No difference between state and private schools

(248 Posts)
richmal Mon 03-Feb-14 22:07:53

Mr. Gove wants anyone walking into a state or private school not to be able to tell the difference. Could they not simply count the number of children in the classroom?

handcream Tue 18-Feb-14 18:47:38

All private schools are selective - really - what about the kids that are naturally bright and are on bursaries? What about people that have got money by other means - legal or otherwise. My DS goes to a snazzy well known boarding school. He has class mates whose parents ocassionally have very interesting backgrounds. Self made or in one case taken an 'opportunity' to make money which most would frown on.

My DS is doing A levels. Not particularly bright but the school has been the making of him with the small classes and individual attention. His parents (me and DH!) have chosen to work as opposed to taking career breaks and such like and can afford the fees but honestly we are fairly ordinary. I went to a sec modern with no aspirations for their pupils so I wouldnt class myself as well educated at all. We choose to live in the SE where the opportunities are.

What I have I believe is the 'street wise' gene. I can spot a good opportunity and make the most of it. Work for a large FTSE company who on occasions has been the devil to work for. But I have kept my nerve.

If someone wants to take on my role and do my hours - go ahead. But some choose not to - their choice but please dont think that is only luck that has got me here...

camilamoran Mon 17-Feb-14 18:29:22

Talkinpeace - thanks for the link. I see I was definitely wrong about the percentage in private schools having increased - it has pretty much stayed the same. One of those received opinions that I hadn't actually checked!

The whole affordability of private education/income inequality thing is more complex and I need to think about it more.

manicinsomniac Mon 17-Feb-14 17:49:51

ALL private schools are selective - by parents/grandparents income. In order to have that sort of income, the parents/grandparents need to be bright, and have good jobs. Therefore the children will have a certain IQ as a general rule.

I know the thread had moved on a little but reading this after marking sets of books from my two Set 3 English classes in a leafy independent prep school really made me laugh. Many of these pupils have SpLD or AN that make their parents' IQs irrelevant but many more do not - a good third to a half of each of those classes just happen to have a low IQ. As many people do. From all socio-economic groups.

Having money is not at all indicative of high IQ. I have no idea how most of our parents make their money and I wouldn't post the details if I did know but things like inheriting money, being successful in construction type careers, being famous for something or working in family businesses are just some of many ways of getting very rich without having a high IQ. We have a normal range of parents from those with PhDs from Cambridge to those who didn't pass their O Levels/GCSEs.

There are always children in my classes whose parents cannot give them academic support at home because they don't have the ability to. These parents are, ime, just as prevalent at many private schools as very academic parents who are working such long hours that they can't help their children out are.

MerlinFromCamelot Sat 15-Feb-14 22:54:48

Minifingers, are you sure that your DC would end up in the bottom set for English? I would expect that a child who has a good vocabulary, is articulate and reads a lot which probably results in good comprehension would not end up in the bottom set even if his writing is poor! I'm not a teacher and can only go by my experience but my DD was rubbish at writing when she left primary school. Perhaps he is bored to tears because of how he is being taught, as was the case with my DD!! All it needed was a teacher with a different approach.. She is now predicted A* across the board. I know of a lot if DCs in my area who seem to have been in the same boat, I/e leaving primary with poor writing skills for loads of different reasons and then turn it around at secondary. DD was average in reception and stayed average throughout primary. The secondary does own assessment and placed her into top set. Sadly, in my experience it seems to be that once a DC is put in to a particular set it is often hard to move around.

morry1000 Sat 15-Feb-14 22:39:05

Talkinpeace. My DD was "Bottom Groups" for Maths/English despite having a IQ of 138 because the school allowed her not to do any work for 4 and half years and let her just sit there and talk nonsense in isolation.

If I had insisted against my husbands ( you cant send one and not the other ) judgement (The other one is a 3rd Year Ancient History Student)

I am sure that DD and I would not of suffered as I have described in the Teenagers section.......

Minifingers Sat 15-Feb-14 22:10:53

I would love to know what group/set Talking thinks would be appropriate for a child like mine - who is articulate, loves reading, has a good vocabulary, is full of ideas, but simply can't express himself in writing because of his physical and emotional disabilities. He will shrivel up and die from boredom if he's put in an English group consisting almost solely of poor achievers. :-( Feel so sorry for him as this is probably his future.

Minifingers Sat 15-Feb-14 22:04:51

Talkin - would you describe a child like mine as 'non academic' thick because he will leave primary with a 3c in writing?

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 22:03:22

You should also not limit your arguments to your own experience of your own children's schooling. It is typical for parents to defend top sets when their own kids are in it. Less so when their kids are not.

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 22:01:08

Talkin, you don't seem to understand that setting kids is not like grading carrots. Putting kids in the 'bottom set', which was your wording as was calling them 'thick', is likely to have a detrimental effect on their self-esteem and learning.

And you continue to harp on about this being the 'right' place for them but the fact that more summer born and black kids and kids with behavioural difficulties end up in the bottom sets highlights the fact that kids are not set according to their 'intelligence' whatever that may mean.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 21:55:40

there is no "a bottom set"
because different kids are in set 5/6 for each subject, some of whom are in sets 2 and 3 for other subjects (occasionally set 1)
so the "bottom set" comprises around 1/3 of the year group

and in years 7 and 8 the sets are retested and adjusted every half term
so kids like Minifingers DS would be picked up and put in the right place for each subject block

with computerised timetabling only lazy schools do not do as those that used to be under the Hants LEA do

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:49:26

Resorting to the fact that your husband is 'snorting' just tells me you have no specific arguments. Just assertions i.e. about 'thick kids' which are truly 'locked in the past'.

And your comment about no such thing as a bottom set when that is what you have been arguing for doesn't even make sense.

AmberTheCat Sat 15-Feb-14 21:47:19

Whendidyoulast - thanks for posting the link to the Nottingham paper - fascinating. I've read lots of research that shows how mixed ability teaching raises standards overall, and I was clear about the benefits to children who would otherwise have been in the lower sets, but I haven't come across such an eloquent description of the negative aspects of being in the top set, particularly for girls. My daughter, who loves maths and is good at it, is probably going to a secondary school next year that does very little streaming in Y7 & 8. While I was happy that this was the right thing to do for the school population as a whole, I was still a bit concerned about how it might work for her personally. This has reassured me - thanks.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 21:46:14

"a bottom set"
because in a good school there is never such a thing
and your belief in its existence belies the evidence

DH goes to over 100 schools a year and he has been snorting at your posts over my shoulder

the "august birthday" campaigners forget that every class will have a "youngest"
the anti sets brigade want to deny that some kids do not have the capacity to learn - and to expect them to is as harmful as holding bright kids back (cf Finland)

and my thick clients earn good livings given the right outlets so I know that they are essential to society

Minifingers Sat 15-Feb-14 21:41:47

Whendidyoulast - thank you for your posts. They are extremely interesting! (and persuasive).

I'm laughing at research from 1998 being called 'ancient'. Really, it's not!

I find this debate interesting as I have a September born child in top sets for everything, and a summer born child in the bottom set in literacy. At his current pace my summer born child will leave primary with a 3C in writing and will be shunted straight into a bottom set for English in secondary. I feel very sad about this. He loves books, has a good vocabulary and is an enthusiastic and astute reader. However, he has ASD - no statement - and this has hugely impacted on his ability to get anything down on paper (partly mechanical - he has poor muscle tone in his hands, and also struggles to manage his feelings of boredom and frustration when trying to write).

I hate the thought that he will end up in a school where people like TalkingPeace will label him as 'thick'. :-(

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:40:58

'I''m glad my kids are not at your school : you seem locked in the past'

WTAF.

I've worked in many different schools, state and private, and colleges.

In my school I looked at the EVIDENCE (to which you seem to have an aversion) and found that a bottom set is detrimental to students' achievements. Results are now improving.

I believe teaching should be responsive, dynamic and targeted towards students' individual needs.

I'm wondering why you would think that is 'locked in the past'.

Locked in the past is where you hark back to a golden age and continue to trot out tired old assertions rather than looking at what works.

barbour Sat 15-Feb-14 21:40:14

Don't know which evidence you are talking about whendidyoulast....lack of setting in subjects like maths and languages after a certain age at higher end of primary then secondary level is disastrous in my view for both ends of the ability spectrum.

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:37:39

The plural of prospectus is prospectuses by the way.

It's not like a hippopotamus.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 21:37:32

I'm glad my kids are not at your school : you seem locked in the past

Maths L8 and math L3 in the same room is not about imagination ...

and yes, the old trick of the head of subject only teaching top set was sussed out by ofsted around 4 years ago and gets a bashing under "leadership"

follow the current news

because
getting back to the thread title,
the difference is often in the minds of the parents, not reality

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:36:07

But most don't and yet still get good results. I've taught mixed ability classes where kids have got A* to E and value added for the whole group has been excellent. The evidence says the advantages of mixed ability teaching outweighs the disadvantages. Yes, teachers have to be more on the ball. And that is a good thing.

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:33:06

My question is if a teacher lacks the imagination and ability to teach mixed ability should they be teaching any ability? Kids are individuals. You can have a vast range within a set and particularly in the top and bottom set and if a teacher is teaching to one level (which the research indicates is what happens) that's likely to be detrimental to a number of kids within that group.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 21:32:27

not the question (year 10 is first year GCSE after all)

and actually LOTS of 6th forms set

Barton Peverill
Brockenhurst College
Peter Symonds
Alton College

to name four that I have the prospecti for

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:29:23

Few sixth forms set at all (don't know if any do) so most teaching from 16-18 is mixed ability.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 21:27:52

how would you teach a year 10 maths class with kids ranging from L8 to L3

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:26:58

I have taught mixed ability English to candidates who have got into Oxford and Cambridge. Your assertion that it 'would never work' is clearly miles out.

whendidyoulast Sat 15-Feb-14 21:25:37

I'm not quite sure why you're struggling to understand how differentiation might work.

One of the issues with setting is that teachers often think they don't have to bother with it hence the problem with pace and expectations esp in the top and bottom set.

I have never heard of schools that set for PE. I teach children who play sport at county and national level and they do PE with everyone else. Clearly they are not hampered by this experience.

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