Don't forget us, say secondary moderns

23rd March 2001 at 00:00
'Standard-class' schools are taking steps to counteract their image problem and to boost their pupils' confidence

SECONDARY modern schools have hit back at their image as the standard-class passengers of the education system by forming their own association.

Headteachers from almost 200 schools gathered in London earlier this month in an attempt to adopt a united approach towards the particular problems affecting non-selective schools in selective areas.

The Modern Schools Association is the brainchild of Stephen Box, headteacher of Holmer Green upper school, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

He feels that the country's 249 secondary modern schools rarely receive the recognition they deserve and often lose out by being unfairly compared to comprehensives.

Approximately a third of secondary modern pupils achieve five or more A*-C grades at GCSE, compared to a nationa average of 49.2 per cent, but no allowance is made in league tables for the fact that the most academic youngsters in their areas are creamed off to the grammar schools.

Grammar schools still exist in 36 education authorities and attempts made by parents in Trafford, Ripon, Birmingham, Kent and some London boroughs to end selection have so far failed.

Mr Box said: "When the issue of selection is discussed, people always refer to the abolition of grammar schools, rather than how it affects secondary moderns. It is as if we don't exist. The Government decided to stop producing comparative results for our type of school and instead expects inspectors to compare our results with those of comprehensives.

"By forming our own association, we hope to create a national voice so that politicians, inspectors and the public can be reminded of the fact that we are still here."

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