Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Grama Skool....

Great news about the Weald of Kent "annex" in Sevenoaks which now means that our neighbouring town gets its own state grammar school as has been widely reported in the national press today. This should mean that hundreds or school kids from Sevenoaks don't have to trek to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells every day which can be a 25 mile round trip. That's a lot of wasted time and a lot of extra traffic on the clogged up roads. It's also great news for the primary school children of Tonbridge who also might just stand a better chance of gaining a place at a grammar school in their home town, as it should be. So why are many dead against the concept of new grammars when anyone can see the benefits when they are closely effected by it? Something to do with equal education for all perhaps. Fabulous idea, lift everyone up to the same standard and all that. Does it work in practice though? I would suggest that it doesn't; at least not unless there's a complete change of ideology at Government level. I believe that some Scandinavian, for example, countries have achieved this. Anyone have a view they'd like to share on this topic?...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Apart from the Kent test so often getting it wrong and many children that are very able missing out and some that have been selected just struggling then there is not a lot wrong I don't think! Paid for coaching, children born late in the academic year - nearly 12 months difference at the time of taking the test, children having a bad day on the days of the test and those that naturally develop later than at 10 all make the system unfair. Now in Sevenoaks they already have a school with streams at the same level of grammar school pupils and yet parents would rather their children traveled.
And its not hundreds of girls that will no longer have to travel to Tonbridge. It will join the Judd in becoming super selective and will have to take children from Orpington, Bromley and South London and Sevenoaks girls till have to travel.
Super selective schools create a lot of the travel chaos, not many local boys go to Judd.
Only 16 of the 161 local authorities continue with selective system and I think that Kent and the other 15 do any better than the rest.
Finally KCC is strapped for cash and should be spending to help the poor performing schools in Kent of which there are many.

Paul Bailey said...

The scrapping of grammar schools in most of Britain, in favour of so-called comprehensive schools, was a big mistake, sacrificing excellence for mediocrity. This was socialism at its worst; bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator, and the start of a steady, and progressive, decline in educational standards in our schools.

People are not equal. Some are inherently brainier than others, whilst some excel in sports, artistic or other creative pursuits. The grammar school “annex” for Sevenoaks should therefore be welcomed, especially if it takes the pressure off the existing Tonbridge schools. The knock-on effect of less school traffic clogging up the town’s streets should also be applauded.

Finally, throwing money at poor-performing schools, as suggested by anonymous, is not the answer, although it is a typical socialist proposal. Enough of our council tax goes towards funding education as it is, and yet we seem to have produced a generation of illiterates.

Anonymous said...

Easy to go along with the tabloid view of this, but in fact, comprehensive schools opened up opportunities for a larger number of children than the 25% who used to benefit from the grammar schools. It is a proven fact that , overall, children do worse in areas where there is selection than where there is not; however, I think it is insulting and untrue to label today's young people as 'a generation of illiterates'.
The problem I think with education in Britain today is that the curriculum simply doesn't recognise that children are different: they develop at different rates, have different abilities and different learning styles. Teachers know this, but are now unable to respond appropriately to their pupils because of the 'one size fits all' policies laid down by this and previous governments.
As to 'socialism at its worst', I think Margaret Thatcher's government closed down more grammar schools than any other!

Anonymous said...

So when and if the new school is up and running what is to stop them from flouting the conditions under which permission has been granted? Who will be checking for compliance and no education minister is going to close them down if they get caught.
it still looks like a challenge to the ruling will still be made. The Sunday Times said Whitehall lawyers had told ministers the move had only a 50% chance of surviving any legal challenge and recommended such a plan needed at least 60% to go ahead. Now we hear that the legal advice is to remain public which indicated that the Sunday times info is correct.

Anonymous said...

I will be surprised if this makes an impact on traffic in Tonbridge as literally hundreds of children travel to the grammar schools by train.

What Tonbridge really needs is another primary school. The current schools in the South are full to the brim and surely cannot keep pace with the huge housing developments that are being built on every conceivable brown field in the town.

It's important that children are pushed to their potential but let us also recognise that the towns comprehensive schools have also made huge improvements since the 90's.

Anonymous said...

We seem to judge schools solely by the number of A grades their pupils achieve. As grammar schools select their pupils by ability (and some in this town select from the selected) it is hardly surprising that they come out top of the league tables. Anyone familiar with the new curriculum will be aware that enormous pressure is being put on all children from the age of four, with a rigorous testing regime being enforced from age five, but whether this leads to a better standard of education is somewhat open to debate. The increasing level of mental health problems among our young is probably not a coincidence.
The point about grammar schools is that most of the country manages perfectly well without them. Are children in East Sussex or Surrey so much worse educated than in Kent? (Comparing like for like, I think the reverse is probably true).
Wouldn't it be best to concentrate on giving every child the very best start in life, rather than squandering money on a new grammar school that will probably cater mainly for the privileged few.