What I'm watching


I went to a comprehensive for two years until we moved to an area with a grammar school which I went to.

My son didn’t pass the 11 plus on the English part (he is dyslexic). It was a bit frustrating but never mind, we did the research and found what was best for him and he is doing just fine.

I’m still not sure where I stand on the whole thing. In some ways it did me a lot of good, but historically the local non grammar schools in town are questionable. I feel it needs the benefit the whole to be justified. Hmmmm.


The system is terrible I think. An exam for stuff that isn’t taught in the National Curriculum- on the maths side anyway. Very difficult unless the child is tutored from year 4 really, which is really expensive. We couldn’t afford it. If the child doesn’t pass, at the appeal, any evidence of tuition will pretty much scupper it. W.T.F? Ava didn’t pass through a mixture of nerves and a bit of exam technique, I think. She wasn’t tutored and was 2 months premature, so her score should be adjusted accordingly. No one can/will tell you how it is scored, only that boys don’t have to get as many marks as girls and that it is adjusted by birth date. The scoring is done by a computer.
Ava’s ‘birthday’ is 5th Sept, right at the begining of the school year but should have been November 5th.
She is considered to be working at an “outstanding” level and has been for every year since she started, except year 4 when she went through a period of bullying and quite major class disruption from a couple of individuals that have now left. We had to explain this to the appeal panel… If she doesn’t get in, the system has failed her I think.

You are lucky to live in an area where their aren’t any!


It is possible to get there without tutoring. Josh got in on his own endeavours, and it was completely his choice to go for it after attending the open evening. He is fairly bright but I wouldn’t describe him to be anything other than “above average” academically.

It was quite funny because in his open evening talk the head begged people not to have their kids tutored for the exam, as it would not be a true reflection of their talents. I guessed that >90% of them in the room were. :stuck_out_tongue:

Pity it didn’t work out for him, he ditched it after 3 terms because he hated the bus travel to the school (50 minutes each way), and decided to go to the same comp as Ella which is 5 minutes walk up the road. We are lucky as the comp is brilliant and always scores well in Ofsted reports.


I was chatting with someone on Monday from Bourne End, and she was saying how she disliked the system as well. Has she known about it before she wouldn’t have moved there. One of hers got in and the other didn’t.

I saw a trailer for the programme and a head teacher, I think, described what they did as being similar to talent spotting. But it’s not that - it’s finding out which kids are having a good/bad day, which are well prepared, which are lucky. On one day of their lives. And marking them as successes or failures forevermore.

These things need to be constantly reviewed, both ways. My school was selective, and there were kids that has clearly been very well prepared for the exam, but simply weren’t that bright; that had a terrible time there, as we were utter cunts to them (thick and rich is a terrible combo). They would have done much better at a school that actually have a shit about them (mine basically tried to get them to move if they were going to hit the averages).

The lady from Bourne End said that her local grammar had huge issues with girls self harming due to the pressure. It’s fucked up.


Hmm, there’s pressure wherever you are and certainly no shortage of that going on in comps either. I would guard against saying the grammar is the cause.




Last night’s programme was about the testing. The next two will be about what happens next which, I hope, will tell us more about the schools and the system that dictates their objectives and capabilities. If there’s going to be a selective system then particular attention has to be paid to getting both sorts of schools right. But it wasn’t clear from the first programme that that is what we’ll see happening.



My older son went & didn’t thrive. The bus journey (an hour each way) didn’t help.
The younger son didn’t quite make it, went to the local school & did thrive. We weren’t to know then but with the benefit of hindsight I wish we’d sent the older son to the local school. Aspects of the grammar school were extremely poor. Of course it gets great results, it has a very bright intake, but value added?


Likewise for the schools we glimpsed on last night’s programme. The difference between English and Maths GCSE’s at one and the other was spectacular (I’m remembering 25% of children getting good grades at the sec mod and 98% at the grammar). But the first thing that the sec mod teacher had to do with her class (the youngest) each morning was to try to establish who had had breakfast. Or even dinner the previous evening.



We chose not to send my older girls to the local Grammar School. I object to hothouses and/or the sausage factory approach to education that it seems to provide. Both girls chose to stay at the school we chose when we moved here from Oz for the rounded approach to education it provides. The girls are thriving* and really value the wide range of extra-curricular activities as one is sporting and the other is very artistically inclined.

Youngest daughter is bound for a lengthy and successful career in 2 Para given her current career path.

*this is the only measure educational success of education success I am willing to go by until we face my eldest’s GCSEs.


There was an interesting article about this in the Economist recently:

(If you clear your browser history you should be able to read it)

The conclusion of the research, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that ‘good’ schools get better results only because they’re selective, not because they provide a better education.


Inherited intelligence ffs :roll_eyes:


Thankfully it is not fucking Toby Young and his ‘progressive eugenics’ again but he is a co-author on the paper. Genetics is being used as a catch all for a random effect that they don’t or can’t control for.


Or it’s just bollox.


Yep, I would tend question the validity of a one-way ANOVA in this context. Most problems of this type are based framed as a regression problem where an ANOVA is possible but the adequacy of the conditional characterisation of the data may also be assessed (e.g. are there fixed or random effects at play).

I’m also somewhat inclined to be sceptical in the extreme about a Journal run in partnership with any University, let alone the the University of Queensland.


Watched last night - Annihilation

From what I’d read about Annihilation before watching the film I was expecting a cerebral sci-fi thriller. There is some thinking required especially with the ending but up until this point Annihilation works best as sci-fi horror. If you liked Event Horizon and 28 Days Later you’ll probably like Annihilation.

Director Alex Garland who wrote the screenplay for 28 Days Later employs the same sense of implicit atmospheric menace as Boyles’s post-apocalyptic film but smartly mixes in scenes of beauty and awe. While borrowing some familiar plot elements from Event Horizon. The CGI is also used as it should be; sparingly but to great effect.


Sounds like my kind of thing - Event Horizon is one of my fave movies of all time.

It’s not on google tv and movies - can you tell me where you watched it? Amazon? Netflix?


It’s on Netflix and DVD from eBay.

I’d recommend not watching the trailer because it gives too much away. The fresher you watch this film the better. After some disappointing sci-fi, like Arrival, this film delivers plenty.

I’ve made a note to watch Event Horizon again, you’ll see the plot similarities.


I thought it was very good but it’s no horror or on the same level as Event Horizon (or Pandorum)


Spain World cup 82 film on History