Cameron to Open thousands of Comprehensives

I didn;t say no quals. I said academic success.

I can see that people with a trade, who have children who wish to follow them, might well regard a school education to 16 as a bit unnecessary and are therefore unlikely to suport them. Academia is for the brightest who like it. Those who prefer to learn a trade should be allowed to do so. I think the German system is the one to copy.
 
Getting rid of the old boy network is preposterous, who would be left to run the country?

-DC
 
ashie said:
whitecity said:
We disagree on two points: what steps should/could be taken to rectify that; and, whether preventing private education in the meantime is helpful or wise.
Or whether being able to pay for a child's education is to be compared to proper parental support of a child's education.
The two are not mutually exclusive for the reason(s) I outlined earlier. Your failure to appreciate/understand that point suggests your opinion is ideologically not educationally based.

Edited to tidy up formatting.
 
ashie said:
I believe that it's impossible to hold children back in the UK as out system is based on age.
And the system is wrong, in my opinion. I do not know of any serious educational argument why children have to remain enmasse within the same age group, year after year, regardless of ability and performance. The arguments for this system appear to be completely societal.

ashie said:
But I don't think, for example, that 11 year-olds who are functionally illiterate should be allowed to begin secondary education. It''s bad for them and bad for the school.
There will always be a need for 'special needs' schools/education for those who slip through the 'net' by default or by other reason.
 
whitecity said:
ashie said:
whitecity said:
We disagree on two points: what steps should/could be taken to rectify that; and, whether preventing private education in the meantime is helpful or wise.
Or whether being able to pay for a child's education is to be compared to proper parental support of a child's education.
The two are not mutually exclusive for the reason(s) I outlined earlier. Your failure to appreciate/understand that point suggests your opinion is ideologically not educationally based.

Edited to tidy up formatting.
I think you should go back and examine your own posts for ideological input.
 
ashie said:
whitecity said:
ashie said:
whitecity said:
We disagree on two points: what steps should/could be taken to rectify that; and, whether preventing private education in the meantime is helpful or wise.
Or whether being able to pay for a child's education is to be compared to proper parental support of a child's education.
The two are not mutually exclusive for the reason(s) I outlined earlier. Your failure to appreciate/understand that point suggests your opinion is ideologically not educationally based.

Edited to tidy up formatting.
I think you should go back and examine your own posts for ideological input.
I have. Only ideological input was in considering your stance. None regarding my views on education standards, methods or systems.

Your turn.
 

Narnia

Swinger
I passed my 11+ with ridiculous ease and went to a Grammar school. My brother failed his 11+ but was presented to a Public School which has been run as a charitable foundation since the 16th century. My mother didn't have 2 pennies to rub together, but the school means tests its fees to what the family can afford. She and my Grandparents instilled in both of us the desire to learn and to excel, why then shouldn't we have taken the chances offered to us?

I do believe that some comprehensive schools are doing well, and that should be encouraged, however, my older son went to one where the maths teaching was so poor I had to pay for him to have private tuition in order for him to be able to do himself justice in his SATs.

Why would any sensible person suggest that teaching to the lowest common denominator is the best course of action, surely that is selling children short? It is a sad indictment of our 21st century education system that so many children are leaving school functionally illiterate, and perhaps children who are being failed like this would benefit from being in streamed classes which should be smaller so that they have more face time with their teachers. As another poster said, some children are geared toward academia, some towards practical and technical subjects and others are all rounders, and it would seem obvious that gearing education towards these three groups would be the sensible way to go in the style of the German system.

It's hardly elitism to suggest that a person who has no desire to be anything other than a good brickie should be given the opportunity to go to a school that will gear him up for excellence in that field; it also doesn't preclude that child from furthering their education should they desire to do that.

As an aside, my Grammar school had children from all walks of life, from professional couples to single parents living on council estates. There were three girls in my form who had had private tutoring in order to get in and every one of them needed ongoing private tutoring in order to keep up, in that respect their parents did them a great disservice as they were forever known as 'thick'.

I await Ashie's deconstruction of my elitist and class-bound views with pleasure!
 

Sven

LE
saintstone said:
Sven said:
It also turns out that the comprehensive system was in fact brought in by a Tory government
balls, the idea of a tripartite education system, secondary modern, secondary technical and grammar was bought in by a Tory Govt, but the Labour party were the ones to implement comprehensives nationally.

Taken from Wiki :-

Nationwide implementation
The largest expansion of comprehensive schools resulted from a policy decision taken in 1965 by Anthony Crosland, secretary of state for education in the 1964-1970 Labour government, a fervent supporter of Comprehensive education. The policy decision was implemented by Circular 10/65, an instruction to local education authorities to plan for conversion.

In 1970 the Conservative Party re-entered government. Margaret Thatcher became secretary of state for education and ended the compulsion on local authorities to convert. However, many local authorities were so far down the path that it would have been prohibitively expensive to attempt to reverse the process, and more comprehensive schools were established under Mrs Thatcher than any other education secretary. However, she went on to be a vociferous critic of comprehensive education. By 1975 the majority of local authorities in England and Wales had abandoned the 11 plus examination and moved to a comprehensive system.

Over that 10 year period many secondary modern schools and grammar schools were amalgamated to form large neighbourhood comprehensives, whilst a number of new schools were built to accommodate a growing school population. By 1968 around 20% of children had been in comprehensives, and by the mid seventies, the system had been almost fully implemented. Nearly all new schools were built as comprehensives, and existing grammar and modern schools had either been closed (see for example the Liverpool Institute) or amalgamated with neighbouring secondary moderns to produce comprehensive schools.

Edited to add :-

Callaghan's Great Debate
In 1976 the future Labour prime minister James Callaghan gave a speech at Oxford's Ruskin College. He launched what became known as the 'great debate' on the education system. He went on to list the areas he felt needed closest scrutiny: the case for a core curriculum, the validity and use of informal teaching methods, the role of school inspection and the future of the examination system. Callaghan was not the first to raise these questions. A 'black paper' attacking liberal theories in education and poor standards in comprehensive schools had appeared in 1969, to be followed by a second in 1971. The authors were the academics Brian Cox and A E Dyson. They were supported by ex-headteachers, led by Dr. Rhodes Boyson, who later became a Conservative MP. The black papers called for a return to traditional teaching methods and an end to the comprehensive experiment.
Oh dear, Saints.

Grammar Schools, What's all the Fuss About

Look at the facts. How many grammar schools did the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major create? Answer: none.

Going further back, how many grammar schools were turned into comprehensives under Edward Heath's government, when a certain Margaret Thatcher was education secretary? Answer: lots.

Indeed, Mrs Thatcher (as she then was) is understood to have signed away more grammar schools between 1970 and 1974 than any other education secretary before or since.


And let's go further back still. Who brought in comprehensive schools in the first place? It is often - but mistakenly - believed that comprehensive schools were introduced by Harold Wilson's Labour government in the mid-1960s.

In fact, the first comprehensive schools were opened during the 1950s and early 1960s, under Conservative governments.
 
Sven, your first quote is countered by the first piece of bold on my post, comprehensives were already underway under a LABOUR Govt, Thatcher couldn't (maybe wouldn't) stop this due to the expense. Your second quote states that the first comps were brought in by the Tories, but Labour made sure that they bloomed under their reign to the extent that they couldn't be halted without yet again major expense.
You see, Labour spend the money leaving the Tories to pick up the pieces with what's left, but this time, they've really out done themselves.
 

Sven

LE
saintstone said:
Sven, your first quote is countered by the first piece of bold on my post, comprehensives were already underway under a LABOUR Govt, Thatcher couldn't (maybe wouldn't) stop this due to the expense. Your second quote states that the first comps were brought in by the Tories, but Labour made sure that they bloomed under their reign to the extent that they couldn't be halted without yet again major expense.
Another factoid - who brought in the 11+

Liberals - nope
Tories - nope
Labour - correct, the government voted in in 1945
 
Sven said:
saintstone said:
Sven, your first quote is countered by the first piece of bold on my post, comprehensives were already underway under a LABOUR Govt, Thatcher couldn't (maybe wouldn't) stop this due to the expense. Your second quote states that the first comps were brought in by the Tories, but Labour made sure that they bloomed under their reign to the extent that they couldn't be halted without yet again major expense.
Another factoid - who brought in the 11+

Liberals - nope
Tories - nope
Labour - correct, the government voted in in 1945
I do find it strange that the lonk to the Beeb page does nothing but sing Labour's praises, thereby proving to a certainextent that the BBC is in fact Labour's lickspittle.
 

Sven

LE
saintstone said:
Sven said:
saintstone said:
Sven, your first quote is countered by the first piece of bold on my post, comprehensives were already underway under a LABOUR Govt, Thatcher couldn't (maybe wouldn't) stop this due to the expense. Your second quote states that the first comps were brought in by the Tories, but Labour made sure that they bloomed under their reign to the extent that they couldn't be halted without yet again major expense.
Another factoid - who brought in the 11+

Liberals - nope
Tories - nope
Labour - correct, the government voted in in 1945
I do find it strange that the lonk to the Beeb page does nothing but sing Labour's praises, thereby proving to a certainextent that the BBC is in fact Labour's lickspittle.
I don't know how you come to the conclusion that it is pro labour propaganda, Saints. The whole tenet of the article is that, despite the hoo ha by the middle classes, Camerons decision not to support grammar schools was not against Tory traditiion.

Indeed, when Baker wrote

The debate has plunged the Conservatives into a full-blown split over grammar schools, something that until now had appeared to be the preserve of the Labour Party.
he wasn't being entirely complementary, was he?
 
whitecity said:
ashie said:
whitecity said:
ashie said:
whitecity said:
We disagree on two points: what steps should/could be taken to rectify that; and, whether preventing private education in the meantime is helpful or wise.
Or whether being able to pay for a child's education is to be compared to proper parental support of a child's education.
The two are not mutually exclusive for the reason(s) I outlined earlier. Your failure to appreciate/understand that point suggests your opinion is ideologically not educationally based.

Edited to tidy up formatting.
I think you should go back and examine your own posts for ideological input.
I have. Only ideological input was in considering your stance. None regarding my views on education standards, methods or systems.

Your turn.
People?
 
Narnia said:
I passed my 11+ with ridiculous ease and went to a Grammar school. My brother failed his 11+ but was presented to a Public School which has been run as a charitable foundation since the 16th century. My mother didn't have 2 pennies to rub together, but the school means tests its fees to what the family can afford. She and my Grandparents instilled in both of us the desire to learn and to excel, why then shouldn't we have taken the chances offered to us?
I don't understand your point. Are you saying that there was no alternative but a Public School for your brother? Should people live close to a Pubic School be given a chance but not others?

I do believe that some comprehensive schools are doing well, and that should be encouraged, however, my older son went to one where the maths teaching was so poor I had to pay for him to have private tuition in order for him to be able to do himself justice in his SATs.
Shame. I'm glad you took an interest. SATs are the spawn of Beelzebub. They were supposed to be no more than a snapshot of where kids were. Not a judgement on the school.

Why would any sensible person suggest that teaching to the lowest common denominator is the best course of action, surely that is selling children short? It is a sad indictment of our 21st century education system that so many children are leaving school functionally illiterate, and perhaps children who are being failed like this would benefit from being in streamed classes which should be smaller so that they have more face time with their teachers. As another poster said, some children are geared toward academia, some towards practical and technical subjects and others are all rounders, and it would seem obvious that gearing education towards these three groups would be the sensible way to go in the style of the German system.
My favourite phrase again. A straw-man argument. Who is suggesting lowest common-denominator teaching? There is sense in the rest of your post.

It's hardly elitism to suggest that a person who has no desire to be anything other than a good brickie should be given the opportunity to go to a school that will gear him up for excellence in that field; it also doesn't preclude that child from furthering their education should they desire to do that.
Hmmmm....my Dad was a brickie. So I agree.

As an aside, my Grammar school had children from all walks of life, from professional couples to single parents living on council estates. There were three girls in my form who had had private tutoring in order to get in and every one of them needed ongoing private tutoring in order to keep up, in that respect their parents did them a great disservice as they were forever known as 'thick'.
All Grammar Schools had people from all walks of life. Mine did. But the exam at 11 was wrong. Just plain wrong. The reason why why the parents did it was so that their kids would not be labelled as a failure. At the age of 11!

I await Ashie's deconstruction of my elitist and class-bound views with pleasure!
Your wait is over.
 
Narnia said:
I passed my 11+ with ridiculous ease and went to a Grammar school. My brother failed his 11+ but was presented to a Public School which has been run as a charitable foundation since the 16th century. My mother didn't have 2 pennies to rub together, but the school means tests its fees to what the family can afford. She and my Grandparents instilled in both of us the desire to learn and to excel, why then shouldn't we have taken the chances offered to us?

I do believe that some comprehensive schools are doing well, and that should be encouraged, however, my older son went to one where the maths teaching was so poor I had to pay for him to have private tuition in order for him to be able to do himself justice in his SATs.

Why would any sensible person suggest that teaching to the lowest common denominator is the best course of action, surely that is selling children short? It is a sad indictment of our 21st century education system that so many children are leaving school functionally illiterate, and perhaps children who are being failed like this would benefit from being in streamed classes which should be smaller so that they have more face time with their teachers. As another poster said, some children are geared toward academia, some towards practical and technical subjects and others are all rounders, and it would seem obvious that gearing education towards these three groups would be the sensible way to go in the style of the German system.

It's hardly elitism to suggest that a person who has no desire to be anything other than a good brickie should be given the opportunity to go to a school that will gear him up for excellence in that field; it also doesn't preclude that child from furthering their education should they desire to do that.

As an aside, my Grammar school had children from all walks of life, from professional couples to single parents living on council estates. There were three girls in my form who had had private tutoring in order to get in and every one of them needed ongoing private tutoring in order to keep up, in that respect their parents did them a great disservice as they were forever known as 'thick'.

I await Ashie's deconstruction of my elitist and class-bound views with pleasure!
A brilliant post and I bow. :clap:
 

Wessex_Man

War Hero
IMO, there's nothing wrong with the comprehensive school concept per se; there's a lot wrong with how many of them have been/ are organised & run - the main shortcoming being the ideologically driven aversion to streaming & setting. That plus the fact that many are quite simply too big - economies of scale being the main reason for this.

I went to a grammar school that became a comprehensive when I was in "The Fourth" (Yr 9 in today's Educaspeak), and there's no doubt in my mind it was improved vastly by the change: less violent for a start, and with a few exceptions the quality of teachers improved significantly. There was, however, a rigid insistence on age cohort streaming & subject setting ( & if you didn't perform you were demoted ), and the house system, emphasis on competitive team games, annual school plays, regular concerts, CCF etc were retained from ye olde grammar schoole.

It's all still in place today - one reason why the school is rated one of the best comps in the country. Incidentally, the school in question has over 2,500 pupils on roll, but this is ameliorated by running the place as three schools (Lower, Middle & 6th Form), under a Single Head (but with "sub heads" for Lower & Middle) but co-located & sharing a common identity/ uniform etc..

The point here is that as a result of comprehensivisation all of this became available to all in what is, after all, a state system paid for by all. If my old place can make it work so well there's no reason why it couldn't be done elsewhere. IMO, Cameron is right - nothing to be gained in reintroducing the grammar school system nationally (BTW, I teach in one of "The 164", & am proud of my school - it is very good.): other considerations aside, it would be far too complex & expensive. What we should be aiming to achieve is a grammar stream in every comp in the land combined with provision of well founded, no nonsense general education & vocational training for those not academically inclined. This could all be done without excessive additional costs - if the will was there to cut the cr*p, minimise bureaucracy, and confront vested interests head on.

BTW, the exam generically called the "11+" never was, and indeed is not, a nationally recognised standardised test: its exact nature varied/ varies from place to place, and although it always has/ had elements of verbal & non verbal reasoning, it may also include subject specific elements. There are also significant variations in the percentages of candidates who may "pass" - for example, the Kent grammars currently accept the top 15% as identified by their tests; other areas may accept 25-30% as identified by their tests.

So, even the much vaunted, "objective", 11+ doesn't necessarily present as level a playing field as some seem to imagine. Then there's the whole vexed & highly contested issue of the degree to which ANY test taken at this age renders meaningful indications of future potential...?! Three of my school's most notable Oxbridge successes (one of whom is now a professor of mathematics at a Russell Group University) failed the 11+, and I could provide numerous similar examples indicating what a crude instrument it is. I live with it because it probably gets things broadly right about 75% of the time, and my school has excellent liaison with other secondaries in the area (most of which run de facto grammar school streams of their own for those who should have passed but didn't/ never took it/ are "late developers" etc) to ensure that those with more potential than their 11+ scores suggested join us in the 6th Form - about a third of our 16+ entrants arrive via this route.

Sadly, the state of affairs outlined above does not exist to anything like the same extent in most areas retaining 11+ selection - and it never did. In the C21st we can not afford to run a system which, in effect, selects out the majority of people at age 11, but we can & should afford to run effectively a system which caters for all by combining the best of the "grammar school tradition" (notably the aspirational & hard graft ethos) with the best developed elsewhere, particularly our once superb but now sadly neglected "craft tradition".
 
Wessex_Man said:
IMO, there's nothing wrong with the comprehensive school concept per se; there's a lot wrong with how many of them have been/ are organised & run - the main shortcoming being the ideologically driven aversion to streaming & setting. That plus the fact that many are quite simply too big - economies of scale being the main reason for this.

I went to a grammar school that became a comprehensive when I was in "The Fourth" (Yr 9 in today's Educaspeak), and there's no doubt in my mind it was improved vastly by the change: less violent for a start, and with a few exceptions the quality of teachers improved significantly. There was, however, a rigid insistence on age cohort streaming & subject setting ( & if you didn't perform you were demoted ), and the house system, emphasis on competitive team games, annual school plays, regular concerts, CCF etc were retained from ye olde grammar schoole.

It's all still in place today - one reason why the school is rated one of the best comps in the country. Incidentally, the school in question has over 2,500 pupils on roll, but this is ameliorated by running the place as three schools (Lower, Middle & 6th Form), under a Single Head (but with "sub heads" for Lower & Middle) but co-located & sharing a common identity/ uniform etc..

The point here is that as a result of comprehensivisation all of this became available to all in what is, after all, a state system paid for by all. If my old place can make it work so well there's no reason why it couldn't be done elsewhere. IMO, Cameron is right - nothing to be gained in reintroducing the grammar school system nationally (BTW, I teach in one of "The 164", & am proud of my school - it is very good.): other considerations aside, it would be far too complex & expensive. What we should be aiming to achieve is a grammar stream in every comp in the land combined with provision of well founded, no nonsense general education & vocational training for those not academically inclined. This could all be done without excessive additional costs - if the will was there to cut the cr*p, minimise bureaucracy, and confront vested interests head on.

BTW, the exam generically called the "11+" never was, and indeed is not, a nationally recognised standardised test: it's exact nature varied/ varies from place to place, and although it always has/ had elements of verbal & non verbal reasoning, it may also include subject specific elements. There are also significant variations in the percentages of candidates who may "pass" - for example, the Kent grammars currently accept the top 15% as identified by their tests; other areas may accept 25-30% as identified by their tests.

So, even the much vaunted, "objective", 11+ doesn't necessarily present as level a playing field as some seem to imagine. Then there's the whole vexed & highly contested issue of the degree to which ANY test taken at this age renders meaningful indications of future potential...?! Three of my school's most notable Oxbridge successes (one of whom is now a professor of mathematics at a Russell Group University) failed the 11+, and I could provide numerous similar examples indicating what a crude instrument it is. I live with it because it probably gets things broadly right about 75% of the time, and my school has excellent liaison with other secondaries in the area (most of which run de facto grammar school streams of their own for those who should have passed but didn't/ never took it/ are "late developers" etc) to ensure that those with more potential than their 11+ scores suggested join us in the 6th Form - about a third of our 16+ entrants arrive via this route.

Sadly, the state of affairs outlined above does not exist to anything like the same extent in most areas retaining 11+ selection - and it never did. In the C21st we can not afford to run a system which, in effect, selects out the majority of people at age 11, but we can & should afford to run effectively a system which caters for all by combining the best of the "grammar school tradition" (notably the aspirational & hard graft ethos) with the best developed elsewhere, particularly our once superb but now sadly neglected "craft tradition".
You use your tongue prettier than a $50 whore. Where is the 'craft and industry' in this country now?.
 

Wessex_Man

War Hero
We have no need for mechanics, plumbers, electricians, builders, technician grade engineers, shop managers, cooks/ caterers, maintenance types, sales personnel, lab technicians, admin staff et al...?!

My school alone employs about 30 of the aforementioned types!

When I use the term "craft tradition" I'm referring to ethos/ training systems - rigorous, practically focused, but also demanding good basic educational attainment, esp in maths, English etc..
 

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