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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:17 pm 
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Why do we all want our children to go to Grammar Schools?

What is meant by "you need to think carefully whether a grammar school is suitable for your child?" If they pass the exam, isn't this evidence enough? Aren't the majority of children "crammed"? If a child is outstanding in maths and reasoning questions, but weak in English (just scrapping SATS Level 4 instead of SATS Level 5 in English because he/she has attended a primary school with inadequate teaching, doesn't that child deserve a place at a grammar school? Surely, any child who can achieve targets will be able to improve their "weak subject" if they spend enough time on it......)

Can't grammar schools bring "weaker children" up to standard?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:28 pm 
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TheDirector wrote:
Can't grammar schools bring "weaker children" up to standard?


i would say yes but of course this would depend on why they are weak in an area - if it is purely bad teaching but the child is generally motivated, hard working and has a questioning mind then grammar would probably be a place to were the dc's weaker subject would improve. If the child just "dosnt get it" and the teaching has been good, or if the child isnt interested in working/attitude wrong, then grammar may not be the right place and may make the child miserable.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:31 pm 
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Hi Thedirector..and welcome to the forum. Interesting topic! I suppose it is all relative..

Yes - some of us are dire at english but excelled at maths and reasoning - me for example ... 2nd year junior results Maths 99% english 45%, used to do reasoning for fun. Did it matter? - well actually no not really because the english was all relative and ultimately good enough and leagues better than many of the rest of the class.

When it comes to GS and the question of can a weaker child be brought up to standard - it really depends how weak - there is a normal distribution and the GS takes the top 15-28% ... OK if they start going down to 50%, they may be able to help some more kids but below that? I really don't know. Also is it fair to have a child at 50% who hates lessons at GS because they simply cannot keep up... just being surrounded by bright kids doesn't magically improve the grades of all the kids.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Herman you are right - keeping up, or having the ability to keep up, is just as important. Nothing can be worse for a child's morale than to feel that they are floundering.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:26 am 
in some cases the parent(s) has the desire for Grammar school more than their DC. Maybe they dd not get in when they were young. Another possible cause why so many sit the test in Brum area for instance.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:59 am 
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no_ball wrote:
in some cases the parent(s) has the desire for Grammar school more than their DC. Maybe they dd not get in when they were young. Another possible cause why so many sit the test in Brum area for instance.


I am sure that this right. I was one of those (though father got into GS and could not afford to go - pre 1944 it was not always possible). However DH & I, having done the GS / Direct Grant route then High League Universities, want the same for our kids (hard to better it - especially with the amount of political control of schools these days :wink: ).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:09 am 
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Many thanks for your insights. Difficult decision (particularly given a medical condition my son suffers with). He has ENJOYED (and thrived) being alongside a group of children preparing for 11+ exams. An excellent mathematician (outperformed the brightest kids in the area in a recent test) and good a verbal reasoning. English is weak (partly explained by medical health condition and the fact that he simply hasn't read enough (sporting commitments at a national level)), but I feel that if he works at his English over the next two and a half years he shouldn't flounder too much at grammar school. Just make reading enjoyable! Maybe I'm being too optimistic.

NOT an easy decision. Reports of local comprehensive are mixed. He wants good teaching and good learning environment. Small private school would be the best for him, but not best for my wallet!!!!!!! So what does one do?

I regret to say that I'm probably in a minority on this board because I don't attach much weight to "natural talent". Those who do might wish to read "Bounce" by Matthew Syed :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:18 am 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I do know of children in grammar with low CAT scores for English. The grammars usually provide extra help for those who need it. Some children have a private tutor to help. This is the same with maths too. Those at the low end of one subject often pass the 11+ through their ability in the other subjects. Grammar schools are used to children being weaker in one or two areas and provide support where necessary as is required of any school.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:31 am 
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TheDirector wrote:

I regret to say that I'm probably in a minority on this board because I don't attach much weight to "natural talent". Those who do might wish to read "Bounce" by Matthew Syed :wink:



Syed tends to ascribe to a recurrent PC view that "we are all the same" ... we are not and clearly he has much innate talent.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:39 am 
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Interesting. I played against Syed as a youngster. Don't believe he was that talented, but he worked at it. However, he certainly wasn't totally without talent. I think the one flaw in his book is where he mentions his teacher (Peter Charters) inviting a few who could play a bit down to the local club. I suspect this was some type of talent identification. I think Peter Charters is an advocate of talent ID.

HOWEVER, if you read "Bounce" the evidence seems fairly compelling to me.


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