HEADS AND TEACHERS
Comments on life in grammar school areas from heads, teachers, teaching assistants and other education professionals.
The negative impact in Kent
Grammar schools mean the most able students are creamed off and this immediately gives an ‘us and them’ culture. The arrogance of those attending a grammar school as opposed to a non-selective school is staggering – students and teachers. It is much harder to recruit staff in a non-selective school as teachers want to work in what they consider to be an easier environment. This creates under performance in grammar schools – certainly non-selective schools can teach grammar school staff a thing or two about pushing students to achieve the best grades they can possibly get. I despair at the segregation caused by the whole system in Kent and the culture of some being better than others at the age of 11 is horrific. It damages the students and we spend the first 3 years building back up their self esteem. It damages communities with ‘us and them’ and it damages the profession – teachers want to work with all abilities – or at least great teachers do.
Selective education in Kent
I feel strongly that it is not the best thing for all of our children. It is completely against the growth mindset that we try to establish in primary that anyone can achieve anything. Children do reach academic maturity at different times and the comprehensive system allows for those developments without children feeling as though they have missed out if they don’t pass their 11+.
Non-selective schools in grammar areas
The existence of grammar schools hugely restrict the ability of a non selective to be rated good or outstanding. This has a significant impact on teacher recruitment to non-selective schools and to job security and job satisfaction for senior staff, especially head teachers.
Grammar school confusion
The two-tiered system confuses excellent teaching and education with high attainment/ outcomes. Grammar schools select the easiest type of children to teach; this has no relation as to whether they provide high-quality teaching and education.
A flawed system
This not simply about attainment. There is enough research evidence to show that children from more affluent families (who have been tutored to pass the 11+ test) are better fed, better rested and better prepared for school, so they will also be better placed to make good progress. Grammar schools attract high quality staff (which teacher would not rather work with able and amenable students?) leaving non-selective schools with a poorer quality of candidate for teaching posts. Ofsted also fails to recognise how much harder it is for non-selective schools in a selective area to make the necessary progress and attainment with the remaining 80% of students who did not pass the test.
Selective education problems
Grammar schools clearly take fewer children from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. They encourage tutoring to “pass” a selection test which more wealthy parents can afford. They therefore discriminate against lower income families regardless of ability. Children at 11 are branded “failures” by the test which has a detrimental effect on their self esteem and confidence. Grammar schools teach a minority of the school population and have a negative effect on the majority of pupils in the areas in which they are situated.
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