Parents "buy" Grammar School Places

Discussion in 'Events' started by wilfredw, Jan 24, 2009.

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  1. wilfredw

    wilfredw UKBF Contributor

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    Posted: Jan 24, 2009 By: wilfredw Member since: Nov 22, 2004
  2. KidsBeeHappy

    KidsBeeHappy UKBF Legend

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    I think a lot of the parents intent on getting children into grammer schools etc when their children are at state school still "buy" their place through out of school tutition and coaching.

    The only people that can stop it are the grammer schools but this all goes in their favour, so they're unlikely to do so.

    Personally, I think that the whole school thing is a bit of a nightmare, i feel lucky that i live in an area where there is only one secondary school per town. Nice and simple, take it or leave it. I know that the next town down the road has one of the worst performing schools in the country, and i know simply never to move to that town.

    But I have seen a whole village devastated by a bad primary school. The school role dropped from 40 to 22 within a year, which resulted in a divide in the village, as kids that were best friends simply stopped seeing each other because they were heading off in completley different directions every day. Village shop on the border of closing because parents are not coming into the village to drop their kids at school.
    Posted: Jan 24, 2009 By: KidsBeeHappy Member since: Oct 9, 2007
  3. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend

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    Well you can see it in a different way - those in the state sector are saving up to £10K per year per child by sending their kids to free schools paid for in part by the taxes collected from those who educate their kids privately - so paying a little money for some extra lessons is nothing in comparison.

    And not all private schools coach for the 11+ anyway so those parents are having to pay for coaching on top of the fortune they are already spending.
    Posted: Jan 24, 2009 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
  4. paulhalsey

    paulhalsey UKBF Contributor

    107 23
    My grandad was a builder and my dad left school at 13 with no qualifications. He worked blimmin hard and, eventually, set up his own business and became successful enough to afford to provide 11+ coaching for me. This led to a place in a fee paying grammar school.

    30 years on from leaving that school, I look back and think what might have been if I hadn't gone there. I see old primary school friends who are, for want of a better expression, a collection of Vicky Pollard-esque nobheads.

    I frequently thank my lucky stars (and his hard work) for giving me the chance to escape that sort of a future.

    It's not a political's human nature. Since time began, those that could improve, do. If certain parents want better for their kids, let them. If others don't, fine. It's a choice that people make for themselves. Everything we do and buy is usually an improvement on it's predecessor if we can manage it.

    Think about YOUR you still watch TV on a 15" black and white, with no remote control? Got a Sky+ box, faster broadband etc? Bought a newer mobile to replace an older one? It's all about improvement and betterment (if that's a word) and they were all your choice. Same for the choices you make for your children.

    If and when I have children, if I can afford to send them to a grammer school, I will. If there's something better, then I'd look at that too.
    Posted: Jan 27, 2009 By: paulhalsey Member since: Dec 2, 2008
  5. Officebird

    Officebird UKBF Legend

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    I passed the 11+ and went to a Grammar school. Iwasn't coached and don't think any of my froends were. Grammar schools are still in Kent and everyone takes the 11+ (not like some counties where you can opt in to take it and obviously only certain types of parents bother to do this)

    I had a fantastic education and getting work afterwards with Grammar School on my CV was a doddle. My brother didn't get into a Grammar School aand his education wasn't the best. He was always taught that he'd be working in a shop or something and I was always told I could be whatever I wanted. There are pros and cons to the system but I'm glad for the opportunity I had. The only bizarre thing was we wore kilts for a school uniform making us look like a private school and some of the parents were sooooo snobby which is bizarre as the kids were a true mix of social backgrounds.

    There are no Grammar Schools where I live now and that does worry me as I would obviously like my little girl have every opportunit in life that I can give her. The nightmare school thing started for me last year as i wanted to get her into the best school around. I had to move house and spent two years living in 'right' area so she could get in. I have recently moved again but she gets to keep the school place. There is a school around the corner from my new house but frankly I would rather home school than send her there. Ofsted said it was failing the pupils.

    Sadly not everyone can move house, pay for private or opt for home schooling and the people who suffer are the children. If the Government raised the standards of the bad schools people wouldn't have to take such drastic actions and all children could get a decent education.

    My little girl is just 5. She can read and, thanks to her school, writes joined up. They have told me she is quite talented at art and hunted down an art club for her to attend once a week (which she loves). At one of the schools I went to see they told me they really focus the first year on things like developing speaking skills and learning how to put your coat and shoes on by yourself. How can the Government allow such a difference in standards?

    There is no easy answer but parents that do these extreme things are simply doing what they can for their childs future. The blame lies with the administration an dnot the parents imo.
    Posted: Jan 30, 2009 By: Officebird Member since: Mar 14, 2008
  6. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve UKBF Legend

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    As with everything in life, provide something that's basic and sufficient for everyone. If some parents have studied hard and worked hard and sacrificed all their lives, let them spend on improving some aspects of their lives or their children's lives. In other words, offer a basic NHS but with various private health care options, offer basic government schools but with various private education options, and so on. Why not? Who is the government to tell me how I can spend my hard-earned money? Personally, I choose to pay for my children to get the best education possible - whereas we've not taken a real holiday in years. That's our choice.

    Of course, the media likes to assume that everyone with money is a lazy aristocrat or good ole boy who manipulates the workers to divert funds into their own bank account. In truth, a big majority of those with wealth actually earned it.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
    Posted: Jan 30, 2009 By: Cornish Steve Member since: Jul 4, 2005
  7. ServersandSpares

    ServersandSpares UKBF Contributor

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    I think it's sad that in this day and age we should have to think we need to pay for grammar schools to get the best education for our kids. After all, where does all our hard earned taxes go when we are talking teachers? Shouldn't every child be entitled to the best education possible? Years ago I moved house to be in the cachement area for the school I wanted my children to attend, still took some fighting but I managed to get my daughter in to the best school in the area. Brilliant!! Until two years later the headmaster changed and along with it all the school policies, changing it in a very short space of time from being the best school to a really under rated average school, full of incompetent teachers and a very inaccessible headmaster. It irritates the life out of me that we are led to believe that all the problems with kids nowadays are their own fault or the fault of their parents, when in my opnion a lot of the blame is obviously with the teachers who are paid very well to do a job they are very often not qualified to do. I don't want to hear - we can't do anything it is the management, as that is rubbish!! I'm not condoning the parents who just don't care what their kids are up to either, I'm talking about the teachers who are paid 35k a year to tell us they can't cope when a kid talks over them. It is your VOCATION - deal with it! I don't do it or get paid to do it as I couldn't do it, so I have a different job.

    Another rant over - Next up NHS Nurses! :)
    Posted: Jan 31, 2009 By: ServersandSpares Member since: Nov 26, 2008
  8. KidsBeeHappy

    KidsBeeHappy UKBF Legend

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    OK. Back to reality. All these arguments about grammer school v state funded schools, having a CHOICE etc, all relate to the more affulent areas of the country. So, imagine that this here below is the HMI report for the ONLY secondary school within a 30 mile radius of a town;

    Appendix 1 Indicators of quality

    The sections in the table below follow the order of this report. You can find the main comments made about each of the quality indicators in those sections. However, aspects of some quality indicators are relevant to other sections of the report and may also be mentioned in those other sections.
    How good are learning, teaching and achievement?
    Structure of the curriculum
    The teaching process
    Pupils’ learning experiences
    Meeting pupils’ needs
    Overall quality of attainment: S1/S2
    Overall quality of attainment: S3/S4

    Overall quality of attainment: S5/S6

    How well are pupils supported? Pastoral care

    Personal and social development

    Curricular and vocational guidance

    Learning support
    Adequate ​

    How good is the environment for learning? Accommodation and facilities

    Climate and relationships

    Expectations and promoting achievement

    Equality and fairness

    Partnership with parents, the School Board and the community

    Improving the school Leadership

    Effectiveness and deployment of staff with additional responsibilities


    This report uses the following word scale to make clear the judgements made by inspectors:
    Excellent and Very good also appear in the ratings scale, but have nothing to do with this school.
    good; important strengths with areas for improvement
    adequate; strengths just outweigh weaknesses
    weak; important weaknesses
    unsatisfactory; major weaknesses

    Now tell me that "Choice" exists?

    p.s. sorry about the bold - can't turn it off for some reason!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
    Posted: Jan 31, 2009 By: KidsBeeHappy Member since: Oct 9, 2007
  9. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve UKBF Legend

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    As I mentioned above, the government should provide adequate education for everyone - the minimum that we believe is needed to compete in a competitive world. On top of that, those who work hard and save should be able to spend their money on better education options for their children.

    Unfortunately, the government today chooses to run its own schools. We can call them grammar schools or secondary schools or whatever, but they are really government schools. Given that governments in general are rather inept at running anything, we end up with some terrible schools - as you point out. Maybe the government should delegate the task to private schools and offer vouchers to local families. Obviously, families will choose to send their children to the better schools, which will grow; schools that do poorly will simply go out of business. Competition is how we end up with good products, so why not apply it to schools?
    Posted: Jan 31, 2009 By: Cornish Steve Member since: Jul 4, 2005
  10. scargill

    scargill UKBF Newcomer

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    I think what we need in this country are people creating winner business ideas to create new businesses which create new jobs for everyone else who will then pay the taxes for everything else. If the state schools cannot hack it - and to be honest if I SAW an example of the state running something successfully I STILL wouldn't believe it - then parent have to do whatever they must to ensure that we produce at least SOME winners, fair or unfair. We need more winners.
    Posted: Jan 31, 2009 By: scargill Member since: Jan 31, 2009
  11. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve UKBF Legend

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    What about electing local school board officials with the power to replace headmasters and teachers based on school performance - or renewing teacher contracts once a year with parents having the right of veto? Parent involvement is very important, and it's a shame that more parents don't get actively involved in their children's education. Plus, if we must continue to have government schools, parents should have the right to choose which school their child attends - especially when the performance of the local school is bad.

    The answer to bad schools, by the way, is not more money. A few years ago, the Economist magazine ranked countries by the state of their education system. In second place (behind Singapore) was the Czech Republic - and I can't believe they spend more money on schools than we do.
    Posted: Jan 31, 2009 By: Cornish Steve Member since: Jul 4, 2005
  12. Neil Warren

    Neil Warren UKBF Contributor

    74 13
    I think one of the big problems here is, in fact, the “choices” that we offer to children. It starts with them having “rights” and “choices” as 2 and 3 year olds, about what they eat, when they go to bed, whether they can be bothered to learn any letters or numbers, “decide” that they’d rather cheat at a game (to “win”) than play by the rules, “don’t want to” pick up their rubbish and so on.

    Develop that attitude through to a 10 – 15 year old, and you’ve got a typical useless lump who can only eat burgers and pizza, littering the place up with their cider bottles down the park, vaguely attempting to complete an “academic” course in “media studies” (watching films and TV) or “computer studies” (playing on the X-box) and with commercial and business skills (this is UK Business) that equip them basically for flipping said burgers (well not quite that capable but McD’s can probably knock them into shape). All backed up by a Government and educational system that, for too long in the past anyway, was just aimed at stopping any “winners” who might have shown up the “losers”. It might be swinging back a bit now, but we seem to have an entire generation of parents now who believe more in Germayne and Chantelle’s “rights” (not to be disciplined) than their “responsibilities” (to contribute something - anything(!) - to society).

    My brothers and I (4 of us) qualified through the state primary system at 11+ to go one to a Public School (with a full government grant), two to a similar Direct Grant and one to a Grammar and have survived without being on the dole at least (but we don’t run the country – yet!). No big financial sacrifices, parentally, other than choosing the right town to live in, but a hell of a lot of attitude and educational input – all the time, about everything. I got 9 “O” Levels and 2 “A” Levels (in the days when they were actually a test of your retained knowledge and ability to reproduce it) from the Public School, but it failed me abysmally, in my opinion, by having a 100% focus on university admission, and completely missing my aptitude for selling. It was also stuffed to the rafters with really crusty and boring old “lifers” as teachers, who had never ventured beyond its hallowed grounds, other than to get a degree and teaching certificate in their chosen specialism and then return to inflict it on 40 years’ worth of poor unfortunates in the least inspiring way they could muster (with one or two memorable exceptions, I kid you not!).

    Mind you the brothers’ next generation of children (10 of them including a “step”) are 70% going entirely through the local state system in places as diverse, over the years, as small town Suffolk, Scotland, Derby, Shrewsbury, Potters Bar and so on - 30% posh St. Albans with a hint of “private” – but I don’t see them as faring any better. My two in particular, ended up at a massive local comprehensive (once hitting the news for a gun-toting pupil), but both got to their chosen Universities (Manchester/Salford and Leeds) to do Marketing & Business Studies and Philosophy plus the dreaded post-grad Bi-Media Studies – but she is a news journalist on the radio, whilst he’s in his mid-20’s on £70K+ with an Audi A6 – selling for a telco. All the others are just working their way, quite happily it seems, through the normal vast array of GCSE and A levels. And so all seem to be thriving with “only” state systems behind them.

    So I think you’ll find that it is mostly those “societies”, in total, rather than “systems” (Grammar/State/Public), where parents instil in their children the basic responsibilities of being in said society and subsequently the value of an education (India, probably most of the Far East, Czechoslovakia probably etc.,) where that education system works. Whereas those societies that are mostly full of people demanding their “rights” that they think the state should provide, for them and their lovelies, will more closely resemble a rubbish tip covered in seagulls (I’m thinking “Mine! Mine! Mine!” off Saving Nemo).

    And I will just wind up this very quick, off-the-cuff, haven’t-really-thought-about-it-much, reply, with the idea that, if 750,000 of our professional people are indeed going to be employed in sales (selling both to us domestically and selling the entire UK output to the rest of the world so that we all have something to live on), might we have a bit more “selling” and a bit less “social studies” on the curriculum?
    Posted: Feb 1, 2009 By: Neil Warren Member since: May 25, 2008
  13. igloorpo

    igloorpo UKBF Newcomer

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    I went to a grammar school and got there without any coaching or tuition. However the same can't be said for some of my classmates - there were a large number of children from very wealthy familes who had been tutored to complete the 11+. Whilst I understand every parent wants the best for their child I feel that this is an abuse of the system. The whole point of grammar schools is to provide an opportunity for naturally able children to reach their maximum potential - not a cheap option for parents wanting the quality of a private education for the price of some extra tuition.

    My Mum works as a primary school teacher (she wasn't in teaching when I was a child so no, she didn't tutor me!) and she sees the same thing happening now - very able children passing without tuition, much less able children passing through intensive tuition and children who are fairly able and deserving of a grammar school place missing out when they should be given a place.

    I appreciate my views may be considered contraversial - of course every child should be given the best standard of education possible. However it is an inescapable fact that all children do best when they are taught in groups according to their natural ability - hence why grammar school entrance should be based purely on natural ability. The same as an especially bright child may suffer and not reach their potential if they are being taught in amongst some less able children, a child of average ability is unlikely to fulfill their own potential if their self-esteem is badly affected by being placed in lessons that they find difficult to keep up with.

    I believe the selection process should be based on a series of assessments and also reports on ability from the head and class teacher and not just a test that can be aced with training.
    Posted: Feb 20, 2009 By: igloorpo Member since: Feb 6, 2008
  14. atkinsbiz

    atkinsbiz UKBF Newcomer

    22 6
    Well said, I finished my A-levels a year ago, I went to a private school all my life until my GCSE's when it closed down and I was sent to the local state school. MY Sociology teacher throughout the whole of my Alevels was a member of the Fabian society who at every opportunity would diss private schools.

    Now I am 18 and think to myself, everyone would want the best of the best for their kids- you buy the best you can afford for them don't you? The best shoes, clothes, food, toys? So something as important as their future surely you would do your utmost to get them in somewhere good? Maybe the best you can afford? And not all the time...but MOSTLY private/public schools are the best.
    Posted: Feb 20, 2009 By: atkinsbiz Member since: Feb 10, 2009
  15. in2play

    in2play UKBF Newcomer

    67 5
    Do they?

    In my area there is a secondary school that is one of the top in the country for value added (progress pupils make) e.g pupils would only do better in a handful of other schools. This school has consistently achieved this high standard over the last three years and has a whole tranch of other awards. It's totally turned around from being on the front page of a national paper as one of the worst schools in the country - about 8 years ago. This turn-around has been due to many reasons, but the unifying principle has been to provide the best possible education for the pupils and their needs.

    The three grammar schools in the area now take the top 40% of the ability range (they're only meant to take 25%), and only one of these grammar schools actually does anything worthwhile with their pupils. It's also a selective area, so the grammar schools will be the last to go out of business because of the political capital invested in them. The number of pupils coming from the primary schools is dropping and the other secondary schools have to slug it out over the smaller intake.

    Are parents choosing the best schools in the area? Well if you're bright enough to get into the one truly successful grammar, then yes, but if you're not, then no. They're choosing 'big is beautiful', and the other two grammar schools. So what is going to happen to this extremely successful secondary school? It will cease to exist in 18 months, most likely through a merger.

    I don't think parents always choose the best school. I also don't think parents really understand the issues that well, and if they do, they've got their own prejudices about the grammar school brand.
    Posted: Feb 20, 2009 By: in2play Member since: Jul 4, 2008
  16. Delta-SI

    Delta-SI UKBF Legend

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    Hmm, I don't understand all of this, I went to a public school (it was very not public, the great unwashed were not admitted). We looked down on the Grammar School much less than the comprehensive one.
    Posted: Feb 20, 2009 By: Delta-SI Member since: Nov 19, 2008
  17. total-pma

    total-pma UKBF Newcomer

    22 6
    Not sure if I've got the right end of the stick, or whether what happens at my childrens primary school is unique but, if parents wish their children to go to a grammar school, the children are given 11 weeks coaching beforehand in out of school time lessons of which are free in order to prepare them for the way the grammar school entrance exam is set.
    Posted: Mar 4, 2009 By: total-pma Member since: Mar 3, 2009
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