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Grammar schools - why?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by clanless, May 30, 2018.

  1. clanless

    clanless Super Gardener

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    Can someone please explain to me why these types of schools are considered to be a good idea?

    Surely a pupil will reach their potential regardless of the type of school they attend?
     
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    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      Well when I was a kid only the brainier kids went to grammar school, I failed the 11+ but I pretty much wanted to anyway, no way did I want to spend my days learning all that academic stuff, that I thought at the time grammar schools were all about.
      Also it cost your parents a lot more, regarding stuff you needed, like PE kit etc.

      So I distinctly remember hoping I was going to fail the 11+ but at that time we also had what they called Technical schools, kind of one stage down from a grammar and more hands on kind teaching.
      I ended up at the secondary modern and left at 15 to take an apprenticeship.

      I was in an A class all though that school, personally I preferred to be at the top in a lower class school rather than at the bottom of of a school where I would have been out of my depth.

      So, I dont have a problem with selection, I think it is a good thing, and if you dont make the grade, no one is saying your a failure, just that you will do better in a different environment.
       
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      • JWK

        JWK Gardener

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        From my personal experience I think 11 is the wrong age to select. I failed my 11+ and was disappointed to lose some of my school friends that passed.

        A few years later Harold Wilson shut down grammers and my friends came back to the same school as me, now called a comprehensive. They all were put into the year below me, their grammer school education was poor in comparison.

        Quite a few of us 11+ failures went on to University but the grammer school kids were late and some didn't make it in the end, one of them was nearly 21 when he finally left school! I know that's a long time ago and probably not relevant to today's world, but the point I'm making is it's more about having good teachers and not to write anyone off at any age.
         
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        • Doghouse Riley

          Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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          Amongst others, in my opinion three things have be considered. ability, quality of teaching and peer pressure.

          Some kids aren't bright enough to go to a grammar school. Many of their parents won't believe that.

          Generally speaking, the quality of the teaching is better in grammar schools.

          Kids in grammar schools are more likely to strive to be better, than those in secondary modern, where the less able kids can drag them back.

          It was interesting to read about my old grammar school in Surrey on Friends Re-United. I'd left before the Labour Party had it changed to a comprehensive. Those kids that experienced the change saw it rapidly go downhill as regards, quality of teaching, (some of the best teachers left because of the change) discipline and GCE passes.

          "What can't speak can't lie."

          There will always be exceptions.

          Our eldest son didn't go to a grammar school, he was still building stuff with Lego at the age of fourteen. He went to a secondary modern school and then did an engineering apprenticeship.

          He's a consultant engineer and has been head-hunted six times. He has traveled the world for over twenty years, advising different companies, he lives in Canary Wharf, so not going to a grammar school didn't do him much harm.

          He has a dry sense of humour. He once told me one of his jobs was "to design the sky hooks to hang Sir Norman Foster's ideas on."
           
          Last edited: May 31, 2018
        • clanless

          clanless Super Gardener

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          This really illustrates my point - it's all down to the ability of the pupils - failing a test at 11 years old does no more than brand someone as a 'failure' IMHO - as grown ups we know that this isn't the case - but try explaining this to an 11 year old.

          I'm fortunate to be of an age where I didn't have to endure the 11+ test.

          Schools have classes of pupils with similar abilities - they did when I was at school - to reduce the risk of being held back.

          Grammar schools are nothing more than the precursor to an 'old boys network'.

          As for Grammar school teachers being better at their jobs than their counterparts - who is the more valued? The Grammar school teacher or the teacher who takes on a more 'challenging' school environment?

          Grammar schools divide and emeplify the have and have not society in which we live.

          I don't think they're a good idea at all.
           
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          • Doghouse Riley

            Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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            What's the definition of "value?"

            "Challenging," to me, signifies that a lot of effort may have to be directed towards a particularly small number of kids, highly commendable, but not if it's to the detriment of the attention given to the rest of the class.

            The "best" teachers are those who can engage the whole class and make them want to learn.
             
            Last edited: May 31, 2018
          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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            Can anyone explain to me why it is.
            When I was at school, not that many went on to university, now nearly every one does.

            But, we dont have enough doctors, we dont have enough engineers etc. etc.
            We have to rip them off from the third world, or eastern Europe.

            What are they all learning at university?
             
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            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              What is wrong with grammar schools?

              Well, I think there is more wrong when you have parents either moving house or giving false addresses in order to get their kids into the "right" school.
              Some neighbours across the road from me did that, moved into a smaller house,
              in a more expensive area, just to get little Jimmy into a certain school.

              To me that really is a poor form of selection.
               
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              • Doghouse Riley

                Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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                What are they learning?

                As my English master once said, "Rabbit Keeping subjects."

                I guess these days, like "Medja studies,"

                The arts don't often require a lot of hard work.

                Engineering is very poorly subscribed, probably because we in this country "don't make as much as we used to."
                 
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                • Sheal

                  Sheal Total Gardener

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                  It doesn't matter what type of school pupils attend as even the 'best' teachers won't succeed if the children aren't interested or not capable of learning the subject. All pupils have there own abilities and some excel at certain subjects while others don't. I think there is no point in putting a pupil through the misery of subjects they will suffer and fail at. The end result will be bad exam results and in this current 'grades on paper' way of thinking by employers pupils wouldn't stand a chance of employment.

                  Many moons ago when I was at school (comprehensive) lessons were geared to both academic subjects and engineering subjects - for want of a better title. For boys only (at the time) these were Technical Drawing, Metalwork and Woodwork which gave them an insight into their choice of work for the future. They are long gone which is why trades in this country are suffering now and office work is to the fore. Back then earnings were much higher in offices than trades and that has seen a complete reversal since the demise of 'hands on' subjects in schools. In turn there are very few pupils leaving school and learning a trade which inevitably affects the cost of hiring these workers. They can demand much higher earnings because they are fast disappearing.

                  So, in effect I'm saying it's not the type of school or teachers that really make the difference but the subjects taught. Everyone of us as adults know what we are capable of, having had our own experience with school and work. Our children are still finding their way and need a choice of subjects right across the board to help them settle into their future working niche.
                   
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                  • Mike Allen

                    Mike Allen Gardener

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                    First and foremost, a child having just attained the age of eleven years, is IMHO at a critical phase in their life. Biologically, they are entering some vast changes to their physical make-up. Their physical body is now undergoing changes, hormonial plus physical changes. Puberty becomes a prominant fact in their lives, both girls and boys are victims of such enormous changes. Although I shall we say, read medicine for three years. I humbly admit. I could never come to grips, understand, just how the indivduals mind/brain coped with such changes. From my studies I have discovered that individuals have often silently battled against the gods of evil. This extending sadly into thoughts, dreams etc of perhaps sexual problems. For the youngster. This, mentally and physically is a war against oneself. I seriously would consider the age of say 13-14 to be the deciding point.

                    On the other hand. May I mention my grandchildren. Joshua passed his 11 plus but chose a secondaty school rather than a grammar. Wise lad. He obviously felt that he could do without the extra pressure of learning. He did well especially in sports. He was a keen cyclist and rode side by side with Chris Hoyle. On completeion of his schooling. He was offered five uni places. He declined and insisted on getting a job and helping to support is much disabled mum.

                    His sister, Chloee is finishing her A levels at Townley Grammar. The same school that granma attended. Chloee is studying art and photography.. She really has workd so hard. Despite what may have been included inthe recent BBC take on Grammar schools. The teachers are crap. The poor lass never did art, she taught herslf. She got an A star. Her photography is fantastic. She is forecasted as getting all straight 'A stars.YES. Granpa is so pleased A stars. She has a confirmed place at uni.
                     
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                    • Jiffy

                      Jiffy The Match is on Fire

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                      I wasn't any good at school, but i've just got on with life as i see fit
                       
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                      • shiney

                        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                        Unfortunately this is a multi-faceted and contentious subject as it is, generally, very subjective.
                        I agree with most of the above although they are of opposing views. We're all influenced by what happened to ourselves and to the people that we know - even when we try to bring our own view of logic to the party. (I remember, many years ago, having an argument with some and I said at one stage "but that's not logical". I got a very good response "Don't bring logic into it - we're having an argument!").

                        There are so many influencing factors to education. Whether we like it or not, home and local environment, upbringing, ethnic and religious situation, quality of schools and teachers in the area, peer pressure, social media, TV and many others have a direct or indirect effect on education and how we view it.

                        Personal View:-
                        Things were less complicated in my day. We had Grammar, Secondary Modern and Technical schools - unless you were rich and could afford Private. I don't remember any of my friends being particularly worried about which we went to, apart from preferring who we went with. Some of my friends had already decided that they wanted to go to Technical no matter whether they got a grade for Grammar.

                        I didn't really want to go to Technical as I was never very interested in the things that those schools excelled in - and they did excel.

                        I ended up in Grammar and it worked for me. One thing that we had that is lacking nowadays, in my opinion, is discipline (doesn't seem to be allowed now). It was not harsh but there was no messing about, nothing physical just teachers being firm. This was backed up by parents. If you were 'naughty' :whistle: you got told off, if you persisted you were reported to your parents and they decided whether to discipline you. In extreme circumstances you may have got the cane, sanctioned by the parents, but the head master always sat down with you and asked you for your side of the argument - then he caned you :heehee:.

                        Somehow the teachers instilled the wish to do well in school and in life and didn't have to beat it into you. We all thought that the worst form of discipline was detention after school and having to sit there, in silence, and do 'lines'. Apart from being difficult to get a youngster to sit still and quiet, and having to do lines, it meant that you weren't able to go home with your friends.

                        Teachers didn't have the pressures that they do today. Today there is too much emphasis on meeting targets for targets sake, not allowed to talk harshly to the little dears (I said it was a personal view :heehee:) and a lack of trying to bring them in the right direction for what are possible jobs that are available.

                        I know a lot of teachers and most, not all, say they wish it was an educational environment similar to that in my day. I also run an organisation that used to arrange meetings between businesses and schools to explain what the businesses were looking for in job applicants. This worked very well as the pupils were given the opportunity to learn jobs that were needed in the area and the businesses didn't have to look outside the area for staff. Doesn't happen any more. :noidea:

                        So I'm for Grammar schools - if they work the way they used to. :)
                         
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                        • Loofah

                          Loofah Well used member

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                          Why not just have a 'school'? No particular types but all subjects taught and sets / streams/ ability groups catered for? People taught at their ability and no stigmas attached as all schools operate to same basis and standards?
                          Some fantastic points above though :)
                           
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                          • wiseowl

                            wiseowl Friendly Owl Admin Staff Member

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                            I'm for Grammar schools if they are changed from the 1950's and 1960's,when if you passed or not was more to do with what job your father had 99% of the time ,I remember that if your father was a manual worker you had no chance:sofa::whistle:
                             
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