Monday, March 14, 2011

Fresh misery of Kent's educational system

If anyone thinks Kent's grammar school system has anything to recommend it by way of social mobility, think again, new research undertaken by academics involving a sample of 3300 adults across the country has revealed that children do no better than those who attended comprehensive schools, at this point some of you are thinking so what?

Well here is the so what?, this morning's BBC Radio Kent, breakfast news revealed that despite 20 children from Sheppey qualifying for entry to Kent's grammar schools, at present they will be excluded from Kent's grammar school system, why because there are no places available to them.

In recent years in the West of Kent, children have regularly been deprived of grammar schools places as glory hunting schools, have cherry picked kids from outside Kent to the detriment of the communities that fund them.

So why does Kent hang on to this system, who knows, I'd take a guess at Kent's Conservatives being comfortable maintaining the social division that Kent's two tier system creates.

It's well known that children from "comfortable" backgrounds are frequently assisted by expensive tuition, coached in some cases by moonlighting teachers, to pass the Kent test, which undermines the suggestion by supporters of grammar schools about any fairness or indeed social mobility.

Kent's two tier education system is socially divisive, but even worse than that is the immense grief to the children and families effectively cheated by the system, having worked hard to qualify for a grammar place and Kent councils education can't offer the standard of education there so eager to promote.

"It's down to the schools' " Said Cllr Sarah Hohler, Conservative KCC Cabinet member for Education, Learning & Skills on this morning, on BBC Radio Kent when asked about the situation for Sheppey's unfortunate.image

I just wonder if Cllr Sarah Hohler has any idea of the pain families are experiencing who've been cheated by the system, which has failed once again to meet basic expectations. Still for more info and just to educate yourself you click on this link for info about the Conservative Cllr Hohler ( £36,521.51 allowances for 2009-10)

This story is also reported on BBC 1 South East Today.


  1. Depriving children who have passed the Kent test a grammar school places is wrong and should be sorted. That, in itself. however, does not make the system wrong.

    I attended a grammar school from off a council estate and most of my friends at school were off the same estate. I had other friends at school whose folks were quite well off. I was never conscious of any divide.

    My father, a teacher and enormous fan of comprehensive education, left Kent because it did not change and went to teach in a south London Comprehensive. Years later he finally gave up and admitted to me that you could not even teach the kids who wanted to learn in that environment.

    More selection would be the best route with schools suited to the academic high fliers, the skilled technologists, the sporting and the artistic. Specialist schools geared to their pupils not one size fits all establishments, inevitably to the exclusion of some.

  2. oh come now do you really beleive this woman cares about children ....pull the other one !

  3. There are a lot of nasty comments being put on this Blog in recent weeks. Never substantiated. Just attacks. 12.52 joins the list

  4. Thanks for the history lesson Bill. I am not sure how long ago you went to school but the world and people's expectations have moved on.
    For every story like yours Bill, there are ten stories of children that were labelled failures. I also know of children that were crammed to pass the test who had a very miserable time at grammar school trying to keep up and only the cash got them there.
    You may also be interested to know that some of the most successful schools in the country are comphrehensives. Its not surprising since only a handful of LEAs like Kent still have this outdated system. KCC despite being in one of the most affluent parts of the country is still very average in education attainment.

  5. Anon 12.52, this woman does care about children. Why else would her daughter have been recently elected as a KCC councillor for Tonbridge even though she lives nowere near the place. Must have got there by satnav to pose for a few photos outside the castle. So much for having you local councillor knowing about the problems in the town and to be readily available.

  6. Bill I'm pleased that you had a good experience, however the son of a school teacher going to a grammar school hardly seems like some earth shattering example of social mobility as to your fathers unrewarding experience of working in a comprehensive that would I suggest be down to individual management of one particular school. Evidence points to no superior outcome, from grammar schools since as I understand those sent to the remaining sink schools fare worse as the incentive and opportunity are carved up before children reach their eleventh birthday.

    8 01 good point let's not be nasty, also let's not be posting world conspiracy theory.

    Still I just feel a bit miffed at being taught at a school that did nothing to raise expectation or ambition, since that was never part of the deal for us also runs, imagine had the standards have been set a little higher I might be writing an informative imaginative witty entertaining blog instead of the rants and raves of a middle aged git

  7. Tony, when my father was a teacher they were hardly well paid. Mind you it did not stop there, for I grew up with a family of teachers, father, uncles, cousins and even did it myself for a bit as well as being a school governor for several years. All favoured selection in some form though probably with greater flexibility than at present.

    Some of the most successful comprehensives are, of course, denominational schools in affluent areas. Totally different to those on sink estate in inner city areas.

    I do agree that, currently, our most successful non-grammar locally is Ursuline College, which is a comprehensive, but it has a strong christian ethos. Some people, who not like grammars, also would like to see the ending of religious schools.

    Going on to the children crammed who then struggle in grammar schools, if you look at the 5 A* to C standard used to measure schools, our three Thanet grammars are all up around 98% achievement rate. There are always going to be the odd children who, for a variety of reasons, fall by the wayside, but local figures would not suggest a mass over over crammed pupils.

    In conclusion let me say that there are a fair number of youngsters in our grammar schools entitled to free school lunches. Hardly affluenced.

    Do you know, when I first read your article I thought for one awful moment that Steve Ladyman was back amongst us. I relaxed when I realised it was you and, strangely enough, despite my own view, I do have a lot of sympathy with yours. Just not sure that comprehensives are the answer.

  8. The elites have all the technology they need, we are now superfluous to requirements, except as cannon fodder.

    Don't expect the education system to get better under present circumstances, on the contrary, it has steadily been deteriorating since the fifties, as was the plan. If you can be arsed, you will find plenty of documentation on the web to substantiate this.

    Nothing is going to change at the ballot box either.

  9. Normalcy Bias, are you saying that the education system has declined since Labour screwed the grammar schools?

    Or could it be another case of us ordinary mortals being down trodden by the facist elite.

    Love your new name!

  10. 11:02, Labour's traitorous action was an integral part of the agenda referred to in your latter question.

  11. Whilst it was true to say that the old 11 plus was divisive, leading to grammar or secondary modern in past decades, that is no longer so final.

    Once, only grammars did school certificate or GCE O levels, but for many years all schools have taken pupils through to GCSEs, the same qualification regardless of school type. Additionally, in Thanet, youngsters are able to go on to the sixth forms of the grammars to do their A levels if they wish.

    The great social and academic divides no longer exist.

  12. I passed 11 plus in 1960.

    A much cleverer friend had the good sense to fail his.

    The next five years of my life were Belsen of the brain. Friends Reunited messages shew me, in recent years, that my schoolmates "Up the Grammar" all felt the same way. Hated every second of the cramming and theft of valuable childhood time doing hours of homework.

    My cleverer friend "At the Modern" was tilling the school allotment, boxing, playing footie etc

    He left school at age 15 and, taking his engineer father's advice, spurned an apprenticeship and started as a cycle postboy at ICI paints factory.

    I, of course, was still under the pressure of parents and teachers (the first living with vicarious ambition through the child, the teachers because they needed Grammar School fodder so they could ponce a living)

    Hence I fell for the apprenticeship lure. Still on path of education bread today and good job jam tomorrow.

    At age 18 my clverer friend finally got me to see the light. I broke off my apprenticeship and joined the Army.

    By age 21 I had investments in local authority bonds and high interest accounts. My cleverer friend had put 50% deposit down on a 3 bed brand new detached.

    Those slogging on apprenticeships or university ? Do the sums they would never catch up to us.

    And what emerged in the Army ? THat ex Grammar School lads are cyunical of all knowledge even useful knowledge. Their brains damaged if you like by the cramming torture influcted from age 11 to 16. The brain survival response to adapt the long term memory transfer to a medium term to hold knowledge til an exam is passed and then flush it out. The reason why ex Modern school kids do better at 6th Form than most Grammar School victims. In the Army being top at all test to complete basic training is not that good if your brain promptly flushes out useful info like how to point and fire the shoot at the enemy thingies.

    So best to retrain your brain to repair the Grammar School impact.

    I gained my qualies as an adult by paying for my college studies (working a second job as a bouncer to meet the college fees)

    IE When I found a subject I wanted to pursue at a time I wanted to pursue it.

    I am heartily sick of hearing the litany of "Labelled as a failure" by the ex Modern School types. Stop finding crutches to lean on. You were the lucky ones. It was far more damaging to be labelled a success.

  13. Tony, why are you blaming and complaining about your school and how you didn't get taught ambition or expectation?
    Simon Moores (you know,the bloke you can't help yourself from slagging off) went to the SAME SCHOOL and was in the SAME YEAR!
    He seems to have done alright, as have others.
    Maybe they didn't expect anyone to teach ambition and they just worked hard.
    What's your excuse?

  14. Retired, you have published this whinge about your grammar school education and your clever friend with the investment bonds previously on ECR's blog. It still reads like someone blaming their school for their own failings.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time at grammar school, played plenty of cricket and rugby, passed my 'O' levels and, when National Service came along, was duly commissioned in the army. I have never had any regets about where I went to school.

    Furthermore, when I was a young officer the best sergeant I ever served with was a Borstal boy. He didn't whinge about his schooling either.

    We are what we are and what we make of our opportunities. Only failures look to blame their school, the system or luck. Life can be a bitch, learn to live with it.

  15. Looks like Tony will have to have his grudge surgically removed.

  16. Well said Normalcy Bias

    Of course nothing will change all the while the people remain sound asleep to the Con being played out before their very eyes.

    The poor children stand no chance.

    £36 and half thousands pounds is an awful lot of hush money isn't ?

    May be she knew nothing about Kent SS children services and got shoved sideways into this instead ?

    interesting comment 8.27

    Doesnt she or her family also have some very high-up connections in the Tories ?

  17. The conspiracy nutters are on the loose again so I am out of here.

    Will hopefully return on the next posting before they screw it up again as usual.

  18. Retired, you were fortunate not to be required to fire rounds of depleted uranium, otherwise you would now be pushing up the daisies, rather than counting your money.

  19. 1 16 is wrong on two points, firstly I was not particularly blaming the school I attended, since it was part of an inferior system that still exists and it is simply not true that I was in the same year as Moores at school.

    Still I suppose a wish to be linked to myself however weak, should be taken as a compliment.

    Nondescript as Simon might be I have asked, those I, I know to have been in my year, and they cannot recall him, I think his clipped manner of speech would have stuck out.

  20. anon 8.27

    Who says politic's doesn't pay , double bubble and keep it in the family. Its bloody obvious what they really care about the MONEY, not education and definitely NOT the children unless its their own of course.

  21. 5.29 anon

    dont let the door get you on the way out - one less sheeple to round up

    Our Governments are Operating in Breach of Trust

  22. Ask a thousand adults about their experience of school and you will get a thousand replies but invariably they are looking at the past; The world has changed.

    I was the only grammar child on my council estate for several years back in the early '70's. Even then I was aware of the haves and have nots. I was definitely in the have nots but what school gave me was an awareness of the opportunities which others had.

    And whilst money isn't everything, from all the school letters about skiing trips etc which I left in the bottom of my bag so as not to upset my parents, school gave me a broader education of what life might offer if I worked hard.

    I like several others who were in the 'have not' camp, dropped out of A-levels. I didn't have family support at that time and needed to get a job.

    But I returned to study as an adult years later and got a v good degree.

    I believe having that opportunity to attend Grammar opened my eyes to future opportunities.

    But now the middle classes hold far more power as has been said by others. They have the resources to support their kids. It is now even harder for poorer children to get to grammar and anyone who says they don't needs new glasses.

    The system is not fair. It is stacked against poorer children more so today than ever.

  23. Poor Tony,
    If Moores was such a non-entity, how do you remember what he sounded like 40 years ago?
    Such deep, irrational hatred based on a persons accent is really sad. The more you winge, the more you show your inferiority complex to be almost as big as your inverted snobbery problem.
    Only working class accents allowed in the land of Flaig.
    Are you ok with foreign accents or do they piss you off too.
    Truth is, Moores speaks clearly and you can barely string a sentence together without saying "you know". Get over yourself!

  24. 7 54 anon you really are barking up the wrong tree, I believe you bought up Moores not me, if you read the post it does not mention him, so even if you're a clone, if I were you I'd stop worrying.

    Your suggestion of hatred does not exist I'm polite when I met with him, as to hatred I could quite easily have made a complaint to the councils standards board, however since I believe it to be a nonsense, I didn't.

    You bought up the subject and simply I've corrected you, end of,

    I rarely read his blog because it is, in my opinion nondescript.

    Finally you've made many assumptions, and look like an obsessive, so I suggest you draw a line, under this.

  25. Hate to interrupt a discussion which involves me too and is getting a little out of control.

    I left the Charles Dickens School in June 1974 and was probably best known as sports captain. Of the 6th form Paul Gilman who I keep in touch with on Facebook went to work very successfully for Intel, Ken Ovenden was already flying aircraft and I think went to Bristows as a helicopter pilot. we used to play truant sometimes when i would go parachuting and he would go flying down at Lympne.

    I would work in the grocers on Saturday and had two paper rounds each day to save money to throw myself out of an aircraft.

    There were others, boys and girls who left Thanet to find their fortunes and it was a good school then and is a good school now. We were all local kids, no different to those today and with all the opportunity problems that went with the 1970s. I really can't remember any problems with my accent although I do remember Tony, in brief flashes.

  26. Well said Tony,
    I'd also rather read your Blog over Moore's any day and have found it extremely informative, particularly over some of the issues which really matter to people in Thanet.
    I rather like the way you string your sentences together.... Hmm, at least yours make non-patronising sense!
    The problem is not one of your 'inferiority complex', more, in my humble opinion a problem of a certain persons 'superiority complex'.

  27. Well said, Tony, for, what started out as an interesting discussion on the selective education system has not only been hi-jacked to some extent by the conspiracy brigade, but personal insults have also entered the fray.

    I went to a grammar school and I am grateful for that experience. It worked for me although I know it does not for everybody. I do believe the grammars helped children from less affluent homes to enjoy an education comparable to the private sector.

    One of my main worries with the loss of grammars has always been that education becomes even more elitists with the Eton and Harrows head and shoulders above everything else.

    Oh, and before the cloth cap brigade start screaming about closing down private schools, they can't. It is a human right to select education even to educating your child at home if you so choose.

  28. Tony: Down to earth is far better than Pie in the sky ;-)

    Perhaps time to get back on topic...

  29. I have just removed an off topic comment and will do so again.

    As I said I will draw a line even if some cannot.

    Maybe I shall have a Moores special at some other time,

    But lets move on from the cult of personality for the time being, until we get onto politics proper like Labour and Tories

  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. God knows how any councillor from any party can justify taking home over 36K in allowances which could pay for a few more school places.

    Like some one asked 'Cameron' how does he sleep at night, I bet KCC councillors sleep soundly at our expense.

    anon 7.52

    You are correct about the poor children suffering. ? If they really cared about children they would put their money where their mouth is and not claim any.

  32. Anon 10 28 if you wish to have your enquiry answered please introduce yourself and assuming your not some batty councillor, I shall be happy to help. Your question seems to have arisen as a result of me pointing out, that I was not in the same year as cllr Moores, I can appreciate that Simon might wish to associate himself more closely with me, however you cannot change the calendar as simon is older than I

    On radio Simon did make as I understand some errors, concerning me but as they were trivial and off topic I let them go, to do otherwise would have been out place and bad manners.

  33. I would also prefer to read
    down to earth Tony's Blog than
    high flyer head in the clouds
    hoyty toyty, "I am your local Councillor Simon Moores"

  34. 8:27 There is a place for all kinds of blogs. The the chatty and sometimes confrontational like that of Tony, the informative and well written like that of Simon Moores and the factual and historical as produced by Michael Childs. We may even have the promise of a return to the witty, missing since ECR departed, with the Thanet Reaper.

    This list is not exclusive and I enjoy browsing around most of the Thanet ones as I am sure, from the distribution of recognisable source comments, do many others.

    On the term Hoyty Toyty, this is something usual reserved for those pretending to be what they are not. Something one might apply to say Posh Spice, who is about as posh as Dot in Eastenders. Hardly applicable to Simon Moores though, who writes literate postings on his blog and is precisely what he claims to be - nothing more or less.

    By all means have your favourites, don't we all, but do not dismiss any for they all contribute something to the blogging scene.

  35. Doubtless 8 27 can't stand anyone who has got off their arses and done something with their lives.
    I suppose when you fly anywhere you first go up to the pilots and call them flash sods and then take your seat!
    When you go to the doctors do you call them posh sods and then drop your trousers?
    You must have no idea what a sad git you sound like.

    P.S. I've just had an email of the comment Tony removed several times. All it wanted to know was what year Tony left school. Is this a State Secret?

  36. TR its simple I dont recall what year I left school and don't intend wasting any energy on the subject.

    It does seem odd that, that the reader in question couldn't also introduce him or herself by copying me in with the email you received.

  37. Tony, be afraid! You are a relatively young man compared with some of us bloggers and if you already can't remember the year you left school it might be worth getting it checked out.

    I am seventy five and can even remember the year I was born!

  38. 7 15 I remember which year I got married, I've a pretty good idea birthdays.

    I just about learnt how to read and write at school, and have to say pretty much most of my education is courtesy of TV, newspapers, radio and since December 1995, the internet.

    Also I can recall the first April 2006 as being the start of this blog.

    Unlike leaving school, access to the internet is a milestone well worth recalling as currently it's still a level playing field, however net neutrality is a big worry for liberty and freedom of expression subject of another blog.

  39. 7 15 I remember which year I got married, I've a pretty good idea on birthdays.

    I just about learnt how to read and write at school, and have to say pretty much most of my education is courtesy of TV, newspapers, radio and since December 1995, the internet.

    Also I can recall the first April 2006 as being the start of this blog.

    Unlike leaving school, access to the internet is a milestone well worth recalling as currently it's still a level playing field, however net neutrality is a big worry for liberty and freedom of expression subject of another blog.

  40. Well said Tony. The establishment are scared witless by the internet as it exposes them as the greedy, useless parasites that they are.

    Plenty of pro-establishment bootlickers on this thread too, the anger/fear is all too evident.

  41. This is the reason so many parents are choosing to home-educate their children as the establishment have proved time and time again that they can not be trusted with children, let alone a so-called education, which equates to a dumbing down programme.

    Look into the 'caressing projects' being carried out in schools and the bio-metric fingering printing of children just for a library book without parental consent.

  42. They are public servants. Public does not mean "the general public" ie us. It actually means the "State". hence "Public Policy" actually means State policy. It is a trick that is never revealed and by this they trick people into accepting legal rules not Law.

    'the state' means Slave master

    Government can not be your servant by the nature of what it is.

  43. What a load of round things you do come out with 6:14. If the 'establishment' really was as oppressive as you make out, you would have been taken off to a small room, where the birds could not shit on you, a long time ago. That you are still free to write your drivvel disproves your own theories.

  44. 7:09, that is no longer possible; there are far too many of us.

    The establishment are bricking it.

  45. Do get a grip 9:07. If there are so many of you we have absolutely nothing to worry about and can all get on with our lives unmolested by the forces of facism and oppression. More importantly, we can happily blog without your pathetic injections all the time.

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for saving the planet.

  46. anon 9.07

    Yes they are bricking it, especially over the exposure of perverts in power, at long last. Very soon every one will have their eyes wide open including the brethren run councils.

    MP challenges Scottish Government over lack of prosecutions in Hollie Greig case

  47. 1:41 What exactly does bricking it mean? Surely not some crude reference to having problems with bowel movements! I would have expected better of you.

  48. 1:41

    I reckoned you were either turned down for membership by the masons or, worse, were black balled.

    There is a chord runs through your endless utterances about the brethren that smacks of rejection.
    Can't say your obsession with child abuse is that healthy either.

  49. Our resident freemason supporters are out in force or should that say in the ' policy force 'where many reside unseen of course.

    Are these involved with the massive coverups of institutionalised child abuse many beleive so, or is it just at the highest levels. Of course we will never know until all are made to declare their associations and operate in a transparent way. Interesting that some at KCC have declare but not all.

  50. 2.26

    for those of you who have been turned down or black-balled think yourselves very lucky