Local parents protest against the unfairness of grammar schools in Berkshire and might force them to become non-selective

Francis Gilbert's picture
Berkshire parents are taking a stand against the chronic unfairness of the grammar school system. Local parents are forcing a ballot in the Reading area of Berkshire -- using legislation set up under the Labour government -- to see whether the local community actually wants grammar schools in their area. Since very few local children go to the schools, it appears that these schools will lose the ballot and be forced to lose their grammar school status. Last night it was confirmed that a group of parents in Berkshire had begun the process of forcing a vote on the future of the Reading School and the town’s other grammar, Kendrick School for girls

Today's Daily Mail presents these parents' arguments in a negative light, but even the Mail's biased reporting can't hide the fact that these parents have a very good point: the two grammar schools in their area, Reading School and Kendrick School, are both highly selective state schools which do not admit many children from the local area. Reading School, a state-boarding school and grammar school, is clearly full of children from more privileged backgrounds, with the latest data on it showing that it admits just 0.5% of pupils on Free School Meals (FSM), compared with the national average of 20% pupils on FSM. Kendrick School admits just 0.4% of pupils on FSM. Have a look at the school's websites and you'll see that they are essentially state-funded "public schools".

One way that the schools could take more control over their destinies would be to become Academies but this could mean that they'll only be able to select 10% of pupils who have a particular aptitude in a subject they specialise in; obviously, not enough selection for these highly selective schools.

Kendrick School clearly have the best "PR", publishing this leaflet urging parents to vote "No" in the vote: it has the highest Google rating on the subject. Meanwhile, the 11+ chatrooms are buzzing with chatter about the subject, which can be found here. I'm finding it difficult to find many details from the protesting parents, but will follow this up in due course.
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H's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 01:53

In my opinion, most of the people on this thread are uneducated morons who do not understand the whole purpose of a school as excellent as Reading School.
A major argument here is that Reading accepts a large proportion of students outside the catchment area. I was classed under this during my time at Reading School- i travelled 20 miles everyday for 7 years to get to school. The reason for this? Because there were no good schools anywhere in the 50 mile radius from me that didn't require a large sum of money in order to get good education.

Another highlighted argument- those who are rich, privileged, who prep their children with tuition, get their kids into these schools. I am not from a rich family, i attended a local comprehensive primary school, i did not prepare or have tutoring prior to the test- but i got in. I needed a grammar school, because i cannot afford a private school for top quality education, nor can many others. The deal is simple- if you're intelligent, you will get into Reading School. You can't make excuses as to why your children didn't get into the school, that is just childish. By attending RS, i achieved 12 A*s at GCSE, 4 A's at A level, and a place at medical school; i highly doubt i would have been able to achieve this at a lower achieving comprehensive school. Many of my friends from primary school that went to the local comprehensive in my area didn't carry on to higher education, and therefore didn't go to university. I'm not saying i would have followed that same path, but i doubt i would have achieved the grades to become a medical student.

By getting rid of a top grammar school, you're ruining the future of many young, gifted and intelligent children. Here's what will happen if Reading School becomes comprehensive:
1) Influx of children who are less intelligent than the standard at Reading currently
2) Poorer exam results
3) Worse teaching- in order to cater for the less able, the pace of the classroom must be set slower- more able children cannot reach full potential by a faster and higher level of thinking
4) Efflux of top quality teachers due to a poorer standard and inability to use their own high levels of knowledge for intelligent students
5) More able students not achieving as their full academic potential
6) A pretty looking school, which is average at best- not exactly a prime target to send your children to

By voting for this, you are destroying 800 years of heritage, a top 10 school in the UK and the futures of many bright children. In my opinion, the voters are only doing this because:
a) They are unhappy that their children couldn't get into Reading/Kendrick
b) They want a closer proximity school for ease of transport
I think this whole ordeal is ridiculous, and you should really think twice about what you're ruining here. This is absolute stupidity on the grandest of scales, and i am outraged by how inconsiderate these voters are. There are other comprehensives in the area you can send your children to.

Don't ruin a fantastic school for the sake of it.

Nigel Ford's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 07:06

It seems Gordon Brown was right all along when he complained about Oxford rejecting Laura Spence, a comprehensive educated schoolgirl who was rejected by them to study medicine despite having attained top grades in her exams.

At least Laura wouldn't have carried the prejudices against comprehensive educated pupils or "uneducated morons" into the operating theatre or doctor's surgery.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 07:16

H - one thing you cannot help but notice if you read this site is that most comments are backed up by evidence. This is hardly the action of "uneducated morons". Commentators also treat each other with respect even when disagreeing and avoid name-calling which adds nothing to the argument.

However, you are clearly supportive of the school and grateful for the education you received there. What I am arguing for is that that education should be available to all.

You say that an influx of less intelligent children would reduce the school's exam results. Yes, it would, but that doesn't mean it would be a worse school - only that the results reflect its intake. This point is often missed by grammar school supporters - grammar schools achieve high results because their intake is specifically chosen to get those results. Yet schools who cater for the full range of abilities, or whose intake is skewed towards the lower end, are pilloried for not achieving the same results as academically-selective schools.

You say that an influx of less-intelligent pupils would result in worse teaching. In Finland, the top scoring European country in PISA tests, all teachers are expected to deal with pupils of all abilities, to diagnose problems and set lessons accordingly. I expect nothing less from UK teachers.

You also say that top-quality teachers would leave. If they are truly professional and committed to providing high-quality education, then they will stay.

You say that more able students would not achieve their full academic potential. Recent research has shown that comprehensive school pupils have an advantage over pupils of comparable ability from independent and grammar schools when judged by standard of degrees obtained.

You say that voting for an end to selection would destroy 800 years of heritage. Schools evolve - the school today is not the same as it was at its foundation. It would be a strange school indeed if it were.

Alam Narshall's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 20:03


Tom's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:43

The point about the teaching is that in this school, with it's environment for academic achievement the main objective, the teaching staff are able to spend less time worrying about controlling the class, but more on intellectual debate and stimulation with the pupils, especially in the higher years. I went to the school, and I know that the fact it was selective meant that pupils were more committed to their education. If the right standards were not maintained, it would never be perceived as "funny" or "cool", but as more of an embarrassment, because of the atmosphere in the school.
This means for the teachers, they could afford to be more academic, more as a university lecturer might be, and I don't think this would be very beneficial in a normal school environment. Taking away the selection would leave you with a school that doesn't have the structure to function as a regular school and would therefore probably struggle to educate even at a standard level.
Everyone should have the opportunity to attend one of these schools, so having a couple covering such a large area gives this, without destroying the intake of all the other local schools.
Saying this, I don't think anything worse of normal comprehensive's, both of my younger brothers are at a local school, thriving well, and even though I am glad I went to the school, I don't think it would have been much worse if I didn't.
I went to a state primary school, with little preparation for the test, and managed to pass. I think it is supposed to be more of a test of natural IQ instead of actual knowledge. However, you make an important point that a higher proportion of students are from more affluent backgrounds, so maybe the test needs revising. However, getting rid of the whole idea of selection would I think, not help.

Anonymous's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:14

Janet Down -
You have failed to take into account the emotional maturity of some children. I am attending Kendrick, but I have also attended over five comprehensive primary schools and encountered three comprehensive secondary schools. I am not biased, and I will not call them "stupid" or any other immature phrases, but I would like to point out that Kendrick and Reading Boys has a much lower drug and alcohol rate in students. I have been a student at Kendrick School for three years now, and I can vouch for the creative and inspirational atmosphere there, completely unaffected by the other factors you might find in a comprehensive school.

Keeping this in mind, do you think that some less academically gifted students would be at the same level as some of the Kendrick or Reading Boy students? Teachers would have to lower the standard, and therefore the gifted children would be unable to thrive and reach their full potential. Please direct me to the "recent research", so I can read it myself, but keep in mind that the context might not fit the situation. Kendrick and Reading School are rare - almost unique - and they are better than even most grammar schools. And by independent schools, I assume you mean private schools? Private schools with students that were too stupid to get into grammar schools, and had to pay for entry? Those schools? Do you see my point? We are looking at Kendrick and Reading Boys, and I feel it is safe to say that the standard of degrees obtained are higher than the ones obtained at, say, Bulmershe.

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 21:40

Nigel- at no point was i prejudiced about comprehensive educated pupils. I only implied that in general, those at Reading School are of a higher academic standard than those who attend comprehensive school (which is indeed a fact by results)- that's not to say that there aren't intelligent people at comprehensive schools, nor that all boys that go to Reading School are high achieving. Please do not make wild accusations such as this in the future- i have many friends who went to comprehensive schools and i do not think any less of them.

"Uneducated morons" refers to the anger i have towards this viewpoint that RS should be, essentially, abolished. I take great pride and gratefulness in what my school has given to me, being less fortunate, and i find it completely inconsiderate that there are people that would take this away from others who are also in the position i was in 9 years ago, i.e. not rich, yet academically high achieving. So, in this respect, yes i stand by that statement- however that is only my own opinion and not a personal attack.

And as for the rest of the contradicting replies to my post, which i believe are completely wrong, there are a plethora of very thought out and strong arguments which have been formulated by others; i feel i would be repeating those too much, so i will leave the readers to read onwards.

S's picture
Fri, 27/05/2011 - 11:09

She isn't the only one to be rejected though is she. I go to Kendrick and through hard work I attained top grades in all my exams, I attained top grades in the Oxford entrance exam. And yet I got rejected too. That's life. Sometimes we get rejected. But I moved on.

H's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 02:05

Oh, and Fiona Lane-

It sounds like you're quite spiteful for whatever the reason over Reading/Kendrick. Firstly, NO- they are not 'free private education'- the ability to get into the school isn't based on income, it's based on intelligence. There may be a correlation between income and intelligence, but that's not a legitimate reason to base your argument on.

"Reading grammars are not a luxury Reading people can’t afford; they are schools Reading people can’t even use!"

Correction: they are schools unintelligent Reading people can't even use! And that's the whole point. Reading School is for intelligent people to reach their full potential; I'd imagine however, that unintelligent people would not be able to grasp this concept. If you are average and want an education, you go to a comprehensive. If you are intelligent and want a very good education, you go to Reading school. Does that make sense? :)

Fiona Lane's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 06:59

H, your views show your ignorance on this matter and your comments far too personal. You show a lack of understanding in stating that the "average" shouldn't have an outstanding education, something that in the long-term affects the wealth of a nation. There are many very intelligent children in Reading who fail to get into Reading's grammars because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Entry, while based on intelligence, is not like the entry to the old grammars of the past where innate intelligence was tested; children are coached. It's a matter of mathematics; if places are taken by non-Reading children, then those places are not gained by those in the borough. Reading has a shortage of school places yet two schools which educate very few Reading children. Your outrage is misplaced for a school which had been founded to educate local people but now fails to do so.
By the way, I suggest you think very carefully before you accuse writers on this forum as "uneducated morons". It says so much about you and so little about everyone else, some of whom have better academic qualifications than you have.

Bakar's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:44

You refer to 'coaching' and inasfar as the 11+ exam, I'd say you were right. But the Reading School and Kendrick entrance exams are very similar to the Y9 SATS exams, and if there is a better way than affirming someone's academic ability than by attempting to predict how well they would perform in exams which they will have to take in two years, I would gladly hear it. I don't mind admitting I go to Reading School myself, and I did not receive any coaching for the exam at all. I do not know anyone else who did, although I am prepared to concede that it might not be something one would admit. Furthermore, I can't see why people who do not live in Reading Borough should be excluded from receiving the same excellent education as people in Reading. As someone who was, in fact, denied entry to a school CLOSER to my home than Reading for reasons of catchment area, I feel very strongly about this.

Anonymous's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:19

I don't want to appear rude, but do you attend Kendrick? Because I'm pretty sure it was formed to educate academically gifted people, and not local people. Local people can also attend excellent schools like Bulmershe - I hear it is under-subscribed.

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 22:38

No, you misinterpreted what i was trying to get across. By 'average', i mean of less intelligence than the standard at Reading School. This isn't a harsh comment, it is true- getting into Reading School is an intelligence test, selecting those in the same way that MENSA would select those of 2 standard deviations above the average of 100 IQ (i.e. above 130).
I did not state anywhere that i think 'average' shouldn't get an outstanding education. You're missing a crucial point here- this isn't a black and white answer. Different people need different methods of teaching in order to achieve their full potential. Those who go to Reading school need a fast paced learning regime in order to reach full potential. Those who are of an average intelligence, in order to reach full potential, need a different dynamic in teaching- a very fast pace would not be beneficial. If i were in a class of people who were more intelligent than me and understood things easier than i did, and the pace was fast, i would not benefit from this- i would need the pace to go slower- but then the other members of the class will suffer from being restricted.

From your argument, mixing both these groups would worsen the 'outstanding education'. There will no longer be an outstanding education!! By making Reading school comprehensive, from a logical viewpoint there will be a lower standard and the school will just become average. In the same way you could think- if Oxford University was made to accept everyone, do you honestly think that it would be a world famous university? Please answer that question.

Finally, as you have not taken the test (i deduce this from the fact that you are female), then you do not know from first hand experience what the entrance exam is composed of. It is indeed composed of mathematics, verbal and non verbal reasoning- similar to IQ tests it measures innate abilites that cannot be trained to any high degree. I for one did not get trained; i came from a normal primary school- and i passed the test. Coaching will not make any difference to this outcome, as myself and many of my former piers had proved. In fact one of my friends came number 1 in the entrance exam, without any coaching whatsoever!

sam's picture
Sun, 20/05/2012 - 19:48

many parents believe their children are super intelligent, very charming and full of potential, but that doesn't mean they truly are. Go and watch the American X factor, you could many lousy singers who are so centred and no talents but yet still strongly believe they are the best.

It is human nature, those who are talented/gifted students enjoy studying with the peers similar to their level, the same token goes to the less able ones, so there is absolutely nothing wrong to keep the selective grammar schools in the area.

if you parents who want your child to enter these schools, instead of complaining against the system, i suggest you spend more time tutoring your child after school, educate them with a good time management skill, reduce their time on tv and consoles.

Melissa Benn's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 08:22

This affair shows what a terrible mess our education system is in and the ways in which politicians have, over the years, made it worse - including this current government. The two comments that I find most interesting in the thread/s above are:

1) ' Reading and Kendrick Schools have been notified that a group of local people have started a campaign to reduce educational choice in Reading by forcing them to stop selecting children on the basis of academic ability.'

It is illogical, as the heads/governing bodies of these grammars claim, to imply that grammars increase or provide educational choice when they do the exact opposite. Grammars employ the power of the state to inform the majority of applicants that they are not good enough and deserve a second class education; judging from some of the comments above, they also educate those in their care to develop a warped sense of their own superiority.

2) 'If you are average and want an education, you go to a comprehensive. If you are intelligent and want a very good education, you go to Reading school.' This gem from H, above.

This extraordinary comment is best answered by a simple statement recently made to me by Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of the most successful inner city comprehensive academy in the country, and a political favourite of the current government. ' Grammar schools are a disaster.'

They divide society, and every county/borough/ neighbourhood where they exist. And they prevent the development of first rate comprehensive schools in every county/borough/neighbourhood where they exist.

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 22:05

Melissa- in response to the quote from my comment:
"Grammar schools are a disaster" - An interesting comment, seeing as Reading School is consistently in the top 10 schools in the UK, with approximately 1/3 of the year 13 cohort (approx. 35-40) students gaining oxbridge places in 2008. That really does sound like a disaster.

'They divide society, and every county/borough/neighbourhood where they exist'
Another interesting 'gem' of a comment, seeing as from personal experience, my year cohort was comprised of a unique blend of ethnicity, social class (i was a part of a substantial number of non-wealthy students), religions and places of origin. In fact i don't see how compulsory community service for all sixth form students is a division of the neighbourhood- ranging from helping the elderly, teaching in local primary schools and helping both those with learning difficulties as well as gifted and talented young children. You provide no evidence as to why Reading School causes direct prevention of development of comprehensive school- a statement with no supporting arguments or evidence.
So in summary, yes indeed- my comment was a gem. Thank you for saying so :)

Emily West Fahey's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 09:38

In response to Francis's comments last night I think that the comments written here and on facebook show that there ARE parents willing to talk about this issue in a public way. I'm hoping there will also be a letter in tomorrow's local paper. However, we are also reliant on the support and knowledge of organisations such as this, for which we are very grateful.
Could you clarify why some of the Reading primary schools will be excluded from the vote? Is it because they have sent so few chidlren to the grammar schools? If this is indeed the case then a look at the socio-economic profile of the areas in which these schools are situated tells us all we need to know about the myth of meritocracy that grammar schools take the 'brightest' children regardless of their background.
Why are the grammar schools not doing more to recruit chidlren from these schools? might it be that they don't want them? I also question (as indicated in the press release from the grammar schools) their commitment to 'science and maths' teaching at local schools. My son was a beneficiary of this as a G & T child at Alfred Sutton. The maths teaching was only done on a temporary basis and has now been wound down. My impression is that Reading School's commitment was not as great as it might have been.
It is terribly unfortunate that Reading primary schools will be disenfranched from the vote on the future of the grammar schools. One of the more unpleasant phrases we encountered in our campaign to maintain the Maiden Erlegh catchment area was that 'Wokingham schools should be for Wokingham children'. Will this now be amendedto read 'Wokingham and (Good) Reading schools for Wokingham children'?

Harry Gosling's picture
Sat, 28/05/2011 - 11:50

Reading and Kendrick take according to abiltiy. Surely it just shows that some Reading primary schools may just be not very good schools

Luisa's picture
Sat, 28/05/2011 - 12:18

The number of children sent from a primary school does not reflect on the background of the children in the area. I for one went to a very middle-class Catholic state primary school before my time at Kendrick. The school isn't eligible for the vote because they did such a good job of dissuading people from applying for any selective schools, despite there being a wealth of them in the surrounding areas. Only one or two students apply to Kendrick or Reading every year, and statistically it's highly improbable that every one of those will get in.

Fiona Lane's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 11:02

The problem in Reading is less about selection and more about a town that has two grammars that serve few residents. This means children scramble for places elsewhere. This petition has highlighted their plight.
Selection is a very emotive issue; it stirs passions in people, especially those who feel they benefited or were ill-served by the process. In itself it is not the evil monster some would like to foster. Not to teach a child according to his or her abilities and needs is bad practice. Teachers spend time differentiating in order to achieve this. In theory, selection should make this easier, educating every child appropriately and to his or her full potential. Everyone's a winner. Sadly no. Statistics show that children are divided socially, ecnomically and racially.
Selection all too often leads to a two-tier system. It is easy to invest in a school performing well with good results, dedicating time, money, excellent leadership and good teachers. It is rather more difficult to dedicate the same resources to a school that has poorer results, and which is perceived to be less desirable.
Unfortunately, for some people, this is taken a step further, that those children who do not attend selective schools, or those who live in particular areas are somehow less deserving, that they should be grateful for anything that comes their way, no matter what its quality.

Harry Gosling's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 07:44

I can't believe the rubbish that is being posted on here. Grammar schools do not prevent the other comprehensives in the area from expanding and getting better. I challenge anybody against grammar schools in Reading to actually spend some time in Reading School, in order to see what we are really all about. Reading and Kendrick work with other schools and primary schools. LESS money is spent per pupil in reading school than in all other comprehensives in the area. Does that not tell you something?

Kate Haran's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 14:18

H - I note with interest that you are the only person on this thread not prepared to name yourself. This interests me because you are also the only contributer who appears to feel comfortable making wildly inacurate, unsupported statements and being rude . I feel sure there must be a connection.
You are quite simply wrong when you say "The deal is simple- if you’re intelligent, you will get into Reading School." We really would be in trouble as a country if that were true. It is regretable for you that you feel that you would not have achieved such outstanding results at "a lower achieving comprehensive." Many Reading children have done just that and you should have more faith in yourself!

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 22:12

Kate- please refer to my comment below, in which i list my full name, date of birth, birthplace, height, weight, and email. I can even give you a photocopy of my drivers license, if that would please you.

My statements aren't wild or inaccurate- i've provided a hypothesis on which to base my theory on. Why would we be in trouble if this were true? From what i've been taught at school (ironically), a school acting as a catalyst for the development and nurturing of many great minds and thinkers, is a huge benefit to society. If indeed having more intellectual people in society is trouble to the country, well then- we are just a backwards country- as is your argument.

An idea's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 17:31

Reading School achieved Academy status in January.
Firstly, the G&T academy was not wound down, it is run for year 5s every week at the school, it was run last Tuesday. Reading School provides a lot of support to local primary schools. In fact before the exam season kicked in many sixth formers were going to local primaries to help, and these included people from outside of Reading doing community work IN Reading.

Secondly I see H's point about teachers leaving, many teachers at Reading School are of the very standard. If Reading were to be made a comprehensive they would simply move into the private sector, they could probably earn more at a private school. They are at Reading because they want to work with some, not all, of the brightest pupils around.
This would lead to a drop off in the standard of the school over time. It is very likely within a few years Reading and Kendrick would just be ordinary comprehensive schools.

Thirdly, Reading School is not a luxury the town cannot afford. My understanding is that pupils education is paid for by the local authority they live in not where they attend school. The only students Reading is paying for is the students from Reading.

Also, the 11+ is only the first entrance attempt. There is also a 13+ and entrance at 6th form for those with good GCSE results.

Obviously I see peoples frustration about the entire situation, but the situation has arrived from the Maiden Erlegh catchment change. It appears this attack on the Grammar system is born out of the frustration caused by the catchment change not because of what the Grammars have done. Forcing them to end selection would be a short sighted move and take away the opportunity for kids coming from the greater Reading area to have a brilliant education.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 22:03

How do you explain the fact that less than 1% of pupils at Reading school are on Free School Meals when the average FSM for Berkshire is 20%, and some schools such as the Academy in Reading have 40% FSM?

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 07:15

As I say in my reply to Alam below, taxpayers contribute to the training of teachers. In return, they should expect teachers to do their best with all pupils and not just choose those they perceive to be most rewarding. It is actually a slur on high quality teachers in grammar schools to suggest they would abandon state education if they couldn't teach high fliers exclusively.

You say that the schools concerned would become just "ordinary comprehensive schools". There is nothing wrong with that. You are judging schools based on their GCSE pass rates without taking into account the intake. An academically selective school is bound to have higher GCSE pass rates than a fully comprehensive school. And fully comprehensive schools will attain higher GCSE pass rates than a school which is secondary modern in all but name (ie their intake is skewed towards the bottom end). As Clinton might have said, "It's the intake, stupid."

Pam Nixon's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 11:13

I'm not terribly impressed by the standard of English that seems to be taught at Reading School.
1.What is this"very standard"
2 "students is" ? I see how you've got there but it's very badly expressed
3 How about a full stop, or at least a semi-colon before "they would simply move to the private sector".
4 "drop off in" ?- just "drop in" sounds better.
5. I don't really care for the idea of a situation "arriving"
6. How about a few apostrophes? pupils'education, peoples' frustration.
Perhaps not such a brilliant education after all.

Harry Gosling's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 07:47

Reading School doesn't have any eating facilities because it's a poor school!Why don't you visit the school to see what its really like because at the moment, you are being incredibly short-sighted.

Matt A's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:38

Please don't be so petty. I went into Reading School not knowing even what a colon was, and came out scoring top marks in my English exams. No one can be expected to hold such high standards all the time, i'm sure you have slips up yourself. Indeed the 'ring leader' of your quite frankly, horrific discussions has made a typo below..

Harry's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:28

What's your problem?

Anonymous's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:22

You think Reading School is rich. Do you know anything about the school your supposedly arguing for?

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 23:05

Pam Nixon- what is your point to this? If you think we have a bad education, please argue against the fact that myself and many of my peers achieved 12 A*'s at GCSE, 4 A's at A-Level and places in the top university courses in the UK.

yetanotherreadingschoolboy's picture
Fri, 27/05/2011 - 06:43

Just want to say on the eating facilities front, the principle is currently gathering money to build a refectory so that we will have the FSM required. On the comments above, I have worked in the service that Reading School provides G&T students in the local areas. And if we don't help the neighbourhood which seems to be one of the main thrusts of the arguements, why is it that we offer our sports facilities to local primary schools? Plus we run a scheme called 'Sports Ambasadors' and 'JSLA' where we go out into the LOCAL primary schools and help teach them sports because they are lacking the staff?

Not helping enough still?

Rachel's picture
Sat, 28/05/2011 - 13:20

How do you explain the fact that the two local comprehensives closest to me are also much lower than average in terms of free school meals according to Ofsted and are both rated good? Should we stop them from having a intake based on catchment area because it's stopping the less wealthy from attending?

Alam Narshall's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 19:51

I just wanted to say I went to Kendrick, and after reading your comments I am confused. Kendrick IS an Academy but changed its status fairly recently. Also, I didnt go to a private primary, and neither did about 70% of the rest of us. I went to a state primary. And I think the idea that kendrick should only be used by Reading residents is wrong. I live a very short train ride from Reading, my parents pay the same tax as you and it goes to the same things. I go shopping in Readnig because my village doesnt have the facilties, so, why, if I can pass examination shjouldnt I attend Kendrick?
Also, people havent taken into consideration the fact that if Kendrick becomes non-selective. It wont achive the same results. So going to Kendrick isnt a pass to pass you A Levels with an A*. Another question - what do you do withb the high achieving kids that will not learn in the same enviroment as others. A look into the future proves it wont work.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 22:01

Thanks for the information about Kendrick being an Academy; if this is the case, it needs to be more clearly signposted on their website, because I can't find the information. I will put a Freedom of Information request to see their funding agreement at the DfE as well. Also, Alam, why is that Kendrick only has 0.4% of pupils on Free School Meals, while other schools in Reading, such the Academy have 40%? It appears that chronic social segregation is going on.

path's picture
Tue, 24/05/2011 - 22:37

Mmmm. What do you do with high achieving kids that will not learn in the same environment as others? Can I suggest the naughty step'?
By the way, was precognition on the sylabus when you were at Kendrick? Do you do consultations?

Pam Nixon's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 11:17

Unfortunately Kendrick doesn't seem to have taught you much about spelling and punctuation!

Bob Marsh's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:03

Why do you think Free School Meals is any sort of thing to judge a school by? It just shows that the parents were smart enough to get decent job and then to teach their own kids well enough to be able to get into these selective schools rather than other parents who made worse decisions.

Bossman's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:09

If its unfair to 'segregate' those who are less naturally gifted and do not pass the entrance requirements, surely the reverse is true as well and it is unfair to prevent those who are able to meet their requirements from reaching their full potential?

Tom F's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 03:30

Try googling 'kendrick school academy'.

Harry Gosling's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 07:49

Because clever people have clever parents. I f parents are clever, then they often have good jobs and earn enough money to pay for their child's school meals.How is their 'chronic social segregation' when the selection process is based on inteliggence?

Jamie's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:14

I suggest that if you have nothing to add other than correcting people's grammar you should leave the forum rather than piping up now and again with your pedantic and frankly moronic comments

.,;:?>"!'s picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:29

oh no!

Luke Barratt's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:50

If you don't know, Reading School has also recently changed its status to an Academy.

S's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 17:27

Actually we do. We study it every Monday, Thursday and Friday...

Luke A's picture
Fri, 27/05/2011 - 10:38

Taxpayer's money can be spent on better things than free school meals for people are legible for it but don't really need it

anonimous's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:21

wrong 'there'. You used the possessive one. Do you go to a grammar school?

Alam Narshall's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 05:41

Well, I was unaware about the free school malls data and I agree in that case there is some social separation. But this is bot a good reason to close a high achieving school that is reciving good results. We should be moving tge bar higher in comprehensive schools not lowering it in Grammar schools. What would you do with the higher achievers in a comprehensive, they achieve bettter grades with others of their intelligence. And also it is very hard to learn verbal and non-verbal reasoning from a book - even if you do have numerous tutors.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 07:04

It is more than "some social separation". Selection increases social separation which disadvantages those who are already disadvantaged. Grammar schools receive good results because they choose those children most likely to get those results - they rely on other schools dealing with the less-able (and the latter schools are then perceived as being weaker than the former).

Comprehensives are well-able to cope with high-fliers as well as low-achievers. Finland, the top performing European country in the OECD PISA tests (much quoted by Mr Gove), has a fully-comprehensive system. Finnish teachers are expected to recognise and deal with all types of pupil. That is at it should be. UK teachers in state schools (with the exception of the new free schools) have to have trained teachers. Taxpayers contribute to this training - they should then expect teachers to give of their best to ALL pupils and not just choose those of high intelligence who are perceived by some as more "rewarding" to teach. Or could it be that teaching highly intelligent pupils could actually mask poor-quality teaching?*

*I'm not suggesting that all grammar school teachers are of poor quality. This would be grossly unfair. However, in the old days of O levels it used to be said that grammar pupils could get O levels despite the teaching, whereas secondary modern pupils got them because of the teaching. A wild generalisation, I know, but it makes the point that good results can mask weak teaching.


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