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More political dabbling ?


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This time, with education and the threat of going back to a life determining exam at the age of 11. Surely, those that believe in meritocracy and the pursuit of excellence in education, can deduce that this can be achieved through streaming, based on assessed abilities and aptitudes, within a common secular model for all schools ?

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That was the case in the past Dave; but the point is, why bother with a crucial exam at age 11 ?   There are two schools of thought on education - 1) that it should be about the all round development of the individual for their own benefit or 2) that it should be geared to the needs of the National economy. In either case, the objective should be to maximise the potential of the pupil, and gear them to future challenges, without being tied to the speed of the slowest ship.  Most have attributes and aptitudes, are academically inclined, creative or technically skilled; with a continual process of streaming throughout the process, it should be possible to fill the posts required of a modern economy.

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I think ordinary kids should have the opportunity to learn to the same level as fee paying pupils if they are capable of doing so & if they want to. Whether an 11 plus style exam is necessary is open to discussion.

 

Surely,to deny grammar school standard education is to impose a glass ceiling on the development of our children even into their working lives & beyond.

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There is simply no need for a binary choice, when, throughout the education process a child's natural aptitude and abilities can be monitored and streamed into the most suitable subjects that enhance further progress in the workplace. There is no direct equation between poverty and ability either, imo. So to link "free school meal" take up with access is a red herring. It's about cultural background and the drive or lack of it from parents and peer groups; the fact that middle-class kids progress to University isn't imo, cos they are genetically more intelligent than working class kids; they are generally just more motivated - it's expected of them. Such a aspirational culture doesn't exist in most working class households, and sadly ignorance begets ignorance; which makes the issue one of breaking this cultural cycle. The answer could be to direct the  best teachers by better pay to the most challenged schools.

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The man whose research upon which the original 11 plus was based was later found to be a fraud.

http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/sr196/parrington.htm

 

 

Educationally, what real value has a one off assessment at age 11yrs?

A bright kid having a bad day or a less bright kid having an exceptional day could very easily be wrongly graded.

 

But in effect even the old type 11 plus grading was not wholly reliant on a one off exam as primary teachers would have been asked to provide a prediction of which children they expected to gain a pass, which could influence the markers to upgrade pupils who fell below standard in the actual exam. Their recommendations could easily be and probably very often were influenced by factors other than basic intelligence, most often class discrimination and sometimes because no recommendations from a school could indicate poor teaching standards.

Equality in education was just a farce, many very bright working class children were denied the opportunity of educational provision to suit their abilities merely because they were not among the lucky few who were allowed to make up the working class allotment of places in the Grammar schools.

 

In essence the old Grammar school system was nothing but a means of ensuring the continuance of the class system.  And reviving it today is merely for the same purpose.

Obviously it will be a vote catcher for the Tories.

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There is simply no need for a binary choice, when, throughout the education process a child's natural aptitude and abilities can be monitored and streamed into the most suitable subjects that enhance further progress in the workplace. There is no direct equation between poverty and ability either, imo. So to link "free school meal" take up with access is a red herring. It's about cultural background and the drive or lack of it from parents and peer groups; the fact that middle-class kids progress to University isn't imo, cos they are genetically more intelligent than working class kids; they are generally just more motivated - it's expected of them. Such a aspirational culture doesn't exist in most working class households, and sadly ignorance begets ignorance; which makes the issue one of breaking this cultural cycle. The answer could be to direct the  best teachers by better pay to the most challenged schools.

 

I agree with that Obs. But I also think the 'cultural cycle' which needs to be broken is the still existing class system in Britain. 

In our educational system many children are not less motivated but actively demotivated.

Talking to some German students, I gained some insight into their educational / cultural values. When they told me they were going to go to University I gave the response that would be considered normal over here and said "Oh, very good, well done!"  for which I got a real dressing down!  Their reply was "It is not better than any other option, it is just different! Everybody has different talents, if you have academic talents you are best to study in that field and if you have technical talents you study to progress these. None is better than the other, and whatever job you have is of equal value because all types of work needs to be done to keep society going".

 

This appreciation of everyone's worth must be highly motivating and likely why their students / workers are so industrious, but it is unlikely to catch on over here where the policy is to keep the working classes in their place.

Over here kids are graded and labelled in school and if their talents are not in the academic field they develop a sense of failure and are thus demotivated. 

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In essence the old Grammar school system was nothing but a means of ensuring the continuance of the class system.  And reviving it today is merely for the same purpose.

Obviously it will be a vote catcher for the Tories.

 

so when myself and the 11 or so other lads from Bewsey Primary school who made it to Boteler Grammar in 1975 it turned us all into posh kids overnight?

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The class system is sustained by silos of self interest, which were largely dissipated by the social homogenisation of WW2, which resulted in a landslide victory for socialism in 1945 and the birth of a welfare state. Unfortunately since then we've seen the gradual retreat back into bubbles of self interest. In a time of economic survival in a competitive global economy, the interests of the individual need to be subordinate to the interests of the State, to produce our best possible "Team GB". This requires maximising the attributes of each and every player. Obviously, the Germans appear to have realised this, and developed the largest and most successful economy in Europe.

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When I attended a Grammar School in Birkenhead in the 60s, there were pupils there from all backgrounds, no sign of "streaming by class" in those days. Also, if I recall correctly, in addition to the 11+ there was a 13+ for Secondary Modern pupils who were thought by their teachers to be of Grammar School or Technical Grammar standard.

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The old system of Grammar, Technical and Secondary Modern Schools was imo a form of "streaming", unfortunately based on an 11plus exam.  Such streaming whether through separate schools or within schools can be achieved through continual assessment to ensure that round pegs find round holes, and we get the best out of everyone, whether they become Scientists or Tradesmen etc.  Alas, in the past, we did have an industrial base which absorbed a lot of the Secondary Modern kids, thus a reference to "factory fodder". Still, in those service industries where jobs still exist, all of which contribute to the success of the whole, those people need to be valued and respected, and sufficiently educated to make them adaptable to changes in the economic infrastructure. So it's a team game and we should neglect any part of the team.

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After around 50 years of a largely comprehensive school education system we are bottom of the international league for social mobility. According to the OECD  however, we are top of the international league table for illiteracy and innumeracy and the consequent unemployability of our school leavers. What greater indictment of the comprehensive school system could there be?

According to the OECD, our older generation, educated under the secondary modern and grammar school system, are around the top of the international literacy and numeracy league table. It would seem that things were not quite so bad in the ‘bad old days’ after all. We are the only country in the developed world in which grandparents out-perform their grandchildren.

And if we want more evidence that the comprehensive system under performs we can find it within the UK. Northern Ireland has retained its grammar school – secondary modern system and has consistently out-performed the comprehensive school system in the rest of the UK.

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The UK seems to have landed itself in an unenviable position with a glass ceiling in education & an over reliance on state benefits to support its shirking classes. Self reliance seems to be a dirty word in British  big society with equally low expectations for everyone.

 

Liam Fox was right to blast British businessmen for the lazy approach to driving their companies forward on the world stage. Businesses need to prosper to provide meaningful jobs to make life in work favourable to life on the dole.

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