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

Thank you Ian, it is nice to see someone who doesnt necessarily have direct involvment in the school or the argument putting in such positive views.

Alex's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:29

Thank you Ian Statham! You have communicated exactly what I was trying to explain without any of the possible claims of bias. Personally, I found my community service to be a pleasure during which I taught the children at a nearby school because the community is generally so receptive. Thank you.

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

Thanks for your comment Ian. I think I actually know the two people who were at your neighbour's house, and it's definitely good for people to be reminded of the good work that Reading School does in the community.

Reading resident's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 20:46


Ian stathum's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:21

Oops! Problem with the computer! I meant to say all the boys looking so nice and smart in their suits and trousers!

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

Matt, disparaging comments like that really don't help.

I did community service at New Town primary school in Cemetry Junction, teaching maths to those who were classified as 'gifted and talented.' There was one boy there who was clearly very intelligent, but he had an unstable home life. I asked his teacher if he was going to sit the Reading entrance exam and she told me that although the school thought him able, his parents didn't want him to go. I wonder if this attitude is common?

Dave's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:46

I feel as if I am fighting an unfair fight, clearly all those who are currently using this website are against the proposals, I accept that view even though I obviously don't agree with it. I just feel it's disappointing that Francis Gilbert who started this whole debate can't be bothered to come and try and support someone who is trying to support his viewpoint.

Warby's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:49

To be fair, it is a quarter to one in the morning. And no-one seemed to care about free school meals so he piped down a bit.

Warby's picture
Wed, 25/05/2011 - 23:52

Hey Dave... I think it's just us two ;)

Peter Swallow's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 00:06

83% of secondary school children are taught in non-selective state schools. And yet of the 50 best schools for A level results in the country, only three fit into this category. The top fifteen schools are all either grammar or private schools. Only a fifth of Oxford applicants who attend comprehensive school will get in, compared to a third of grammar school applicants, and a quarter of independent school pupils. There's a trend
here; comprehensive schools have failed to stand up to private schools, failed to enable those who are born into any socio-economic background to achieve the same results, whereas grammar schools have not. Grammar schools are the only chance for poorer geniuses to flourish. You made the point that only 0.5% of Reading School pupils get free school meals. How many Etonians get them?

I go to Reading School and I am proud to have done so. If I didn't go there, I would go to the normal comprehensive school and get average teaching and good, but not brilliant grades. And I would be bored. Not stretched. Not engaged. Not educated. Comprehensives are brilliant for what they are, but people who ignorantly believe in a "one-size-fits-all" education system need to wake up and look at the facts.

And what right do other people have to tell my school, MY school, what sort of school it can be? Is it not for the pupils, parents and teachers of Reading School to decide what is best for us?

You talk about our lack of community-based intake. To that, I tell you to wake up. Who cares what children we educate, as long as we educate children? Does it matter if they're from Reading or from Slough as long as they're in a school somewhere, learning?

This sort of emotional, jealous, snide and utterly ignorant article is such a good example of the need this country has to support its grammar schools; to explain the huge benefits they can and do have.

Judd's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 00:09

I am the chief examiner at reading boys, let me just say that I wish we became a comprehensive. Some of the boys are right twats, and I don't like them. They don't wear uniform to exams and they smell. As a comprehensive, existing pupils would be frightened into doing work by the yobs as they could see what future they would have if they don't bring correct equipment to exams, and the yobs themselves could achieve above average yob grades. Consequently we should alternate years to keep half scared and the other half socially mobile.

Judd out.

Matthew Beddow's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:17

Quite obviously not the person they claim to be.

Frank's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 14:11

The sad thing is that this sounds just like the judd

Judd's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:04

One of the best qualities of the students at my school is their ability to attempt to argue with you and in doing so prove my point. Here I refer to "the boys are right twats". Come back when you have a suit, you aren't dressed correctly to enter this argument.

Judd out.

Doccy M's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 00:40

If kids pay for tuition to get them in, and then burned out at Reading, I reckon these people who wish to abolish the selective schooling would have a point. But they don't. They go on and become doctors or lawyers or astrophysicists; a damn sight more than most people can say they've achieved. Sure, they may have been born into richer families, but I don't think they can be victimised for that, and if they go out with the grades then it doesn't really matter if they started life in a mansion or a two-bedroom flat because they have the intelligence to do well, and perhaps more importantly, the dedication required to maintain that level of top-level output. A better argument would be to abolish the private schools, because those people really do pay for a better education. But oddly enough, Mr Cameron doesn't want to do that, anyone got any ideas why?

Jamie's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 01:07

As someone who came to Reading School through a public school, (yes, it does happen, just as many of my previous schoolmates went into the comprehensive system) I do notice myself to be in the minority; most of my classmates attended state primary schools, and several receive EMA (possibly a much better method for measuring income for our school, given its aforementioned lack of any dining area.) My brother also recently gained entry into the school from a public primary school, the only one in his year to do so, out of several applicants. Even he only made it in after moving 16 places up on the waiting list. The fact of the matter is, there is no basis for admission other than the entry exams, the primary factor in which is intelligence. Certainly, tutoring may help, but my brother and I both made it in with no tutoring, however his classmates, most of whom were tutored, were unsuccessful. There's really no more argument. We don't pay to attend the school, we don't pay to get into the school, and removing selectivity from ANY school will hurt the quality of intake candidates and, subsequently, the grades attained. It's not like Reading magically gives everybody high grades, we work for them, and, crucially, we help each other attain them.

Tom F's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 03:16

I went to Reading School. I got Free School Meals. Most of my friends from Reading School lived in Reading. I feel like there is a little else I can say to make it clear just how wrong this article is. I can only presume it will be proved more wrong when the parents of Reading refuse to get rid of the schools' selection.

Sam Hobbs's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 04:18

This article is ridiculous.

I went to Reading School, came from an RG postcode (as did the vast majority of students) and I can safely say that there is no basis for selection other than the results of the test. If you don't get in at year 7, you can try again in year 9 and then in year 12 (sixth form). It is basically a "top set".

The selection process allows the school to select pupils who are good at maths, making it easy to hire staff who can teach the subjects that students want to learn. For example, when I was taking the first year of my A-levels, only four people in our year of approximately 125 pupils did not choose to study Maths. It is also one of the largest centres for Physics in the country. If the selection process was removed, the school would almost certainly see a decrease in demand for these subjects, have to increase the number of teaching staff for other areas, and lose the efficiency it has gained through specialising.

As a consequence of taking high achieving pupils, Reading School and others like it receive LESS money from the government per pupil, and still manage to get great results.

If that's not value for money, what is?

At the end of the day, it leaves more money in the pot for low achieving schools to improve.

It would also be interesting to see how many of the children that APPLY to the school and take the examination would qualify for FSM. I suspect the reason the figure is so low is that parents on lower incomes do not encourage their children to take the test in the first place. If so, there is no fault in "the system", everyone has equal opportunities, some people just aren't taking them!

Francis Gilbert, if it would make you feel better, perhaps you could round up all the children on FSM and brow beat them into taking the test...? You'd be doing us a favour by increasing the pool of applicants.

Harry Gosling's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 07:31

As a pupil of the school, I would like to comment on this ridiculus 'petition'. Reading School has 800 years of history, of excellence, and of academic achievements. I think it disgraceful that people such as yourself Francis are commenting on the school without knowing what it is really like. "clearly full of children from priveleged backgrounds", utter rubbish. Further more, the school has a completely non-discrimatory selection process. I would also like to know what the rate of pupils with FSM meals is in Berkshire, rather than the nationwide average, since i expect it willl be lower. What you have to realise is that Reading offers an education that allows pupils to go to the top universities etc, so that independant schools do not dominate. Grammar schools are the half-way house between comprehensives and Privates. Reading School MUST NOT become and comprehensive, it will ruin the school; teachers willl leave, history and tradition will be lost. I would like to point out also that what you someone said about "Reading and Kendrick not being used to accomodate Reading Borough pupils", this is total nonsense once again. I urge anyone reading this to vote AGAINST Reading and Kendrick becoming comprehensives.

Harry Gosling's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 07:38

We need grammar schools to compete with the ever widening pool of well, educated priveleged private school pupils that increasingly take the majoirty of top university places.

Luisa's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 07:55

I would be interested to know whether those campaigning so ardently for the abolition of the selective system employed by Kendrick and Reading School feel the same way about other schools which aim to provide more suitable education for those of particular religious backgrounds, those who are lucky enough to afford to live close to a school or those who need additional support due to learning disabilities?

Kendrick school is placed near by to Reading University, in an area where much of the housing is expensive. The school is grossly oversubscribed even in its current selective state, and the buildings are, frankly, stretched at the seams with its current intake - usually in the region of 94 pupils a year. Surely some form of selection would have to be employed in order to decide which pupils study at the school, and I personally feel that basing intake on catchment - which places importance on household income - is morally wrong.

Kendrick takes high achieving students regardless of income. As has been previously said, though some choose to be tutored, most students who currently attend the school have had no further preparation than a £10 pack of papers from WHSmith and the guidance of a parent who can read the mark scheme. Some even just turn up on the day of the exam.

I urge everybody to vote against this awful proposal. Those claiming that it will annihilate intake based on income are sadly deluding themselves - it will do just the opposite.

ReadingEast Mum's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:09

I am the parent of  a Reading school boy and can say what a good job they do of making their students feel special but only by denigrating those who end up in 'bog standard ' comprehensives. Parents can be heard to say how they can't believe they are getting such privileged education on the state and are prepared to overlook sexist, racist and bullying activities in the school as a price to be paid for this freebie. Of course,those living in a big house opposite the school who get in, are enjoying the view and proximity of the school while eating humous and breadsticks but meanwhile there are a whole group of children just down the road who can only be offered a school which is a neighbouring borough's poorest performer. In the past these two grammar schools could be ignored as an irrelevance to the local students whether gifted and talented or not because an outstanding state comprehensive education could be had locally. Now that East Reading students are to be deprived of this , parents are wondering why they can't exercise a bit of parent power to facilitate change which is well overdue. Isn't that the argument used by the parents just gaining access to another outstanding school nearby? To the Reading School students who have been contributing to this discussion I would say a more objective and critical analysis of the institutions of which you are a member should be within your grasp or a simple " put yourself in other people's shoes". Try to understand that whilst not wishing to deprive you of a very selective schooling experience there should be an equally outstanding education on offer to those children who live in the shadows of your privileged spires.

Peter Swallow's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:22

A more objective and critical analysis? I gave you facts and statistics proving why we need grammar schools and you talked about hummus and breadsticks.

Warby's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:22

The point is is that Reading doesn't give anyone a particularly outstanding education. There are some truly awful teachers there. By condensing the spectrum of ability you make it easier for the teachers, as they can focus their teaching to a group of similarly able indivduals.

Luisa's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:35

I find it amazing and saddening that your experience has been of a school that is "sexist, racist and bullying", as this is not at all the experience that I or any of my peers who went to Reading or Kendrick have had.

The answer is not to destroy the selective system, but is to put more funding into greater comprehensive facilities in and around Reading. For the sake of a meagre 200 places a year in the two schools combined, it would be a terrible waste and a horrible shame to destroy the outstanding system that Kendrick and Reading School have offered to so many students both past and present.

Neither school is equipped to become a comprehensive school. Nearly the entirely of Kendrick's (minimal!) budget has been allocated to good science and maths opportunities. This would certainly not advantage children who wish to take vocational qualifications. Different schools suit different people, and I feel that the selective system should be kept in place to honour this. I had a very happy 7 years at Kendrick, whilst my other half went to a local school before following a series of vocational qualifications to higher education level instead. Just as his education would not have suited my needs, mine would not have suited his. I think that some people need to remember the time old phrase of 'horses for courses' still holds true and that selective education exists entirely for beneficial rather than discriminatory purposes.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:53

This very long thread is full of comments from pupils at the selective schools who are supportive of their schools. However, their opinions must be supported by evidence, properly referenced (that is what will be expected when they get to university). Objective evidence from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that selection does not improve a country's average educational performance but does impact negatively on those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. OECD also shows that socio-economically advantaged pupils in the UK get a better share of educational resources (in terms of class size and so on).

Several pieces of recent research (see links above to Times Education Supplement and Sutton Trust) show that comprehensive pupils either outperform or achieve degrees comparable to pupils of the same ability from independent and grammar schools which negates the argument that a grammar school education is essential to gain a high degree.

Many of the posters from the school miss the point that academically selective schools are bound to achieve higher results (and therefore more university entrants) than non-selective schools. It's the intake. Judging the standard of a school based entirely on exam results is misleading. Back to OECD again - it warns in its document "Reforming Education in England" that "the extensive focus on grades in the [English] school system is a cause of concern" (OECD 2011 p100). This focus results in grade inflation, "gaming", "teaching to the test" and a neglect of other non-cognitive skills. The OECD recommend that the Government introduce "more sophisticated indicators of schools value added" which would "dispel some of the overestimation of peer effects among parents that seems to be reflected in an excessive focus on sending children to schools where students have 'good' social backgrounds, perhaps neglecting other factors of school quality and children's well-being." (OECD 2011 p101).

Reading pupils - you have stoutly defended your school. However, it is not enough to rely on anecdotes, make statements for which you offer no objective, referenced evidence or use censorious words like "ridiculous". It is unfair, of course, to think that you will be familiar with vast volumes of educational research. However, if someone points out what the properly researched and analysed data shows then it this data should be considered and not brushed aside.

Jamie's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:44

Your outrageous hyperbole undermines your whole argument
Whilst it is true that most people who go to Reading School and Kendrick are from middle-class families, and there may need to be measures taken to alter this, they are certainly not outrageously wealthy, huddled away in their 'privileged spires'. If the families of students were so wealthy they would send their children to the relatively nearby private schools, among which are some of the best in the country: Eton, Wellington College, Radley. Your rant is ignorant and based on a childish class-prejudice that does nothing to help your argument

Luke Barratt's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 19:06

Those people just down the road have as much access to Reading School as anyone, as long as they're in a catchment area which, if they're down the road from the school, I reckon they are. Maybe you're the one who needs to take a more objective and critical analysis. We at Reading School will not actually be affected by this change. What are they going to do? Throw out the intelligent people who are already there? Personally, I am arguing against the change because I think the change is a bad thing for people generally, even though I would not be affected. You, on the other hand, have a personal interest in the topic, and so are clearly far less reliable.

Warby's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:23

Personally, I resent this middle-class stereotyping. I don't even like hummus.

Tushar's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:04

The OECD is in no way an objective report: it is their opinion on how to improve the skills of the workforces for the top jobs of tomorrow. Whether or not this should be education's purpose I will leave up to you - however do not thing for a second that the report is obective and should be cited above and beyond the opinions of those who have experienced the effects of grammar/comprehensive education first-hand.

An idea's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:16

You continue to quote the OECD and Sutton Trust to support you opinion that a grammar school education doesn't lead to student performing better at university. However in the case of Reading School this clearly is not the case, as the Sutton Trust shows. An estract from wikipedia:
In 2007, the school was identified by the Sutton Trust as one of only 20 state schools among the 100 schools in the UK responsible for a third of admissions to Oxford and Cambridge Universities over the five preceding years. 16.0% of pupils went to Oxbridge and a 62.1% in total went to universities identified by the Sutton Trust as "top universities".

Luisa's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:18

Personally my thought is that to view schooling in an objective manner is to trivialise it. The numbers on paper cannot ever speak the same volumes that time and experience can. Whilst there is plenty of evidence for the beneficial and not so beneficial values of grammar schools, many of which may be found in the Sutton Trust report, The Norwood Report and other such publications, ultimately these only speak for the grades that come out. Schooling is not merely about achieving certificates or ranking up A grades, but is about nurturing and encouraging pupils beyond the mere academics, and that is something which cannot be captured by a few figures and some biased evidence.

If you don't mind my asking, where abouts do you stand in terms of this argument? Are you a parent of a child hoping to attend one of the schools?

Also I am keen to know whether you also oppose other forms of selective education, be they meritocratic, monetry, religious or special needs education.

Joe's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:06

Do you work for the OECD?

Martin Shine's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:44

I'm in year 10 at Reading School and I was talking to one of the best maths teachers at our school and he simply said that if we stopped being a grammar school he would leave. The reason the teaching is a very good quality at our school is because teachers want to teacher the brighter harder working pupils.

Also, how is the selection system unfair? It is purely based on how you do on the entrance exam and gives everybody an equal opportunity to get into the school regardless of background. Maybe the students at our school do tend to be richer but that is because there parents will tend to make them have a good work ethic so they actually worked hard enough so they were able to get into the school.

Nigel Ford's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:09

@Martin - you make the argument for the abolition of grammar schools.

The fact that a good teacher at your selective school would refuse to carry on teaching the same syllabus if the school became comprehesive because the pupils wouldn't be so elite smacks of snobbery and social apartheid.

If that bigoted mindset is representative of the school, it speaks volumes about the type of people who attend and the way it is run.

Warby's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:26

It isn't, and it doesn't.

sam's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:30

I can imagine myself, as an ex pupil, some of the teachers who might give this opinion, and I struggle to think it is due to snobbery and elitism. Some of the teachers who joined the school during my time there had left comprehensives after being unable to handle the rowdy children. My experience of some of our teachers was that, while they have a lot to offer in terms of their teaching ability, they would struggle to manage a class of youngsters, even those at our school who were usually relatively well behaved and attentive. Some of the most excellent teachers I know myself would have been unable to teach at some comprehensives for this reason.

An idea's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:07

What is your problem it is nothing like "social apartheid". That statement is highly inappropriate. You have never even visited the schools so can not make such serious accusations, so do not.

Frank's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 13:58

How can you call us bigoted for wanting good education? We just enjoy being in an evironment where we can get the most advanced education we can. Saying that not wanting to teach in an non-selective school 'smacks of snobbery and social apartheid' smacks of bitterness and shows that you have never had to try and teach a subject to a classroom of mixed ability students. As you teach, the brighter ones grasp topics while the others take longer, and all that happens is the talented students get bored and waste time they could use learning more advanced topics. Guess how you stop that happening. You send them to an institution of social apartheid where all the students are talented, and the teachers enjoy teaching high-level subject to high-level students. Snobbish, maybe. A better method of education than any other you can put in place, definitely.

H's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 23:20

No it doesn't, it smacks of a desire to be employed teaching, not managing disruption.

Martin Shine's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:53

And could I just add that I live in East Reading, went to Alfred Sutton which is less than a mile away and i'm not from a particularly privileged background. Also, Reading School ran many activities such as tag rugby tournaments and swimming lessons while I was at Alfred Sutton. Other local comprehensive schools such as Maiden Erleigh or Bulmershe did nothing to help with my primary school education. Local children can get into Reading School but the fact is very few of them try:
From Alfred Sutton in my year, 2 or 3 people tried for Kendrick of which none of them get in, and about 8 tried for Reading and 4 of us got in. There is nothing unfair about the selection process, it's purely intelligence based

Tushar's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 08:57

A ridiculous proposal. Grammar schools are the lynchpin for social mobility. Clever students who want to learn should not have to put up with students of lesser ability who have no interest in learning. You might say that if everyone just went to their local school and were put into sets according to ability it might pay off: wrong - they still have to put up with the behaviour of people who don't care about their education at all elsewhere. By having a grammar school like Reading or Kendrick (which aren't grammar schools anymore - Reading is an academy, and Kendrick is just selective) you allow students to excel, and not be bogged down whilst teachers try to encourage those who clearly will never be encouraged. By splitting the two groups of the ability spectrum into two different schools you allow the schools to specialise: Reading and Kendrick will push their top students far more than they woud be pushed in any other school; they will also push their lower-end students (who would be top in any other school) to work harder - had these students gone to a comprehensive, the best of Reading/Kendrick would be top no matter what, and would have no incentive to work to the level that brings out THEIR best; the lower-end (but still very bright) students would work onlyhard enough to come out top.

Sure, Reading and Kendrick admit very few people from Reading Town, and from disadvantaged families. The former statement is something that will invariably occur if you want Reading School to be the Sunday Times Best State School In The Country. Students from Reading would not be able to get some of the best results alone - these schools have to look around Berkshire and elsewhere. This is just a small price to pay for a better education system. The latter fact requires attention: rather than just saying that it is a sign of how the two schools should be shut down, it should be a cause for concern and reform - these two schools perform an entrance examination every year. The top students on this examination (apart from those who drop out for whatever reason) get in, and so only the brightest students end up at the two schools. The fact that very few working-class students get in has NOTHING to do with the two schools; we should be trying to encourage these students who are eligible for school meals to try the test and get in. The most likely explanation is that their parents do little to encourage them to get into the schools, and they don't take the test at all. The stereotypes that surround Grammar Schools will have the biggest effect on the students of this socio-economic group - perhaps exarcebated by the ones surrounding same-sex schools as well. If we let parents choose of their own free-will whether their child should enter the test, inevitably the privately-educated schools and upper-middle class students will apply more than the others. This needs to change - not these two schools being selective; or not amongst the best schools in the country!

Martin Shine's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:21

Nigel, admittedly this may make the teachers sound rather snobby. However these are some of the best teachers in the country who could get a job at most private schools so it's understandable that they will go to where they teach students who want to learn which is clearly more enjoyable for the teacher.
Also, how is this in anyway at all a social apartheid, maybe you should go and do some research on what the apartheid was, because our school has absolutely no discrimination in how they accept pupils apart from how clever they are.

Nigel Ford's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:34

Except that if all state grammars became comprehensive and the teachers in those grammars thought they were too good for comprehensives, most wouldn't be able to find jobs in the private school sector because the supply would far outstrip demand, so they would probably have to stay put.

Warby's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:39

Good job they won't then, eh?

Luisa's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:03

It doesn't even just come down to the 'snobbery' that you are so convinced of. I studied Classics and Latin all the way to A2 with full time staff - those staff would find themselves redundant in a comprehensive school curriculum.

M's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:41

Fiona lane- 'There are many very intelligent children in Reading who fail to get into Reading’s grammars because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds.'

completely incorrect - that is the point of the entrance test - it dosen't select for class or wealth

M's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:02

@nigel ford
'If that bigoted mindset is representative of the school, it speaks volumes about the type of people who attend and the way it is run.'

his mindset is not bigoted. bearing in mind he is 14 or 15 years old, he has hit the nail on the head regarding the entrance issue- the school itself is completely fair in the class of pupil it intakes, the real issue here is the class of people sending their children to take the test, and its people promoting that these schools have a snobbish image that brings about this problem. I doubt any of the people campaigning have been to the school to see for themselves this supposed image.

As previously stated the whole point of a grammar school is teaching those who want to learn - it has nothing to do with the background of the student. This ethos would be destroyed if the entrance test was dropped

Matthew Beddow's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:14

Its all very well and good asking us to reference things like we have to at uni but there is no article that is a greater substitute for first hand experience of the school.
The school is as successful as it it because of the pupils, not the teachers or facilities. If the school didnt take the brightest, then the whole dynamic of the school would collapse, and the pupils wouldnt recieve the same "priveleged education". I know first hand that it takes but 1 pupil who doesnt share the schools ethos to disrupt the class and grades start slipping dramatically. Take my german GCSE year for example, there were 2 or 3 people in that class who were underachievers and didnt want to learn, the result: the average grade in the class was a D. Now in most schools this may not be abnormal, but when you consider that there were 5 people in this class who got C/D for german but also got 10, yes 10 A* grades so it is not just that the people were not smart enough but were not in the correct environment. I know this is a small example but if you spread that accross the whole school, grades will soon start to fall and you wouldnt be fighting to get your child in.
Those who pass the entrance exam are those best suited to this kind of schooling and those that dont pass, would struggle and do worse than if they went to a comp, if they came to Reading school.
If the school does become a comp, then it will need at least £5-7 million (this isnt a random figure but an accurate evaluation on the biulding works and equiptment purchases needed) spent on it to get it up to the same standard as the other comps in the area. I'm fairly sure you don't want that, do you?

Matthew Beddow's picture
Thu, 26/05/2011 - 10:24

By extension of the argument that the schools shouldnt be alowed to select those that come to their school, are you also against universties picking the best candidates, and employers picking the best candidates? Of course not, people have to be selected to ensure that the correct people are taught in the correct way for them, or end up in a job that they are suited to, else you'll end up with people with no alevels failing a degree in media but becoming your doctor? Utter nonsence


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