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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:48 pm 
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/5733262/Grammar-schools-should-favour-the-poor.html

I thought this might be of interest.

Instead of working I have been browsing the internet!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:26 pm 
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Location: caversham
Quote:
The GSHA, which was only formed last month
...

Quote:
Nick Seaton, an executive member of the National Grammar Schools Association, set up more than 30 years ago to protect selective education, said: "It is nonsense really. The standards for entry should be based on objective knowledge or ability, not whether pupils come from a wealthy or poor home. It is very dangerous to start going down the social engineering path. We need more grammar schools and more places to satisfy demand."


Hmmmmm?

steve


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:58 pm 
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I find this article very interesting as it is my guess ( would love to know the actual statistics as have been pondering it for a while) that out of all the grammar schools in Gloucester Pates possibly has the highest proportion of tutored or prep school educated children because of the extremelly high score that has to be achieved to get in.

This means many Cheltenham children are deprived of a grammar school place unless their parents can afford to bus them to the grammars in Gloucester or Stroud. At around £80 a month per child that is quite a large chunk of cash for families on low incomes.

So yes we do need more Grammar schools but I also feel we should return to the system where you sat the test and then are given a place at the nearest appropriate school.

I am really uncomfortable with the way these superselectives work in that they take the highest scorers regardless of where they live taking places from bright children who can't afford to travel to grammar schools that are further afield. Something Mr Fenton is himself guilty of at his own school where I have been told he encourages parents of children with high scores to turn down offers at other grammars in favour of his own school.

If his policy was put into place at Pates then it may well help children from socially deprived homes to get into the grammar school and give them the education they deserve. However other local children just as academic would then be penalised because their parents have an income but not enough of income to afford intensive tuition, prep schools or extortionate bus fees.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:22 am 
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The number of previously privately educated children attending Pate's has increased massively over the years.

I applaud Mr Fenton's stance but find it very hard to believe there is going to be a significant change.

No-one is going to stop privately tutoring their children, should they want to.

The only thing that would make a difference would be if ALL children were tutored up to the same level, ie ALL children in ALL primary schools were given lessons in 'how to do VR' or something like that. However, my personal opinion is that most ordinary state primary schools Heads do not 'approve' of selective education, therefore won't give any encouragement.

Until that mindset is changed, the chances of a seriously bright but disadvantaged pupil getting a place at Pate's is pretty low when in competition with the averagely bright child who has been tutored. Very depressing. It doesn't do the school any favours in the long run either.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:31 pm 
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The problem is that state schools are not allowed to prepare children for Grammar, they are not even allowed to suggest it as an option regardless of the heads own personal beliefs. They only come into play when it comes to appeals.

I totally agree mum3 that primary schools are the only places where children can be placed on an equal footing. This is what happened in my state school when I was younger, we were regularly given the sort of tests that we would meet in our 11+ and we kind of knew in advance who would go to Grammar and who wouldn't through the results we were getting.

Unfortunately the grammar schools are no longer there to teach the numbers of children who would benifit from their particular strengths. So it is in the county councils interest to keep them quiet and inaccessable to the vast majority.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:48 pm 
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Location: Gloucester
I know that Pates has links with local schools in "deprived areas".Children who are thought to have the ability to go to Pates(by their primary school) then have a series of lessons and visits at Pates-although what these entail I am not sure!

GM


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:05 pm 
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As well as having two children at Pates, I also am aware of the sort of "lessons" bright but disadvantaged kids get through Pates itself, as I work in a local primary school.

The children are collected from local primaries, and then receive enrichment sessions one afternoon per week, in a dedicated room sponsored by the Sutton trust.

These lessons are not linked to VR in any way, they are project related and, in my opinion would not help a bright local child gain a place.

Although an admirable idea, I really see little benefit to the kids themselves.The children from the school I work in never pass the test although a few always sit it.The parents could not afford to tutor, and many could not see the benefit of their child going there anyway.

I think it may be a PR exersize, to show links to the local area in a concrete way.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:54 pm 
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Quote "Mr Fenton told the the Times Educational Supplement that new tests could be designed to assess pupils' longer-term academic potentially, rather than their ability to recall facts in a one-off exam."

I don't know the details of the entrance exam for Pates but I believe it's like most others - VR etc. which is anything but a test of recall of facts. Disturbing that the head of one of the country's top grammars doesn't seem to know how pupils are selected for his school.

I'm sure Pate's attracts a lot of middle and upper middle class parents but then it is in leafy Cheltenham. At my daughter's school here in the Midlands most of the girls seem to be from lower middle class families, with about a third from ethnic minorities.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:29 am 
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Resmum, yes I thought that too about the exam!!! I wonder if he did actually say that (or a bit of creative reporting), but it couldn't be further from the truth.

Tutoring for the entrance test gives the candidates an edge with speed and technique, and also 'familiarity' with the type of questions.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:06 pm 
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mum3 wrote
Quote:
Tutoring for the entrance test gives the candidates an edge with speed and technique, and also 'familiarity' with the type of questions.[code]


The thing is that when the score required to get into some of these superselectives is so high the margin of error for not finishing the papers or being careless is next to zero. This puts children who have had little or no practice at a distinct disadvantage.

There is also the fact that children from educationally deprived homes will probably lack the vocabulary necessary. They tend to read less and have limited access to the sort of books that will expand their vocab. The variety of language used in the home may well be limited. This is why a VR test alone is not enough.

Proudmumx2, I assume that when working with local children Pates is not allowed to do any VR preparation with them as it would be grossly unfair on children who do not fall under their umbrella. But I agree that there is also a p.r element.

PMx2 wrote
Quote:
and many could not see the benefit of their child going there anyway
.

This is a serious problem in areas like Gloucestershire where the 11+ is optional and I think is as much a reason for the low numbers of deprived children attending the grammars as excessive tutoring.

What I can't understand is that in counties like Gloucestershire where they CAT test the children in y5 why can't they use these tests as a guide? I believe they test more than VR during a CAT test and if you appeal these are the sort of things that are looked at for proof of ability.


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