Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Encouragement for 11-Plus

Interviewed in Kent Online, Thanet councillor, Chris Wells, KCC’s cabinet member for children, families and educational standards, believes the county could be doing more to encourage children from poorer backgrounds to take the 11-plus.

Cllr Wells said he was concerned that in less well-off parts of the county, fewer pupils were encouraged to take the 11-plus than elsewhere.

His comments come after the former Conservative education spokesman David Willetts ditched the party’s long-standing support for grammar schools, saying they no longer helped poorer pupils.

In an interview with the Kent Messenger Group, Cllr Wells said: "One thing that does seem to me to be quite clear is that in areas of social disadvantage and deprivation, we are not getting the numbers of children to take the 11-plus that we should be, particularly in parts of Thanet, Dover and Swale.

"Whether that is a confidence issue with the parents, children or teachers I am not sure but certainly there is something there that does need looking at."

He stopped short of saying where the fault lay but made clear he expected all schools to do what they could to offer the same opportunities to all children, regardless of their background.

"It is [about]trying to ensure we bring those children through, who are bright but perhaps come from homes where books are relatively rare; where the idea of doing homework is relatively rare and the idea of succeeding at school is something they do not see in their immediate family around them."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it the Primary schools not entering pupils or parents? Dismal figures yesterday show that 40% of pupils leaving our Primary schools are to all intents and purposes functionally illiterate and innumerate and unable to gain the benefits of Secondary schooling. How do our local schools compare to the national figures?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

In my day it was called the Kent Test.

Anonymous said...

personally I think that labelling children as failures at 11 is appalling. We were told that we either went to a selective or non-selective school on the official paperwork, however, from the day we got the results the question was 'did you pass or fail?'. The stigma of failing was and is appalling.

Far better for Mr Wells to concentrate on ensuring ALL schools are providing a proper education to ALL children.

Anonymous said...

The problem is they are not! Quite frankly, any child not making Level 5 or 6 at key Stage 3 should not be regarded as academic at that point. it is not failure it is simply a fact that children are differrent and that some are suited to an academic education at Grammars and others are probably more suited to education for living and a skills and technical curriculum. One model does not fit all and as long as successive Governments will not face this fact our Education system will continue to fail almost 50% of young people at 16 when they do GCSEs. As an old codger I resent the fact that when I did A levels only 5% achieved A grades. This year it will be 25%. This does not represent improvement it sadly represents dumbing down and lowering of standards so that everyone's a winner. Life is not like school and we do our youngsters a grave disservice by pretending that a quarter of thenm are top-notch when that clearly is not the case.