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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:49 pm 
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This thread has been opened specifically for discussion of the 2nd part of the programme being broadcast tonight at 8pm.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:32 pm 
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Just heard a report on 11plus on PM on Radio 4 which was by the same guy producing the full programme I believe. It had a rather sweet clip from the Year 7's first day at John Hampden and a nice boy chatting from Chesham High but otherwise it seemed to be the usual 'grammar schools are being swamped by middle class parents who willfully insist on preparing their kids for the exam'. I think it's a facile argument. I wouldn't dream of sending either of my DC's into any situation that matters without 'preparing' them be it the eleven plus or making them clean their teeth before going to the dentist! And I'll probably give them a few hours practice in a couple or so years for their driving tests. You either are that kind of parent or you aren't and it isn't always about socio-economics. But that's a debate we've had many time on here so I'll shut up now.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:35 pm 
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I am going to listen to it on i-player.

Vaguely heard the run-up on the today programme this morning


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:38 pm 
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Gosh - a whole hour and no comments! Is everybody sulking because we locked the other thread? :lol:

Personally I was very concerned about the comments by Marion Clayton from Bucks CC. She stated that there was "no evidence to suggest that further practice [beyond the current official familiarisation process] will make a significant difference". Bucks CC have admitted that this is not true, so even skilful editing cannot acccount for the difference between her statement here and the wording in the Admissions brochure where they admit that additional practice can make a difference.

The people who most impressed me were the Heads interviewed in the programme.

Phil Wayne from CHS suggested that the way forward was to reach out to local schools to become more inclusive.

The Head from John Hampden GS said that his objectives for the system would be to achieve the best exam results by children from all backgrounds, and to use testing to identify potential, rather than use tests that can be answered from gained experience.

My vote for the worst contribution goes to the academic - Dr Brendan Bunting - whose view was (from my brief notes) that "if we can't find a 100% fair way of selecting for Grammar schools, let's not select at all.".

I was also not impressed with some views from the chap called Rob Coe, who has worked on a report for the Sutton Trust, who I believe said almost exactly this:

"A VR test will give good GCSE results in 5 years time; other tests will include more children who receive free school meals."

Please correct me if I am wrong, and I will try to find the exact wording, but it was the most extraordinary comment to make!! It really added nothing to the debate. Again, editing may have created the wrong impression, but it didn't come across as reasoned or sensible.

I was also not hugely impressed with the quasi-scientific experiment that the producers arranged at a couple of schools in Nantwich. I feel that could have been done so much better.

I am going to beetle off and find the results of the parent survey, which are apparently on the Beeb website.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:42 pm 
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Well, here they are. I haven't had time to look through them yet, but the Beeb approached all 164 GSs in Enlgand. 26 schools agreed to support the survey, and 544 parents completed questionnaires..

https://darkstar.surveys.com/public/ViewReport.aspx?3467797D0D0F02070813637D740B05%5eZ1496754374


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:46 pm 
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If you missed it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... Episode_2/


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Sally-Anne wrote:
I was also not impressed with some views from the chap called Rob Coe, who has worked on a report for the Sutton Trust, who I believe said almost exactly this:

"A VR test will give good GCSE results in 5 years time; other tests will include more children who receive free school meals."

Please correct me if I am wrong, and I will try to find the exact wording, but it was the most extraordinary comment to make!! It really added nothing to the debate. Again, editing may have created the wrong impression, but it didn't come across as reasoned or sensible.


I picked up on this point too - Was actually the only thing I made a note of to mention here (the rest was fairly predictable). Having ruminated for an hour :lol: I have come to the conclusion that he meant that children who passed through ability and tutoring are more likely to achieve good results because of the advantages they receive from parental support. My DD's GS goes to great lengths to point out to us that we (parents) have an important role to play in our daughters' successful education. Children without this parental support are likely to do less well... (should I duck??)

Sally-Anne wrote:
I was also not hugely impressed with the quasi-scientific experiment that the producers arranged at a couple of schools in Nantwich. I feel that could have been done so much better.


I wasn't listening very carefully at this point (pulling two screaming children apart) but it seemed ridiculous to me. They gave the children these papers with no familiarisation at all? That is not what will happen in the exam... However, their scores did seem very low, even for complete novices :?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:55 pm 
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I don't think that the programme is having a go at anyone in particular. The selection process is clearly flawed if the intention is to select inate ability.

The exam set by the grammar schools has as much chance of selecting the best pupils as the Olympic selection comittee have of selecting the best athletes without an anti-doping test. Pay a tutor £1500 for a 40% boost in your performance is like an athlete on Stanozolol getting a team place instead of a clean athlete with more talent.

Home tutoring can be just as effective, and a bright parent with plenty of free time could deliver an even more effective tutoring programme than a pro tutor.

When I took my 11+ I had no tutoring and nor did any of my classmates, but it seems that in Bucks these days there are adverts galore for private tutors.

The tutors obviously benefit, but who loses? It is those children who get no tutoring through no fault of there own who are put at a disadvantage in the exam by up to 30% due to having no preparation other then the standard 3 hours provided in their primary school.

The end result is that the best group of pupils are not selected and some more able pupils are sent to the local comprehensive where they will not have their ability stretched. I use the word comprehensive but secondary-modern would be a better term for schools that have had the more able pupils deselected by the 11+ system. The grammar schools end up with some pupils that are unable to cope and they slowly drag the quality of education down. The selection process is sending pupils to the wrong schools.

What is needed is a new selection system, perhaps where there is no opportunity for preparation. Applicants need to be tested blind to the test if it is to work as hoped. Alternatively primary schools should provide intensive tutoring and then the playing field would be a little more level.

At the moment the playing field certainly favours those who have had tutoring, and that means that they have come from homes that have the time and/or the money to do it.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:05 pm 
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One of the main arguments against VR tests was that the type of children getting good marks were not representative of all children sitting the test? Is this not true of all tests in the education system? Surely middle class children are more likely to pass SATs, GCSEs, A levels, meet early learning goals and so on.

I think it would be more useful to know (if we want to make judgements about the value and fairness of VR) if VR results are more or less correlated with socio-economic status than SATs are.

It would also have been more interesting if the Cheshire school (where the children had never done VR before) had let all the children sit the VR test and not just the allegedly bright ones. It could be that some children who are doing poorly under a SATs based system are very able when measured by a VR test, as SATs results seem to be highly connected to coaching in schools.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:06 pm 
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Apial wrote:
The end result is that the best pupils are not selected

Gosh, this is a bit strong and sweeping.

Apial wrote:
The grammar schools end up with pupils that are unable to cope and they slowly drag the quality of education down.

Um... I think the evidence is actually to the contrary.

Apial wrote:
What is needed is a new selection system, perhaps where there is no opportunity for preparation.

I honestly don't think this is possible. At least the current NfER system is known and accessible to all (for a small cost from high street stores).

Apial wrote:
Alternatively primary schools should provide intensive tutoring and then the playing field would be a little more level.

Now this is an excellent suggestion, although we wouldn't want it to take time away from teaching the NC :(


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