GCSE League tables: why don't they separate out 'selective' from 'comps'?

(73 Posts)
Erebus Sun 27-Jan-13 12:44:41

Guess I have to at least acknowledge the separation of private from state in The Torygraph tables! That's reasonably new. Especially seeing as those dumb Torygraph writers just cannot understand why a selective, fee paying school produces better academic results when compared to a local takes-all-comers comp, saying 'the state schools should learn from the private schools...' what, like barring entry to their hallowed halls to the less clever, the potentially disruptive and the poor? Watch every school in the country 'improve' if they could select their intake!

Now I'd like to see a separation of selective from non-selective in order to compare academic results a little more fairly.

here if you're at all interested

GinandJag Sun 27-Jan-13 14:08:44

I thought they did say whether the schools were local authority selective or comp. Or local authority vs independent.

I think what they don't do is separate out independent selective vs non-selective - but then, this is virtually impossible to do.

My DD goes to an independent non-selective in a grammar school area, and her school consistently out-performs the grammar schools despite nearby selective independent schools creaming off the top students.

I imagine they don't do it so that you can compare all state schools against each other without having to faff about with more than one list. IMO it makes more sense to have one list for all schools though.

If it is clear what a school's intake is then how is it unfair?

CaseyShraeger Sun 27-Jan-13 14:31:27

Most of the country doesn't have selective schools, though, and anyone local will know which of the state schools are selective and which aren't. And a school isn't always simply selective or non-selective -- my niece goes to a school that selects 20% of its intake but takes the other 80% with no selection based on distance from the school, so would that get labelled selective or not in your table?

FlouncingMintyy Sun 27-Jan-13 14:32:36

Erebus - I think most people of average intelligence understand why selective schools get better results but not, it seems, a surprisingly large number of Mumsnetters!

teacherwith2kids Sun 27-Jan-13 14:52:31

I rather like the way that the idiocy of the tables is highlighted this year by the fact that the 'Sunday Times School of the Year' is also the worst performing school in the entire country in terms of GCSE results including English and maths....because it used an English qualification that the DfE doesn't recognise.....

teacherwith2kids Sun 27-Jan-13 14:52:52

(Should say it is a super-selective grammar)

discorabbit Sun 27-Jan-13 14:55:48

when did we get league tables, sure we didn't have them in the 80s

LeeCoakley Sun 27-Jan-13 14:57:52

It's also impossible to compare like-for-like 'comprehensive' schools at A-level. All entry to 6th form is selective but some are more selective than others. And I'm looking at you Hockerill Anglo-European College! (All As needed at GCSE to get into 6th form last time I looked).

Erebus Sun 27-Jan-13 15:51:17

No, the linked LT doesn't tell you whether a school is at all selective or not. And names can be deceptive: some comps have the word 'grammar' in them because once they were, and 'high school' can mean anything!

If it's a 'league table' it should tabulate its results in leagues: independents, state fully academically selective, state semi selective, state non academically selective. Only then are we comparing apples with apples. Which after all is what we're expected to do with these tables, isn't it?

They're there to name, praise or shame. Well, if a decent proportion of an area is selective, and the rest not, those non selective schools which are working miracles will be way down that LEA list when compared to its GS. Looking at you, Wiltshire.

Surely you know which local schools are selective though? If you are interested in secondary education at all that is.

NewFerry Sun 27-Jan-13 16:49:34

Wiltshire only has 2 grammar schools, one for boys, the other for girls. Both in Salisbury, far south of the county and only really of interest to wiltshire parents in the local area.

I'm not sure I really understand your last point, but I have had wine with lunch. So maybe it's me.

TotallyBS Sun 27-Jan-13 16:52:43

Erebus - They DO separate out the different types of schools for the league tables. They just aren't doing it in the report that you are looking at.

In anycase, such a report does serve a purpose. One can see how a highly selective state school compares to a highly selective indie or a non selective indie.

Just because YOU can't see the logic behind something doesn't mean that there is no logic

mummytime Sun 27-Jan-13 16:55:41

Well I'm kind of pleased they don't as it really highlights those selective a which do worse than a local comp. eg. Those independent and selective a below my DCs comp

teacherwith2kids Sun 27-Jan-13 16:55:48

The BBC version of the League Tables is slightly more informative in this area as it makes the type of school much clearer and more explicit.

teacherwith2kids Sun 27-Jan-13 16:59:45

Mummytime, I rather enjoy that, too... there is only 1 local independent above my DS's (secondary modern, as it is in an area with some residual grammars) comprehensive, and even that is only ahead in some measures.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 27-Jan-13 17:39:12

I would have thought league tables were only useful if you are thinking of moving house for a specific school?

Or if you are going to pay private school fees.

What purpose do they serve otherwise?

TotallyBS Sun 27-Jan-13 17:55:46

What purpose? It is the life and soul of many MN threads above comps v GS v indie.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 27-Jan-13 18:34:52

I've got two children at school and never looked at a league table!

JoanByers Sun 27-Jan-13 20:40:03

There is no such thing as a comprehensive school.

Some schools have tiny catchments in super-rich areas.

Others take in almost no bright kids at all.

Appearing near the top of the table is contingent on a selective intake, whether that be done by financial means, religion, or, the most honest option, a test.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:01:41

The BBC tables clearly state the type of school on the front page
and do not have an axe to grind (like the papers do)

TalkinPeace2 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:02:40

There are LOTS of truly comprehensive schools - mostly a safe distance from London.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 27-Jan-13 21:27:36

What on earth do you mean JoanByers? My dd's school is a comprehensive and I can't imagine its that unusual.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 27-Jan-13 21:28:14

And its in London.

DS1's school is a comprehensive that takes 25% of its intake on academic ability. Which category would you put it in?

sausagesandwich34 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:37:37

the other issue I have is they don't distinguish how many GCSEs each pupil sits but they are ranked on points scored so the more you sit the more points you score

our local grammar sit 9 as a maximum and produces nearly all A*&A grades

our local accademy top sets sit anything up to 15 GCSEs with a much wider spread of grades

what on earth is the point?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:49:45

The huge numbers of GCSE takes is now history - it was only possible under the modular system as kids could take exams in 3, 4, 5 or the full 6 terms.
Now that the exams are almost all now end examined, the number of subjects is dropping back to 10 or 11 (DD is doing 12 but she is top of top sets)
AND the BTec's worth 4 (supposedly) have been shut down.

sausagesandwich34 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:51:21

fair enough, I knw this year's cohort are doing it -will they be the last ones?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:58:18

Yup. DD is in year 10. She faces 30 exams at the end of year 11 - even allowing for the two she is doing early and the one that is almost all coursework (art)

the Btecs are still there, they have just had their false added value removed.
the non academic kids at the school already do day release at technical college
The only GCSE's the lowest groups take are English, Maths, a Science and a Humanity.

JoanByers Sun 27-Jan-13 22:46:05

I just think it's as meaningless to compare one 'comprehensive' with an intake of middle class high achievers, with another where 50% are on FSMs.

The most successful schools, 'comprehensive' and selective, are defined by their intake, and even in fairly homogenous, generally middle class areas the most successful comprehensives are impossible to get into if you don't live in the right postcode or go to the right church.

They aren't good schools so much as good children arriving at 11.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 09:33:04

What an INCREDIBLY defeatist attitude towards social mobility.

Its lucky that people like Michael Faraday or John Harrison or Steve Jobs did not have people like you in their early lives.

The whole point of Universal free education is to release children from the shackles of their birth and upbringing.

Glad I don't know you.

JoanByers Mon 28-Jan-13 13:20:01


Any individual has the opportunity to break the shackles of their upbringing, but when you are talking about league tables, statistics, you are dealing in aggregate, and in aggregate there are undeniable trends.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 28-Jan-13 14:32:44

I really couldn't give a monkeys which school achieved the highest results, nor what other peoples dc have achieved. To me the important thing is how well my dc are doing and that they can learn independently and reach their potential. Ime this is greatly down to the dc not the school they attend. Or is this too simple a philosophy

I rather they showed the results of all schools regardless of LEA, in a 1-2-3-4-5 mile radius of my own postcode. THAT would be helpful. I would not have to both look at Kensington and Chelsea, Hounslow, Merton, Wandsworth AND Richmond to find the schools that could possibly apply to my child.

It is interesting to see that some of the independent selectives are not that far off our top choice school.....

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:28:31

Thanks, sadly the areas I need dont lend themselves to a rectangular map. If they had a map where I could draw, like on Rightmove, I would be happy.

Not demanding at all, me. <sigh>

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 15:33:54

FT secondary school league tables has a map and ranks by A level results rather than just geography.

Original post assumes non selectives are comps. There are lots of private schools which take children of all types and plenty that only take children who are not at all bright.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:39:19

Download the data sets and sort by LEA then postcode - you can extract the ones you need

agree with Xenia about non selective fee paying - about half are like that outside London.

Good idea, I will try, thanks!

Erebus Mon 28-Jan-13 20:44:52

xenia- Q:'Original post assumes non selectives are comps. There are lots of private schools which take children of all types and plenty that only take children who are not at all bright.'

Actual OP :'GCSE League tables: why don't they separate out 'selective' from 'comps'? Guess I have to at least acknowledge the separation of private from state in The Torygraph tables!'

So where have I assumed non-selective state schools are comps? In keeping with the maybe 93% of us who don't privately educate, I actually take no notice whatsoever of private school results. I am actually surprised that the Torygraph has actually acknowledged that you'd be comparing apples with oranges in that respect and separated them out. However, I imagine it's been done for Quentin and Caroline to feel sure that Hugo and Jocasta's school is 'better' than Phoebe and Henry's down the Close without having to trawl through any jolly upstart state school statistics complicating things grin rather than an acknowledgement that you cannot compare fee paying schools which by their very nature select from the off with a swathe of other schools where the majority cannot legally, academically select.

My point is that it'd actually be fairer and more meaningful to separate out state schools according to selectivity or not. In answer to an earlier question about 'where would you put my DC's school that 25% academically selects, the rest being distance/catchment?', I'd say in a category labelled 'partly selective school (say) 10-25% selection.

teacherwith2kids Mon 28-Jan-13 20:56:34

Erebus, to be honest it is not necessarily more helpful to divide schools into academically selective / non selective than it would be to divide them into bands according to other criteria which may in fact have more bearing, e.g. %FSM, %SEN, or in fact average parental income or average parental level of education.

My local comprehensive / secondary modern has exceptionally low FSM and SEN, very high average parental income and average parental level of education. That makes it totally different from another school that while teachnically not a secondary modern (in the sense of not being an 'other' school in a partially selective area) serves a very different type of population - and more different from another comprehensive than the difference between it and the grammar in the next town IYSWIM?

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 21:16:13

If you have a bright child then it's a good thing to see tables which are not value added at all but show within both state, private, selective comp which ones get the best A levels because then you can ensure your child is educated with other bright children and thus they do well. Mixed tables on pure exam results are therefore a pretty good test. I don't sit there saying oh dear there's a state school made it to the top 20 why don't they weed them out. I think it's helpful to know how all schools are doing based on pure A level results in proper subjects.

CaseyShraeger Mon 28-Jan-13 21:23:39

I'm not sure that's entirely right, Xenia, even from your perspective. For example, Tiffin Girls gets good results, no doubt about that. But when you consider just how selective it is -- girls bus in from really quite huge distances to take the test -- some parents question whether the results are quite as good as they ought to be and whether they shouldn't be even better. Could it be that the teaching isn't as good as it might be, the school are coasting a bit by relying too much on the quality of their intake to maintain their results, and that the same girls could get even better results elsewhere?

Disclaimer: I have no specific knowledge of whether that's actually the case with Tiffin Girls. But I have heard others have the argument discussion so I know it's something that is questioned. And say, hypothetically, that it were true -- looking at pure exam results would hide the (hypothetical) fact that the pupils weren't being properly stretched.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 21:24:14

I like the raw data best. No political slants either way.
The most interesting bit is the "out of catchment" figures by LEA that come out soon .... they highlight the reasons for many disparities.

happygardening Mon 28-Jan-13 21:55:46

xenia do we as parents need league tables to tell us which schools get the best result and to ensure our DC's are educated with other bright children? In the independent sector most parents are pretty knowledgable nearly all schools publish on their websites their results frequently in micro detail and often different from league tables where results don't always seem to tally often results appear to be over and under inflated in comparison with the individual schools website. Assuming we do have super bright children who we want educated with like minded children the league tables also don't tell us whether school A 9th in the league table is more suitable for our individual DC than school B 10th in the league table.

Erebus Tue 29-Jan-13 11:03:07

talkin- what are 'out of catchment' figures? What do they measure? Not heard of them!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 13:01:16

They measure the number of children at a school / schools in an LEA who do not live in that LEA.
They therefore highlight where boundary effects are a greater impact on results that teaching.
As an example, 10% of all the children who live in Southampton go to Secondary school outside Southampton.
In some of the really poor LEAs in Liverpool its nearly 20%
And you can bet that those children are the higher achieving ones.
So they distort one school's results up and another's down.

The figures also highlight the insanity of London schools where kids go all over

Xenia Wed 30-Jan-13 10:56:56

hg, they helped parents not in the know, that is why I like them. I think parents who know about the best schools don't need tables but even then it helps. If a school year by year is doing worse and worse that is a useful indicator,. If they just have one bad year then that isn't so important.

Yes, I know it may not show how good the school's results ought to have been given its selection but it is still pure data and a parent who knows nothing much about schools can say okay North London Collegiate where one of mine went is at X position and the local comp near my house gets 8% with 5 decent GCSEs. I had a local man, posted in the forces from abroad moving here, knew nothing about English schools who just assumed the school closest to our house would be the best one for his daughter. I hope to goodness he has done some research and not just relied on that school (the 8% one) is yards from his house and in his country you go to the nearest school. Tables help people like him.

TotallyBS Wed 30-Jan-13 11:13:58

If an indie wants £15k pa per child from me then I want to know how they stack up against other local and national schools.

At lot of parents are like me in that they are prepared to pay for academic excellence but if the academics are no better than the local comp then the nice pristine grounds isn't worth the fees.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 11:26:30

"At lot of parents are like me in that they are prepared to pay for academic excellence but if the academics are no better than the local comp then the nice pristine grounds isn't worth the fees."
So at the end of the day Totally your paying for results? I hope and in fact know that good independent schools are not just about results. I have no doubt that my DS could get the same results from our excellent local comp (or the one of the countries top performing grammar 40 miles up the road where he was offered a place) thats assuming he doesn't either die of boredom or reek havoc through boredom but what I cant get is all the other stuff that makes him 1. an more rounded person and 2. a more satisfied and content person which then spreads into his academic life.

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:19

Generally selectives listed in the tables are state schools (unless highlighted as IND).

Some state schools are part selective, part comprehensive.

Some state schools select on the basis of religion and catchment areas(this explains the high results achieved by schools in certain areas e,g Solihull).

Many independents are non selective.

TotallyBS Wed 30-Jan-13 12:10:34

happy - I am paying for the total package as opposed to just results.

DS had two offers. X was higher ranked but it was in a town location with sports grounds a long walk away. Y wasn't as highly ranked but it was in the middle of no where and so had massive grounds for sports.

We chose Y for the total package. So, no it's not just about results.

Having said that, I have a friend who is quite well off. He pays £30k pa for a school that ranks 300 plus which is below my local comp.

I am not in that league. If good academics aren't on offer then my DCs can become equally "well rounded individuals" at a good comp. I'm sure that DS won't be too damaged if his comp's cricket team doesn't tour Australia smile

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 15:38:45


I personally don't think that any school makes them a more rounded person, satisfied and content, well not in principle. I think a lot of this is found in the home and encouraged by parents. But I'm happy to be proved wrong or others opinions.
I know you can pay for results but I have witnessed people paying and not getting the results, which makes me believe results are really the responsibility of the dc.
I think the best thing we can do as parents is encourage independent learning from a young age. Especially if they are very bright or/and talented, as these dc quite often need additional stimulation.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 20:16:26

morethan The opportunities available at my DS's school would not be available if he was at home even if I lived in central London I would be unable to provide the huge variety on offer to him and as I'm rural I can’t even begin to provide what is offered at his school. These opportunities when combined with lessons which are stretching and challenging feed his brain and intellect his over whelming thirst for knowledge and make him satisfied and content whether they be concerts plays lectures clubs both sporting and non-sporting and make him more rounded. I listened the other day going into raptures over calculus (yawn), the “fascinating and exciting structure of the nucleus of an atom” (my eyes are glazing over) and in particular fusion and then the joy of reading Medieval literature (my husband was interested). He then attended a lecture, goes to a concert, a play, trains for his chosen non team sport three times a week and at the weekend has time for his other passion 20th century art. I accept that all children can do and have these things wherever they are educated and if their parents have the time and they are easily available but he’s lucky to have it all on one site and so readily available and most importantly in these results obsessed days’ time made in his timetable to pursue them. .

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 21:35:15

I think your ds is very lucky to access all these things in one place and he should be as you pay for this privilege. I think my point was if your ds wasn't interested in half this stuff, didn't try well in his academic subjects and didn't have a good attitude to his education which lets face it comes from parents initially. He would not be doing well and your money would be wasted.

I agree that if children can't access this through school parents are expected to find their own solution. To be honest I don't find this unfair, and when I add up how much I am paying for extra curricular activities it is quite a substantial amount, maybe half a years school fees.

What I would consider to be unfair would be if a bright child from a poor background missed the opportunity to attend a Grammar school. I'm not saying this happens though as I don't have experience here.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 21:45:53


I meant to add. I could never see my dd enthusiastic about calculus, medieval literature or the nucleus of an atom. It sounds like a really good school.
I'm not suggesting he isn't appreciative of his wonderful education, but please let him know how lucky he is.
I know I haven't always agreed with your posts before but I certainly can't argue with the fact you are doing the right thing for your ds and IF you experience inverted snobbery, ignore it.
There is no way my dd would fit into your ds school environment, she would be like a fish out of water.
I think if we all did what was best for our own dc without trying to be somebody we aren't schools would be better places. smile

teacherwith2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 21:52:56


For me, the point is that there ARE amazing schools in the private sector. State schools cannot emulate them, and for those children that can access those schools and make best use of them, that is great.

HOWEVER, not all private schools are amazing.

I have no problem at all with this debate being carried on at a 'school by school' level (especially at a 'school for a particular child' level, as for example for some children it may be that superb sport, even if coupled with middling academics, is the priority), but at a sector level it is meaningless.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 22:08:36

The biggest tragedy I think is that so many schools are 9-3 30 or maybe 4 if you’re lucky. So many parents work or are juggling and through no fault of their own dont have the time to provide thier children with the myriad of opportunites that my DS enjoys. So much of what he it is is timetabled into his day. The NHS has finally woken up and is starting to offer a 24 hour service out patients appointments on weekends etc I think it’s time education especially in the state sector but the independent sector doesn’t always cover its self in glory either need to think about educating the whole person and providing opportunities that are not just about exams and results and those bloody league tables.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:32:16

But where would the funds come from?
State schools have a budget per pupil of less than 1/4 of what you pay.
It is just not feasible.

On the other hand I am currently battling my DCs schools odious focus on Gove's Baccalaureate - and dropping all spare subjects from the GCSE options - including Latin and IT.
So much for Wishaw wanting schools to stretch able pupils, when Gove will ensure that they get no credit for it.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 23:29:32

I know it’s not feasible but we as a society need to change our attitude to education stop looking at league tables and see the bigger picture, for a short period in a person life they are in a position to experience things that they are never going to have the time to experience once they enter the world of work it doesn’t matter if it’s a love of calculus, nuclear physics and Mediaeval literature or something more basic, the time to appreciate our beautiful countryside, be exposed to art through the ages from cave paintings to Grayson Perry, or how our food is produced these are the things that stay with us throughout our lives. Would it cost that much? Last year we went to see a film called Cave of Dreams about Le Chauvet and the extraordinary cave paintings we were so moved I almost cried none of us will ever forget it the best £10 we've ever spent this should be shown to all children this is our heritage as human being we all should see these simply breathtaking painting that were painted so many thousands of years ago and marvel. Children should experience art music dance opera beathtaking landscapes archtecture I could go on.
No one asks me now I'm middle aged how many GCSE’s I’ve got or even where I went to university. Perhaps if we indulged in a few less pointless unwinnable wars then our children could receive a more all-round education. Gove is odious the tragedy is that with his plans future generations will be even less exposed to these things than they are now.

JoanByers Thu 31-Jan-13 00:32:12

I think Sister Wendy started off with those paintings: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHzvbQ26q7Q

muminlondon Thu 31-Jan-13 07:48:53

Agree that the league tables in the newspapers are useless if they compare selective and comprehensive.. But interesting in the DfE ones (now that IGCSEs are included) to find out more data about the private schools that don't perform well - e.g. 90% entered for Ebacc subjects but less than 60% pass rate. Maybe that's also more an indication of intake than how good the teachers are. Private schools don't publish prior attainment so we can only speculate ...

Erebus Thu 31-Jan-13 08:19:00

happy you are indeed fortunate to have found such a good 'fit' between your DC and his school.

I would be, like a good friend of mine, tearing my hair out if I was forking out that sort of cash and my DC just wasn't interested in all the 'fabulous' extra-curricular available to them. My friend can be a bit of a snob and often waxes on and on about how marvellous her DSs' £13k a year school is as it offers so many opportunities yet, in moments of introspection, laments that neither of her DSs partake willingly in any extra-curricular whatsoever, only that 'insisted' upon.

lainiekazan Thu 31-Jan-13 09:11:22

I know boys who have been to that very same school, happygardening, and they did not wax lyrical about calculus, I can tell you.

Frankly most teenagers wherever they go do not feel a frisson of excitement at the thought of a lecture in mediaeval literature. Casting pearls before swine comes to mind.

The thought of all this Renaissance Man (or woman) stuff appeals more to older people - parents. The actual pupils may have wonderful opportunities at some schools (or told they have them by desperate parents), but I doubt whether many of them are appreciating them.

You can still learn and enjoy when you are 30, 40, 50, whatever. In fact you enjoy it a lot more imo. The door is certainly not bolted because you didn't happen to go to a school with a lot of floppy-haired kids and have a mother who seems embarrassingly star struck about the place.

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 10:04:03

"Casting pearls before swine comes to mind."
If you want to take that very limited view on your DC's education that of course is your prerogative but I find it rather sad and if many parents think like this then it hardly surprising that most people spend their lives sitting in front inane TV programmes unable to identify Pinter from Shakespeare. As someone who returned to university late in life I agree it is possible that some have the time to do things in our 30's 40's and 50's but the reality is that most people don't we work the longest jours in Western Europe and have the shortest holiday, many people commute for long hours to their jobs and more and more of us are carers for our elderly population. It is only in our childhood that the vast majority are free to learn. I was bought up looking at architecture listening to classical music and what felt at the time trudging around endless art exhibitions I doubt I appreciated it at the time as I felt I had more interesting things to do but now all that I absorbed however reluctantly gives me enormous pleasure and this knowledge I have passed onto my children and I'm sure at times they too think its boring just like I did but I hope in the long term they too will get the same pleasure I did.
I'm sorry to disappoint you lainiekazan few floppy haired kids at my DS school they have strict rules about hair. Am I star struck? No where is perfect. I cant answer that but I do know that Im cynical with much of education both state and independent.

Erebus Thu 31-Jan-13 21:31:17

lainie Come on, can you tell the difference between Shakespeare and Pinter?.. grin

And as for 'floppy haired kids'! My friend, mentioned above, made her DSs cultivate that hair-do (and no, the odd mail-out home advising parents about H&S and long hair on their sons from that particular school wasn't going to curtail the 'cultural' expression of overly long hair on young teenagers and a purple uniform as they walked around its local townscape!- she herself 'saw' it eventually in a school photo where, as she now concedes, they looked ridiculous, and, actually being quite 'normal' boys, they openly express that 'mum thought it looked cool at the time' grin)

I genuinely think that happy is of the opinion that her own DS would sit slumped, of an evening, in front of TOWIE were it not for his superb education. TBF, were I paying that sort of cash, I'd probably be drawing nearer to that altar of faith, too. You'd need to! IMHO if her DS were at the local 'sink' comp, he'd suffer hellishly as being 'odd' and 'weird'. I am not condoning this, only musing that his 'interests' are very esoteric and not necessarily directly attributable to or related to his expensive education.

I am of the opinion that, when it comes down to it, there are several different 'camps' of thought regarding DC. Principally, there will always be those who regard their own DC as being a product of their loins and their only purpose in life, as parents, then becomes to mould that youngster into what they believe, as an experienced adult, to be 'perfection'; to become all they themselves believe they'd have been if only they'd been 'guided' correctly (my friend believes her genius was not developed as a result of this..); then there's those parents who want their DC to be independent beings, ploughing their own furrow in life, only lightly influenced by parental desire and expectation. Yes, being shown opportunity, being advised at ever turn but ultimately, having their own direction respected.

As an aside, and sorry to happy here because she reminded me of this but is not necessarily what this is about: a couple of years ago, I had three encounters that gave me pause for thought. All 3 happened within a very short space of time but all of them featured the same thing: for want of a better term, I'd say a mother hero-worshipping her teenaged son, over and above any other DC, especially DDs. One is a hospital consultant who gets all shiny eyed about her 15 year old son at one of the country's 'leading' academic private school (though I've met the boy and consider him, in the big picture, to be frankly 'weird'...) but I did 'dinner' out with the other 2, separately and all they could talk about, all evening, was how clever, off beat, amusing, & desperately good-looking these sons were. Bloody girls! All over them when we all know (tsk) 'he wants to do his higher maths A level revision. Barely seems to study at all, mind! Always straight As!' These mums were completely -well, star-struck by their late teenaged boys. It was rather fascinating. I deliberately asked about the younger DDs to be told, 'Well, Arabella is, well, Arabella, isn't she?! Lol!'. Glad we cleared that up.

I do get it. Culture after culture, millennia after millennia venerates its gilded youth, shining of limb, noble of mind; It is perhaps the 'classical ideal'.

But please don't be confusing 'mummy-love' with how amazing private schools are.

JoanByers Thu 31-Jan-13 23:53:42

Boys are weird. At least a great many of them are.

If you had said that the 15-year-old son was frankly 'thick', then I could understand your point of view, but 'weird', as an insult?

Lots of men spot trains, collect stamps and all kinds of other 'weird' activities. It might be 'weird', but that's what they do and they should be happy doing that, rather than being encouraged to go out on a Saturday vomiting or whatever.

If these schools are places where these boys can go off to be 'weird' and happy, get a good degree and then make fortunes in the City or whatever, and in due course begat their own most likely 'weird' boys who can follow in their footsteps, then surely this is better than having go off to the sink comp to fail miserably at not being 'weird' and get bullied for the privilege. (Because fail they surely will.)

Being 'weird' is really only a problem if you make it one.

lainiekazan Fri 01-Feb-13 18:22:01

I know exactly what you mean, erebus. I see the types often in Waitrose. Mothers swanning around with their sons, acting in a rather flirtatious way - or at least trying to show their (to their minds) handsome sons off. It happens too often to be a rare thing. And dh has noticed it as well, so it's not just me being wildly jealous of mummies with floppy-haired Ruperts. (Got me own floppy-haired ds, thank you very much, although he is inclined to slope three paces behind me rather than bay confidently.)

happygardening Sat 02-Feb-13 12:55:29

Erebus you seem to be missing the point. I'm not anti state ed. far from it or think every independent school is fantastic I've spent 13 years with DS's at a variety of independent schools and know that many are results obsessed hot houses. I also don't care whether its an indepdnent school or a state school as a nation we seem obsessed with league tables this appears ot be the main criteria as to how many judge who good a school is. It is a tragedy that morethan believes that she personally doesn't "think that any school makes them a more rounded person, satisfied and content." Whilst we continue to provide this an exam/results obsessed education to our children then our children are missing opportunities to learn things for the sake of learning them . Maybe I'm wrong but I just think that if you can identify Shakespeare from Pinter, Monet for jackson Pollock an albatross from a blue tit and a dandelion from a rose then life is just more interesting. A black cap in my garden during the snow bought me lots of pleasure becasue I've never seen one and we were all chuffed to see two bull finches last year in the garden and of course we all love the Kingfisher who we now see daily. A few years ago we lived in a county where orchids grow in the wild having never seen one outside of a pot on someone window sill before even my non gardening husband managed to be interested and my DSs's small at the time were also quite struck by its beauty. We recently went to a wonderful production of the Mikado we all came home laughing and singing the songs from it you cannot see it without feeling happy. So lain and 8Erebus* you can look down your noses at me tease me for my interests accuse me of excessive "mummmy love" and of trying to "mould that youngster into what they believe, as an experienced adult, to be 'perfection" although as my friends and enemies will cheerfully testify I am the slackest most non controlling parent in the universe in fact have been in the past criticised for my hands off approach IMO seeing hearing and experiencing so much makes us happier more rounded people. Morethan you say "I could never see my dd enthusiastic about calculus, medieval literature or the nucleus of an atom" but how do you know if she's never given the chance. Having recently fixed the CD player in my car I was playing Chopin waltzes DS1 state comp again no floppy hair not called Rupert and definitely not a classical music fan after about five minutes of listening to them rather than asking me to turn them off (as I expected) asked me what they were and sat listening to their joyful frivolity although of course often underpinned by often enormous sadness he was visibly moved. He's now much to our surprise started listening to more classical music. On the other hand a visit last year to the wonderful Sattchi gallery bored him stiff. I don't mind but at least he has been exposed to modern art I feel the same way about my husbands 18 the century organ music! Education at so many school is so narrow exacerbated significantly by league and as far as I understand Goves EBAC will make this worse. In 2010 just over 39 million prescriptions were issued for anti depressants (I'm not against them per say) the recession was given as one of the reason but is it surprising in this celebrity obsessed materialistic society than we know live in. In the words of the poet W Davies: "A poor life this is if we have no time to stand and stare" at art architecture birds flowers our wonderful English countryside or listen to music or read mediaeval lit. and even understand and be excited by the structure of an atom or marvel at calculus.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Feb-13 15:19:43

Happy, can I recommend the use of paragraphs...

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Feb-13 15:21:11

And you are right about the EBACC...

Xenia Sat 02-Feb-13 15:53:52

Presumably non feminist sexist mothers are those who seem to invest more in a son than a daughter? I don't really see that but I don't tend to be around women like that anyway so it may well go on. However anyone to whom I speak whose son is going into something well paid and interesting and daughter into something low paid and "suitable for girls" (ie future housewives) I never let that go. I say why is it not your daughter who is wanting to go into X and your son into Y? They always always say it is by chance and yet you know it's virtually always because of the sexist way in which they have brought up the children - girls to be housewife brood mares for men of reasonable wealth and boys to support families. Thankfully one hopes very slowly that is dying out.

As for some children being keener to be like others it is just the personality of the child. All schools have different groups of different children and some children fit in no groups and some are popular with everyone and some are content and some not whether or not they are in whatever group.

On exposure to the things we love, I am sure most parents seek to ensure their children are exposed to enough potential hobbies and pleasures that at least one gives them huge pleasure for the rest of their life. It cannot always be the hobbies the parents might have chosen of course and perhaps you have done your work particularly well if it isn't as we borrow children and learn from them as much as seek to make them what we think they ought to be.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:11:06

DS is very chuffed because he was set a piece of homework researching an aspect of current affairs that, because we listen to Radio 4 over breakfast, he actually knew more about than the teacher. So he scribbled down what he knew and is now on the X Box. :-)

Schools work with what they are given.
It is the motivation attitude and intelligence of the parents (primarily the mother statistically) that affect the learning potential of the child, no matter what the school.

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