Schoolzone: May's grammar ideas - what teachers think

May's grammar ideas - teachers' own words

 

13 Sept 2016


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In response to May's proposals for grammar expansion, here's what teachers had to say...

Primary teachers' comments

  • Secondary teachers' comments here

Those who said they were generally in favour:

  • A much better one than the introductions of academies. Grammar schools give the chance to low income families. The ones who can't afford the expensive private fees. Our local grammars in Lancaster are excellent and, although a competitor in one sense, gives all bright children an opportunity.
  • A lot of parents send their children to a private primary school to ensure they will pass the 11plus to get into a grammar school 
  • A selection test should be weighted by its content and not perceived ability to pay or parent.
  • Access for all with ability regardless of income background
  • Agree with it 
  • All children should be afforded a good education, unfortunately the cost of uniforms at secondary schools unfairly excludes children from poorer families
  • All children, regardless of their financial situation, should be considered therefore a quota is unnecessary and demeaning for the children concerned.
  • As my school is a faith school parents wish to have a more selective and extensive system of eduation for their children. They have in the past had this option, howeer this has not been the case in ecent years. 
  • Birmingham already creams off brighter students - a purely A level college catering for what are in effect largely 'secondary modern' kids is not really viable
  • Children in our area are not all able to access the local grammar school system, so it wouldn't really affect us.
  • Children still have to pass the test.
  • Currently our only grammar schools are at some distance and many parents will not put their children forward for selection due to the cost/logistics of transport
  • Every child should have the opportunity based on academic ability and not on postcode or ability to pay for tutoring.
  • Good idea, if proper provision is made to support them pastorally and academically.
  • Grammar schools are selective here so pupils need to be academically inclined
  • grammar schools should take people from lower incomes IF they meet the criteria regardless of a proportional factor
  • Great
  • I support it, as long as it is managed well. KS2 teachers would need to identify disadvantaged pupils who showed the potential to thrive academically, and ensure they had the opportunity to take the test. The non grammar schools would also need to focus on the real needs of the pupils, not necessarily on unrealistic GCSE targets
  • I think a grammar school should be entrance by ability therefore 'rich and poor' would have equal access. There are clever and not so clever children from high and low income families.  I do think that the encouragement to attend the tests needs to be marketed well to families from lower incomes so they know it is something they can apply to do.
  • I think all children should gain a place on merit and not by virtue of income of lack of it. The problem is how to create a fair system when wealthy or aspirational parents pay for tutoring.
  • I think entrance should be on academic ability only, and not based on family income.
  • I think Grammar Schools create considerable social mobility and should be encouraged but selection needs considerable thought before this develops. I would actively support proper Technical Schools as existed in Kent in the 1960s
  • I think it's great as long as these are bright pupils, capable of performing well.
  • I think that this is a good idea in principle. I myself am from a low income family in a poor area and greatly benefitted from a high school placement which enabled me to access further education and go on to a very sucessful teaching career. 
  • If we had some grammars they would take the university kids away so we could properly concentrate upon the vocational needs of all our students and forget the pointless A Level system
  • It is better than the effective system of selection which occurs by postcode. My lads live in a nice prosperous town - thus it gets outstanding. I work in an inner city area where the schools are among the worst in the country. I wonder why...!
  • It should be based on SATS results and not separate testing,

  • It shouldn't be a factor. If the child has the ability for the academic study required and the motivation to focus on their studies, background should make no difference.
  • It will increase the opportunity for more children to attend a selective school, as currently places are limited.
  • many of my low income children's parents do not have high aspirations for their children - linking a grammar school could improve this
  • Not sure how one can select by ability and prioritise pupils from lower income brackets.
  • Parents may see some value in the SATS tests for them rather than just for league tables.  They might use the info as an indication as to whether their child would do well in the grammar school entrance test
  • Raising aspirations, school could link into some of the extra curricular activities and sports that are not currently on offer. Opportunities to meet a peers from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Successful primary school, therefore would not be impacted by the proposals. 
  • there would be more choice for parents with bright academic children
  • They fortunate few may benefit but no impact on the standards and quality of education in feeder schools. 
  • Tonbridge has widest range of schools at Secondary - all striving to help pupils be the best they can be. Grammars at 99%, Faith schools (70-80%), gender boy/girl (sport/performing art) at >60%  Mixed gender technology school achieves 40%.  We have a wide choice - esp as 6th forms accessible to all. Grammars remove certain children allowing the other to concentrate on a different teaching style that maximises results for everyone.
  • We already have 6 grammar schools in the area and very good other secondary schools too so no change.
  • We are in a neighbouring borough. I think this will raise expectations generally and have a very positive outcome.
  • Will the government give extra funding to this?? How will they endure standards are kept high? How will more grammar schools help with the crisis in existing schools- teacher retentions etc.?

 

Those who said they were generally against:

  • A retrograde step
  • Access to school should not be determined by income.  
  • all grammar schools should be abolished and there should be no more 'new' ones
  • all grammar schools should be abolished and there should be no more 'new' ones -they have a very negative impact on all other educaitonal institutions
  • Although I was educated in a single sex selective school, I was very glad for my children to attend the local comprehensive, but we live in a leafy suburb. I might have felt differently if we had lived in another part of the city, however I think to set limits on the number of pupils that can attend a grammar school according to their parents income is not particularly helpful to anyone. We should be striving to provide the best possible education for all children and place less emphasis on academic success for those who are not academically inclined.
  • Appalling, unnecessary and politically- motivated.
  • As stated previously as long as grammar schools are available to all in all areas the impact would be minimal. 
  • Bad, divisive
  • Badly thought out
  • Bring social mobility back to the dark ages' 
  • Children should all aspire to common values not the elite.
  • Children should not be penalised by the system - it should be open for all
  • Creaming off high ability leaves remaining schools in a vulnerable position
  • Creaming off the top will inevitably have a negative impact.
  • De-selecting children from lower income backgrounds will widen the achievement gap between them and their more privileged peers.
  • Disgusting- deliberately creating a two tier system that 'lower income households' will struggle to access
  • Divisive, won't bring forward lower income pupils
  • Do not agree with grammar schools as leaves underachieving other schools
  • Dreadful and divisive. Tosh and Nonsense
  • Driving up standards in all schools, not tying hands behind somes' back 
  • Dumbfounded. What is the policy idea? Free schools? Academies? Grammar Schools? Education Authorities? Can grammar schools opt our of the Ofsted framework? Can the new grammar schools sponsor students? Will the government pay for transport for children from poorer areas? No plan - Nothing new- quick vote winner.
  • Even more pressure on schools, particulary in Y6 affecting quality of curriculum.
  • Good models selected out. Non selected not exposed to higher standards 
  • Grammar school sixth forms competing for students in an age group that is already locally oversubscribed
  • Grammar schools cream off high achievers but will  the rest still be expected to achieve A* - C grades in GCSE in existing league tables? Also I do not believe that young people at 11 years old have showed their true potential (or lack of it) at that age All children can thrive and achieve in well organised, well funded comprehensive schools.
  • Grammar schools in general or them taking lower income pupils? Question is unclear
  • Grammar schools locally have expanded over the last 3 years by adding additional classes which has left other good local schools struggling for numbers as children are perceived to receive a better education at the grammars.  Students from state schools who achieve highly through the dedication and hard work of teachers in those schools are then lost to grammar school Sixth Forms.  Schools locally are always judged and compared to schools nationally, but with over 20% of the top pupils locally going to grammar schools how can we ever achieve what is expected of us. 
  • Grammar schools will be able to cream off the high achievers. Leaving the rest of schools lower achieving pupils (perceived or actual).
  • Grammar schools will likely have a sixth form which will mean greater competition between the current providers - there is already a lot of competition.
  • Great idea in principle as locally all the students from local Prep schools tend to go to the grammar schools along with parents who can afford to pay to tutor their children.
  • Greater pressure on pupils to 'perform' in end of key stage tests - stress for pupils.
  • I am against selection in principle, however if the govt do want to have a meritocracy they will need to have a mechanism for ensuring that children from deprived backgrounds are able to access local grammar schools which at the moment they are not.
  • I am against selective systems. There is no evidence they will resolve the problems of low achievement and aspiration.
  • I am not in favour of grammar schools at all.
  • I am not in favour of it at all
  • I am sceptical about making sure it works in practice as parents are very good at getting round systems aimed at equalising opportunities
  • I don't agree with grammar schools but if they are resurrected sheuld be given  as many as possible should have access to places. 
  • I don't think schools should be selective based on ability, postcode or finance. 
  • I don't think that the system works!
  • I support the place of existing grammar schools within the education system but disagree that any proportion should come from a particular sector when there is an entrance exam in place for such schools. 
  • I think all children should have equal access rights to education based on their own ability and that this shouldn't be linked to their socio economic background. 
  • I think all pupils should be mixed and not on ability. 
  • I think grammar schools are a terrible idea which will have a negative impact on pupils from lower income household. ALL children deserve a quality education.
  • I think increasing grammar schools is a terrible idea - pushy parents will coach their little darlings through the 11+ and it won't increase social mobility at all
  • I think it is a good idea to put the money into improving all schools.
  • I think it is a regressive step.  It only benefits the pupils who get to the grammar school and does nothing to benefit children from low income families who do not get a grammar school place.  It labels children at an early age and will do nothing to improve the life chances of the majority of children.

    The funding should be spent far more fairly and wisely.
  • I think it is elitism in its worst form & will cause greater rifts in society.
  • I think it still could be considered as elitist. 
  • i think it will be to the detriment of the comprehensive system, creaming off high achievers and aspirational families.
  • I think it will be very much like the 'links' independent schools have with sink schools.  They'll be holding their noses whilst they charitably allow the hoi polloi to use their football pitches for one hour on a Thursday afternoon.  In the rain.
  • I think it will reduce the outcomes for the children who do not access the grammar schools.
  • I think it would still disadvantage children.
  • I think it's a step backwards.
  • I think the grammar schools will harvets the more able children, creating a two tier system, where the less able under achieve.
  • I work in a special needs school
  • IN MY OPINION It is the QUALITY OF THE TEACHING THAT NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED. Having grammar schools in the area of the Cotswolds would have little impact because of the excellent quality of the Comprehensives presently in place.  Introducing grammar schools throughout the country gives an additional level of school which will become too unwieldy to control.  Selection is already carried out in Comprehensives.  
  • In some areas it will have a very negative effect when the brightest and best motivated children are creamed off. This is already happening in some areas where academisation is leaving the hard to teach children in the few remaining LA schools.
  • Insulting.
  • It creates a sense of success and failure, even more than the current system - great for those who succeed, potentially awful for those who don't.
  • It creates 'winners' and 'losers'. There is a danger of throwing children (and their families) on the scrapheap.

    It will lead to an increased emphasis on teaching to tests and a subsequent narrowing of the curriculum.
  • It is a terrible idea. Students that are eligible to go to a grammar school will do just as well in a good comprehensive.
  • It is not suited to education in the 21st Century
  • It is unlikely that such a school would be considered in our local area. 
  • It will be the excellent comprehensive schools which will suffer.
  • It will create an environment of hostility and competition between parents and children and add to the school's workload (create pressure to prepare children for yet another test)
  • It will create division. The government should be investing i the schools we already have. and stop perpetuating the idea that grammar schools and private schools give a better education 
  • It will lessen the life choices and opportunities of the childen in my school 
  • It will mean more time is wasted in Y5/6 preparing for tests rather than teaching
  • It will not work. In my experience only middle class pupils have the support they need to get a grammar school place. 
  • It will take away high achievers in the main but league tables based on exam results will still remain. Staff moral will be affected.
  • It's a terrible idea overall
  • It's divisive
  • Less students will get the grades to go on to do a levels
  • Links with high schools have no impact on our attainment. We are perfectly placed to provide for the needs of our families. 
  • London schools are the best in the country. there are no grammar schools here
  • may help children to aspire
  • Money will be diverted to the grammar schools. Parents will find a way to get their child into that school.  Local schools may become worse as the most able children are creamed off the top.
  • More of a divide between children. More pressure
  • More pressure on Year 6 children
  • Most genuine honest people just want the closest school to be good and cater for their child, not fight for a place across town...Academising and stopping children attending their local school is too divisive, when grammar schools were thought of they also wanted to cater for 'practical' and less academic pupils alongside...they ran out of cash... Why can't this happen now then everyone will achieve their potential not just the academics.
  • Most learners are not very able 
  • My local comprehensive schools performs very well in both achievement and added value
  • no good at all - 
  • Not the answer.
  • Our families would not be able to afford tutors to prep for the test. There would be division between those who get in and those who do not. 
  • Our percentage of these households is much higher than this, unworkable for most areas except leafy suburbs where middle income live £500k houses etc
  • Parents and pupils will become overly focussed on reaching the standard to gain entry to these schools rather than mastering the skills required of all pupils at the end of KS2
  • Potentially fractious and divisive. Grammar schools, whilst saying they will support disadvantaged pupilsm, will still cherry pick the very best pupils, and the majority of these will be from more affluent backgrounds. The disadvantaged children will still feel like a minority. It will create the lottery system like in America (and here 50 years ago) where it is seen that good children go to a grammar, thick ones go to the local Sec Mod.
  • Prevents equality rather than supporting equality.

    Labels children as failures
  • Silly, it assumes that all lower income households are of low ability
  • Socially divisive - don't lower attaining children also deserve to go to hood schools?
  • Stupid, ill thought through and dog whistle inspired.  
  • system needs  to be more balanced than it ever was, access for all levels of attainment
  • Taking us backward to an age of a two tier education system for the haves and have nots
  • Terrible and misguided. 
  • Terrible idea and a massive threat to education and social mobility 
  • The impact will be on the secondary schools which will not longer be 'comprehensive' It will not make a significant difference to the primaries.
  • The local secondaries already have a good reputation. 
  • The more the better but it is besides the point. There are more fundamental reasons why grammar schools are a bad idea.
  • The real issue comes in their social status and having to keep up with the Jones'
  • The whole idea is a nonsense
  • There are already schools that everyone wants their children to go to (who select their children via exam), this leads to disappointment when children don't get a place there. More schools like this will continue to create a 2 tier system.
  • There should be a proportion of pupils selected on other grounds other than academic ability.
  • Those that aren't selected will feel separated from the other children; they will be questioning the quality of the education the non grammar schools will be providing and it will be a situation of 'them and us' all over again.
  • Too much pressure on pupils, not all pupils are good at every subject. Children will be seen as failures if they do not get into grammar
  • Unless they have the data to show that ALL children do better in a grammar school system (and we have places like Kent where we can see if this is the case) we shouldn't go ahead with it. We need  good outcomes for all. 
  • Very Bad idea, schools should be comprehensive serving the community in which they are based
  • We already have 4 grammar schools in the town and don't need any more.
  • We are a good school with good outcomes that feeds into a good school. 
  • We are already a high achieving school. Although we are not in an area of high deprivation we do have children whose parents struggle and we have a high number of children with Special Needs and LAC
  • We are an outstanding school and get amazing progress from our pupils
  • We are in the fortunate position of having a choice of grammar and good comprehensive schools within reach. Parents have a choice but the overwhelming majority choose our local comprehensive which offers some academic support and is in our local partnership of schools. 
  • We have no idea what the full proposal will look like.
  • We need many, many more good maintained schools where all parents would like to send their children.
  • We need to pump the money into our existing system and take control back from academies - schools should not be businesses.
  • We will have many more pupils as I work in an SEN school so pupils won't be able to access the new grammar schools.
  • We're fee paying so an entirely different sector
  • Why should it? We're an academy trust and our particular school is in one of the lowest poverty index areas in the UK and we are in leafy Bromley (Tory heartland - Joe Johnson M.P.). The Tory voters here will jump for joy! 
  • Will depend on progression to tertiary sector
  • Will make the gap between the lower achieving and higher achieving pupils 
  • Without a long-term strategy in place it will become divisive which in turn will affect the funding of all schools meaning that non-grammars are left with disengaged pupils performing at a lower level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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