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For or against selective Schools? But IS THAT the important question?

This week the perennial question of the use of selective Schools to resuscitate GCSE level results and improve lifetime chances and social mobility for the least well-off in England has been reignited.  The cross-party polarisation of the two positions seems to lack credibility with both sides offering contradictory evidence to prove their case.  Whichever argument you may be persuaded by, at Phonics Stars™ we believe that both sets of protagonists are looking in the wrong place.

wrong-questionAlbert Einstein is said to have suggested that if he was given one hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes working out what the real question was and five minutes answering it. At Phonics Stars™, instead of wondering what type of secondary School would produce the best results, we framed the question “How do we help future GCSE age Students achieve the qualifications and confidence they will need?”  That question morphed into Our Cause.

As important as secondary Schools are, they are not the root cause of the results they achieve; and therefore cannot be expected to solve the problem. The answer lies in all the research available which evidences the unquestionable correlation between the progress that a Child achieves by Key Stage 1 and their educational outcomes and lifetime chances. In short, whatever trajectory a Child finds itself on when it enters Key Stage 2 will invariably be the path he/she remains upon throughout their education.  The detail is of course more complex than this, but this overall picture is irrefutable.  Without investment, imagination and innovation in Pre school and KS1 provision and the early intervention that this provides, in most cases, whatever happens in secondary School serves only to extend the good or poor trajectory established in the foundation years.

So it seems that those who argue that the 11 plus exam happens far too young to make or break a person’s entire life chances should wake up and smell the coffee. In fact, for the great majority, their lifetime chances are set by what they experience during the first six years of their lives.  This is not new news!  It has been clear to everyone for as long I have been involved in education; and yet this issue seems to be eclipsed by other factors, such as the current rehashing of the selective School debate.

Phonics Stars™ Founder and Principal Samantha Baldwin gave up her secure job in an exceptional Primary School to form our organisation. Having worked on the KS1 shop floor doing all that was asked of her by the overseeing authorities, she recognised that the real issues in education needed different questions to be asked and different answers to be found.  So while politicians postulate and academics argue about top-down strategies, Sam and Phonics Stars™ have taken action – making a real difference to the Children, Families and Communities where it matters the most.

And what started as a proof of concept in South East London, Kent and Surrey is now increasingly becoming available across the UK.  If you’d like to know more about Phonics Stars™ classes near you, or would like to find out more about becoming a Licensed Phonics Stars™ Class Leader in your exclusive territory, please contact us.