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Yo, someone explain the arguments for and against them for me plz. Never really understood why they're so polarising.
so someone explain that as well please
Which sounds sort of meritocratic (if you're comfortable with the idea of segregating pre-teens based on intellectual abilities) but in practice means wealthy parents tutor their children and game the system to ensure their kids gets places, meaning they're segregated by class as much as by brains.
Chance for intellectually gifted street urchins to get a better education and lift them out of the rut of manual labour, rickets and bleak urban despair.
Cheap alternative to private schools for poshos. Send your kids to prep school, whack a bit of private tuition in, then get a "free" education for them. Wicked!
But in the real world it's probably all a bit wide-eyed-optimism to think that the intellectually gifted street urchins actually do get places innit.
left school at 14 or so to work down the mines. There's a nasty implication in the grammar school system that if you're making a 'better' selective stream of education then everyone else gets left in the bin. They should just make comprehensive education one louder.
some children shine at 11 and then stall completely, while others are late bloomers, haven't had good opportunities yet, or just aren't very good at exams.
I shone at 11, then stalled completely and then was a late bloomer. However my shining at 11 was in a state primary school, my late blooming was in a state comprehensive, whereas my stalling completely happened at grammar school.
Fucking hate grammar schools.
It definitely wasn't anywhere near all kids from comfortably off middle-class families.
They were pretty rough as well!
Because they're just kids and shouldn't be introduced to competition so early, also disproportionately damages the education of kids who haven't had the best start in life.
Have you seen a six month old behave for attention between its parents? Being competitve is an essential survival skill. Psychjoligsts reckon by age 3.5/ 4, a child is eseentially programmed to compete.
I don't think competition per se is the problem, and if it was, it's like trying to push water uphill trying to fight against that one. I think I see it is a neutral thing, and it's the way it is consequences are dealt with that can be good or bad.
I agree with streaming in education, and testing for those purposes, because I think everybody should be taught at a level that challenges but doesn't leave them behind. enouraging children to 'compete' in the sense of doing well in a test is good if it's to ensure they are placed into a system that meets their needs. It shouldn't be about being
I don't know enough about the neglish syetm I guess, but certainly in Scotland, any competiiveness is kind of seen as 'for your own good' to ensure that you get put in a class that works for you.
tats said, our state system is single tiered (no distinction between comps and grammars) and while there are 'good' schools, there are to my mind very few 'bad' schools, and the system seems pretty exemplary. I've never understood why England don't just copy it.
And it's cool that Scotland attempts to.
Knowledge should challenge but unless you give people (even children) the freedom to explore what they want in the ways they want you end up with the kind of fucked up presumed-meritocracy system we've got now that considers none of a students wider contexts. It's not a level playing field to being with, and it's how we end up with thick but privelleged people in high positions.
but basically the omission was- it shouldn't be about being rewarded for being 'clever' or punished for being 'stupid', and that marks you as 'clever enough for grammar' or 'not' and takes your child away from friends they have made up until that point.
but that means allowing kids the ability to move up/down into a different stream if it turns out they're doing exceptionally well or struggling in their class. I'm not convinced that pigeonholing them from 11-18 in the way the Grammar/Comprehensive split does is a particularly good way of doing it.
I mean, they presumably teach more than grammar there don't they!?
how anyone actually arrives at an `evidence-based` position on this subject. Probably best to defer to your ideological biases and think about it that way.
My feeling is that there isn't really much point in them. As a general rule, wealthier parents will always be able to get their children into better schools. Grammar schools aren't some magical way of solving this problem, no matter how sound the meritocratic element of them sounds in principle.
...due to the first new one in 50 years opening, in my home town coincidentally:
I went to a grammar school, so obviously my opinion will be framed somewhat by my own experience, but back in the 80s/90s it seemed to be a decent tripartite system between comprehensives, grammars and privates (not dissimilar to the German system). That said, there was a critical mass of grammar schools back then (Kent is about the only place that still has a high density of them to this day) which meant that grammar schools were part of the options for most children. These days there is far more gaming of the system for middle income parents to move their kids as close as possible to one and then tutor them through the 11 plus. As such, promoting them seems like a backward step, but one likely to rest well with Tory sensibilities.
[steaming of children at aged 11 not addressed in this argument]
Had never realised there was a disproportionate amount of them in Kent (grew up there as well) but I guess it makes sense now I think about it.
I turned my local grammar school down for a brillo comprehensive fwiw, didn't want to go to an all-boys school, heard that 67% of them turn out gay.
...I specifically said that was NOT addressed in that argument. Please respect the bracketed caveat.
Hasn't their relative decline been linked to decline in social mobility, think I read that once.
The number of pupils being educated in grammar schools was at its lowest in the early 1980s. It's actually been climbing since then (it's now about double what it was thirty years ago).
It feels like in the UK we just can't handle evidence based policy making on the structure of the school system - it's so caught up in ideology and the class system that there's no way of distinguishing what's "right" and "wrong".
In Europe (I know parents in Holland and Denmark) it seems like they're just OK with having a diverse range of state-funded school models, and that parental choice can play a big part without having a major impact on social mobility. But here as soon as we start talking about grammar schools or free schools it feels impossible to argue against the fact that they further cement existing inequalities.
Dunno why I signed off with a question tbh. I guess my question was - is my uninformed opinion barking up the right tree? If do do we have to just put up with standardised comprehensives and league tables and national curriculums and SATs etc?
I just reckon to avoid the sort of brain-drain segregation imaperv talks about below we've got to ensure kids of all academic competencies mix with each other.
I don't really agree with the idea of collecting results/turning knowledge into a homogenised course on how to pass a particular tests anyway. Turns kids off from what they're interested in.
I agree with you. I'm asking can we have a non-homogenised educational system AND avoid brain drain/segregation, given the acute inequalities in the UK? The
I'm probably conflating too many things here (going purely off heresay from parents I know and family members in the teaching profession) but it seems like the any attempts to de-homogenise feed into inequalities - in the UK but not in Europe.
because I think that if it's a large percentage (in addition to the private-school educatees who usually take all the flak) then that goes a long way to explaining how out of touch they are re: those on low-incomes etc. remember having a convo with a friend once about another friend, who got pregnant at 13 and had an abortion, and friend actually said [with horror] "But she goes to a grammar school!". like we were so much more morally on-point than comp students.
it's also responsible for quite a few champagne socialists trying to compensate for their grammar school privilege but without necessarily knowing anyone working class, which is quite unhealthy for the left.
Though I think they're out of touch on all of those things by virtue of being in the Westminster bubble anyhow.
My dad actually went to a grammar school, came away with one O Level. So yeah it's not like it's a guarantee for doing well or anything.
They cause a huge brain drain in Kent - the best teachers and brightest pupils (and richest that can't afford private school entrance) gravitate towards them, which then means students at local comprehensives probably do worse than they otherwise would. it also creates a bubble whereby you're completely insulated from low-achieving students and those from low-income families, which has a tendency to make snobs and brats of everyone. (Someone I know had a huge tantrum on her 17th birthday when her family bought a car for her and her twin sister to share because she hadn't been given her own car.)
Admittedly, grammar pupils probably achieve more of their potential due to better teaching/typically better classroom behaviour; however the high-pressured atmosphere can be incredibly unhealthy. I definitely wouldn't have had as good an education had I gone to the comp down the road, but would definitely have a more realistic worldview.
Julia Hartley-Brewer is arguing with me on Twitter because I called her out on her bullshit that the reason so many grammar pupils are prep-schooled is because families move to the area specifically for the grammar system. I know hundreds of grammar pupils and none whose families did that. She's persisting though.
I must know hundreds of pupils from my old school and the schools in the area; can only think of one working-class person out of all of them (her dad's a taxi driver).
maybe half of pupils had gone to prep school, possibly slightly less. but even state primary schools are almost divided into 'grammar' and 'comprehensive' in the area - about 90% of the pupils at dainty little Amherst in Sevenoaks do the 11+ exam and get into their chosen grammar/private, whereas I went to a huge, occasionally rough primary school where less than 10% took the exam and no-one went to a private school. so glad I went to that primary though to give me a bit of perspective
...we did have a real mix of backgrounds at my school, including a small number of traveller kids. Anyone whose family was properly minted were must likely to have made their money in the building trade or similar and there was no one I would have considered 'posh'. I get the impression that this has definitely changed over the past 20 years however.
I guess it depends what the definition of working class is to some extent. I'd consider myself middle-class, but neither of my parents grew up with much money - my dad was just in the right place at the right time during the Thatcher years and ended up being quite well-off but he's definitely a new-money boor type, whereas my mum's family were p poor (but raised with 'aspirational' type goals and taught to speak 'well' - obviously big Tories) until my grandpa's stepmum died and left a surprisingly decent inheritance. totally different to most of the pupils, who came from much more 'cultured', richer, more old-school middle class families with university backgrounds.
who's the posho now?! :D (Snoaks is definitely the poshest bit of west Kent, then Tunbridge Wells. Paddock Wood is way down the list!)
Get down the 'ford and get bust #endz
I don't speak common!!!
(indicator of how warped the grammar bubble is - I didn't fancy anyone who went to a non-selective state school until I was 20. I've mostly fancied them since.)
In all seriousness, the makeup of 7oaks has changed massively since I was a kid. It used to just be a regular mix of people for across all social spectrums, but since The City became such a dark star for talent/money it has changed to essentially just a dormitory town for commuters.
that's really interesting, totally removed from what it's like now (Lamborghini and Ferrari showrooms, plush cars on all the roads, two Waitroses, artisanal shops everywhere, gated communities etc). frightening how quickly a place can change.
...that I didn't have a posh upbringing. Doesn't help that the bungalow I grew up in, a pre-fab on a hived off piece of farmland, was demolished about 10 years ago and now has an 8-bedroom house standing in its place.
maybe it should be Class War's next vandalism target.
I def had a posher upbringing than most in Paddock Wood. had a weird dichotomy that my Paddock Wood-based friends from the comp would get excited about how big my house was, and Sevenoaks-based friends from grammar would get excited about how small it was...
is EXACTLY the same as the Olympics or the Premier League
And kind of resent not having had the chance to go to one. (I never had private tuition).
Mrs CCB went to a grammar school and resented it as she was made to feel second-class.
So yeah, *shrugs*
So, hardly the most deprived area.
But in Christchurch you had:
- the grammar school in Bournemouth (boys' and girls')
- two comprehensives that were fed by the richer parts of town
- one comprehensive that was fed by our village and a large estate.
Our school's motto was "opportunity for all" but that was bollocks.
it was bloody great.
i'm one of those poor people that grammar schools were designed to help, and they did help me and my two sisters go to a really good school.
politically i know i ought to be against them, but i can't help but quite like them really.
I don't think I'd have achieved as much academically if not for going to one, but may have happier and better socially adjusted elsewhere without the stifling pressure and narrow social groups - but then again, I may have been picked on for being a nerd and been just as unhappy.
think the cons probably outweigh the pros for as long as higher-income students monopolise places and prevent bright working class kids from getting in or applying because they'd feel left out, but having more of them might alleviate the monopolisation. idk really.
having just a few in seemingly random places isn't very helpful. where i went to school (halifax) kids came in from far and wide because where they lived didn't have grammar schools. so they were nicking grammar school places from people in halifax, while simultaneously depriving schools in their towns of bright pupils.
you either need to have more of them to get a more even spread, or you need none at all to be completely fair, but the current situation doesn't seem right.
The origins of the 11plus system if anything, were the opposite - a way of legitimising segregation.
but regardless of the intentions, they did end up helping poor people get a better education
either you were academically gifted, in which case how can you know you wouldn't have prospered in the local comp, or you were just lucky to win the "grammar school lottery", in which case how can you justify your good fortune as deserved?
so i would have been fine wherever i went to school, i imagine.
however, my mum isn't jeremy corbyn, so she didn't insist on sending me to a state school when there was a grammar school available.
if you're very bright, top of the class etc at primary school, then go to a grammar school, you learn very quickly that you're not a special snowflake and there are lots of people as clever as you. which can be really frustrating (I stalled for about 5 years because of it) but it's far better to learn it in your formative years than if you're top of the class all through secondary school and then have to learn it at uni.
so the net effect is ZERO
to suggest to anyone that what the English secondary school system lacks is enough opportunities for pupils to be tested and ranked against each other...
however there is likely a much smaller difference between average and high achievers at grammar schools. that said, it's still an issue for high-achieving students who shun grammar schools for comps.
All the kids from primary school who went there felt they were right superior, but they had way more stabbings than our school.
they're fucking awful, and the people in them were meant to be the 'cream of the crop'. I have no idea how it would've been in a generally streamed school
is all well and good.
But if all state schools were properly funded (well trained staff/resources/extra curricular opportunities) then they would also help those children, and a whole lot more too.
Also disagree with the suggestion that the highest attaining children aren't challenged enough at state schools, because they are.