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  • "If it was a level playing field I would agree with Cllr Clewer but, even the Conservative party are questioning how the 'selection' process for Grammar schools is bring abused and hijacked...

    Why is there renewed controversy over grammar schools?

    Critics of the system say these schools have been "hijacked" by the middle classes. Many parents have their children privately and intensively coached for the 11-plus exam, often from the age of eight or younger. Anecdotally, there is evidence that some parents put their children into a private primary school to increase their chances of performing well in the 11-plus exam. With the bar so high, critics say the system disadvantages children from less affluent or ambitious homes. Research suggests children from poor homes who get in to grammar schools flourish there. The problem is, relatively few get in. There are also concerns for late developers: opponents of the system say it "writes off" children who do not get a grammar school place at a very tender age and brands the majority, who do not "pass" the 11-plus, as failures.
    The Conservatives are abandoning their support for grammar schools, saying academic selection is unfair to poorer families and limits social mobility. Education spokesman David Willetts said his party wanted to back the new city academies in England.
    The Tories now want to back academies over grammar schools. Why?

    City academies - now just called academies - are one of Tony Blair's flagship policies and are designed to raise standards in less advantaged communities. They serve very different social groups to grammar schools. By backing academies over grammars, the Tories are moving away from supporting a system that is dominated by the middle classes to one which targets more vulnerable social groups.

    It's not often I agree with the Conservatives but, they sure got the Grammar School scenario worked out. As the UK languishes in 26th place in the world on education let's take a glimpse at how the successful countries manage, Finland for example...

    For any British teachers feeling the strain, reading about their colleagues in Finland may be too much to bear.
    In Finland there are no school inspectors, no league tables, and no exams until the age of 16.
    Since they instigated wide-ranging reforms 40 years ago, children are not sorted into sets, nor do they spend their evenings in intensive cramming sessions – there is no private tuition industry, and charging school fees is illegal. Everyone is educated in their local comprehensive. Homework, even for a 15-year-old, is limited to 30 minutes.

    Now that is what I call a level playing field and, the educational results are astounding, for all pupils."
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South Wilts tops school league tables

First published in Education by

A SALISBURY school has topped the Government’s league tables for GCSEs, English Baccalaureate and A-levels in Wiltshire, according to figures released on Thursday.

South Wilts Grammar School came top in the county for GCSE results, with 99 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including maths and English.

The school was also at the top of the table for the percentage of Key Stage 4 pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate, at 76 per cent, and it also came top for its A-level results, with an average point score of 977.4.

Bishop Wordsworth’s School, which came second in the county’s list for GCSE results last year, is not included in the this year’s tables as its students take iGCSE qualifications instead.

Bishop Wordsworth’s, the city’s boys’ grammar school, came fifth in the county for A-levels with an average point score of 919.8, and The Godolphin School was ninth with 879.2.

Wellington Academy in Ludgershall was among the lowest in the county for GCSE results, with 37 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C including English and maths.

Sarum Academy was also near the bottom of the league, with 50 per cent, while The Stonehenge School was at 57 per cent. Across Wiltshire, more pupils than ever achieved good GCSE and A-level grades.

The performance tables show the number of students achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE including English and maths has gone up by 1.7 per cent from 2012 to 2013.

And the number of students in the county achieving any five A* to C grade GCSEs has gone up by 1.1 per cent.

Students have also maintained high levels of achievements in post-16 exam results, with 83.9 per cent achieving two or three A* to E grade A-levels. Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet member for children services at Wiltshire Council, said: “The number of Wiltshire pupils achieving good grades at GCSE has increased this year and more students than ever are making the right progress from primary to secondary.

“These positive results are not just good news for all the schools involved but for each individual student these results prove an excellent springboard for their future education and careers and I would like to congratulate all these hard working students.”

Results based on GCSEs at grades A* to C (of 33 schools ranked in Wiltshire):

South Wilts Grammar School (1)

Leehurst Swan (3)

St Edmund’s (8)

St Joseph’s (14)

Avon Valley College (15)

Wyvern College (16)

The Trafalgar School (21)

The Stonehenge School (27)

Sarum Academy (29)

The Wellington Academy (33)

Results based on average point score per A-level student (of 28 schools and colleges ranked in Wiltshire):

South Wilts Grammar School (1)

Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School (4)

The Godolphin School (9)

The Wellington Academy (26)

Avon Valley College (27)

Wiltshire College (28)

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