Teachers and recent pupils: how representative is Educating Yorkshire?

(70 Posts)
WhatWillSantaBring Wed 30-Oct-13 16:14:53

Genuinely just that really.

I fully admit that I have led a privileged and sheltered life, and my education was at private school throughout. I have also been watching Harrow (on Sky 1) and although I went to a much crapper very minor private school, and it was nearly 20 years ago (shit!), I still recognise huge chunks of that programme from my own education.

So for those in education (or recent leavers) how representative EY is of comprehensive education as a whole, as it was fundamentally different to my own education. I realise that it is very hard to generalise, and schools will vary enormously, but how much of your current or recent school do you recognise?

I have one and half DC at pre-school age, and no relatives/close friends with secondary age children, so I am genuinely curious.

(apologies if this thread has been done already but I couldn't find it on a search)

DS1 (Y9) watched the whole series.

He says that in his school the relationship between teachers and pupils is much more formal than what was portrayed at Thornhill. He was shocked at the way the Thornhill students spoke to their teachers, and felt that the teachers backed down too often, not following through with threatened consequences.

He commented that he would find it difficult to concentrate and learn in an environment where there were so many distractions.

He attends a partially selective comprehensive in Watford. High proportion of pupils for whom English is not their first language, high proportion of pupils with SEN.

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 09:27:31

My elder 2 DCs are at a comprehensive in the central belt of Scotland - a mixed bag of pupils shall we say grin. They are amazed at what goes on at the Yorkshire school - apparently it bears little or no resemblance to what goes on at their school. The <ahem> cheeky minxes are dealt with much sooner in their school careers and the discipline in much stronger.

I've only watched Educating Yorkshire a couple of times, but the Head comes across as a laid back idiot, wandering about with his cup of coffee and wanting to be everyone's mate, while one of the Deputies appears to have just got out of his student bed and doesn't really seem to know what's going on. Really irritating. No wonder the ethos of the school appears casual.

cory Fri 01-Nov-13 09:31:06

Others seem to be seeing the same as me: yes, pastoral care is good, but there is no reason you cannot have excellent pastoral care combined with discipline. This head does seem to want to be everybody's mate. How much support does that really provide to those pupils who are at the receiving end of the disruptive ones?

Pooka Fri 01-Nov-13 09:39:42

EY is nothing like the comprehensive I went to many years ago, nor like the comprehensive dd attends, or others in our local area.

I watched with a mixture of awe at the pastoral care and shock at the behaviour and disruption. Then I did a bit of research, looked at their results, compared with the local comprehensives here (London leafy suburbs) and am blown away by how well the teachers do there at getting relatively good results in a historically difficult school/catchment.

The results at dd's comp are much better at A-C including English and maths, but the catchment is small and it's a quite affluent area so I would expect good results.

LordPalmerston Fri 01-Nov-13 09:41:19

please dont compare to your education if you left school last century

as a teacher this really annoys me - schools have changed SO MUCH

i would say pretty common of a perviously failing school in a dperived area - although remember a lot of the Cp issues would not have been mentioned - also bizarrely NOT much covered wrt non english speaking kids or cultural issues in a place like Dewsbury

LordPalmerston Fri 01-Nov-13 09:43:24

the pastoral care at Thornhill is NOT unusual - I laughed at the waxing lyrical about how hard the teachers worked - this is not unusual, by exam time teachers lose sleep over kids - the cajoling , the extra sessions, the breakfast revision, the calls home, the home visits, the trips to police stations, EVERYTHING to get the kids the education they deserve.

For those who think that teachers rock up and sat " open at page 56 and do the questions" this was a shock!

LordPalmerston Fri 01-Nov-13 09:44:04

and pastoral issues are NOT ingrained in poverty - the amount of shit middle class parents give their kids is unbelievable

LordPalmerston Fri 01-Nov-13 09:45:15

also remember is nigh on impossible to exclude a kid these days - so you cant go to brinkmanship all the time

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 01-Nov-13 09:46:32

My kids aren't at secondary yet but I was at a primary school coffee morning the morning after this was on and there was a big group of mums gathered talking about how their dcs at the local comprehensive were saying it was exactly like their school confused

Our local secondary is a previously failing school in an area which is not particularly deprived according to any official measure but is very rural and traditionally doesn't put much value on education.

I haven't watched much of it. Should I be worried?

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 09:51:50

No - don't be worried, but do remember that EY has been edited to the nth degree to make it interesting and to generate debate (just as we're doing here) in order to promote viewing figures. If you really want to get a sense of what's going on in a school then I would recommend joining the Parent Council (not sure what the equivalent is elsewhere in the UK) - it's been a real, positive, eye opener for me.

cory Fri 01-Nov-13 09:53:37

LordPalmerston, noone is saying go to brinkmanship. But in the first episode there was a child who had already clocked up over 100 visits to the Head and they were only just getting round to the drastic measure of...actually speaking to his parent.

I have two children in the comprehensive system and I would expect to be contacted at a far earlier stage.

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 09:55:39

And just as an aside - DF's son is at a private school. In his first year there he had his blazer covered in Tippex, his school bag stolen and he was pushed down the stairs. The perpetrator was eventually excluded permanently, but it took a while. It's a small school, so they are unable to provide teachers for the Higher subjects he wants to take . All the local state schools link together and the pupils are bussed to other schools providing the subject choices they want. DF is paying £10K a year for the privilege. Private does not always equal better.

ReluctantBeing Fri 01-Nov-13 09:56:46

I teach in a school not too far from Thornhill. It's very realistic. Of course you don't see the good pupil working quietly, but that would be boring. What you saw on EY is exactly what you would see in most schools.

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 10:31:06

I disagree. I'm not a teacher but I have friends who are teachers in Scottish comprehensives, teens who attend a very socially diverse school, and friends whose children attend other high schools. It's definitely not realistic, according to them. I'm on the Parent Council of our high school, and again, EY is not familiar from my experiences there.

Thankfully.

Alexandrite Fri 01-Nov-13 10:39:07

One of the pupils said to the head that he was scared of him. So he must have been reasonably strict. Maybe we were only shown the matey bits

ReluctantBeing Fri 01-Nov-13 10:40:47

The parts shown on the programme won't be the parts that a visitor to a school sees.

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 10:48:07

Of course not - but it will be the part that pupils and teachers see, and the teachers and pupils I know look like this hmm or confused at the idea that it's indicative of comprehensive secondary schools across the UK

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 01-Nov-13 10:50:27

As I already said, they only showed the very extreme examples of behaviours.

I still stand by my point that it's very scary to go to school and be intimidated by being pushed at in the corridors, seeing teachers and other pupils sworn at, seeing fellow students have their heads stamped on on the floor and all the rest. These things all happened and do happen in many, many schools. A child shouldn't have to be scared at school - we wouldn't accept a workplace for adults where other people behaved like that, would we?

ReluctantBeing Fri 01-Nov-13 10:54:59

I've worked in several comprehensives across the country and I would say that EY is pretty normal. I have worked in some dodgy areas though...

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 10:57:07

But they also don't happen in many, many schools.

I'm not diminishing your experience Hmm - it sounds awful, and yes, I completely agree that it wouldn't be tolerated in the workplace - but there are many, many schools where discipline is maintained. It just grates that private schools are generally presented in a positive light whereas state schools are usually shown to be poorly run with low levels of attainment and discipline by badly behaved pupils.

Ilovemyrabbits Fri 01-Nov-13 10:59:22

DD is 12 and attends a secondary school in Yorkshire. It's a good comp with a great reputation, and it has mixed intake covering different socio-economic groups and ethnicities. She says her school has some incidents like those shown in the programme, but not many of the teachers are as nice and they don't even know their head teacher. In her 2 years at the school, she's rarely seen him and never been spoken to by him.

I love how some people put the Head of this school down and say he's an idiot. He has a staff who work with him as a team, staff who genuinely seem to respect him and back him up. That's not easy in any management team. He has time for the kids and they seem to respect him on the whole. He hasn't had any child being rude to him directly. All the children seemed to show him respect. He's raised the results in a struggling school from appalling to more than acceptable. His staff seem relaxed and happy, as far as they can, and they go the extra mile. I have a great deal of respect for the man.

I do think that some people have a very hallowed view of how education should work and have no idea of what kind of children teachers have to deal with these days and the limited constraints they have to work within. Some of these kids in Thornhill have horrid home lives. Some of them have so little chance of success in life, but seeing teachers treating them with respect and helping them to achieve, that has to be a good thing, doesn't it?

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 01-Nov-13 11:02:19

I agree with that, and the timing of the Harrow programme was clearly unfortunate/deliberate?

It is wrong if the perception of all state schools is skewed by programmes like these, but really, I don't particularly care about individual or groups of schools' reputations; but I do care about students having to go to school and be scared (which as I said can be the case even in schools which are on paper 'better' schools than Thornhill).

Alexandrite Fri 01-Nov-13 11:02:44

Ofsted reports seem to always say whether children feel happy and safe now, which they base on pupil and parent feedback. Obviously that wouldn't have been the case when we were at school, but now it should be reflected in the ofsted if children don't feel safe

LordPalmerston Fri 01-Nov-13 11:03:13

Did they get good results compared to their stats? Thats the q

SirChenjin Fri 01-Nov-13 11:18:54

Hmmm - I completely agree that no child should be scared to go to school, absolutely. However, I also care about the perception of state schools in the media (I don't see the 2 as being mutually exclusive), especially when there are teachers across the UK working extremely hard to provide the best education they can for their pupils on limited budgets (no private school fees to draw upon there).

To present state schools as being synonymous with low attainment, poor quality of teaching and appalling levels of behaviour is not helpful, and doesn't reflect the great work that does go on - but that wouldn't make good TV I suppose sad

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