Is selecting pupils by rowing ability such a bad idea?

Mossbourne Community Academy is in the information yet again. A single can’t help feeling this was the aim. The famously effective London state school was one particular of the initial academies, with a constructing created by Richard Rogers and an inaugural head, Michael Wilshaw, who went on to turn out to be chief of Ofsted. Now it has announced that it intends to pick likely pupils on their possible capacity to row. Mossbourne academy would like to be the initial state college to win at the Henley Regatta.

If that sounds like a calculated bid to camp on the baize-like lawns of England’s leading public schools, then I reckon that can only be since it is supposed to. Politicians still have large faith in the thought that state schools can only enhance by aping personal colleges. Tristram Hunt’s announcement this week that private colleges will lose the fiscal rewards of their charitable status if they really don’t assist state colleges as considerably as they ought to, is a situation in stage.

But the critics of academies, of which there are a lot of, are furious. This may possibly not be academic variety. But it is “engagement selection” – a way of attracting the kids of ambitious dad and mom, who set fantastic store by training.

The fret, as ever, is that by striving so tough to appeal to pupils who currently have the benefit of pointy parental elbows, Mossbourne will be pushing youngsters who are not so lucky into other colleges. The move is very good for Mossbourne and undesirable for all over the place else.

It’s demonstrably accurate that academic selection is great for chosen pupils and negative for the other individuals. In Kent, for instance, the place grammars still operate, all round educational attainment is decrease, even even though grammar attainment is considerably higher. But this isn’t academic choice. Critics argue that children who have the dedication to train as rowers will also have the dedication to research for GCSEs. But that is a really individualistic examination. If the idea is to increase common awareness between parents that engagement with school is crucial to the daily life possibilities of their young children, then Mossbourne is undertaking a more common support to the neighborhood.

If the school succeeds as a rowing school, and produces the Olympic contenders it hopes to, it will obtain far more of the publicity it is so good at attracting. It might even engage the focus of mother and father for whom the typical benchmark for state college accomplishment – Oxbridge admission – feels irrelevant.

Sure, it’s unhealthy when a college succeeds by cherrypicking youngsters who have the appropriate assistance at house. But a college that increases general awareness of the transformative power of education can have a positive influence on households that have only heard of it.

Mossbourne’s foray into the culture of personal schools appears practically like a negative cliche. But as our media constantly attests, negative cliches get lots of interest.

Mossborne’s experiment will be watched with curiosity.

Maybe that is its great value.

Leave a Reply