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Source: (consider it) Thread: Educational elitism
mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:


Or, rather, I don't know of any such study.

Well, no reason why you would know of such a study unless you look for one (and of course there are ways to compare areas and schools without having the same child attend all the schools and without having a control. This is sociology not science).

This study (not friendly to Grammars in general) says:

quote:
From fitting a multilevel model including gender, age and the school context variables listed above, we found that the average estimated effect of attending a grammar school on pupils of all abilities (as measured by their KS2 scores) was 5.5 additional GCSE/GNVQ points (i.e. grades) compared to being at a comprehensive school. The effect of attending a secondary modern was on average 1 grade less at GCSE compared to a comprehensive school.
As I think I said above, grammars benefit those who attend but disadvantage those who do not.

[ 15. September 2016, 14:59: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Well, I'd expect them to have a higher mean and median than the larger set Those who areable to pay their fees. That there's selection by income doesn't negate the effect of selection by ability.

Assumptions:

  • The richest 20% of the population can afford private school, of which 5% of the population actually goes.
  • The top 40% of state school pupils go to university.
  • Virtually all private school pupils go to university.

We start with 100 individuals, rank them by academic ability (with 1 being the best), and use a random number generator to decide which 20 of them are rich enough to go to private school (and thus which 5 actually will). We then take the top 40% of the 95 state school ones and the 5 private school ones and compare their average rankings.

When I did this, I got an average ranking for state school of 20.45 and an average ranking for private school of 20.80. That was much closer than I'd expected, but it's still a win for the state sector.

Granted, that was just one go with the random number generator, and I'd have to do it a lot more times to get results that could be published. But for the purposes of a bulletin board thread it'll do.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
A significant proportion of private and public schools have entrance exams, Marvin. They are selective.

Then isn't it funny that the richest parents always seem to get their kids into a private school. Maybe parental wealth does correlate with child intelligence.
Others have been more polite in their rebuttals, I shall not be. You statements reflect the myth promulgated by the privileged that they are in their place because they "deserve" to be. It salves the conscience of those who have one and inflates the ego of the rest.
Education does not begin at the doors of the school and those with more resource have more to spend on little Ottilia and Maximilian, so there is obviously a greater chance they will do well.
This, of course, continues on.
Intelligence is a tricky thing to measure. Potential cannot be significantly measured separate from education. It is rather easy, however, to design a test that masks education as intelligence.

As the Brexit version of Politicians do the Dumbest Things starkly demonstrated, the rich are not smarter than the poor.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Then isn't it funny that the richest parents always seem to get their kids into a private school. Maybe parental wealth does correlate with child intelligence.

Others have been more polite in their rebuttals, I shall not be. You statements reflect the myth promulgated by the privileged that they are in their place because they "deserve" to be.
It's entirely possible that you missed the sarcasm in that post. To be clear, it was a follow-up to this previous comment of mine:

quote:
The only factor affecting access to private education is whether the child's parents can afford to pay for it. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that private schools will have roughly the same mix of academic abilities as state schools (unless you assume that a parent's wealth correlates to their child's intelligence, which I do not).
Or to put it another way, I completely agree that the rich are not smarter than the poor.

Those who insist that state school students outperforming private school ones at university is somehow significant are the ones assuming the inherent superiority of the rich, not I.

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lilBuddha
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Apologies, MtM. Education and truly level playing fields are a trigger issue with me.

[ 15. September 2016, 15:43: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
From fitting a multilevel model including gender, age and the school context variables listed above, we found that the average estimated effect of attending a grammar school on pupils of all abilities (as measured by their KS2 scores) was 5.5 additional GCSE/GNVQ points (i.e. grades) compared to being at a comprehensive school. The effect of attending a secondary modern was on average 1 grade less at GCSE compared to a comprehensive school.
As I think I said above, grammars benefit those who attend but disadvantage those who do not.
The conclusion I draw from this is that those who wish to see grammar schools abolished are perfectly happy for some kids to achieve 5.5 grades less just so that the rest can achieve 1 grade more.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Well, I'd expect them to have a higher mean and median than the larger set Those who areable to pay their fees. That there's selection by income doesn't negate the effect of selection by ability.

Assumptions:

  • The richest 20% of the population can afford private school, of which 5% of the population actually goes.
  • The top 40% of state school pupils go to university.
  • Virtually all private school pupils go to university.

We start with 100 individuals, rank them by academic ability (with 1 being the best), and use a random number generator to decide which 20 of them are rich enough to go to private school (and thus which 5 actually will). We then take the top 40% of the 95 state school ones and the 5 private school ones and compare their average rankings.

When I did this, I got an average ranking for state school of 20.45 and an average ranking for private school of 20.80. That was much closer than I'd expected, but it's still a win for the state sector.

Granted, that was just one go with the random number generator, and I'd have to do it a lot more times to get results that could be published. But for the purposes of a bulletin board thread it'll do.

So you've shown that the average ability in the Private Sector is the same as that of the top 40% of the State Sector?

I'm not entirely surprised. What were you trying to prove?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
From fitting a multilevel model including gender, age and the school context variables listed above, we found that the average estimated effect of attending a grammar school on pupils of all abilities (as measured by their KS2 scores) was 5.5 additional GCSE/GNVQ points (i.e. grades) compared to being at a comprehensive school. The effect of attending a secondary modern was on average 1 grade less at GCSE compared to a comprehensive school.
As I think I said above, grammars benefit those who attend but disadvantage those who do not.
The conclusion I draw from this is that those who wish to see grammar schools abolished are perfectly happy for some kids to achieve 5.5 grades less just so that the rest can achieve 1 grade more.
And I draw the conclusion that you're willing to see the majority of children held down so a small number - who will do very well anyway - do even better. Why is that any more OK?

I contend that it is possible to so work within comprehensive schools that we do not disadvantage anyone. You have a counsel of despair that someone has to suffer so better it's the thick ones.

[ 15. September 2016, 15:50: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
What were you trying to prove?

That it's no surprise that state school students do better than private school students at university.

Of course, Eliab has also raised an interesting alternative explanation of why that may be so, based on the fact that the research was based on value added rather than actual results.

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Sioni Sais
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If grammar schools are so much better then doesn't it make sense for all schools to become grammar schools so that all children benefit from them?

Naturally, for all to benefit from them, they could not be selective and in many ways would look a lot like the despised comprehensives.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I'd also point out that if as Eliab suggests, many state comprehensives fail to stretch some of their pupils, the solution is to look into why and change the way they teach so that they do stretch them?

This has got to be better than the Grammar school solution which simply writes off the lower achievers. However you cut it, it's still "we're taking the clever ones away to teach them better. You thickos wouldn't benefit so bye-bye".

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
And I draw the conclusion that you're willing to see the majority of children held down so a small number - who will do very well anyway - do even better. Why is that any more OK?

A one-grade difference isn't significant. A 5.5-grade difference is.

And besides, as a nation I absolutely think we will be better off if some people are absolutely brilliant than if everyone is average, however much "fairer" the latter may be. Or to put it another way, a wider distribution curve with more students at the very top is better than a narrow one with virtually all of them in the middle, because the students at the very top are the researchers and inventors who will improve the future for everyone. We need to encourage and push them to achieve all they can, because then maybe 1 in 1000 of them will become the next Einstein or Hawking. If we tell them they'll do well enough to get by anyway, so we need to focus all our efforts on the people who might just possibly become supermarket middle managers rather than checkout workers then those opportunities for greatness may be lost.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
If grammar schools are so much better then doesn't it make sense for all schools to become grammar schools so that all children benefit from them?

It depends on why they're better.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
However you cut it, it's still "we're taking the clever ones away to teach them better. You thickos wouldn't benefit so bye-bye".

Bluntly, yes.

Not that that prevents the remaining schools from doing all they can to push their students, of course.

[ 15. September 2016, 16:06: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
And I draw the conclusion that you're willing to see the majority of children held down so a small number - who will do very well anyway - do even better. Why is that any more OK?

A one-grade difference isn't significant. A 5.5-grade difference is.

And besides, as a nation I absolutely think we will be better off if some people are absolutely brilliant than if everyone is average, however much "fairer" the latter may be. Or to put it another way, a wider distribution curve with more students at the very top is better than a narrow one with virtually all of them in the middle, because the students at the very top are the researchers and inventors who will improve the future for everyone. We need to encourage and push them to achieve all they can, because then maybe 1 in 1000 of them will become the next Einstein or Hawking. If we tell them they'll do well enough to get by anyway, so we need to focus all our efforts on the people who might just possibly become supermarket middle managers rather than checkout workers then those opportunities for greatness may be lost.

No-one said focus all our efforts. I'm sorry you don't believe we can have all our children given the best opportunities in education, but I do, and I believe we should attempt to do that.

Interestingly, and contrary to your assertion, on the Radio the other day they were saying that actually we're really good as a country at stretching the best students. Our problem is actually with letting the middle coast along resulting in our skill shortages in a number of industries. I'll try to find the reference. I can only see a return to grammar schools making that worse.

I'd also say that I suspect that the really, really top pupils are the ones that will get a load of A*s whichever school they go to, not the ones who might just if they go to the right school. Since some students at Comps do get all A*s, one can only assume that they must be these top pupils, because if they're not, who is?

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
However you cut it, it's still "we're taking the clever ones away to teach them better. You thickos wouldn't benefit so bye-bye".

Bluntly, yes.

Not that that prevents the remaining schools from doing all they can to push their students, of course.

Except that "you're thick and shit at this school stuff, but try anyway" is really a rather hard sell.

Tell me again why you can't push the most able in a top set in a Comp the way you can at a Grammar school, because since no-one's actually explained that, I believe it can.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Except that "you're thick and shit at this school stuff, but try anyway" is really a rather hard sell.


Why would that make any difference in a comprehensive setting? As it stands, up to 50% of kids are not getting 5 A-C grades GCSEs. So if having the grammar kids in the school means that some get a D instead of a U, what advantage is that actually giving?

I really believe that grades are not everything by any means (and the whole situation would be a lot better if there was much more money and emphasis on skills and trades as in other countries rather than just academic performance), but I'm not clear what you think the actual advantage is.

Incidentally, the worst schools in Kent have 15% of kids getting 5 A-C grades, the grammars have something over 95%.

quote:
Tell me again why you can't push the most able in a top set in a Comp the way you can at a Grammar school, because since no-one's actually explained that, I believe it can.
Well the argument goes that you can't focus on everything, and in a mixed ability school there will almost inevitably be a focus on those in greatest need leaving those at the top to coast.

Now, it clearly isn't the case in all schools - as we've seen some comprehensives have done enough to produce children who end up with doctorates. But we don't know how many above average students - who might have been pushed that bit harder in a grammar school - have not met their potential because they were not in the greatest need and managed to avoid getting into trouble in school.

I appreciate there are other ways to understand this problem.

It certainly doesn't help when there are an enormous amount of myths which are put out as obviously true about grammar schools which are not true at all. They don't have excess funds, they don't have smaller classes, in many parts of the country (due to government policies attempting to remove them in the past), they have old and poor buildings - unlike neighbouring non-Grammars who have shiny new Academy buildings with a lot of money spent on them - they're not populated solely by parents who are identical to private school parents. All of these things are lies.

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North East Quine

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Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
as we've seen some comprehensives have done enough to produce children who end up with doctorates.
The idea that there are comprehensives which don't do enough to produce children who end up with doctorates is startling to me.
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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Teekeey Misha:
Will they? Are you sure they won't merely make you better at using your intelligence? The rest of your post, I think, pretty much sums up what I said in my post.

So what you're calling "intelligence" is the inbuilt component, analogous to, for example, Usain Bolt's proportion of fast-twitch muscles, skeleton and so on, and his hypothetical identical twin brother who spent his life eating fast food in front of the TV would be equally as "athletically intelligent"?
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lilBuddha
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Intelligence is capacity, ability. That other stuff is knowledge and practice.
Of course there is an inborn component. I would never be able to compete with any professional athlete no matter how hard I might have trained or how well I was coached.
I am intelligent,* but in no known universe would I displace Hawking, regardless of schooling.


*So say the tests. Actions would challenge that...

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Except that "you're thick and shit at this school stuff, but try anyway" is really a rather hard sell.

Tell me again why you can't push the most able in a top set in a Comp the way you can at a Grammar school, because since no-one's actually explained that, I believe it can.

Do you also believe "you're thick but try anyway" doesn't apply to the bottom set in a comp?

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
as we've seen some comprehensives have done enough to produce children who end up with doctorates.
The idea that there are comprehensives which don't do enough to produce children who end up with doctorates is startling to me.
Even the best workman needs suitable materials.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Intelligence is capacity, ability. That other stuff is knowledge and practice.

Yes, of course there's an inborn component - it would be absurd to claim otherwise. But it's not just "knowledge and practice" in the sense of developing skills - it's also training, in the sense of building muscle and endurance, only for the brain.

People often seem to concentrate on the knowledge and skills component, and ignore the "mental exercise" - and that is an error.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
as we've seen some comprehensives have done enough to produce children who end up with doctorates.
The idea that there are comprehensives which don't do enough to produce children who end up with doctorates is startling to me.
Even the best workman needs suitable materials.
A lot of good workmen could be overlooked if adequate training isn't provided because of a discredited method of allocating training and education.

One of the fundamental problems in selective education is that the selection method still used in parts of England and Wales is flawed.

[ 15. September 2016, 20:54: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
as we've seen some comprehensives have done enough to produce children who end up with doctorates.
The idea that there are comprehensives which don't do enough to produce children who end up with doctorates is startling to me.
Even the best workman needs suitable materials.
If 1% of the population gain a PhD then out of a comprehensive school intake of 100 pupils per year, on average 1 per year will eventually reach that goal. Every comprehensive school in the country should, statistically, have the "suitable material" to have at least one pupil every 3-5 years eventually reach the PhD level (assuming it's not an unusually small school, which may be the case for dispersed rural communities). There's no reason why that should not happen.

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Marvin the Martian

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That's the problem with statistical averages - they assume the top 1% (or whatever) are equally spread across the whole sample.

it's like if statistics said over 50% of British counties have a coastline. You still wouldn't stand in Birmingham and expect any of the nearest five counties to have one.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Do you also believe "you're thick but try anyway" doesn't apply to the bottom set in a comp?

The clue is in the words "bottom set". That rather implies that there are attainable higher sets in the same school to aspire to.

No so for the divide at the 11+.

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North East Quine

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This evening I asked a Professor if there were any comprehensive schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire he would be surprised to get a PhD student from, and he couldn't think of any.

Most University Professors I know have high expectations for their own children educationally, and send their kids to the local comp.

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
That's the problem with statistical averages - they assume the top 1% (or whatever) are equally spread across the whole sample.

So, do you have any evidence to suggest that in this instance the aptitudes that give someone the ability to attain a PhD are not spread basically equally across the country? Do you have evidence that people in some parts of the country are more intelligent (as measured by academic achievement) than others?

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Both me and my brother went to a genuinely rough comp that we were in the catchment for. We both have PhDs. Our kids also go to our respective local comps. Our daughters are now at the same (Russell group) university. My son is in the top 0.1% of STEM students, according to his AS results.

It's interesting that you cite your daughter gaining a place at a highly selective educational establishment as evidence of the success of comprehensive education.

Why is it that selection at university level is uncontroversial? The criticisms of "elitist" universities on this thread seem to be criticisms that Oxford and Cambridge select (or possible, are applied to) on disproportionately class-based grounds, and don't select purely on ability.

Saying that "everyone who wants to and can benefit from a place at a good university should be able to get one, and that our brightest students should be able to go to our best universities regardless of class or family background" would be most unlikely to generate much disagreement. But saying something about schools based on the exact same principles is. Is it just because we're so used to students having to apply to universities and give evidence of their ability in order to get a place that it's seen as the way things naturally are, whereas applying to get into a school is sufficiently uncommon as to be noteworthy? I've never heard anyone advocate comprehensive universities for all.

quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Before I get into this I think there is a moral difference between a) preferring selective education for your children in a set-up where selective education is clearly the better option if you have it, on the one hand, b) and on the other thinking that a system where selective education is better is a preferable system.
In short, I wouldn't think anyone morally wrong for sending their children to a private or grammar school. That doesn't mean I think the government morally right to expand them.

I agree that's an important distinction.

I'm coming to it from an different angle, though. I've already made a choice for selective education for my own children. I hold that, within the system we have, that is a pragmatically defensible, and morally permissible choice. I also know that there are many parents who would like to make the same choice but can't, because they can't afford to. Therefore I think I'm morally bound to support measures that give more people the opportunity to make a similar choice to the one I made. Therefore I would welcome new grammar schools.

Would my 'ideal' system include selection? I'm not sure. It would certainly include good academic schools available for everyone, but I'm not completely convinced that a good academic school has to be selective. I think that there are advantages to having schools with different focuses and strengths, and being geared to specific ability ranges is one way to achieve that, so I'd probably have some selective schools in my hypothetical utopia. And some non-selective schools, for people who prefer them.

I wouldn't write off anyone as a failure for not getting into an "elite" school. And I don't think that's a necessary part of selection.

quote:
This is a bit like describing the lottery as an option to win a million pounds.
What lower-income families get is the option to gamble on being selected or rejected. And higher-income families are able to pay to increase the chance of being selected. That option lower-income families do not have.

What grammar schools mean is that lower income families get to compete for selective school places against higher income families who can therefore afford to purchase some advantages. But if the only selective places are at private schools, they don't get to compete at all. They are immediately priced-out of the competition. They don't have a lesser chance of getting a selective school place, they have no opportunity to get one whatsoever.

Therefore having the option to apply to more grammar schools is an improvement on the current system for people who would make the same choices that I would. Therefore I support that. I'm not saying the system with grammar schools would be perfect, or that it would solve all problems, just that it would be an improvement on what we have now.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Why is it that selection at university level is uncontroversial? The criticisms of "elitist" universities on this thread seem to be criticisms that Oxford and Cambridge select (or possible, are applied to) on disproportionately class-based grounds, and don't select purely on ability.

This is an excellent question. I'm going to give it more thought, but off the bat:

1. It's children that take the 11+, not adults.

2. The system is easily gamed by the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

3. The division at 11 is arbitrary. There is never going to be a pass mark for the 11+, while a university will offer (mostly) the same grades for any given course. It's much more transparent.

4. Children need to stay in some form of education to 18. The vast majority of pupils will go to a Comprehensive.

5. There is a question of natural justice: we see all children as unformed and full of potential, and don't see why the children of the rich should be privileged over the children of the poor.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

Why is it that selection at university level is uncontroversial? The criticisms of "elitist" universities on this thread seem to be criticisms that Oxford and Cambridge select (or possible, are applied to) on disproportionately class-based grounds, and don't select purely on ability.

Both universities certainly have features that might be more off-putting to working-class kids than to those from public schools: funny clothes, Latin and perfectly ordinary things being given special private names are things that will be familiar to public school pupils, but not so much to pupils from the average comp.

There is some debate over whether the admissions process is biased against pupils from comprehensive schools or not. There have been studies that suggest that public-school pupils who got 3 A*s at A-level were 10% or so more likely to have been offered an Oxbridge place than comprehensive-school pupils with the same grades. There are other claims that suggest that those statistics are not correctly adjusted for the popularity of various courses - essentially, the claim is that comprehensive school pupils are more likely to apply for the popular courses, and so for that reason more likely to not get a place. I haven't seen the raw numbers, so I don't know which is right. (It is certainly true that public school pupils are much more likely to apply for things like classics, which are less competitive than law or medicine.)

I am pretty confident in saying that the bigger issue is in applications, rather than the rate at which applications are converted to admissions, though.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Why is it that selection at university level is uncontroversial? The criticisms of "elitist" universities on this thread seem to be criticisms that Oxford and Cambridge select (or possible, are applied to) on disproportionately class-based grounds, and don't select purely on ability.

Saying that "everyone who wants to and can benefit from a place at a good university should be able to get one, and that our brightest students should be able to go to our best universities regardless of class or family background" would be most unlikely to generate much disagreement. But saying something about schools based on the exact same principles is.

As a first pass, until recently universities were largely an optional extra, while schooling was essential. We legally require children to go to school, ostensibly for their benefit. They're not legally required to go to university.

Secondly, it would be fine to say that everyone who wants to and would benefit from a place at a good school should be able to go. But almost everyone probably would benefit to some extent from going to a good school. That's why it's legally obligatory to send your children to school.

The whole point of selection is that you do not allow some of the people who would like to go to your school into your school. Some people who apply you do not select. Selection entails exclusion. This is not automatically a bad thing, but it may be.

Suppose I am running a sports academy.

Selection type one. I exclude some people from my basketball course because they're five foot one and can't throw a ball straight or far. Basically if they come in they're wasting their time. In a real way, they actually benefit from being excluded.
This doesn't apply to education, because we believe everyone benefits from education. The choice isn't go to an academic school or go to a sports academy. It's go to a good academic school or go to a poor academic school. You don't get selected for the local academic school because even though you're poor academically you're even worse at sports. You don't get rejected from the academic school because even though you're good academically you excel at sports.

Selection type two. We have limited resources and we need to spend them only on the people who would benefit most.
The usual questions about why we have limited resources come up here.
Again, this works for sports since being good at sports is optional for success in our society. When it comes to academic success it's more troubling, since we think the kind of skills that go with academic success are more important to the quality of people's future lives and their ability to get their voices heard in our society.
In addition, assuming a basically egalitarian democratic society, do the people who don't get the resources get some benefit out of the greater educational standards of those who do? If they don't, it's hard to justify on egalitarian grounds.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

Why is it that selection at university level is uncontroversial?

One of the problems with selection at age 11 is that it's not very good. Setting aside issues with children of wealthy families being tutored for the test, and just looking at children from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, performance at age 11 isn't a great predictor of performance at 16 or 18. Sure - there's a correlation, and the kids who ace the 11+ are highly likely to ace everything else as well, but the chances of a 15% 11-year-old kid remaining better than a 25% kid when they reach age 18 aren't that different from 50:50.

Selection at 18 is better (but still not perfect - I know PhDs with international reputations who got Ds and Es at A-level, barely scraped in to a degree course at a low-status university, finished with a good degree, and then got a PhD from a high-status university. It's uncommon, but not unheard-of.)

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
One of the problems with selection at age 11 is that it's not very good. Setting aside issues with children of wealthy families being tutored for the test, and just looking at children from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, performance at age 11 isn't a great predictor of performance at 16 or 18. Sure - there's a correlation, and the kids who ace the 11+ are highly likely to ace everything else as well, but the chances of a 15% 11-year-old kid remaining better than a 25% kid when they reach age 18 aren't that different from 50:50.

Actually performance at 16 and 18 can be predicted for most children before the age of 11.

And, again, you are perpetuating myths. Not all grammar school children are tutored for the 11-plus, those who pay for tutoring are not all wealthy etc and so on.

Where I would agree with you is that the 11-plus can be a poor measure of suitability for grammar school, given that it is a single snapshot of a child with all of the other stresses on that day. Which is why there should be a much better system and entry during other school-years for children who might benefit from a grammar school education.

There are children who went to grammar school without taking the test (for various reasons), there are some who peaked at the 11-plus and did not achieve as might have been expected at 16, there are many who barely passed the 11-plus and finished at 16 at the top of the class. This tells me that the test itself is at fault and that there should be a better way to assess children at 11.

Much too much emphasis in Kent is put on the test in a lot of ways, and the inbuilt inequalities are ignored - such as the fact that in some poor areas the children do not even get to take the test. The solution there, I think, whichever view you take on selection is that children should all have the opportunity to take it and be assessed fairly on their academic merits.

quote:
Selection at 18 is better (but still not perfect - I know PhDs with international reputations who got Ds and Es at A-level, barely scraped in to a degree course at a low-status university, finished with a good degree, and then got a PhD from a high-status university. It's uncommon, but not unheard-of.)
This is certainly true, I was reading about someone in this circumstance the other day. But I think this is again looking at the furthest extremes and suggesting that this is telling us something. As we know, some people are able to go to adult education classes with no qualifications, move on to university access courses and end up with doctorates. So, of course, we need much better systems for people who peak educationally at different rates - so the breaking of adult education and support for mature students of all kinds is an utterly deplorable thing.

The vast majority of people progress as they go through school from 11 to 18 and performance at university is usually a combination of applying their school education and adapting to a different way of learning.

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

Why is it that selection at university level is uncontroversial?

Some factors, such as university education not being a requirement for all, have already been mentioned. But, there are a few additional relevant factors that I think are important. Off the top of my head:
  1. There is a very strong element of self-selection. The student chooses to go to university (as opposed to not going to university), chooses a particular course, chooses a particular university to apply to (OK, in practice initially a small number of universities to keep options open)
  2. University courses are highly specialised, whereas schools provide a broad education.
  3. Assessment for university admission are (usually) based entirely on the same assessed exams as those used by employers. We can, of course, argue about the extent to which exam results reflect ability. But the combination of course work and exams taken over a four year period (assuming the English pattern of GCSE + A level - Scotland, of course, has a different system), with the exams becoming something pupils are familiar with (contra 11+ where it may well be the first exam they've sat) and hence less stressful, exam boards having mechanisms to account for external circumstances (eg: being ill on exam day) all add upto an assessment that is much more objective than the 11+.
  4. There are significantly greater restrictions on university places. There are enough school places for every child, though individual schools may not be able to accommodate all who apply. There are not enough university places for all school leavers, or even all school leavers who want a university place.
  5. Failure to go from school to university does not rule out a university education. There are options to re-sit A levels/Highers. There are options to attend a FE college and get some additional qualifications. There are options of entering the work place, doing some voluntary work or otherwise gaining life-experience that will aid one getting into university as a mature student. There are no similar options of resitting the 11+ at 13, and starting school two years older than the other children in the class.


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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
There are no similar options of resitting the 11+ at 13, and starting school two years older than the other children in the class.

Actually this is also a myth, grammar schools are required to accept children to enter the school at year 8 or above - and it is relatively common because of the natural flow of people moving in and out of areas.

Some schools have an "11-plus" exam set for each year group which an entrant would have to sit, others base it on the previous school results and an interview.

So it is entirely possible for a child who failed the 11-plus to do well in the school where they've ended up and to move later.

[ 16. September 2016, 07:28: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So it is entirely possible for a child who failed the 11-plus to do well in the school where they've ended up and to move later.

But, let's face it, unlikely - given the state of secondary moderns in Kent.

Whereas progression into a higher set at a comprehensive doesn't involve moving schools and can be done at any time in any school year.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
But, let's face it, unlikely - given the state of secondary moderns in Kent.

Yes, if you're in one of the non-grammars it is very unlikely that you'd be able to do well enough in the year. Most who join grammars move in from elsewhere in the country.

quote:
Whereas progression into a higher set at a comprehensive doesn't involve moving schools and can be done at any time in any school year.
I think that depends on the school. If you are in a school with low attainment and low expectations, the chances of you performing well are very small whatever the name is on the wall.

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mr cheesy
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That said, each year more-than-a-handful of students join the grammars in Kent from the non-grammars at 16. Given where they've come from, they're very likely to be exceptional students.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So it is entirely possible for a child who failed the 11-plus to do well in the school where they've ended up and to move later.

But, let's face it, unlikely - given the state of secondary moderns in Kent.

Whereas progression into a higher set at a comprehensive doesn't involve moving schools and can be done at any time in any school year.

I wouldn't describe it as entirely possible because here are fewer grammar school places and possibly (often?) too few to cater for those who would benefit from that kind of education, but I have known it happen; Mrs Sioni saw quite a bit of it at her secondary modern in South Wales.

What I saw very little of was 11+ passes who were manifestly unsuited to grammar school education being reallocated to secondary moderns. I suppose their mummies and daddies would raise a huge stink.

In a comprehensive administration is easier but more importantly it's better for many children (says another A stream maths, sciences, history and geography, C/D stream English & languages type).

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
I wouldn't describe it as entirely possible because here are fewer grammar school places and possibly (often?) too few to cater for those who would benefit from that kind of education, but I have known it happen; Mrs Sioni saw quite a bit of it at her secondary modern in South Wales.

That's another myth, it depends on where you live. Having asked a lot of grammars about places a few years ago, I can tell you for a fact that the vast majority had places in years 8 or above.

quote:
What I saw very little of was 11+ passes who were manifestly unsuited to grammar school education being reallocated to secondary moderns. I suppose their mummies and daddies would raise a huge stink.
This is also true and very puzzling. Some struggled on at grammars when it wasn't doing them any good. I guess it must be the case that grammars cannot force someone to move due to academic performance once they're on the books.

But it is a nightmare scenario which cannot be good for the child.

quote:
In a comprehensive administration is easier but more importantly it's better for many children (says another A stream maths, sciences, history and geography, C/D stream English & languages type).
How is it better? What criteria are you using?

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
There are no similar options of resitting the 11+ at 13, and starting school two years older than the other children in the class.

Actually this is also a myth, grammar schools are required to accept children to enter the school at year 8 or above - and it is relatively common because of the natural flow of people moving in and out of areas.

Some schools have an "11-plus" exam set for each year group which an entrant would have to sit, others base it on the previous school results and an interview.

So it is entirely possible for a child who failed the 11-plus to do well in the school where they've ended up and to move later.

Just to clarify. I wasn't talking about transferring between educational establishments.

I was contrasting universities, where it is possible (indeed quite common) for people to wait several years - either to gain more qualifications to meet entrance requirements, or to do something else entirely - before starting a university course, with schools. With very few exceptions, pupils don't get the chance to take two years out and start high school at 13, sitting in a first year class of 11 year olds.

It was an attempt to highlight a difference in university entry to suggest that there are reasons why selection for university places is a different question to selection for school entry.

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Jane R
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mr cheesy:
quote:
Actually performance at 16 and 18 can be predicted for most children before the age of 11.
...and we're back to Sure Start and the Children's Centres.

Universities that are trying to increase the numbers of applications from working-class families have discovered that they need to start trying to persuade the children at primary school level that university is something they can do. If you wait until Year 9 or 10 (for non-UK readers, that's 13-15 year olds) that's too late.

Children from middle-class families grow up expecting to go on to university or some kind of vocational training after they leave school and being told that they have to work hard because good GCSEs/A levels will give them a wider choice of jobs when they leave. At least, I've been telling my daughter this ever since she was old enough to answer back. She has her own ideas about what she wants to do when she leaves school (at the moment she wants to be a riding teacher) but she also has a clear understanding of the purpose of school. Even the boring bits. Many children don't.

The gap in attainment gets more obvious as you go higher up the system, but it's detectable at a very early age. Of course, investing in nurseries and early childhood education is not going to have the same appeal to the average Tory voter as bringing back grammar schools will.

[ 16. September 2016, 08:21: Message edited by: Jane R ]

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North East Quine

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I agree with Jane R. I think there are also intangibles; if a child's parents went to University, then they will grow up hearing stories of University life; if an older cousin / family friend's child etc goes to University, then chatter about getting a place in Halls / Fresher's Week / essay deadlines etc normalises University.
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Odds Bodkin
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Actually performance at 16 and 18 can be predicted for most children before the age of 11.

With a chocolate?
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Can I throw in a compromise which I think might answer some of Marvin's and Eliab's points whilst also being more palatable for those of us who tend to oppose grammar schools? It's a pure thought exercise because I'm not Secretary of State for Education. But I've said that I'm not satisfied with the current system if it disadvantages the most able, but also unwilling to move to a system which disadvantages the least able, so it perhaps behoves me to have an alternative in mind.

Firstly, restructure to a three stage system, lower schools up to 9, middle schools 9-13 and uppper schools from 13+. This was the system that was in use in some LEAs years ago and a lot of people found it softened the transition from Primary (single teacher for most subjects, schools usually 50-200 children) to Secondary (specialist subject teachers, 1000-2000 children) which can be rather abrupt.

Lower and Middle schools are mixed ability.

Upper Schools are also mixed ability, but at 13 an assessment is made, based on two factors:

1. A student's absolute achievements;
2. A student's relative achievements, based on their level at entry to lower school, their level at entry to middle school, and their level at the end of middle school
3. Subject to both 1. and 2. meeting a predetermined value; AND a factor combining them ALSO meeting a predetermined value, they are allocated to an accelerated programme within the Upper School. The Accelerated Programme acts as a school within a school with its own head, its own curriculum, but sharing sports, arts and science facilities with the main school.
4. At the end of each year, it is possible for students who have improved markedly to enter the Accelerated Programme. It is also possible for students who have not shown the expected improvement, over two years, to move out of it. At the end of the first year of underachievement, you'd have a bit of a chat - "Is there something interfering with your work? Do you just need to buck your ideas up?"
5. It would also be possible for students in either programme to access the other programme for specific subjects where they have particular struggles or particular talents that aren't spread across their subjects.

Discussion point?

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Alan Cresswell

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I would probably prefer accelerated programmes. So, an accelerated programme for maths, anotehr for science, a third for humanities, a fourth for modern languages, etc. Rather than assume that someone good at maths and sciences should be in the accelerated programme across all subjects.

But, isn't that setting?

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Can I throw in a compromise which I think might answer some of Marvin's and Eliab's points whilst also being more palatable for those of us who tend to oppose grammar schools? It's a pure thought exercise because I'm not Secretary of State for Education. But I've said that I'm not satisfied with the current system if it disadvantages the most able, but also unwilling to move to a system which disadvantages the least able, so it perhaps behoves me to have an alternative in mind.

Firstly, restructure to a three stage system, lower schools up to 9, middle schools 9-13 and uppper schools from 13+. This was the system that was in use in some LEAs years ago and a lot of people found it softened the transition from Primary (single teacher for most subjects, schools usually 50-200 children) to Secondary (specialist subject teachers, 1000-2000 children) which can be rather abrupt.

Lower and Middle schools are mixed ability.

Upper Schools are also mixed ability, but at 13 an assessment is made, based on two factors:

1. A student's absolute achievements;
2. A student's relative achievements, based on their level at entry to lower school, their level at entry to middle school, and their level at the end of middle school
3. Subject to both 1. and 2. meeting a predetermined value; AND a factor combining them ALSO meeting a predetermined value, they are allocated to an accelerated programme within the Upper School. The Accelerated Programme acts as a school within a school with its own head, its own curriculum, but sharing sports, arts and science facilities with the main school.
4. At the end of each year, it is possible for students who have improved markedly to enter the Accelerated Programme. It is also possible for students who have not shown the expected improvement, over two years, to move out of it. At the end of the first year of underachievement, you'd have a bit of a chat - "Is there something interfering with your work? Do you just need to buck your ideas up?"
5. It would also be possible for students in either programme to access the other programme for specific subjects where they have particular struggles or particular talents that aren't spread across their subjects.

Discussion point?

That's sort of how it worked in the LEA where I grew up - having said that I left the middle school at the end of Year 6 to go to a private school, having passed an 11+ exam.

In what I think was an act of vandalism, the LEA scrapped the first/middle/high model about 15 years ago and moved to primary/high as a cost cutting measure.

Where it (slightly) falls down, is in the choices available. In my town there were 3 high schools (13-18). They all streamed internally but you knew which one you *had* to try and get into because there was still a pecking order - my old county was one of the first to go comprehensive and even 30 years later when I was teenager you stood a better chance of doing well in life if you went to the comp that had been formed from the merger of the boys and girls grammar schools, than the one formed from the merger of the two equivalent single sex secondary moderns.

This was baffling, because the two grammars came together on the girl's grammar's site, in the poorer end of town, with the lower house prices. That is still the case today. The two secondary moderns came together on the boy's SM site in the middle class end of town.

There seems to just have been something in the grammars' DNA in the town which meant that 3 decades later they were still working with higher aspirations for their pupils than the secondary modern - which is *still* not great even since being forced through Special Measures to become an academy. To be clear, there is no bussing in the town, and almost everyone goes to the closest high school - yet the school in the poorer area with the social housing is still the one to go to if you can.

The third high school was an ex independent school in a village which had gone state, and existed in a permanent state of bumbling mediocrity.

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And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1481 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
I would probably prefer accelerated programmes. So, an accelerated programme for maths, anotehr for science, a third for humanities, a fourth for modern languages, etc. Rather than assume that someone good at maths and sciences should be in the accelerated programme across all subjects.

But, isn't that setting?

I think I addressed that in point 5. I'm trying to steer a middle ground between the two entrenched positions. Inevitably it's going to be close in some ways to both of them [Biased]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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