Monday, June 30, 2008

Down with grammer skools

One of the many benefits of not having children is that the collective, ongoing national failure to educate all but a small minority of children properly is that it's a somewhat theoretical problem for me. Nor do I feel especially bad about the fact that I don't really know what should be done about it given that no one else - certainly not the politicians or experts - seems to have a clue either.

But sometimes someone makes a contribution to this debate that is so pertinent that it would be a crime not to share it. Such a contribution is that made by Scot McDonald of Essex, Southend here.

I passed my 11 plus back in '99, but I took my exam at a local non grammar school, which i wanted to attend due to my friends and family all going their. I remember it being quite scary and I felt slightly pressured by my parents to do well. My parents were also disappointed that I didn't want to attend a grammar school. But I have no regrets, I done well at school and am doing well in my job. The main reason I didn't want to attend a grammar school because they are all same sex, maybe if their are mixed grammar schools this would of gave me the incentive to take my exam at one of them.


A few years ago a book called What's
The Matter With Kansas? (Published here as What's The Matter With America?) asked – among other things – why so many blue collar workers supported tax cuts for the very rich which were, looked at dispassionately, not in their own interests. One suggestion is that people support them because they one day hoped to be in a position to benefit.

My guess is that a book What's The Matter With England? (note to self, worse topics for a book) should include a section on grammar schools and the belief of their supporters – especially among the aspirant classes and working class (ie middle class in all but name) – that, naturally, their children will one day benefit from them.

Hat tip to Dominic.

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Blogger Glamourpuss said...

In Kent, grammar schools are basically private schools for those who can't afford private schools. There's a booming trade in hot-housing for the Eleven Plus, ensuring those who attend are not the brightest in the county, but those whose parents could afford extra tuition. The hot-housing continues as those without the merit to get the grades on their own are helped to achieve way beyond their 'potential', skewing the results and the 'value-added' benefits of this type of school.

Frankly, it's a crock of shit.

Oh, and for what it's worth, the answer to improving the standards of education in this country is improved parenting - many children are simply unteachable in a classroom environment, not possessing the most basic social skills needed to cope with a group situation.


2:34 pm  
Blogger bill said...

Indeed, Puss. I decided to leave the phrase middle-class scam, unsaid. One could also mention the fact that being in the catchment area for a good school in areas with no grammar schools can add £100,000 to the value of a house.

See also the willingness to tolerate the appalling social costs of public schools and faith schools.

2:50 pm  
Blogger dominic said...

Well, I'm all for Grammar schools (and as a resident of Southend, which has some damn good grammar schools) can't believe that guy quoted on the BBC site is anything other than a spoof made up by privately educated snobs who live in North London...

Talking of the sad state of the education system

Write ‘f*** off’ on a GCSE paper and you’ll get 7.5%. Add an exclamation mark and it’ll go up to 11%

3:40 pm  

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