Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I thought that was the point?

Some parents are weird, I don't just mean the ones who let their kids run wild or the ones who you know have kids but never see them. However when it comes to education most want to get their kids into the better schools, the ones with a little bit of discipline left and who might just give their kids a chance to find a job at the end of their education. One of the things you'd think they'd grasp is the fact that the better schools stay "better" for a reason, Grammar schools for instance do well academically for a reason, that reason being they have a formula for selecting brighter kids via the eleven plus (no I'm not saying it's perfect, just that it's a criteria)

Campaigners calling for changes to grammar schools selection in west Kent have lost their appeal.
Nearly 200 complaints were lodged against the selection policies of Tonbridge Grammar School, Judd School and the Skinners School.
The schools adjudicator Dr Bryan Slater ruled they could keep their admissions criteria - based on 11 plus results rather than where children live.
Most of the objectors claimed the policy denied places to local children.
Denied places to local children who couldn't pass the 11 plus, which frankly is the whole point of a grammar school as far as I'm concerned.
Following the ruling, Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon called for an increase in grammar school places in west Kent.
He said: "It's Kent's grammar schools system, it has to be planned by Kent. They are responsible for making sure everyone has a place and there simply aren't enough places.
As in there are too many kids passing the 11 plus?
Apparently not, though I might be wrong here
"The big problem really is if only one school out of say 10 was operating this policy of super selection then the system could probably accommodate it but when there are three schools out of six doing it the whole thing gets distorted.
"I fear now there are going to be an ever increasing number of appeals and pupils having to wait right through to June, July until they get allocated to a school that they have not necessarily chosen."
Problem is too many grammar schools, so instead of calling for the system to improve the education of kids so that more can pass the 11 plus, he wants to lower the standards so more can get in easier. Sounds like a Labour politician all right...
Oh, hang on apparently he's a Tory...
Well, he's a politician, so he doesn't live in the real world anyway and can't quite grasp why good schools stay good schools because they set high standards. Back in the days before Labour butchered the education system by declaring that fairness meant all schools had to be comprehensives and accept everyone (save only for the lucky few who decided to opt out) There was a two tier system, the academically inclined went to grammars schools and became bosses, managers etc, the so called professional classes. The rest went to what were called secondary modern's and became the artisans and skilled craftsmen as well as unskilled labourers. As a system it wasn't ideal, some kids were late developers, some failed to progress after a certain age, but it worked generally. Bring in comprehensives and instead of the brighter ones helping their less fortunate to grow, everyone got dragged down to the lowest common denominator in that teachers had to spend so much more time with the thicko's the brighter ones were squeezed out.
Smarter parents soon realised this and given a choice would make sure their kids got into the remaining few "better" schools, even moving to a catchment area if necessary, sacrificing their finances to make sure their kids had a better chance in life, it's what good parents do, if they can afford it. Schools soon twigged that the higher the standards for entry, the better the pupils they got and the easier their jobs became. Market forces, to a certain extent.
The whole system is a mess and wont get better until equality is dumped into the waste bin of history and a proper two tier system set back up. Then at least you wont have the problems of locals finding a good school, there will always be one around as well as one for the not so bright but keen to work with their hands.
Until we go back to what worked, we'll never go forward.

2 annotations:

Woman on a Raft said...

You don't even have to do it by exam results.

The school in the news this week, St Saviour's and St Olave's, where Dr Irene Bishop is Head, uses faith criteria and associated markers so that it is selecting children who already have a very high tendency to cooperate and behave.

She can reject five out of six applicants; that's how keen parents are to have their daughters go to a place with nicely behaved girls.

Quiet_Man said...

I don't blame them at all, however unfair it seems