BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in March 2003We've left it here for reference.More information

23 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Nearby Sites

Black Country
Hereford & Worcs

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Reporter: Kate, 16. Sutton Coldfield
Grammar v Comprehensive
Pupils studying exam results
Do Grammar schools get better results?
Kate has made the change from a Sutton comprehensive to a grammar school - and puts forward her views on why she thinks one is better than the other.
BBC News story about Grammar schools
tyi extra for teens
School makes Bollywood film
Anorexia - True Story
Useful teen websites
School watch
Birmingham Grid for Learning
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

The 5 Birmingham King Edwards Grammar Schools are all in the top 100 of the UK.

On 5th January 2000, a programme on BBC Radio 4 debated the motion 'Good education is selective education'. After this debate, which considered most of the key issues from both sides, a nationwide telephone poll produced the following result:
For selective education 5,017
Against selective education 1,947

View a printable version of this page.
get in contact

In September I started sixth form at my local grammar school after attending a comprehensive school for five years.

After seeing the story from both sides I can see why grammar schools do better.

By making the children take the 11 plus, grammar schools start off with the brighter children, this means there are no under achievers to hold the class back.

This is where I think comprehensives fail. Obviously the majority of pupils at comprehensive schools are average for their age group, however there are some who do not reach the average grades for their year and can get behind the rest of the class and so get bored and begin disrupting the lesson.

This means that the teacherís attention is then turned to the disruptive child, meaning the rest of the class also loses out. Because of this problem I think comprehensive schools tend to focus more on helping the under achievers than pushing the higher achievers.

Girl writing
'I've seen how grammar schools only aim for A grades' - Kate

Grammar schools donít have this problem because their focus is on nurturing the high intelligence they already have.

They teach that the only grade to aim for is an A, which means the pupils are only satisfied when they get that grade. I have noticed that at comprehensive schools most pupils aim for a pass and a C is good.

Comprehensives acknowledge effort

Whereas here the pupils get really upset at the thought of a C because they believe it is a fail. In comprehensive schools it recognised more so when a pupil has really made an effort for a piece of work even if they donít get the best grade in the class.

In most cases, but not all unfortunately, the encouragement given to this pupil will help them achieve more next time and so their skills are developed.

However, in my experience this help and encouragement does not happen in grammar schools as the school only goes on grades and not effort.

Over the past five months I have noticed that the grammar school teachers do not make the effort to notice when a pupil is struggling and will not go out of their way to help.

They expect the pupils to understand everything and when you go and ask for help they still donít explain things so you understand them. I received so little help with my AS level IT I ended up dropping it.

At comprehensive schools I think everyoneís aim is to be popular and the popular oneís are the oneís who donít work and disrupt the lessons. However at grammar schools the popular ones are the cleverest and so here to be popular they have to work which is why they do better.

Also, grammar school it seems pupils all aim for the top jobs, such as doctors and lawyers and they know they have to work to get the grades to go to the best universities.

Some pupils just don't want to be at school

In my experience the majority of comprehensive school pupils donít know what they want to do in the future and so donít have anything to aim for. Most only stayed for sixth form because they didnít know what else to do.

'Grammar schools miss out on other social classes' - Kate

The truancy rate at my old school is 0.3% while here it is 0.1%. Not a big difference I know but it is reflected in the grades. On the other hand, most grammar school pupils recognise that school is a necessity to enable them to get the best grades and so they do stay at school and work.

I've seen that some pupils donít work at comprehensive schools - they donít even bring their work and books with them.

I found at the comprehensive school the popular people brought a little bag, which would only hold their mobile, make up, and hairbrushes. This meant they didnít have any pens or books and so didnít understand.

However, at the grammar school they all carry huge folders with them and always turn up and so get an education. This is why the percentage of pupils who achieved 5 or more GCSE grades A-C at the grammar school was 100 in comparison to the 42% at the comprehensive I used to go to.

Grammar schools miss out on diversity

However grammar schools arenít always the best, here the pupils donít learn about different social classes as theyíre always surrounded by bright people from the better backgrounds and in 50% of the cases, if daddy doesnít drive a Jag you donít fit in.

This isnít the case always as there are a lot of really nice people there who do accept you for who you are but there are some who still donít want to know me because Iím one of the few who doesnít have a designer bag!

This is where comprehensive schools are better because there is more diversity and acceptance of people from different backgrounds because the majority of people are from similar working class families.

However comprehensive schools are not as culturally diverse as grammar schools. This helps the pupils learn and interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, which is useful later in life.

And what about the single sex school argument?


Continued on next page More

Top | Teens Index | Home
Also in this section
Music, Gigs and Clubs
The Malachi Trust & Choir
Budding young writer
What a Blast

BBCi Games
Loads of games from BBCi
Fun blast features
The Sealife centre From chocolate factories to museums and galleries, there is plenty to visit with all the family.
Contact Us
BBC Birmingham Website
Room 107
Pebble Mill Road
B5 7SD
(+44) 0121 432 8888

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy