Grammar schools fail those who are poor.

Since Theresa May’s grammar school announcement, there has been much debate surrounding the success of such a school. I have seen a plethora of articles detailing the negative effects to a child’s mental health, the elitist process that sieves out the poor in favour of the rich and even personal accounts of a pupil’s own experiences in such an environment. Many articles I have read have been negative; both in the practicality of May’s proposal, as well as the side-effects of a grammar-style education.

Back in September, I wrote specifically on all-girls grammar schools. I argued that a single-sex grammar school benefited me, both academically and socially. I cringed at the debate that selective single-sex schools hinder a child’s interaction with the opposite sex and formed no benefit for a child when they found a job in the “real-world”. My post saw no negatives. Not because there are none, but because the negatives I saw were not at the time relevant to debate.

As the debate has progressed, I’ve opposed May’s proposal of building more grammar schools to give disadvantaged children a better chance of attaining a place in higher education. I have done so, because it is in a word, flawed. My experience of an environment, however positive, is by no means the whole story and will not benefit every child.

I fall in to the category of a “disadvantaged child”. My school career has been funded by bursaries and free school meals.

From the outset I knew the financial implications of choosing a grammar school. With the cost of the uniform alone being approximately £200, including an £80 blazer, I knew that my education was going to be costly. Without the help of my Grandma, I would have declined my place in choice of a failing comprehensive school that I hated.

Throughout the years, financial circumstances didn’t affect my academic abilities. It only hindered the experiences I was able to partake in. I declined any trip over £50 if I couldn’t afford to pay for it myself. And even then I often persuaded teachers to let me pay in installments.

Unfortunately, the year I started sixth form, EMA was abolished; a policy which granted disadvantaged students with £30 a week for going to college. It was replaced by independent funding from school’s themselves. It would be money that the school had spare after every other finance had been seen to. This left me with a bursary of £100 a year which when I had to travel by bus every day, didn’t stretch far.

Yet by the end, I had attained 12 GCSE’s and 4 A-Levels; both attainments being in the top percentage of my cohort.

Although I exceeded academically, I did so from the knowledge that one day I will reap the rewards. Not every child can have this frame of mind. Many are often daunted by the knowledge of debt and financial worries. Not every disadvantaged child has someone who can supplement costs.

The cost of receiving high grades is nothing compared to the debt some could inflict on themselves.

Theresa May stated that our education system has long been “…sacrificing children’s potential because of dogma and ideology. The truth is that we already have selection in our school system – and its selection by house price, selection by wealth. That is simply unfair.” While this is correct, grammar schools are not the answer.

I may have been bright enough to pass the entrance exam but I sure as hell wasn’t rich enough to afford its luxuries comfortably.

By re-establishing the grammar system that was abolished in 1998, we will ultimately see the return of “the simplistic, binary choice of the past, where schools separate children into winners and losers, successes or failures…”, that they tried to avoid.

If you want a disadvantaged child to truly succeed in education; being back EMA, change the maintenance loans back to grants, reduce the 6.2% interest you add to our loans from day 1, and, cut or abolish tuition fees.

If any politician sincerely wants to help disadvantaged students then bring back focus on the standard of comprehensive schools, fund our education system and please, prove to the younger generations that they are valued.

 

Record Player

I am a record player

I go round and round

I cannot stop

I cannot slow down

And I shall wait

Until you change my sound

But until then

I will go round and round

Cold, confusing and clumsy Copenhagen

To start my 2017 correctly I travelled to Copenhagen for 4 days. A mini break before the chaos of university and the looming realisation that deadlines are close.

The 3 words I have used in the title are the perfect roundup.

Cold:

Because in January with temperatures of -8C on a good day and continuous blustery winds that cause the air to feel like -12C, Copenhagen is bloody freezing!

Confusing:

The most prominent feeling of Copenhagen was confusing. Everyday I felt another confusion bubble inside of me as I questioned their design choices; including having a metro exit in a shopping centre or the metro having no driver.Although peculiar, the city is spectacular especially in the snow.

Clumsy:

Although the cobbled streets were beautiful and quaint, they made me trip a grand total of 25 times. 15 of said trips were in 24 hours – not my best balance I must admit.

An Obituary to 2016

We waited with anticipation for 2016 to arrive. We celebrated as the clock struck 12; hopeful that this year would treat us well. But 2016 came with brutish force and as we gear up for the clocks to strike 12 once more we will wait again. This time with optimism that 2017 will shoot our emotions skywards.

Continue reading “An Obituary to 2016”

History

History; it’s a funny thing

It’s happening all around us

But it doesn’t give us chance to breathe.

Continue reading “History”

The work of an editor.

I have found myself Googling the role of an editor more frequently than I used to.So much so Google has it saved in its history.

I have read the definition so many times it is ingrained in my memory. It places itself so calmly and so abruptly on my screen that I can’t ignore it. And I become both disappointed and ashamed.

Continue reading “The work of an editor.”

You, Me and Tea

It is commonly known that if you want to write well you must write about something you know and love.

I’m British, so it’s safe to say I know a lot about tea and I’m a bit obsessed by it.

I know the perfect brewing time, the perfect amount of sugar and most importantly the water should always be added before the milk. It’s blaspheme to suggest otherwise. I own a plethora of tea flavours which are stored in my tea cabinet; displayed proudly in the living room for all to admire.

But despite all this, the golden rule of tea is that it should be drank from your favourite mug to gain that extra sense of comfort after a long day. But last Monday, as the Halloween clock struck, I broke my one true mug.

Continue reading “You, Me and Tea”