Notes from Jeremy Corbyn's barn-burning speech at the Labour Party conference

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Bloody fantastic.


That’s all well and good, but I heard he wants to get rid of the army and when the queen tried to stop him he punched her and said thats what you get for being brittish. SICKENING


Does “grammar school” mean something drastically different in the UK than the US? I assume it must, because it sounds to me like he wants to get rid of elementary schools.


Grammar schools are schools that select pupils by an exam at 11 years old. If you fail that exam, for whatever reason, you don’t get in and have to go to a school that is (usually) of a lower standard.

Most of them were changed to non-selective schools in the 1960s and 70s.


And these schools are publicly funded?

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I think this deserves another airing. Just because…


Generally. Private schools are another matter, although the lines between public and private has been blurred somewhat by Academies and Free Schools, which are sometimes private companies that receive Taxpayer funding to run schools. Often poorly and at great expense.


What’s wrong with exam-based admissions?

Mostly, what happens to the people who fail them.

Plus, wealthier parents will make sure that their kids are well coached for the exams and so get their kids into elite publicly funded education at a higher rate.

The popularity of Grammar schools is based in the idea that they improve social mobility, because they allow smart, poor kids access to really high quality education - and you can find people who did benefit from that (my dad, for one), but the evidence is that in general they harm mobility.


So is Jackie Walker finally gone?

Doesn’t that point more towards the fallback schools being inadequate than there being some problem inherent to the existence of grammar schools?

I went to a very selective public (i.e., free) high school, and I don’t think my education would have been improved by teachers having to slow classes down for the lowest common denominator. Fix the regular schools, don’t Harrison Bergeron the specialized ones.

Then again, you all appear to have more institutionalized classism than we rebel scum, so there’s likely a different dynamic at work.

Thanks. That does make more sense.

The concept of the modern English Grammar school was based in the work of educational psychologist Cyril Burt.

Burt claimed to have proven that intelligence was genetically driven, innate and immutable, and that there was therefore no point in supplying advanced educational opportunities to the lower classes.

However, Burt was a complete fraud; he manufactured his “data” out of prejudice and thin air. As a result, generations of working class kids were denied the opportunity to go to university, further entrenching the class system.


Also, if you want to give advanced tuition to the most capable kids, it’s better to do it on a subject by subject basis. Comprehensive education allows for one pupil to be in advanced classes for only the subjects they’re good at, giving a tailored experience to the pupil, while also skirting all the other good things other people have mentioned.

Oh and @doctorow, do you actually mean barnstorming? Barn-burning means being willing to destroy something in order to save it. From:


A “barnburner” can also mean a stirring stump speech, as in it inflames the rural audience attending your rally.

And for no relevant reason:

I blame @Melizmatic


My school didn’t do that. There were different classes for different abilities and you could move up to a higher level class if you improved enough, which won’t be an option if you end up at a secondary modern equivalent.

In terms of student outcome, there were usually a couple of students who got into Oxford or Cambridge University every year when I was there and at least three from the 300 students in my year.

The sixth form currently has an outstanding rating from Ofsted while the rest of the school is rated good with only a couple of problems to correct before they also get an outstanding rating.


Sounds good to me! If only the US hadn’t dropped the ball getting Bernie nominated. We would be hearing the same stuff ourselves!


Yeah, do they… just not do that in the States or something?

Lowest common denominator? sigh

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