Selective independants(580 Posts)
Do they look better on League tables because the standard of teaching is better or just because they select the children most likely to do well?
I know that this is highly debatable, but I think it is both. Obviously the children they select are rigorously vetted and they have involved, informed parents, but so do students at most Grammar schools. However, the results at the top selective independents are better than their Grammar counterparts. Obviously there are some grammars which outshine some of the selective independents, but the overall picture is that the independents do better.
With regards to selective independents doing better than GS, I suspect that it's because independents aren't subject to LEA/DOE
Round my neck of the woods, if a child is at one of the high achieving private schools but doesn't do very well academically or if they have any slight behavioural issues (and I do really mean slight e.g. a 5 year old who can't sit without fidgeting for 20 mins), they are either explicitly kicked out or it is suggested very strongly to the parents that they may wish to think about whether this is really the right school for them. I should say that not all the private schools are like this, but this does seem to be the case for the ones that get very good results.
neolara dont be under any illusions very selective GS's are equally as happy to ask children who are failing to perform to the required standard leave.
I suspect that the top 10 can select brighter children because after all they have no catchment restrictions, I was amazed at how far boys travel to get to St Pauls and in the case of boarding schools the catchment is now increasingly global. Secondly they can select more carefully as many interview and well as test. Then there's other factors; facilities are usually superior, classes smaller, more extra curricular activities, an Oxbridge expectation this is where the top independents really do excel, as already said freedom to do what they want, and more add it all up and you get better results.
I accept everything that has been said but would say that selection is the bigger reason.
The top grammar schools should get a slightly better intake than the top private schools, but the results are better at the private schools. I suspect this comes down to resources, typically twice as much money per pupil as the private schools. Plus the parents will tend to be that bit more competitive/successful/aware at the private schools, compared with grammar schools.
"The top grammar schools should get a slightly better intake than the top private schools,"
I'm not trying to pick a fight Yoni do you have evidence to back this up?I once read somewhere that my DS's school over 2/3's were in the top 3% and I'm sure I've read a similar statistic for St Pauls.
I met a mum recently at a sports thing whose DS is at one of the top 10 she had moved her DS from a top GS in yr 9. At the GS he was top of the class in all subjects at the independent he was bottom of the bottom sets for all subjects he and she were quite upset about as they were thought he was very academic.
There are certainly more applicants per place at the top grammars. My son didn't do well on the test for the grammar he sat for, but passed for two top selective schools.
Grammars can't interview and must give places strictly by test scores. Top indies look for that 'something more'. They really want to see a spark in the DC and decide if they'd like to teach them. I know many cases where DCs have been offered HB but not NLCS or SPGS and an equal number where the reverse is true. From what my DD said this year, the exams were very different.
Are there more applicants for state GS places? The year my DS was interviewed for St Paul's we were told 900 has registered for 75 places many don't get interview. At Eton there's at least 6 applicants for every place all are interviewed and tested. Numbers applying to any independent are of course are restricted by finance, parental ethos and prep heads who will positively discourage the less able apply for a place.
Finally Winchester Eton et al will every year take about 12 eye startlingly super bright again these places are very hotly fought over I believe over a hundred sit the KS and boys come from round the world.
Wateringly not startlingly I've got this new gadget thng and it appears to have a mind of it's own.
I'm with you happy on querying that top grammars have 'a slightly better intake' than top indies. Which is why I think, given the considerable additional resources that the top indies have as compared to the top grammars, that it's not in any way fair to say that they 'do better'. I think it's strongly arguable that the top grammars, given their resources and intake, do at the very least as well as the top indies.
horsemad it's pretty obvious that though the state grammars are restricted in their admissions it's also true that very many of those who score well on the measureable tests will also possess 'something more' incidentally.
Well I would say there are various factors. Combined high expectations of staff and parents at the highly selective indys and a focus on the breadth of the education rather than the qualifications. A commitment to turning out young men and women who are as well educated as they are well qualified. In the Junior school of our son's super selective all the boys were taught to tough type! I still think that was rather innovative. There were also opportunities to study Latin, Greek, Mandarin and a really wide range of sports. The local super selective grammar (Tiffin) was rather more narrow in its general outlook. DD isn't at a super selective but I would say the same things stand for breadth of education and the opportunity to study things that are not available in the state system.
But that's money not vision marriedagain.
We have a top 3- 7 (depending on the year) GS sort of locally the results were definitely not comparable with my DS school in fact having read their rather fulsom praise of themselves I was underwhelmed and their Oxbridge results were really not impressive at all.
But all schools praise themselves fulsomely these days happy, in some forum or another, imbued by PR speak.
It's not in any way magnanimous to compare top indies with top grammars without making allowances for the difference in resources. If one made proper adjustment then the grammars would be every bit equal peers to the top indies, if not outclass them.
If you're just looking at exam results do resources make that much difference? I have no doubt that my DS could achieve the same results (assuming he hadn't died of boredom) including entry into his choice of university (every year at least 5-6 go onto Oxbridge) at our literally up the road free "top performing" local academy and due to out post code he was guaranteed a place regardless of when he wanted to join. The school is well resourced although incomparable with his independent school.
There are also lots of highly ambitious and motivated parents/children there.
Good luck to you happy in your optimism then. Of course resources make a difference, how could you think that they don't?
And he has a guaranteed place at the university of his choice, wherever that may be? Oh, for your confidence. I think it must be at least in part borne by money. Let us know how it goes.
I think you misunderstand me yellowtip I didn't say he had a guaranteed place at university just at our local state comp or academy whatever it's called. Without a doubt bright children do very well at our local state school ( it's not a grammar)lots of A and A*s at A level many going onto RG universities, Oxbridge, medicine and in the case of my neighbour's DC veterinary medicine. The results are not only way above the national average they are also better than many of our not overly selective local independents despite not having their "resources".
Ultimately top performing independents do better because they are able to hand pick the academician best of best, children who will thrive in their environment, who "fit" their ethos. I also don't think we should underestimate the role prep schools play either many entering Westminster St Paul's et al will at the beginning of yr 9 be already at GCSE A grade standard and beyond, my DS was practising for his entrance exams on past GCSE papers, part of his Latin exam was AS level standard. So in a way they've got an easy job they carefully select highly motivated and intelligent children who are used to sitting exams often every term in every subject since yr 2/3, they are at least 2
3 if not 4 years ahead of their contemporaries in the state sector, they've done at least 1 MFL 4-5 Times a week taught by specialist teachers from at least yr 2.These children are used to very high expectations from an early age and being pushed. In the back ground are parents also with high expectations let's face it if you haven't why bother to send your DC in the first place. Thenadd in resources, small class size an ever increasing number of teachers with PHD's in their subjects and a no limits ethos and the outcome? Fantastic results.
Oh lots of typos on this stupid New devise! Not correcting them all but wanted to say we shouldn't under estimate
I am repeating myself, but there is some guff written here about pupils, parents and teachers at super-selective grammars ( which are the only ones we can begin to compare with Winchester and its ilk), so I think it is worth repeating that any Headteacher at any of these schools will acknowledge that selection comes first and then resources which allow them first to pay teachers high salaries and offer interesting perks. It is going to be advantageous to have teachers living on site who are prepared to do interesting things late in the evening for example.
I am not at all sure that, as suggested by several on here, that parenting at grammars is less capable of turning out fabulous young citizens! Nor do I see my young relatives at a super selective having a an education that is narrow in comparison to my children (at well known boarding independents )that is not to do with availability of resources alone.
OP, having had a chance to look at this since September with DS, I would say it is a slippery mixture of high ability pupils, excellent teaching, high expectation amongst parents, staff and pupils alike...
I'd also say they work them jolly hard too!
One thing I would say about DS school is that the results are a tiny part of it, though. The education received is much much broader than the exam syllabus. For example he studying quite tough French literature in year 9, which of course he needn't. It won't get him an A*. But the MFL department sem to treat GCSEs as a minor irritant.
Gotta say too about grammar schools that DD's non selective independent does as well and often better than our local grammar (but it is not superselective) on pure results. Which is probably a much more iteresting comparison than why DS school does better (it's absurdly slective and yes, they have huge resources so it ought to).
"I am not at all sure that, as suggested by several on here, that parenting at grammars is less capable of turning out fabulous young citizens!"
Slipshod I agree and in fact this also applies to our local non selective state school. The only thing I will say is that many of the parents i meet at my DS's school have not only an expectation of A*s but also of Oxbridge entry quite a few parents have already talked to their DS when at prep school about Oxbridge and their expectation thats where they will end up.I don't know enough parents from super selective grammars to know whether or not this is common but certainly the ones I've met at our "local"super selective did seem to have this level of expectation.
word I also agree with you its not just about results it is about breath of education which I suspect ultimately does have an impact on results. You are also correct in stating that what is more interesting is why not very selective independent schools out perform some grammars or as interesting why comp out performs both not very selective independent schools and lower performing grammars?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.