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24 September 2014

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Reporter: Kate, 16. Sutton Coldfield
Grammar v Comprehensive
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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.
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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

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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 teacher’s 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.

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

Grammar schools don’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 everyone’s aim is to be popular and the popular one’s are the one’s who don’t 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 don’t know what they want to do in the future and so don’t have anything to aim for. Most only stayed for sixth form because they didn’t 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 don’t work at comprehensive schools - they don’t 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 didn’t have any pens or books and so didn’t 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 aren’t always the best, here the pupils don’t learn about different social classes as they’re always surrounded by bright people from the better backgrounds and in 50% of the cases, if daddy doesn’t drive a Jag you don’t fit in.

This isn’t 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 don’t want to know me because I’m one of the few who doesn’t 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?


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