The 11-plus divides us all

Alan Gurbutt's picture
It's taken me the best part of a decade to realise the pro selection lobby dominate Lincolnshire's education system. Parents have no voice in the policy of education for a multitude of reasons and there is no overt opposition.
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Georgina Emmanuel's picture
Sat, 26/09/2015 - 10:57

Janet, my remarks about failing sec.mod schools were not intended to lower the morale of teachers who do their best in very challenging circumstances. If it seemed this way, I apologise. My point is that the circumstances should not be so challenging. If, as John suggests, more funding were made available for these schools, this might help a little. However, I believe that the basic principle behind sec.mods is fundamentally wrong and, although you are right that the law of averages means that some schools have to be less than average as compared with other schools, there needs to be a standard below which no school should ever fall.

I believe that education is the key factor driving widening inequality in this country. Indeed, I'm always surprised that politicians across the parties (judging by the election manifestos and newspaper headlines) seem to be so content with the status quo.

Janet Downs's picture
Sat, 26/09/2015 - 11:44

Georgina - thanks for explaining. But as I said, there will always be some schools where results are below average. In many cases there are reasons for this eg an intake skewed to the bottom end, or an influx of immigrant children with little or no English arriving at all times of the year (the situation in Peterborough which has been 'named and shamed' by Gibb twice - once for its low SAT results and once of a lower proportion of children passing the phonics check). Extending funding to these schools (especially ones facing difficulties as in Peterborough) would help but wouldn't wipe out the effect of having an intake with few previously high-attaining pupils and a large number of average (the whole spread) and previously low-attaining pupils.

Inequality isn't solved solely by education. There needs to be sufficient employment which offers a fair wage and fair conditions of work. . But it's a useful cop-out for politicians to claim education alone will get people out of poverty. This avoids the need to think about how Gov't policies could affect the already disadvantaged (eg the bedroom tax, changes to benefit systems which remove benefit from disabled people deemed fit for work) or how employment practices impinge on poverty (for example, for the first time the number of people in work who have to claim benefits is greater than the number of benefit claimants not in work.

Alan Gurbutt's picture
Sat, 26/09/2015 - 22:45

The problem with selection, and, academies, in our area is that schools cannot compensate for economic inequality in the community because their structures are not conducive to working together, if they were all the stops would be pulled out to prevent the closure of Monks Dyke Tennyson College in Mablethorpe.

I don't think anyone means to say that secondary modern schools are failing because they they have low-ability students and less effective teachers, or that grammar schools are better, the point must surely be that together they form selection, not comprehensive education.

Comprehensive education in the broadest sense, in areas of child poverty, such as Sutton-on-Sea and Mablethorpe - extending to schools in Alford (that serve these areas) - would provide a 'lifeboat' for all children's potential, from 3-18. As it is, transition at 11+ and post 16 leaves too much to chance to plan for the future. We can do better than this.


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