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Reintroduction of Secondary modern schools for majority of children.

(385 Posts)
Penstemmon Thu 08-Sep-16 22:38:07

Just wondered what people thought of the current government idea to re-introduce secondary modern education for about 85% of secondary age children.

SueDonim Thu 08-Sep-16 22:48:42

Both my Dh and I went to grammar school but I think it's divisive. It would be better to concentrate on improving all schools so there is no need for separate grammars.

We don't have them in Scotland but from what I hear from friends in England, many places are taken by pupils who have been tutored and by parents looking to save on private school fees.

Penstemmon Thu 08-Sep-16 22:57:09

My DD1 posted this today on her FB ..think the article is by a friend of hers.

thatbags Fri 09-Sep-16 07:22:15

The article I read mentions Theresa May's point that England already has selective schools: it's just that the selection is by house price rather than academic ability.

Scotland has always had comprehensive secondary schools. It doesn't seem to have stopped social mobility here. Just saying.

Penstemmon Fri 09-Sep-16 07:32:06

In Kent where Grammar schools are common it is known that in poorer areas e.g.Thanet that the pass mark is different to say Tonbridge Wells area where families tend to have more money and access to tutoring or private prep. schools. The whole thing is a minefield.

Iam64 Fri 09-Sep-16 08:08:54

I genuinely fail to understand why anyone sees it as a positive step to return to a divisive education system. There is evidence to suggest it is not in the interests of the majority of children.
The debate should be focussed on how to provide the best education for all our children. It may be that some children would prefer to move onto vocational courses. I suspect that could happen either after what is now GCSE or rather than all children study 10 subjects, some could elect to do the five main study areas alongside some vocational courses.

It's early in the day for me to give a less knee jerk reaction but honestly, I could spit.

Gracesgran Fri 09-Sep-16 08:20:30

Listening to the radio apparently this idea has been brought forward to appease the areas that voted Brexit and don't have the views of the "metropolitan elite". Is that really what these area want?

Badenkate Fri 09-Sep-16 08:23:48

I think most of us on here are old enough to remember how divisive the 11+ was. If you failed you were in the second division at 11. Those of us who went to grammar school generally lost contact with those who went to the secondary modern, and the grammar school was, naturally, where the best teachers wanted to go. This is a depressing backwards step and is not addressing the real problem which is bringing up those schools which need help to the level of many of the excellent comprehensive schools around the country.

gillybob Fri 09-Sep-16 08:53:18

I passed the 11+. Fat lot of good it did me. I was miserable at school. All girls and lots of bullying from pupils and teachers alike. I would have given anything to be in the Secondary Modern with my friends.

Iam64 Fri 09-Sep-16 09:02:47

Where is the opposition when we need it. I know the LP oppose this as do the libdems and greens. The govt majority is 12, their manifesto didn't set out plans to the extent now being proposed.

Gracesgran Fri 09-Sep-16 09:11:32

What I can't get my head round is that May could be offering something (if this is really the reason she is doing it) at 14 which would appeal to all parents including the so called "left behind" group, although I have problems with this definition. Really good academic schools which also offer experience at this stage and really good technical schools which still offer really good academic teaching which can be self selected would do far more good for all and should leave future advancement available to all. Why does she have the idea that division at 11/12 into excellent academic teaching and, presumably, poorer academic teaching will help?

Gracesgran Fri 09-Sep-16 09:17:31

I think the poor old Lords may have to provide the opposition yet again Iam while the Labour Party continues to argue whether or not JC sat down in the corridor of a train when there were or were not empty seatssad. I will be looking out to see what the other parties come up with on this and I am sure I will not be the only one.

gillybob Fri 09-Sep-16 09:17:46

A bit off topic I know, but think the whole school entry system needs a damned good shake up.

Have been told my DGD has zero chance of getting into the local comp (10 minutes walk away) if she does not get into one of the 3 feeder primaries. She can't get into the primaries as they are apparently full. It's like knocking your head against a brick wall talking to the idiots (and they seem to be) in the LEA. One gent said yesterday "oh don't worry she will get in with her sibling connection" SHE IS THE BLOODY ELDEST SO HOW CAN SHE HAVE A SIBLING CONNECTION ???

Anniebach Fri 09-Sep-16 09:43:15

The Labour Party is not divided over grammer schools , they will vote against.

trisher Fri 09-Sep-16 09:51:51

gillybob the reason for the lack of proper provision of primary and secondary school places is the direct result of the policies of Michael Gove when he was education minister and he syphoned money from LEAs into Free schools. It isn't really your LEA's fault they are struggling to provide for the majority of children, Gove provided money for the minority.

rosesarered Fri 09-Sep-16 10:02:50

No grammar schools in the area where I live, but pockets of them in various counties, which has always seemed odd to me, why not a National agreement to either have/don't have them, which would be better.I think on the whole, we would be doing the best for children to have all Comps, and aim for really good standards ( which, to be fair, is what they are doing.) There will always be schools doing worse of course, inner cities etc where a lot of teachers wouldn't want to teach/live, but generally I think a lot of schools have been turned around by good Heads in the last few years.

Anniebach Fri 09-Sep-16 10:05:55

There isn't one grammer school in Wales

hildajenniJ Fri 09-Sep-16 12:07:31

I failed my eleven plus. I went to the secondary modern school. It's a dreadful thing for an eleven year old to think she's a failure. All my friends went to the grammar school. I found out, years later, that my mother went to the junior school to see by how much I had failed. It transpires that had I got one more question correct I would have passed. The headmaster told my mother that I would have been offered a place at the grammar school had there been any more available. As it happens, I have been much more successful than many of my old friends, having trained in mental health nursing, which gave me a good life long career. I still remember the hurt I felt when I failed the eleven plus. I wouldn't like another child to go through it. Bringing back selection is a retrograde step in my opinion.

Eloethan Fri 09-Sep-16 12:23:39

In an already divided and very unequal society, the proposal to widen the availability of grammar schools and in effect do away with comprehensive education is, in my view, a backward step.

In this day and age, when we are told there are fewer and fewer unskilled and semi-skilled jobs available, I believe we need to ensure that a first class, all-round education that will equip young people for the modern world is available to all.

Being defined at the age of 11 as being less able/intelligent/academic is, I think, a sure-fire way of alienating young people, turning them off education and limiting their future prospects. As children develop at different rates, often due to external circumstances rather than innate abilities, this means that some people who might have been a great asset to the country in various fields of endeavour might never achieve their potential.

Greyduster Fri 09-Sep-16 12:34:12

I agree that the 11-plus was horrible and devisive. I failed and our next door neighbour's son passed and my mother never let me forget it. From that point on she never took any further interest in my education though fortunately my father was always a fount of encouragement. I would like to see all comprehensives be like my secondary school - good discipline, a happy atmosphere, a brilliant headmaster and inspirational teachers. Unfortunately they aren't and in some areas never will be no matter how good the teachers are. It's the nature of our society today. It is no coincidence that the top four comps in this city are former grammar schools and they are the ones that parents fight tooth and nail for their children to get into. House prices in their catchment areas - and those of their feeder primaries - are astronomical. Even this does not guarantee them a place. There is nothing wrong with parents wanting the best education for their children, whether it is in a private school, a grammar school or a comprehensive. I'm sure this aspiration is not confined to those on high incomes only, but good teachers are reluctant to take up places in struggling schools in poor areas, where they feel giving of their best is a waste of effort, but until we improve the ethos, the discipline and overcome - in some schools - enormous language barriers, we will never have a level playing field.

JessM Fri 09-Sep-16 12:40:55

The even more unforgivable thing is that this is being wrapped up as something to help poorer children. In reality there will be a lot more coaching going on in families that can afford it, thus minimising the chances of a place for kids on FSM.
Comprehensive schools are incomparably better than the secondary modern schools that were around when I was young. One such was housed in 1/3 of the building that also housed my junior school. They had half a school yard for exercise, they had no sports facilities, science facilities etc etc. Girls left at 14/15 with no qualifications. Adult illiteracy rates were high. Now the vast majority leave with several GCSEs.
The real problem with education is a shortage of good teachers.
I think the PM wants a nice headline grabbing policy to distract from two things:
Academies are not proving to be the magic bullet that will lead to improved attainment. More and more evidence is coming out on this.
Brexit is a mess. Headless chickens. Please someone! Come up with a policy! Ah Justine my dear! That will play well with the press, lets go for that!

Badenkate Fri 09-Sep-16 12:58:43

Jess your cynicism warms my heart. It's all very well praising grammar schools but those of us who grew up in that era know the pressure to pass the 11+, and the feeling of failure if you didn't.

obieone Fri 09-Sep-16 13:01:32

How is it being wrapped up as something to help poorer chlldren?

I am wondering if there is one upside to sec modersn compared to decades ago.

Half? the children go to unis? A majority of them will have to come from the sec moderns?

Which ,in decades past, didnt happen or rarely?

Greyduster Fri 09-Sep-16 13:01:35

Good facilities do not necessarily a good school make. Where we lived before, our local comp was a failing school with poor discipline, poor buildings, no facilities and a pathetic excuse for a head teacher. They rebuilt it at enormous cost with state of the art sports, IT and gymnasium facilities. Guess what! It was still a failing school, in special measures, for years after until they sorted out the teaching staff (got rid of the dead wood) and installed a new head teacher. It's still not brilliant, but it is improving. No-one is fighting to get their kids into it though.

widgeon3 Fri 09-Sep-16 13:24:03

Read somewhere that the main force behind the foundation of comprehensive schools was the fact that to offer a smaller number of children a large range of academic subject was too costly.
Having said that, I taught in a selective school abroad. My Eng Lit classes had 50 pupils and involved me in a horrendous amount of marking and hours spent in the school with only 2 free periods a week. However, with pupils all able to study at the same academic level, the amount of ground covered was huge and the exam results excellent