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KBGS Old Boys' Forum

A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School. 


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KBGS Old Boys' Forum
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Social Mobility

I’m not sure why (well I am really) but the issue of social mobility is rising to the top of the pile of issues the government doesn’t really want to discuss (because the posh boys are back in the saddle and are reinforcing their grip on life in the UK.)
It’s not just a matter of cabinet places but key roles in law; banking; the city of London; NGOs; medicine; journalism; charities; former public utilities; civil service; armed forces – et al; et al; et al .
The first sights of the “independent” report commissioned by the government were revealed today by government social mobility czar, Alan Milburn (independent?)
It has been repeatedly said today (in the media) that the last major movements in our social structure came in the ‘50s – which I can just remember !! It is true that the grammar schools (in many cases products of the 1944 Act) were instrumental in this. On the grand scale – think of Lord Asa Briggs (cue Brian); Herbert Butterfield - and help me with the rest !!
Just as these social movements were getting underway (can you remember how you were affected?), it was realised that the gap between those at the bottom of the reformed secondary school system (i.e. the Sec Mods d’apres the Butler Act) and the top end – the new FREE (don’t forget that!!) grammar schools was creating another social widening. So we had comprehensive schools – developed by both left and right, councils and governments
Perhaps in the best interests of social mobility (which after all means the best utilisation of all our people) the comprehensive system should at that time have embraced the public schools – so that we had a one school system offering the best of everything for those best able to benefit from it – without the old boys clubbery which mars our public life and arises from the public schools.
We are all now past influencing the social mobility that Milburn promulgates. But we were part of the original shift in the years following the 1944 Butler Education Act. I would like to invite you – as I am intending – to give us some insights into your involvement in the last major shift in social mobility brought about by free secondary education for all as it affected the Borough of Keighley (Excepted District). Do it anonymously if the system allows. Perhaps Chris could advise.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Nirvana

Re: Social Mobility

Hi Terry. I always viewed, in retrospect and not at the time, the system before Butler as being about Social Engineering. The scholarship method creamed off the brighter children who then either got their school certificates and hied it into local white collar jobs, clerking and the like. Those not creamed off were for the bluecollar jobs. The grammar school did a further skimming off via the sixth forms and University etc.
I know from personal example that this was a flawed system and many bright children were missed. That is why at its inception I welcomed, in principal, the comprehensive system. In my opinion it was at fault in dumbing down instead of making demands on pupils.
Now at my advanced yers I would wish for a comprehensive system with same ethics and general demanding ethos of the grammar school. I also consider that the nature and quality of the intake into our current system offers little hope for much improvement. I can, again from personal experience vouch that as chair of governors for a local Primary school I witnessed children of five, of local white people unable to speak at all,or only a few words, unable to hold a knife and fork, unable to sit and listen, unable to dress and undress themselves.
Curriculum means, from the Greek, race course. National Curriculum is the race course all our children are required to run. Some start well in front of the starting line and some are well well behind. Unfair race then by any standards of fairness.
Just some thoughts in an idle moment,on a hot night beside a beautiful woman. Keep your Nirvana Terry. I found it here.