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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Bob Marsh's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:43

" I am your elder and better"
Comments like that really show just the sort of people who are arguing against good schools...

Matthew Beddow's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:46

Yes because 600 years is recent compared to 900 years.
How dare you call yourself better simply because you are older, how do you know how old we are?
And you talk of respect, the way we were brought up, you earn respect and as an 'adult' you should understand this and respect us!
Now if you excuse me, im off to finish revising for my university exams so that one day I will be able to develop a replacement for fossil fuels and slow global warming, no if thats not a benifit to the community as a result of attending reading school, I dont know what is.

Matt dawes's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:46

First of all, my name is infect "dawesy", to those who know me, I was not using any form of nazi encryption, and don't worry I dont want to eat your children. My grandfather, who sadly passed away a few years back also attended the school, although he did not get in until he was 16 , thus the school has been this way for a good number of years. Furthermore, what you don't seem to understand is that grammar schools are different to comprehensives in that they rely on the students desire to learn to succeed. Both of my siblings attend little Heath school, along with my cousins, and they achieve very well there, they have a very positive atmosphere there and I believe that the conditions there have helped them to succeed, just as the conditions at reading are suited to me, the school is selective because those who wouldn't get in wouldn't achieve, and Its not Like you lose out because you don't attend, comprehensive education may be more suited to you and your needs.

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

The only person that needs to get their facts right is you! What gives you the right to call us arrogant and insist you are better than us just because you are an adult?
Furthermore, it is perfectly justified to correct you (i.e. tell you are wrong) if you are missisnformed of the facts!

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 23:02

Yes, although in 1486 the meaning of the term grammar school was markedly different, and most certainly involved paying fees!

It has been a non-fee paying grammar school since 1944 with the implementation of that year's Education Act.

Olussu Muntagi's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:48

It is true that the school has trained it's pupils to look down on local people very well! No wonder they cause so much damage on my street! The issue is not one of intelligence afterall my eldest Richard achieved 2 a grades at Gcse and and 3b grades which I expect puts him above many at you're rich school! I think that there is a conspiracy against the local people who BUILT the school and donate money to it. I see the boys driving down the road in there sports cars and it's obvious there is alot of money so please do not lie to me. With your swimming pool and big park I think the school should be used as a leisure centre for us the poor! Your school is no longer right!

Ollie's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:50

I recieved three A*s, 5As, a B and a C. This was not high scoring in the school, there are many with over 5A*s and the times rated our school as one of the highest achieving in the country.

Alex's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:17

Olussu Muntagi, you could not be more absurdly wrong.
Firstly, your claim of an undercover private teaching scheme is libelous, ridiculous and completely unfounded.
Secondly, Reading School is short of money; building work on an inside eating area is an extremely long way off due to a lack of funds. It is likely that your own secondary school had somewhere that warm food could be purchased and eaten inside. We are currently unable to take food technology classes because we have nowhere to put the equipment. These lessons are, I believe, supposed to be offered at every school in the country. The "park" as you call it is our athletics field which is vital for another part of the mandatory curriculum.
Finally and most strongly, I dispute and find it outrageous that you claim Reading Schoolboys are bad for the local area. Every year, boys from the school are involved in a completely voluntary community service scheme which sees boys go into usually all of the local primary schools on a consistent, weekly basis. There, boys help teachers to enrich the students curriculum by teaching extra-curricular activities such as French and Latin alongside core curriculum skills. This is just one example of the good that the school does for the area.
Frankly, I find some of your comments incredibly absurd and very distasteful. I'm sure that many people will be embarrassed to hear you inciting such untrue, libelous ideas. Please reconsider them immediately.

Dan's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:18

I got 5A*s 6As and an A in FSMQ ad-maths and that was still only an average result! Don't be so stuck up about your son's achievements, you reap what you sow and hard work gets good results.
Students at our school ALL engage in community service during their school life and put an awful lot back in to the community
Finally, students cars are not allowed on site and they by no means can afford sports cars so you couldn't be more wrong!

Dan W's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:07

I achieved 5 A*s, 5 As and 2 Bs. I achieved these grades at a comprehensive school and moved to Reading, I there found that I had actually done quite poorly. Your claim is absurd. Get your facts right. Also I have not had any private tuition to get into Reading Sixth Form, I got in on my hard work and intelligence. I did not get into Reading School in year 7 despite entering for the exam, however unlike you and all the other ignorant parents on this debate, I did not complain! I did not moan that the system was unjust! Instead I got my head down, I attained good grades and I have earned my places in Reading at the moment. Without any help from private education or wealth. I would never be able to afford a private education. Also, I am very grateful for the chance I have and I would seek wherever possible to give back to the community. Your views are clearly inspired by envy and I implore you to reconsidered your stance.

Luke Barratt's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:31

Not to seem snobbish, but I must hasten to correct you regarding your expectations in relation to our 'rich' school's academic ability. I, in fact, achieved 9 A*s, 2 As, and an A in the Additional Mathematics FSMQ, and your son's results would have been the lowest results in my year had he been at Reading School. Sorry.

Ro P's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 19:15

Not going to lie.. even i got better than that :/ and i had one of the lowest GCSE's when i entered Reading School :/ Honestly yeah.. why is this argument on people being rich or poor.. it doesn't ask you to fill out your families income in the year 7 exam.. If you are smart.. you get in? is that really so hard to understand? mwah xox

You don't know what you are chatting's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 20:37

Again very ignorant! Obviously every school will have its rich students. But the truth is that Reading School represents those of all ethnicities and social standings. It is the best oppurtunity for those of poorer backgrounds to shine. Actually I am predicted 7A*s and 4As and many of my friends in that region so can you can please stop insulting our school on unfounded and frankly made up facts. And by the way are you the person liking your own comment because they are awfully ignorant comments????????

RS's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 20:43

Btw I would have to say that your son Richard would have got the worst marks in the year. I would not like to make the message against your son but against your ignorance of the school. Most of the statements you have made have been ridiculous!

Ollie's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:54

I am not lying.
The swimming pool is used by several companies outside of the school which provide swimming lessons and such like for the community, I attended these before I joined.
Secondly, no-one at our age can afford to drive sports cars and you cant have seen them as students are not allowed to drive on site.

Olussu Muntagi's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:51

you see here! This Matt Dawes grandfather attended the school! They take the places and keep them for generations! Is this not suspicious?

Ollie's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:54

No, clearly he comes from an intelligent family.

Matt dawes's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:01

Hahaha I have 6 uncles, none of which attended reading school. SUSPICIOUS?!?!?!
no.. And as I said, he failed to get in until he was 16.. Maybe you should spend more time trying to get a better education for your children, rather than slag others off and try and rubbish their achievements

Bossman's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:44

That must be it! I would call you a genius... but unfortunately I can't seeing as I'm the only person in my family to have gone to a grammar school and my brother taking the exam didn't get in... so... jog on?

You don't know what you are chatting's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 20:38

Or because parents who are successful usually push their own children to be as successful as them!! YH RATIONAL THINKING WINS THE DAY

Dave's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:55

I'm sure you Daniel will single handily cure cancer, send a man to the moon and stop global warming but some of us are living in the real word. I'm not going to restort to your low brow insults but until relatively recently grammar schools were nothing like they are today. You had to pay to attend, look it up, (1947) basically making it a private school. All I am trying to say is my kids deserve a good education which they will not currently gain with no local school in place, we need a school now and Reading School is the natural candidate

Ollie's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:58

The reason Reading School does well is because of the students and teachers that attend. The staff are there because they can teach to a higher level that the students can cope with. Making it comprehensive would drive them out, and the school would become 'bog standard'

Dave's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 22:58

sorry that last post was addressed at Matt Beddow, I had a friend once call Daniel, my mistake. No doubt you will use this as further amunition to mock me

Matthew Beddow's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:27

Unlike you may, I do not mock people for honest mistakes.
infact, my brother is a Daniel and the names often get mixed up so I didnt take offence.
However the name is Matthew not Matt, you may choose to shorten your name but I do not. Thank you

Olussu Muntagi's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:04

Dave makes the good point! I am tired of having our community spooky by boys who come from richer areas and think they can look down on us. I severely hope the school closes so that all these dodgy dark dealings are stopped. The school can then be liberated by the real readingtonians and we will make it fair! You all seem happy to lie and show huge amounts of disrespect to us the members of the community. Manners are free so show is some and accept that you are wrong! It is our cOmmunity! It should be our school! How dare you insult my Richard! He is better than ten of you I'll mannered prats and has a much brighter future than you boys who are rude and snobs!

Ollie's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:06

I did not insult him, merely suggested that he is not Reading school standard, although he is above average.

Dawesy's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:07

Thank you for your kind, kind words.

Matthew Beddow's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:16

Olussu, i think you should just stop there before you find yourself in a libel court, there are no dodgy or dark dealings in this school. This may be a custom you are used to in Kenya but it is not how things are ran in this country.
From my experience of the local population directly surrounding the school, we were far better mannered than you were and as such, calling us ilmannered is again, unfounded.
Also, what about those people from the community who do go to the school? In my year alone there were 4 people that lived within 200m of the school, so what gives you any more of a right to have your children there than them?
By the sounds of your prevoius posts, you came to this country to benifit from the UKs education system, and I put it to you, is the incresing levels of immigration not putting greater strain on the schools than the odd child that comes from outside a catchment area? yes thats right, did we forget to mention that the school has a catchment area, just like every other school. The people that come from further away are the boarders, like at every other boarding school...

You don't know what you are chatting's picture
Fri, 27/05/2011 - 11:52

Ollusu- stop liking your own posts! Obviously no-one appreciates your unfounded statements and sweeping generalisation. I am sorry your son Richard didn't get in but this school is genuinely one of the most socially aware schools in the whole area. I don't get all these stereotypes. Children from other schools believe us to be respectful goody two shoes but somehow you (ALONE i must add) think that we are a school full of dark and dodgy dealings. I ask you to learn how the real world works. I am sure Richard can explain that to you!

Warby's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:47

Be quiet

Bob Marsh's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:34

You do realise this Olussu guy is just trolling you?

Luke Barratt's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:39

Hey, let's leave race out of this, please? It just makes Reading School look bad

Bossman's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:49

I'd actually like to request that you apologise for that. What does his background have to do with anything? Btw, you do come across as snobbish with your 'holier-than-thou' attitude proving him right with your argument... Glad to have you on our side.

Warby's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:08

Interesting that people think that Reading School has the ability to transform the results of low-achieving children. It gets good results purely because it takes clever boys and pushes them to their potential. If you got rid of the entrance exam, all you'd get is another school producing average results, with noticeably poorer facilities than, say, Waingels or Maiden Erleigh.

Ollie's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:15

I would continue this... interesting debate, but I have an exam tomorrow and I feel that it is more important than arguing against a lost cause

Dave's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:18

I'm glad you accept it is a lost cause

Matthew Beddow's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:19

Sometimes its like talking to a brick wall Ollie, because they are upset that their child isn;t as high achieving as we are and cant "accept that [they] are wrong"

Ollie's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:27

arguing AGIANST a lost cause... learn to read

Dave's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:17

I don't understand what you are all getting so worked up about. All the pupils at the school currently will still recieve your craved grammar school education, all that will happen is you will recieve more funding and may be able to gain better facilities. If the parents of current Reading primary schools vote for you to be non-selective, which they probably will do, what do you care? It doesn't effect you, it only effects potential future parents like me, so stop interfering. For the sake of protecting your 'legacy' you will stop normal average children from gaining a good education at a local school. Please stop being rude and selfish and look at it from my pespective.

Matthew Beddow's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:22

It does effect us actually, that's the difference between RS pupils and other school pupils. RS instills a sence of ownership and belonging and we are proud of the school and its values, and as such, strive to uphold and protect them through the Old Readingensians association who also put money back into the school and invest in its pupils that wish to further supliment their education

Luke Barratt's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:44

'It doesn't affect you' 'stop being selfish'. I think there's a mistake in there somewhere :P That's the point. It doesn't directly affect us, but we still believe in our position. You, however, who want your children to come to Reading School, are speaking from an entirely self-interested standpoint. That's why your arguments seem so much more petty and less convincing than ours.

Bossman's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 18:51

In response to this Reading School teaching creates super kids idea, explain how one of my best mates beat me at GCSEs then? (He got 8A*s and 3As and I got 3A*s and 8As)

Harsha's picture
Sun, 29/05/2011 - 18:53

You don't get it, do you? I know we will be fine to continue. But I am grateful for what Reading School has done for me and I am not going to see a group of jealous idiots ruin something so great and that has lifted many from the lower class! Don't you realise that this is the best chance for a working class child to become successful? Can your tiny brain comprehend that if it stops being selective, it will be the same as any other rubbish school and therefore you wouldn't want to send your child there?????? I will not see our school which has helped so many go down the toilet because your children didn't get in!

When I reffered to the idiots, they are Dave (the abusive one who has no idea what he is talking about), Ollusu Muntagi (who he thinks he knows what he/she is talking about but actaully doesn't), Fiona Millar (trashing and dragging her husband Alistair Campbell's name through the mud), Francis (who could be a Daily Mail reporter - actually they may reject him for being too bias and for using wrong facts) and Reading Resident ( who makes more spelling mistakes than the amount of words he writes).

Dave's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:34

So your pride is allow to get in the way of other people living happily and doing well?

Frank's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 14:08

Our pride keeping others from living happily? How about your quest for equality oustripping all rational action, leading to two of the best state schools in England becoming open to anyone in the Reading area who thinks they deserve a place there, leading to the schools losing places for students from around Berksire!
For all of those who have been asking for facts, instead I'll just point to what happened when the previous grammar school in the area was shut down: Stoneham court was closed and merged with what we now look at a Prospect College. Reading School and Kendrick were left alone because they draw in students from around the Royal County and a public option should be left for talented students.

Warby's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:18

On a side note, it's really lovely to see all the people from RS using completely unnecessary synonyms to make themselve sound cleverer.

Kushal's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 14:30

Cleverer is not a word.

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 23:13

Agreed - And I am one of the progeny of that very educational establishment, by which, of course, I truly mean, RS.

Warby's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 14:45

Yes it is, it's a comparative adjective.

Ian stathum's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:19

It's nice seeing all the boys so smartly dressed I think, brings a shine to the area in my opinion. I've lived in the same house for the past 40 years and only just noticed this story; in my opinion we're lucky to have a school like reading which sets high standards for the rest of us to follow. My neighbour had two young boys visiting to help her with her gardening as she's getting old like me and from what I could tell from listening to them in my own garden they were very polite. Watching them too I could see they were very thorough in their work and clearly cared. Community projects like this have really benefitted the local area and I resent anyone who says the boys cause damage. From my observations they all act respectfully to local people and dress very n


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