfair. Others have to pay, or walk, or even cycle; mine cycle quite happily (until it rains/snows/they're tired/finishing late). To leave home early to walk to a bus stop, to wait for a bus that may be late, takes over twice as long as cycling. But mine have no choice, I can't afford three bus passes (almost £1,000 a year for three dc I think). So these lucky dc (they don't seem that poor) get free school dinners and free bus passes. I don't see the logic. :roll: but maybe I am just stupid.

Wish we were just a little poorer. :roll:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:17 am 
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The free school dinner rule is not even as simple as that. You have to be on Income support type benefits to get them. So if you are self employed for example and have been affected by the recession. If you choose to keep earning what you can and claim working tax credit instead of income support you are not able to claim free school lunches or free bus travel even if your income is below the said level. So it has nothing to do with earnings. It will be those that do not work at all that are eligible. Quite frankly though, I am not sure that the competition for places is going to be huge here in Bucks, especially as the 11 plus qualification marks are pushed up, by the children who attend indies. Did you know that in Bucks 51% of GS places went to Indie school children. 66% of indie children qualify after taking the test as opposed to only 23% of state school children. Where is the fairness in that. I do think something needs to be done to level the playing field.
Many children in state schools are not taught to a level high enough to ensure that they are given the opportunity to stretch their minds enough to pass the 11 plus. There is disruption in classes, there are 30 children in a class as opposed to sometimes as low as 8 in indies. Some state schools have no children at all that pass the 11 plus. Expectation in some areas is low and so is the aspiration of many bright children to push the boundaries and succeed because it would make them stand out from their peers. Many parents of deservingly bright children, cannot afford to even buy bond/practice material or books let alone pay for tuition of their children and do not have the ability to tutor their children themselves. The reality is that more affluent parents make sure that their children are highly tutored. The indies whatever people say do teach the children what they need to know in order to pass exams in a way that state schools do not.
For once I agree with Michael Gove that something needs to change, however I am not sure that giving priority to children who have free school lunches is going to help much.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Tinkus-Pinkus wrote:
Did you know that in Bucks 51% of GS places went to Indie school children.

66% of indie children qualify after taking the test as opposed to only 23% of state school children.

These statements are utter nonsense.

Regarding qualification rates:
You have looked at the statistics on the BCC website and assumed that the figure for "Independent/Out County Schools" is entirely made up of independent school children. The reality is that only a tiny proportion of those children attend independent schools. Most children who attend Indie schools and take the Bucks test attend Partner Schools, and they are accounted for elsewhere in the statistics.

Sticking to known facts, in 2012, 929 children at independent (Partner) schools within and outside of Bucks took the test. Of those, 357 qualified, a pass rate of 38%. Nothing like your figure of 66%.

Regarding allocations:
There are approximately 2,100 GS places in Bucks, and around 100 of those remain vacant in Y7, leaving 2,000 places for allocation. In 2012, 1259 Bucks resident state school children qualified. The vast majority of those will have accepted their GS offers, so they alone make up more than 60% of the GS population. There will then be a large cohort of OoC state school children to add to that. Nothing like 51% of places going to Indie children.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:04 am 
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I stand corrected, that is actually very helpful to know. I can rest assured that my DC has slightly more of a chance. I have been comparing her to all of our friends and family who go to indies and the quality of the teaching and the level they are working at is much higher.
I stand by what I said about the less affluent children having less of a chance though. I think the only way to make a level playing field for the less affluent is to off free tuition. Then the children who are prepared to work hard would have a chance, after all that is really what the exam is about, finding the children who are prepared to work. Even with free tuition the playing field wouldn't be level though as many of the free school lunch mums may not have very high aspirations for their children in the first place.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:38 am 
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So do I gather from the rather hazy Daily Mail article that there has been some change to the Admissions Code of Practice and that some grammar schools are planning on changing their admissions policies accordingly?

It all sounds as though it might not help anyhow .... they are not going to be allowed in unless they pass I would have thought (and pass / test entry rate does seem lower in FSM category) and then if they do pass, unless they live close to the grammar there's possibly the cost of getting there. And how many schools are going to put this into their admissions policy? Or have local authorities been given the power to direct a school to take a FSM child?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
Pates in Gloucestershire has a variation of this. They have a PAN of 120, and candidates need to rank in the top 180 to be deemed as qualified.

Within that 180, the priority for places is
• any ‘looked-after’ children in the list of 180 qualifying children
• any of the 180 who, at Registration, qualify for the Pupil Premium (which I think is that they received free school meals at any time in the last 6 years)
and then
• test rank order (with distance to split ties)

So yes they still have to pass, but maybe not pass quite as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:27 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Tinkus-Pinkus wrote:
I stand corrected, that is actually very helpful to know.

Good. Sorry about the grumpy post. I am not at my best at 7am! :oops:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:02 am 
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Sounds like a great idea but I think extending grammar schools or allowing successful foundations to open new ones would be a better idea .Grammar schools are very successful academic institutions and in a year where the overall pass rates for exams were down, most grammar schools record a rise, some as much as 10% rise in A' levels A*-B .


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:12 am 
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peter5 wrote:
Sounds like a great idea but I think extending grammar schools or allowing successful foundations to open new ones would be a better idea .Grammar schools are very successful academic institutions and in a year where the overall pass rates for exams were down, most grammar schools record a rise, some as much as 10% rise in A' levels A*-B .

The fall in grades was entirely accounted for by children sitting exams early, usually in Year 10. There was a rise in performance across the board for those sitting exams when they were supposed to, in Year 11. Not jst in grammar schools.

If you increase the numbers of grammar schools, what happens to the children who don't get into one?


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