Wed 8 Nov, 2006 11:07 pm
Er, what are they saying? I think it's time for me to go to bed. But, if anyone has any input on this article by morning, I'd be happy to hear it (marking the article and a place to think about it).
I think what they are trying to say, lk, is that the "comprehensive" system (ie, where children of all abilities are put together in one school) is failing the children who have special abilities in certain subjects.
When I was at school, there were Comprehensive schools and Grammar schools, and you were selected for one or the other depending upon the results you scored in an exam called the "eleven plus".
This exam was held during the top year of junior school (10 year olds), and was a make or break crossroads for your future education.
Those that passed the eleven plus, generally went to Grammar schools who catered for the brighter than average pupil, and went into each subject in a lot more depth.
Those that went to Comprehensive were considered to be of a more "average" standard of intelligence, and the level of education was not as demanding or as "stretching" as that of a Grammar school.
Of course, this system was totally unfair, as different children develop at different ages so to sit them all down at age ten and judge their IQ by a short exam, did not give an accurate picture of a child's true potential.
The eleven plus was scrapped (approx. 1967?), and Grammar schools were gradually phased out in favour of the more middle of the road Comprehensive.
There is now a feeling, however, that the naturally brighter or gifted children are being let down in all of this and not being stretched enough during their Comprehensive education.
I believe that the Scots are trying to introduce some form of Grammar school again, but under a different name. They want children who demonstrate special abilities, or who are brighter than average, to be stretched to the full during their schooling.
I can see both pros and cons to all this, as it could bring back the old elitism to the education system. On the other hand, it could stop the brightest of our children being totally frustrated in class while the teacher holds things up by having to take time in dealing with the slower pupils.
I have no idea why they are saying that they wish to copy the American system as I don't really know much about the system that you have in place, but I'm sure that they just mean that they want their pupils to be stretched to the limit, in whatever skill or special ability that each of these pupils demonstrate a particular proficiency, in order for them to be given the opportunity to achieve to the full, their own individual potential(s).