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 Post subject: A question for you all
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 10:49 am 
I found this forum by accident, I was looking for my school's website, and I have some questions which you may be able to answer. Firstly, I will explain who I am. I am PGCE student, on placement in a grammar school, and have also completed a placement in a "tough" comprehensive school. I believe that every child should have the opportunity of a decent education, and every child should be able to succeed, and I am not that enamoured with the idea of grammar schools, so my questions are:

1) I do not doubt that you want the best for your children, all parents do, but why go to all of the bother of appealing, which is obviously a stressful thing to do, merely to get them into a grammar school? Are they not able to achieve in "state" schools. As a teacher (or soon to be teacher - I have a job in september) I have seen that expectations of children at both selective and non selective schools as being equally high - but why should some children be afforded a supposedly better education at the expense of those that do not pass, or do not take the 11+? Surely this creates a two tier society? Those that pass the exam are afforded a life of wealth and pleasure, and those that dont are not in "the club". What is wrong with the local comp - I went to one, and went on to Uni, and an now a teacher - it never did me any harm, and I was bright as a child, and was turned down from the local grammar school - but at the time felt it was my parents that wanted me to go - I wanted the local comp because all my mates went there - it did not hold me back though!

2) If you are so concerned with the state of the nations schools, and are worried that such schools would fail children, why not try to improve standards for all children, rather than just your own. This is something I find quite selfish - as long as little Johnny gets a good education, I am not bothered about the rest of the children in the country! I have seen a great deal of good teaching in the "state sector", and in terms of behaviour grammar schools have their own problems to deal with, they are not the havens of decency and good manners they are percieved to be. I got into teaching to raise asirations across the board, not just for the selct few

I am what might be called a "loony lefty" but am genuinley interested in your ideas, and in finding out what motivates you to get your kids into "better schools" above "state schools". Kids are kids at the end of the day, and not all do well in grammar schools - to a certain extent they are worked and worked, and moulded into "exam robots".

Perhaps this is a relfection on the unequal status of society, and to a certain extent shows how the "old boys network" still exists in some parts of the country, and the perception that a grammar school education is a passport to wealth and success.

I would be interested to hear in what you all have to say on this, and I am not trying to be confrontational, so please dont take me as such.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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I am also a teacher - and have been for many years. I taught in a totally comprehensive LA for many years but there was STILL selection by who could afford to buy the houses in the catchment of the best schools!!

No-one is denying there is good teaching in ALL schools but there is also poor teaching - would you want your child in a school in 'special measures' or a 'notice to improve' ?

I think your anger would be better directed at Private schools - if politicians had to send their children to the same schools as most of us do that would mean a greater incentive to all schools improve!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:15 am 
A question for you teacher77. While I am inclined to agree that there is good teaching in both grammar and comp. The reason I do not want my daughter to go to a comprehensive is because of a large minority who are for want of a better word "lumpen" (if you are a marxist as you claim you will know what I mean).

My daughter is white, has a posh accent and a stammer - she would not survive two seconds at any of the comps round me without being harassed and bullied. I often sit on the bus listening to the racist, anti semitic and grossly sexist comments being spouted from foul mouthed and aggressive 11 and 12 year olds. I have seen some of these kids openly smoking cannabis and showing off illegal weapons on the same bus route. Would I be happy sending my daughter to mix with such people - no!

What would you do in my position?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:40 am 
Teacher 77

I am in North London where there are five selective/grammar schools and quite a number of private schools. Ideally, I would like my children to be at their local comprehensive with local friends benefiting from a good strong local community. However, the creaming off of the able children into the selective and private schools means the local comprehensives do not cater for the more able child. The local comprehensives have adapted themselves to the needs of an intake which is not truely comprehensive. This is clear when you look especially at the teacher assessments for key stage 3, the teaching is restricted to lower levels of achievement and at GCSE level teachers are not completing the syllabus even in the top groups. I have chosen to send my children to the selective schools in this area only because successive governments are just not willing to address the issue properly. In this area the only way to make things fair would be to get rid of selection.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:23 pm
Posts: 452
Location: Hop County
Anonymous wrote:
A question for you teacher77. While I am inclined to agree that there is good teaching in both grammar and comp. The reason I do not want my daughter to go to a comprehensive is because of a large minority who are for want of a better word "lumpen" (if you are a marxist as you claim you will know what I mean).

My daughter is white, has a posh accent and a stammer - she would not survive two seconds at any of the comps round me without being harassed and bullied. I often sit on the bus listening to the racist, anti semitic and grossly sexist comments being spouted from foul mouthed and aggressive 11 and 12 year olds. I have seen some of these kids openly smoking cannabis and showing off illegal weapons on the same bus route. Would I be happy sending my daughter to mix with such people - no!

What would you do in my position?



Dear Teacher77,

Not sure where the Guest quoted above lives but sounds pretty similar to where we are.

Whilst I agree with most of your sentiments Teacher77 I really have to concur with Guest55 - have a pop at the private schools and our politicians of both parties who are not prepared to send their children to state schools. If it is not good enough for them why shouldn't we want better too. I do agree that if the state schools were more mixed with children of all abilities then perhaps the standard would improve but I am not prepared to put my child in that experiment just now - sorry I'm selfish hands up - but I'm a parent first, second and last.

I also find it unpalatable that some politicans wish to remove the grammar option but will happily duck out of the state system themselves and send their child to private school. You may have read Diane Abbots' comments a few years back when she was roundly pilloried for sending her son to a private school - guess what? She suddenly became a 'parent' first then a politician.

There are some very good comps near where we live (just not near enough I'm afraid) and I am (whilst a product of a grammar education) completely behind comps. But first and foremost the school must give a good education and good experience of the education system in terms of motivated teachers and pupils. No one wants an exam robot - I wasn't, I seem to remember spending all my time on the sports field but came out with my 10 O's and 3As (showing my age now).

I really do want Utopia but cannot see it happening in my lifetime.

Thanks for posting.

TM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:29 pm
Posts: 2049
Location: Wirral
Quote:
but why go to all of the bother of appealing, which is obviously a stressful thing to do, merely to get them into a grammar school?


Because sometimes the exam doesn't reflect that child’s true potential, why should consistently good work throughout all of your schooling be reflected in 1 exam?
What happens to the child who has always been the brightest child in their class, when others (less able) pass and "Johnny" didn't because of huge mitigating circumstances that he had no control over.

Your looking at it from a very one sided view indeed.
The "system" recognises these issues and therefore allows appeals on this basis.

If you had in fact read other bits on this forum you will see that is isn't necessarily the child who has to appeal who struggles.

Quote:
I was bright as a child, and was turned down from the local grammar school - but at the time felt it was my parents that wanted me to go - I wanted the local comp because all my mates went there - it did not hold me back though!


As for that comment, that is your personnel view and not that of hundreds of other children.
My child was so devastated that she didn't make the grade that she collapsed onto the floor in tears. This is a child who wanted to go to this school regardless that none of her friends were going there.

You as someone who is training to be a teacher should know all children are different and they shouldn't be made to conform to fit in a box. I for one believe parents know what's best for their child as nobody knows them better than we do.

Doing away with grammar schools would in my opinion not make a level playing field because you would still have private schools.
Would one type of education for the poor and one for the rich be any fairer?

AM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:53 am 
to answer your post guest - I do agree that there are unsavoury elements in some schools, but also think that we should teach our children about the bad as well as good in society, and they should to a certain extent, not be wrapped up in cotton wool. I am not advocating day trips to crack dens mind you, I just think that we should not shut ourselves away from the bad we see, due to fear of being corrupted by it.

Granted that a posh accent and stammer would make someone more likely to be bullied, (especially where I come from) but I also believe that we should not live our lives, or our childrens lives in fear of this. The bullies are the problem, not their victims. I too sit on the bus and listen to anti semitic, racist and sexist talk, but from adults mainly and not children. This should always be tackled in any walk of life, and I believe that if children are not "taught" to tackle it, it is more likey to go unchallenged. If they never encounter it, how can they challenge it? Anyway, I digress. Not sure if those to whom you refer would be happy being called lumpen though. This is not thier fault, surely, but a relfection of a bad education?

Guest55 - I agree about private schools! also I would not want to send my child to a school in special measures, but not all schools are. So okay in areas where its special measures or grammar, its a no-brainer, but in areas where there is plenty of good schools but the grammar school is, shall we say more "middle class" then its a tough call - for me at least.

Thanks for your replies so far.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8199
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Teacher77

I am in a rush, so I can't answer all your points, so I will just post one point that is relevant in our case.

My son is designated G&T at Science, and his teacher feels that he has a particular aptitude for Physics. The local grammar schools all offer three separate sciences, as well as "Double Science", at GCSE and three separate Sciences at A Level.

Neither of our local Upper Schools offers Physics at GCSE, and in one case they do not offer any science at A level. At the better of the two schools the highest GCSE score at single science was a C, and one third of those taking single science failed at GCSE.

Hence my determination to get a place for my son at a GS - it is the only place where he is will get the chance to fulfil his potential.

Just one other small point: much as I would love to see every child in this country receive a good education, teaching is a vocation, and not one that I am called to. Other than by voting for the party that I personally believe will improve education for all or becoming a politician (which appeals to me even less than teaching!), I find it hard to see what else I should be doing to improve standards of schooling. Your suggestions are very welcome! :)

Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 12:10 pm 
Quote:
Quote:
but why go to all of the bother of appealing, which is obviously a stressful thing to do, merely to get them into a grammar school?


Because sometimes the exam doesn't reflect that child’s true potential, why should consistently good work throughout all of your schooling be reflected in 1 exam?
What happens to the child who has always been the brightest child in their class, when others (less able) pass and "Johnny" didn't because of huge mitigating circumstances that he had no control over.

Your looking at it from a very one sided view indeed.
The "system" recognises these issues and therefore allows appeals on this basis.


I agree with what you say, but you missed my point a little. I was making the point that given that children are able to get a good education in the state sector (in most cases) why bust a gut to get them into the grammar school? I cant help but think there is a bit of social status in this. I might be being unfair here, so dont pay too much heed to that comment!

My opinions on the subject are still being formed, and working in a grammar school as I do, I am yet to be convinved either way. My head says they are a good thing, but my heart says otherwise. I firmly believe in Utopia as well, but the question is at what cost. Would an able child not do well at state school? I think they would. From my own experience, friends of mine at state school got straight As at GCSE and A level, although this was not the norm for my year or school really.

Also, I am being trained to be a teacher - but being taught to teach all kids, from the most to the least able, and not to work in a particular type of school, so one could assume that all teachers are taught in the same way, so begs the question - what makes some schools "bad" and some "good"?


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:07 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Finchley - Barnet
Quote:

1) I do not doubt that you want the best for your children, all parents do, but why go to all of the bother of appealing, which is obviously a stressful thing to do, merely to get them into a grammar school? Are they not able to achieve in "state" schools. As a teacher (or soon to be teacher - I have a job in september) I have seen that expectations of children at both selective and non selective schools as being equally high - but why should some children be afforded a supposedly better education at the expense of those that do not pass, or do not take the 11+? Surely this creates a two tier society? Those that pass the exam are afforded a life of wealth and pleasure, and those that dont are not in "the club". What is wrong with the local comp - I went to one, and went on to Uni, and an now a teacher - it never did me any harm, and I was bright as a child, and was turned down from the local grammar school - but at the time felt it was my parents that wanted me to go - I wanted the local comp because all my mates went there - it did not hold me back though!



I respect the sentiment behind your comments but the above quote is self conflicting. Why can it be a two tier education, given that going to a comprehensive never did you any harm by your own admission? Why is it a closed club of wealth & pleasure when obviously you have a pleasurable life as well (forget the wealth, I know that teachers are not well paid!). Are you sure you are not mixing grammars with independents?

My child passed outright without an appeal, but I fully share the sentiments of TM and AM here. Sometimes justice to a child is not done either because of the particular day or because of the familiy/other circumstances surrounding the particular day. As has been mentioned above, at the end of the day one has to be a parent both first and last. The sentiment is also shared by our politicans who have two personas, their professional one, and their parental one. And so do all of us!

_________________
sj355


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