The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161902   Message #3851397
Posted By: Steve Shaw
20-Apr-17 - 06:54 AM
Thread Name: BS: Choice of education
Subject: RE: BS: Choice of education
I went to a grammar school in Bolton. It had a sixth form, hardly anyone left at the end of the fourth year (at the age of 15), we took O Levels then, two years later if we stayed on, A Levels. Half of those who stayed on went on to university and we had a good handful every year who made it to Oxbridge. The secondary modern schools, attended by more than 80% of pupils (the eleven-plus failures who were CALLED failures), kept you until the age of 15, routinely. They did not offer O Levels. Now this school-apartheid is the golden-age system that the rose-coloured specs brigade love to hark back to. When they talk about upward mobility, they are talking about that chance for one in five and little chance for four in five. In those secondary moderns there were classes variously called "remove" or "remedial." There were no classroom assistants or individual help for children with learning difficulties and the teacher had little option but to impose tedium with a firm hand. Oh yes, it was a great system all right. When it was swept away it was not replaced with a fairer two-tier system, as it was recognised that such a thing wasn't possible. So I want to know from the grammar school advocates how they know that comprehensive education was such a disaster compared to what we had before. The answer? They don't, because standards actually rose across the board. Go on, look it up. There's been plenty of meddling and underfunding and reorganising and the imposition of repressive bureaucracy on state schools, but, in spite of that, they generally do a pretty good job. Hard to measure standards, of course (and you can't do it easily by looking at exam results - I was an A Level examiner for 12 years and an assistant chief examiner for three, and I saw the exam transformed into a very can-do experience over that time), but start by looking at the explosion in numbers of students now in higher education.