Ofsted chief slams grammar schools

Sir Michael Wilshaw said grammar schools are

Sir Michael Wilshaw said grammar schools are "stuffed full" of middle-class children

First published in National News © by

Grammar schools are "stuffed full" of middle-class children and do not improve the chances of poorer pupils, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said.

The Ofsted chief inspector also said summer holidays were "too long" and admitted that he had concerns about the number of Romanian and Bulgarian children who might come to British schools after restrictions on the two European Union countries expire at the end of the year.

Sir Michael's criticism of state grammar schools in England comes after the rejection of an attempt to expand the provision of selective education in Kent.

He told The Observer: "Grammar schools are stuffed full of middle-class kids. A tiny percentage are on free school meals: 3%. That is a nonsense.

"Anyone who thinks grammar schools are going to increase social mobility needs to look at those figures. I don't think they work.

"The fact of the matter is that there will be calls for a return to the grammar school system. Well, look what is happening at the moment.

"Northern Ireland has a selective system and they did worse than us in the (international comparison) table. The grammar schools might do well with 10% of the school population, but everyone else does really badly. What we have to do is make sure all schools do well in the areas in which they are located."

Weald of Kent Grammar School and Invicta Grammar School both put in rival bids to run an annexe in Sevenoaks to address a shortage of selective places.

Both were rejected by the Department for Education because n either complied with the law, which allows expansion but not new schools.

Sir Michael highlighted the role that "pushy parents "could play in driving up standards.

"Parents write in to Ofsted and complain about an institution. And I would encourage that," he said.

"Pushy parents have usually got kids in schools where, because they are pushing hard, standards rise."

In a wide-ranging interview Sir Michael indicated he would like to see changes to the school calendar when asked if teachers had too many holidays, saying: " I think the six-week holiday is too long."

He acknowledged that the Government had a "big job" in ensuring England had enough quality teachers in the system to cope with a potential influx of Romanian and Bulgarian children when the restrictions on people from the two countries working in the UK are lifted.

"Obviously I have got concerns about that," he said. "If we get huge numbers of children from overseas and from eastern Europe coming in, we have to have enough teachers to teach them and resources available in schools."

Comments (5)

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10:20am Sun 15 Dec 13

varteg1 says...

It's the 'pushy parent' bit that is important.

The vast majority of children have no notion of the word 'discipline, but most of those from a pushy parent home certainly do.

None of mine,four of my own and two stepchildren went to a grammar
school, but being disciplined. to a reasonable degree, that is, not allowed the freewheeling nature many seem to be given by parents with a lassaiz faire attitude, yet they have all done extremely well coming out of comprehensive education between south Wales and Merseyside.

Four have degrees, one is an internationally recognised chef, the other a well settled housewife and mother of a trio of similarly well adjusted kids.

What I am saying is, it matters little what school a child attends, nor under what educational regime, what does matter is that, fundamentally, going to school is not a chance to be free of disciplinarian parents,

Maybe it is not the kids that needs the discipline, maybe the parents need to straighten their act and show by the best learning tool ever invented....GOOD EXAMPLE.
It's the 'pushy parent' bit that is important. The vast majority of children have no notion of the word 'discipline, but most of those from a pushy parent home certainly do. None of mine,four of my own and two stepchildren went to a grammar school, but being disciplined. to a reasonable degree, that is, not allowed the freewheeling nature many seem to be given by parents with a lassaiz faire attitude, yet they have all done extremely well coming out of comprehensive education between south Wales and Merseyside. Four have degrees, one is an internationally recognised chef, the other a well settled housewife and mother of a trio of similarly well adjusted kids. What I am saying is, it matters little what school a child attends, nor under what educational regime, what does matter is that, fundamentally, going to school is not a chance to be free of disciplinarian parents, Maybe it is not the kids that needs the discipline, maybe the parents need to straighten their act and show by the best learning tool ever invented....GOOD EXAMPLE. varteg1
  • Score: 2

8:47pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Biscay says...

I wonder what type of school Sir Michael went to?!
I wonder what type of school Sir Michael went to?! Biscay
  • Score: 1

10:12pm Sun 15 Dec 13

smilealoft44 says...

varteg1 wrote:
It's the 'pushy parent' bit that is important.

The vast majority of children have no notion of the word 'discipline, but most of those from a pushy parent home certainly do.

None of mine,four of my own and two stepchildren went to a grammar
school, but being disciplined. to a reasonable degree, that is, not allowed the freewheeling nature many seem to be given by parents with a lassaiz faire attitude, yet they have all done extremely well coming out of comprehensive education between south Wales and Merseyside.

Four have degrees, one is an internationally recognised chef, the other a well settled housewife and mother of a trio of similarly well adjusted kids.

What I am saying is, it matters little what school a child attends, nor under what educational regime, what does matter is that, fundamentally, going to school is not a chance to be free of disciplinarian parents,

Maybe it is not the kids that needs the discipline, maybe the parents need to straighten their act and show by the best learning tool ever invented....GOOD EXAMPLE.
I read your comments and i agree with what you say. You did not give the age of your children, my children also did well. But to get them into a school that the junior school head advised us to go to we had to move into the selection area. My eldest is 39 years old now, and when we moved to get in that school the teachers had the ability to punish the students, which i agreed with. Now the schools cannot punish students, there is no true compertition no winners no loosers life is not like that. Pushy parents help, but i am afraid that today that will not be enough. Schools have students in there classes who should not be there due to social inclution. also with people comming to this country to seek better lives there children hold our ones back. Idont know what i would do if my kids were young now maybe home schooling. If your child is bright and you are a parent struggling to make ends meet these days your child has little chance of succsess.
Sorry about my spelling but i did very little at school. But we did have a teacher for the not so bright and life was not all about learning maths and english ect more about life skills. there are many succsesful mates i had at school who now have large firms worth a fortune. Chances for every one but a good education is helpfull.
[quote][p][bold]varteg1[/bold] wrote: It's the 'pushy parent' bit that is important. The vast majority of children have no notion of the word 'discipline, but most of those from a pushy parent home certainly do. None of mine,four of my own and two stepchildren went to a grammar school, but being disciplined. to a reasonable degree, that is, not allowed the freewheeling nature many seem to be given by parents with a lassaiz faire attitude, yet they have all done extremely well coming out of comprehensive education between south Wales and Merseyside. Four have degrees, one is an internationally recognised chef, the other a well settled housewife and mother of a trio of similarly well adjusted kids. What I am saying is, it matters little what school a child attends, nor under what educational regime, what does matter is that, fundamentally, going to school is not a chance to be free of disciplinarian parents, Maybe it is not the kids that needs the discipline, maybe the parents need to straighten their act and show by the best learning tool ever invented....GOOD EXAMPLE.[/p][/quote]I read your comments and i agree with what you say. You did not give the age of your children, my children also did well. But to get them into a school that the junior school head advised us to go to we had to move into the selection area. My eldest is 39 years old now, and when we moved to get in that school the teachers had the ability to punish the students, which i agreed with. Now the schools cannot punish students, there is no true compertition no winners no loosers life is not like that. Pushy parents help, but i am afraid that today that will not be enough. Schools have students in there classes who should not be there due to social inclution. also with people comming to this country to seek better lives there children hold our ones back. Idont know what i would do if my kids were young now maybe home schooling. If your child is bright and you are a parent struggling to make ends meet these days your child has little chance of succsess. Sorry about my spelling but i did very little at school. But we did have a teacher for the not so bright and life was not all about learning maths and english ect more about life skills. there are many succsesful mates i had at school who now have large firms worth a fortune. Chances for every one but a good education is helpfull. smilealoft44
  • Score: 0

10:30pm Sun 15 Dec 13

JHardacre says...

Teachers DO NOT get a six week holiday - pupils do. When will such shoddy reporting stop?
Teachers DO NOT get a six week holiday - pupils do. When will such shoddy reporting stop? JHardacre
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Mon 16 Dec 13

sineater says...

Teachers are unpaid during holidays,and spend part of the time preparing for the next term.
Teachers are unpaid during holidays,and spend part of the time preparing for the next term. sineater
  • Score: 0
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