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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:33 pm
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Location: Bucks
This may already have appeared on the news radar, but recently there was an interesting brief/counterbrief between the National Grammar Schools Assocation and Grammar Schools Heads Association. Apparently the latter have been discussing "dumbing down" selection tests (to make the schools more socially inclusive) and values added with the DCSF...

NGSA: http://www.ngsa.org.uk/news-2009-04.php

GSHA: http://www.gsha.org.uk/GSHA/Work%20of%20GSHA.pdf


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:06 am 
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Okay can someone explain to me how an Acadamy school differs from a Comprehensive school in simple terms?

My understanding was that they are an American phenonima brought about by the combining of high schools. A program I watched seemed to suggest they were a failure because they are simply too big therefore putting the socially disadvantaged at even more of a disadvantage.

I agree with the gsha that the present testing systems are disadvantagous to many bright children but the biggest problem in Fenton's area is not the test itself but the opt in system that Gloucestershire have. You can fiddle with the test as much as you like but part of the problem with being socially disadvantaged is having parents who won't for any number of reasons put their child in for the test.

Ultimately though ngsa is right the system is biased. There is much unrest in the Bexley and Kent forums at the moment and the basic problem is the same for every one whether in county or out, they all want more Grammar schools not less.

Therefore only by proividing more places and allowing state schools to promote them when appropriate is there any hope of getting those children being targetted by the gsha into Grammer schools.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:40 pm 
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maybe the schools aren't too interested in providing the opportunities for the "socially disadvantaged"? If they are already over-subscribed to with 7 people seeking each place, why chase after children in families where the support is not there? I imagine it's easier for them to have children with parents switched on enough to find out what's going on and nurture their child and who will, therefore, presumably be more useful to the child and the school??
I'm well aware that this is not a pc view and it's not necessarily my view (!) but it's a position which might have a grain of truth in it none the less.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:53 pm 
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Can anyone actually define "socially disadvantaged" - in words which mean something because I really do not understand who these people are. Thank you


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:57 pm 
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oh come on magwich2, I'm sure we all know what we mean but are far too pc to say.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:04 pm 
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I genuinely do not know but do feel free to say - you probably know my views on political correctness.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:34 pm 
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I actually don't particularly like the term but struggle to come up with one that describes these children adequately. I do however feel suprised that you do not have an awareness that there are children who because of their home enviroment do not have the same advantages your DC have Magwitch.

I am talking about homes where there is a lack of educational facilitation. Where children do not have access to books. School reading books if they are returned are unread. Homes where school is not seen as important so truancy is rife childen dropped off just in time to eat their free school meal. Children in social service care who do not have a stable homelife and move through many different schools and homes.

...need I go on?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:04 pm 
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I think Tolstoy describes the indicators of "social disadvantage" very well.
There are many children who match this description and amongst them you do , sometimes, find a bright child, eager to learn. I have friends who teach reception who say that about third of the class will come to school unable to hold a book correctly and follow the right direction of text/pages.

I have only ever taught in secondary and post 16.In the days ( a few years ago only) when I had the time to volunteer in my children's primary school, there were plenty of children who never got read to/with at home. Week after week I would change their book and their reading log would be empty of comment or interest from home. :(


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:06 pm
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Location: Herts
I was talking to a mother the other day - her child is very bright, and she's putting him in for the grammar school test, because he wanted to have a go.

She told me she had put the grammar school third in the ranking (out of three) on the admissions form. This was because she thought (wrongly) that if he passed the exam, he'd get a place anyway.

She ranked the local comprehensive first, as she also thought that if she put it second, he wouldn't get a place there.

I explained that she should have put the grammar first, as if he passed the exam, he would still be allocated the comprehensive in preference. It clearly explains in the admissions booklet. However, this parent still didn't understand what I was telling her.

Her child is clearly disadvantaged. I also doubt he had any coaching. It doesn't seem fair, as it's a nice family with a bright child who will have failed to get into the grammar before even sitting the test.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:00 pm 
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I am obviously aware that many children have a very poor start in life - but I just wondered how people define "socially disadvantaged". It seems to me that the appalling home life described by other posters could more accurately be described as "having unfit parents".
I also think that after 6 or more years of full timeeducation these children should have lost some of their initial disadvantages and should not have any further allowances made for them when it comes to secondary school selection.
Don't get me wrong - I feel very sorry for any child from such a poor home but we do no-one any favours by calling their useless parents by some nice euphemism and making excuses for their lousy parenting


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