Trimble on the new Tory education policy…

A moment from the debate last night on the Tory shift on Grammar Schools, but which has been burning all week in Britain

  • Rubicon

    What a pathetic attempt from Trimble to side-step a good question. He’s going to have to perform a lot better than this – but he is without his traditional political props; bowler hats, sashes and jigs with Paisley will convince few in GB. Against this, Cameron has had a better impact on Trimble’s dress sense than Daphne ever did! What is it with the Cameron Tories? Will taking off the suit and tie convince anyone?

  • Ginfizz

    What a pathetic response. The fact is that the Tories are simply out of step with their own voters on this one. No ifs, no buts.

    Position in the Shadow Cabinet? Not bloody likely!

  • delta omega

    Different dress sense, different party, same bullshit

  • hoganfromcountytyrone

    How young does Lord Lisnagarvey look these days?

    Not having his wife physically assaulted by knuckle dragging dup morons obviously agrees with him!

  • Roger

    I agree that the attempts to make Trimle in a se icon may have been ill advised, having the top two buttons on his shirt undone was a little too much.

    He did perform badly on this interview and it has been clear for sometime now that the Conservatives are out of step with their voters.

  • I’ve been overseas the last week. Has the Turtle been letting it all hang out Cameroon-style?

    Of course, the Tories are screwing up big-time in their search for a Clause 4 moment with a cheap attack on some of GB’s best performing state schools. But what else do you expect? A letter-writer to yesterday’s Daily Torygraph claimed that Cameron had spoken at his school’s prize day 2 years ago and said how most of the grammar schools should never have been abolished 40 years ago. Cameron and his careerists have no principles whatsoever. They will fight for nothing, except power for themselves, to which they think they are naturally entitled. What an odious bunch.

  • darth rumsfeld

    ah ’twas ever thus watchman.

    A Unionist MP said to me there was nothing more odious, unprincipled, devious and dishonest than the Tory Party in pursuit of power.. not actually the ginger whinger but a colleague who was then amazed that in one of those blue moon moments when Major needed every UUP vote the Turtle sold his birthright for a playdoh parliament- the unloved Forum- and a round of talks designed to get the Shinners respectablised. Nothing done on local government boundaries,parades etc. The same old failing- too trusting of prime ministers

  • kensei

    “Of course, the Tories are screwing up big-time in their search for a Clause 4 moment with a cheap attack on some of GB’s best performing state schools.”

    Of course they are the best performing, they hand pick the best students.

  • willis

    Will Dr Brown be the first PM to be educated at a comprehensive? KHS was probably still selective when he left, but it is certainly comprehensive now.

  • Ginfizz

    Kensei

    As do so-called “faith schools” of which there are about sixty times more. Why no attack on them? I think the difference is that the concept of a working-class grammar school i.e. Grovesnor/St. Malachy’s/Annadale is an unheard of one on the mainland, whereas it is quite common-place here.

  • Ginfizz

    PS. I don’t think its just the Tories who are out of step with their electorate on this issue – the SDLP is also.

  • willis

    Ginfizz

    Good point about “working class” Grammars. What makes you think that the SDLP is out of step with their electorate?

  • willis

    Actually I don’t even think Cameron is out of step with his voters. The Tories were in power for nearly 20 years and how many Grammar schools did they open? Not a single one. The voters want Grammar schools but not selection. Cameron is just helping them to face up to their hypocrisy.

    It is a Clause 4 type moment but with the huge difference that Clause 4 was ended at a conference after a debate.

  • kensei

    “I think the difference is that the concept of a working-class grammar school i.e. Grovesnor/St. Malachy’s/Annadale is an unheard of one on the mainland, whereas it is quite common-place here.”

    The argument against those schools is exactly the same – they are better because they pull off the top 25-30%. What about the rest? A system that fails that many people is not a good system.

  • kensei

    “The voters want Grammar schools but not selection. Cameron is just helping them to face up to their hypocrisy.”

    Correct. Anyone I have seen arguing on this has focused on improving access to the best schools, as if they could just keep building Grammars and eventually everyone will go to one. This ignores that the system excludes by design.

  • Ginfizz

    At the time of the consultations on Burns and Costello – a majority of people surveyed said they wanted academic selecton retained, but supported the abolition of the 11+ transfer procedure. The key is improving our secondary schools, not destroying our grammars which consistently turn in excellent results and which have a large working-class number of kids in them.

  • Ginfizz

    Willis

    The biggest resistance to change of the education system here has, and will continue to come from CCMS – i.e. the Bishops – representatives of regular church-going Roman Catholics – my impression is that this demographic tends to vote more strongly for the SDLP than non-church goers.

  • Ginfizz

    kensei

    No views on the selection which occurs in faith schools?

  • kensei

    “No views on the selection which occurs in faith schools?”

    In England? Not particularly, no, especially as I know very little about it. I’d guess selection is possible because of over subscription because of the schools being good in the first place. A vicious / virtuous cycle depending on your perspective.

    Personally, I’d have no problem with them giving preference to members of that faith, being faith schools and all. From a moral perspective I think they should be taking more of the weakest (however you wish to measure it), rather than the brightest.

  • Ginfizz

    So you have no problem with children being selected on the basis of their parents religous faith, but to do so on their academic ability is totally wrong?

  • Ziznivy

    “The argument against those schools is exactly the same – they are better because they pull off the top 25-30%. What about the rest?”

    I’m not usually a great fan of A Tangled Web, but it has an excellent dissection of the Grammar School issue and exactly this type of woolly thinking.

  • willis

    Ginfizz

    That would be this CCMS then

    http://www.onlineccms.com/current-issues/6/

    With respect to popular support for Academic selection, you are correct about the household survey in NI, however I wasn’t talking about NI but England. Cameron has correctly gauged majority opinion there.

    What is a large working class number? 88? Is it more working class than 10?

    I would agree that the way forward is to improve secondary schools, probably by putting more bright kids into them.

  • Ginfizz

    Hmmm….fair enough. I thought the late Denis Faul was speaking for CCMS. I was wrong.

  • kensei

    “So you have no problem with children being selected on the basis of their parents religous faith, but to do so on their academic ability is totally wrong?”

    No, as a practising Catholic I don’t have a problem with it. If I ever have any children, making sure they learn about their faith would be important to me, and I would view the ethos of a Catholic school as a good thing. So, yes, they should get a place over people who don’t give a stuff, especially as the Church puts some of it’s own resources in. Similar for CoE attendees in England. The suggestion otherwise is absurd.

    Also, unless you are suggesting that religious people are naturally brighter, then the result should be a mixed ability environment.

    It is a pointless side track off the real debate.

    “I’m not usually a great fan of A Tangled Web, but it has an excellent dissection of the Grammar School issue and exactly this type of woolly thinking.”

    You could of course link but appreciate it might be a we bit too poisonous.

    The secondary schools here are just as good as the grammars, aren’t they? No, wait, that’s balls.

  • willis

    For what it’s worth

    http://atangledweb.squarespace.com/httpatangledwebsquarespace/why-we-need-academic-selection.html

    To be honest it is just the same old stuff.

    Maybe there is another more interesting thread, but since Dave is away getting the slap on for Hearts and Minds I’m sure he is too busy to get involved.

    You know maybe there is something to this social engineering angle.

    30 years ago – Comprehensive Education

    Now – 3 Labour wins in a row, the longest period of stable growth since records began, a Phd in Downing Street. It all starts to make sense.

  • Ziznivy

    It may be just the same old arguments, but they are correct, which gives them that extra force.

  • willis

    The point is that they did not address the current issue – The acceptance of the voters wishes by the Tory party.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “If I ever have any children, making sure they learn about their faith would be important to me, and I would view the ethos of a Catholic school as a good thing.”

    What you really mean is YOUR faith. Why should you decide? Why not let the child decide? If you want your child to learn about a particular faith goto the appropriate church/chapel/synagogue/mosque/etc. Why should I pay for YOUR child to learn about a particular faith?

    So, you think it’s fine to select people for academic study based on religious background rather than academic ability. Presumably then, churches should select their congregations based on academic ability. And you mention absurdity! How would you select a plumber? His/her favourite colour?

    “The secondary schools here are just as good as the grammars, aren’t they? No, wait, that’s balls.”

    As an ex teacher, that depends on what you mean. In my experience, the most money was given to secondaries and they tended to have the best teachers. If you mean results wise that was dependent on the kids not the school. Peer competition drives grammar school kids forward. Not the teachers. Teaching at a grammar is easy – just hand out the books. Teaching at a secondary is actually teaching.

  • kensei

    “What you really mean is YOUR faith. Why should you decide? Why not let the child decide?”

    Because as a parent I will pass on values and morals I feel appropriate. Because I don’t think the child will be competent to understand.

    More importantly, it’s none of your business.

    “If you want your child to learn about a particular faith goto the appropriate church/chapel/synagogue/mosque/etc. Why should I pay for YOUR child to learn about a particular faith?”

    Now, here’s the weird thing, I also pay taxes. So can equally say it is MY taxes paying for it. I believe in parental choice. If you want to send your children to a different type of school it should be available, within parameters of reasonable demand. I might still send my child to a CCMS school anyway and pay the fees if funding was withdrawing. Do I get a rebate on my taxes?

    “So, you think it’s fine to select people for academic study based on religious background rather than academic ability.”

    No-one is being selected for academic study. Everyone must do academic study. It’s the law. What is being offered is access to a particular institution tuned for adherents of a particular faith in terms of religious instruction and moral values. So the Churches run the schools, they add in money – why exactly shouldn’t they say that the people who it was set up for should get first shout? They are the ultimate source of the money after all. You also miss the point that the ethos and values are part of the reasons for results, and a free for all would basically turn it in a comprehensive and lose the advantages.

    You may say that there is public money going in. And this argument has force to an extent – there needs to be proper transparency and accountability for that money. But the logically outworking of that argument is the breakdown of government. Why should I pay taxes, when they go on an Iraq war and a military I oppose? Why should I pay for a health service I don’t use, or roads when I don’t have a car? Why should I pay for social housing? The government agrees to fund the schools because they do a good job and offer wider benefits to society. Why break that on an ideological crusade?

    But this is irrelevant to the 11+. What is being selected by the 11+ isn’t academic study either, it’s allocation of resource. The Grammars are better funded and better taught. The question is this the best use of resource for everyone.

    “Presumably then, churches should select their congregations based on academic ability. And you mention absurdity! How would you select a plumber? His/her favourite colour?”

    See, this is an example of picking something, trying to come up with a clever analogy and instead coming out with complete fucking balls.

    And if a religion wants to set entrance requirement for it’s adherents, it’s really none of my business. Many do.

    “As an ex teacher, that depends on what you mean. In my experience, the most money was given to secondaries and they tended to have the best teachers. If you mean results wise that was dependent on the kids not the school. Peer competition drives grammar school kids forward. Not the teachers. Teaching at a grammar is easy – just hand out the books. Teaching at a secondary is actually teaching. ”

    In which case, the system is still responsible for the poverty of aspiration. It might well be the cause. Are you so blind you can’t see that?

    And I’d wager a fair bit of money if you compared average grammar resource to average secondary resource, secondaries wouldn’t come on top.

  • feismother

    Just want to point out that we’ve educated our daughters in the Catholic system and the youngest is just taking A levels at the moment. At no time was it ever an entrance requirement that they or we should be Catholic, practising or otherwise.

    The second-level Catholic school they all attended has neither the religion of the pupil or parent as part of its criteria. Having attended a maintained primary gives no advantage either. Our alternatives would have been the controlled school which gives priority to those from their “traditional feeder schools” or the local integrated school where we would have had to declare our religion to satisfy the quotas.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi kensei,

    “More importantly, it’s none of your business.”

    Here’s the thing, it is. My taxes are going to pay for it. The churches maybe add some topup but the vast majority comes from the state. Your kids could goto any state or catholic school. Mine can’t. They can only really goto the state school. Why should you have the preferential treatment?

    “Now, here’s the weird thing, I also pay taxes. So can equally say it is MY taxes paying for it. I believe in parental choice.”

    Your taxes aren’t going to have my children indoctrinated in a particular faith. Mine are. You want preferential treatment again.

    “If you want to send your children to a different type of school it should be available, within parameters of reasonable demand.”

    Although you seem to think Grammar schools shouldn’t be available. So it’s perfectly reasonable to differentiate school selection on some arbitrary basis such as religion. But, differentiating on academic ability for academic study is nonsense! At this point you should realise that any outsiders who should happen to stray to this blog would think you’re mad.

    “So the Churches run the schools, they add in money – why exactly shouldn’t they say that the people who it was set up for should get first shout?”

    Because the vast majority of the cash comes from the state. You want preferential treatment.

    “You also miss the point that the ethos and values are part of the reasons for results, and a free for all would basically turn it in a comprehensive and lose the advantages.”

    Fek you’re unbelievable! Is this not the argument for academic selection?

    “Why should I pay for etc, etc…”

    Because you’re in a democracy. You have to take the rough with the smooth. But, you want preferential treatment.

    “The Grammars are better funded and better taught.”

    I disagree. I’ve had experience teaching in both. There was shed loads spent on some of the secondaries I taught in. For example, in 1992 I taught in a secondary where the English dept had about 20 laptops. At that time most grammar schools’ IT dept wouldn’t have had that number of laptops. I also taught in a grammar school at the time that was based in post war prefab huts.

    BTW, I think I should point out I’ve no problem having catholic schools. However, I’ve a problem with those who think we shouldn’t have Grammar schools whilst supporting segregated education.

  • kensei

    Read what I already wrote instead of asking to repeat myself.

    “Your taxes aren’t going to have my children indoctrinated in a particular faith. Mine are. You want preferential treatment again.”

    Where did I say that YOU had to send YOUR kids to be indoctrinated anywhere. Send them where you like and there should be options available.

    You’re the one telling me what to do.

    “Although you seem to think Grammar schools shouldn’t be available.”

    Happy for Grammars to be available as long as they take their fair share of people from all abilities.

    Unless Grammar just means a school for smart kids and doesn’t offer any value?

    “So it’s perfectly reasonable to differentiate school selection on some arbitrary basis such as religion.”

    It isn’t arbitrary. People have been combining academic and moral instruction for centuries.

    “But, differentiating on academic ability for academic study is nonsense! At this point you should realise that any outsiders who should happen to stray to this blog would think you’re mad.”

    Unless you know, they just read through.

    “Because the vast majority of the cash comes from the state. You want preferential treatment.”

    If the state has agreed to fund the schools, the argument is moot. It has already weighed the pros and cons.

    “Fek you’re unbelievable! Is this not the argument for academic selection?”

    No.

    “Because you’re in a democracy. You have to take the rough with the smooth. But, you want preferential treatment.”

    Right back at you.

    “I disagree. I’ve had experience teaching in both. There was shed loads spent on some of the secondaries I taught in. For example, in 1992 I taught in a secondary where the English dept had about 20 laptops. At that time most grammar schools’ IT dept wouldn’t have had that number of laptops. I also taught in a grammar school at the time that was based in post war prefab huts.”

    I’d suggest the hard figures suggest otherwise. Laptops are cheap in comparison to the ost of good teachers.

    “BTW, I think I should point out I’ve no problem having catholic schools. However, I’ve a problem with those who think we shouldn’t have Grammar schools whilst supporting segregated education. ”

    My objections is to splitting by people ability because of the detrimental effect of selecting people – in terms of resource allocation, damage to self worth, and damage to peer competition. My support of religious education is based on a parents right to have appropriate and reinforcing moral instruction for their children, of their choice as far as possible.

    Two entirely different arguments and two entirely different discussions, and not at all related. Apparently you can’t grasp that though.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    You’ve misread/misunderstood what I said. When I said…

    “Your taxes aren’t going to have my children indoctrinated in a particular faith. Mine are. You want preferential treatment again.”

    You replied…

    “Where did I say that YOU had to send YOUR kids to be indoctrinated anywhere. Send them where you like and there should be options available.You’re the one telling me what to do.”

    I was saying that MY taxes are being used to indoctrinate your kids whereas your taxes aren’t being used to indoctrinate my kids. I’m not telling you what to do. Again, you want preferential treatment.

    “Happy for Grammars to be available as long as they take their fair share of people from all abilities.”

    That could be the same for Catholic schools as long as there’s no religious indoctrination ie nonsense.

    “It isn’t arbitrary. People have been combining academic and moral instruction for centuries.”

    It is certainly more arbitrary than academic ability. The elephant is dancing in the room now – you still haven’t noticed.

    “If the state has agreed to fund the schools, the argument is moot. It has already weighed the pros and cons.”

    And exactly the same applies to grammar schools. Your arguments are contradictory. You don’t like selection. But hold on, you do, on religious grounds.

    “No.”

    I’m afraid it is. You are hypocritical approving of selection on religious grounds but not academic.

    “Right back at you.”

    Don’t think so. My views are consistent on the issue. I’m happy with both academic selection and faith schools. You want one but not the other ie only smooth.

    “I’d suggest the hard figures suggest otherwise. Laptops are cheap in comparison to the ost of good teachers.”

    Then, laptops were approx £2-3,000 each so about £50,000. A teacher was £13,000 a year. There aren’t any hard figures on good/bad teachers. Or at least I’ve never seen them. And they all get paid the same whether good or bad. There isn’t a single teacher in NI who didn’t get their threshold payment. You do secondary school teachers a great disservice assuming they aren’t as good as grammar school teachers. This isn’t my experience. Shit teachers can hide in grammar schools relatively unnoticed. This is much less likely to happen in secondaries. What’s your own experience on the differences?

    “My objections is to splitting by people ability because of the detrimental effect of selecting people – in terms of resource allocation, damage to self worth, and damage to peer competition. My support of religious education is based on a parents right to have appropriate and reinforcing moral instruction for their children, of their choice as far as possible.”

    This pales into insignificance to the damage caused here through segregated education. Why can’t “appropriate and moral instruction” be given on a Sunday? Why does it have to be at school. You also seem to be suggesting that state schools do not give “appropriate and moral instruction” which I think highlights the danger of segregated education.

    “Two entirely different arguments and two entirely different discussions, and not at all related. Apparently you can’t grasp that though.”

    Perhaps it’s the other way round?

  • kensei

    I know, why rather than my repeating your self you can just read my last post again.

    It’s two different arguments. And if we were to select on something else, that would be a different debate too. The principle isn’t selection, it’s how you are selecting and the results. Simply repeating over and over they are the same thing isn’t going to make it true.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kensei,

    “I know, why rather than my repeating your self you can just read my last post again.”

    Because you didn’t understand what I said. Hence the first few sentences of my last post.

    “The principle isn’t selection”

    Completely disagree. You wish to use a form of selection yet deny others the same freedom. It’s hypocritical. You use emotive language about how kids are affected through academic selection yet ignore the much greater damage done through religious segregation.

  • kensei

    “Completely disagree. You wish to use a form of
    selection yet deny others the same freedom.”

    My beef is only with “selection by ability”. If you are going to pursue this ridiculous argument by chopping off bits you don’t like, you might as go the whole hog and say I’m hypocritical for using the letter “s”.

    “It’s hypocritical. You use emotive language about how kids are affected through academic selection yet ignore the much greater damage done through religious segregation.”

    I don’t believe they are, particularly. But it is a different debate from the selection one.