Selective independants

(580 Posts)
poppydoppy Sun 14-Apr-13 20:33:17

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?

Mominatrix Sun 14-Apr-13 21:20:20

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.

MTSgroupie Sun 14-Apr-13 23:13:51

It's both.

With regards to selective independents doing better than GS, I suspect that it's because independents aren't subject to LEA/DOE interference control.

neolara Sun 14-Apr-13 23:26:10

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.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 09:07:59

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.

slipshodsibyl Tue 16-Apr-13 09:34:10

I accept everything that has been said but would say that selection is the bigger reason.

YoniMaroney Tue 16-Apr-13 16:53:11

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.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 17:33:06

"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.

YoniMaroney Tue 16-Apr-13 17:53:44

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.

horsemadmom Tue 16-Apr-13 18:18:31

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.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 18:58:06

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.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 20:18:40

Wateringly not startlingly I've got this new gadget thng and it appears to have a mind of it's own.

Yellowtip Tue 16-Apr-13 20:53:02

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.

Yellowtip Tue 16-Apr-13 20:56:14

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.

marriedinwhiteagain Tue 16-Apr-13 21:03:39

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.

Yellowtip Tue 16-Apr-13 21:25:21

But that's money not vision marriedagain.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 21:25:40

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.

Yellowtip Tue 16-Apr-13 21:46:41

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.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 22:44:12

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.

Yellowtip Tue 16-Apr-13 22:58:38

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.

happygardening Tue 16-Apr-13 23:58:50

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.

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 00:02:03

Oh lots of typos on this stupid New devise! Not correcting them all but wanted to say we shouldn't under estimate

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 08:50:03

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.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 08:52:12

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).

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 09:14:17

"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?

Xenia Wed 17-Apr-13 09:19:28

As people say it must be a mixture. My girls have graduated now but their schools were Haberdashers and North London Collegiate which tend to do quite well (selective independents). I always felt the teaching was good and all those things which are not about school work were also what we wanted.

Look at the destinations of leavers as much as the A levels when choosing too.

The Sutton Trust compared areas with no state grammars (most of the country) comprehensive results with areas with state grammars like Bucks and Kent and I think they found very little difference to how many children got to good university and obtain high A level grades which is interesting and not what most people think.

Yellowtip Wed 17-Apr-13 09:41:20

slipshod which guff are you referring to? I'm not clear what you're saying about resources either. Grammars have far less, obviously and their hands are often tied as regards salary (an academy in theory can pay more, but its resources may not allow that). Presumably you mean Winchester and St. Paul's etc. can pay more? With the caveat that more pay doesn't always mean better teachers: many brilliant teachers wouldn't consider working in the private sector regardless of perks and pay.

The level of selectivity at 11 or 13 obviously is the key determining factor in the measureable 'success' of a school. I think that sometimes gets lost in the noise.

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 09:59:10

Yellow tip I am referring to suggestions that grammar parents are less 'aware', ' successful' etc.

I am sure the Heads of St Paul's and Westminster would say selection is the key.

I think that though higher salaries do not mean better teaching, some of the extra perks offered to staff at rich schools - not least, accommodation- are attractive to staff and a greater flexibility in timetabling for example as well as larger departmental budgets .

The very top independents are set in or near London too which sets them apart and have an international catchment. It isn't a reasonable comparison. Outside this magic circle, super-selective grammars hold their own.

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 10:04:10

To say private parents are more successful is to equate money with success. It's a bit sad, especially when this kind of success is not necessarily the kind that makes the most successful parent.

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 10:05:52

"many brilliant teachers wouldn't consider working in the private sector regardless of perks and pay" There are without a doubt brilliant, good average, mediocre and bad in all sectors. Although I have found very much a jobs worth culture and a blame the parents/children in many parts of the state sector (and an inability to read and comprehend an ed.psych report shame there's no bitter and twisted smiley) but then I have a DC with moderate learning difficulties which are often poorly catered for in both mainstream sectors. I've found on talking to some of the teachers at DS2's independent that they are very pleased to be freed up from the restrictions of the national curriculum; both Eng Lit and history are non examined subject until Pre U and I think the teachers enjoy the freedom to take a particular period of history or a book and do what ever you like and let it run wherever they and the boys want it to go.

YoniMaroney Wed 17-Apr-13 10:05:59

Well a lot of private school parents work very hard in stressful jobs that have required a lot of work to get into in the first place. In educational terms, this will be a big boost e.g. to aspiring Oxbridge candidates.

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 10:09:17

Yoni may I suggest you at the very least don a tin hat or you'd be better to run and hide!

Xenia Wed 17-Apr-13 10:13:45

My children's father taught in both sectors. Without doubt plenty of very good teachers do prefer the private sector because of less state interference. Sometimes the architecture and buildings are nicer and if you obtain free education for 3 children worth about £90k and free housing.

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 10:13:48

Yoni that would be my family and friends then. But I also have family and friends at other types of schools. I see both kinds daily. Especially since my own (ex) job , is not highly paid - my husband is though. There isn't much to choose between us except sometimes in income and successful career families do not always the best parents make. Of this I am absolutely sure.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 11:27:17

yellow clearly selection has an impact. And the more selective you are, the btter the results ought to be.

And yet...

As I say, DD's school is not selective in a traditional sense. The intake is not remotely as able as our local grammar school and would not be in the smae stratosphere as a superselective in either sector, but the results are really great, especially for DDs with low ability or LDs. Girls who wouoldn't have stood a cat in hell's chance of getting in the nearest grammar, leave with excellent results.

In fact, if I had a DD with either low ability or LDs, I'd sell several internal organs to get a place.

That said, I don't think it would be the right place for a DD of extremely high ability; the sort who would get a place and thrive in a super selective. The education (as opposed to results) on offer is a very different beast.

Yellowtip Wed 17-Apr-13 13:20:40

In that case I second all that you've said slipshod.

Yoni I don't see the fact that mum and/or dad have worked hard in stressful jobs as bound to give offspring a big boost educationally (and why particularly for Oxbridge aspirants?! Does no other type of student ever have to deal with stress or work hard?). It also presupposes that DC inevitably aspire to follow in the footsteps of mum/dad, which is pretty moot, to say the least. They can be quite tricky, some DC.

happy any school can do that (the off piste thing). That's not the preserve of indies, why should it be? The indies might like to claim it is, but it isn't. At the end of the day the stuff the students in both sectors are examined on is exactly the same, but in both sectors teachers are free to roam. There are no property rights restricting roaming.

YoniMaroney Wed 17-Apr-13 13:34:00

Yellowtip, from what I can see around London the grammar schools have a lot of children of ambitious first gen immigrants, who don't have the personal experience of the British education system, whereas the rich parents at the private schools are very often Oxbridge graduates themselves, so they have far more personal experience and understanding of what it involves.

One isn't better than the other in terms of being a parent, but the parents who are earning £££ in the City are more likely to have gone through the same process themselves 20 years before.

Needmoresleep Wed 17-Apr-13 14:12:42

I suspect there is not a right answer, in that different schools will suit different children. Both mine failed to get into Grammar schools, but have every chance of doing as well if not better at well respected private schools.

DD managed 800th on the wait list for our nearest, albeit super-selective grammar. This as not a total surprise as she has had pretty low CAT scores and her ed psych report suggests some significant processing problems. The surprise instead is that she is doing so well in the independent sector.

Perhaps independence allows schools to select the quirky and determined, not just those well schooled in VR and nonVR. They might be able to see something in music and sports achievements which can be carried through to general academic performance. I wonder whether factors such as interest and curiosity aid academic performance just as much as raw intelligence. Also some of my children's best teachers have found themselves in the Independent sector having struggled in the state. Inspired they may be, organised they are not.

YoniMaroney Wed 17-Apr-13 14:16:10

Why is that a surprise needmoresleep? Whereas something like 40% of state school children 'fail', the % at independent schools is probably not even 4%.

mrsshackleton Wed 17-Apr-13 14:31:21

Mainly selection, I went to two highly selective schools and at the first the teaching was pretty mediocre with a couple of wonderful exceptions. But we were a bright peer group and sparked off each other and as my Dad said, and I agree, that is worth A LOT.

Second school was a big name and so teaching was amazing too, as it basically had the pick of the bunch.

Xenia Wed 17-Apr-13 15:23:21

I agree with the peer group point. Lots of children are pretty lazy as teenagers and tend to copy their friends. Thrust them into a school where everyone is bright and they are expected to do well and tends to rub off even on those who might otherwise coast with Cs in a different kind of school.

seeker Wed 17-Apr-13 15:33:21

Selective schools do better in results terms than non selective. The mor selective the intake the better the results. No brainer. The easier it is to chuck people out if they don't live up to early promise the better the results. The more you can say th week before the exam- sorry, your'r not quite up to it, you're not sitting the exam" the better th results.

The important thing to remember as well is that once you get to the schools at the top of the league tables, there really isn't much difference between them in terms of results.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 17-Apr-13 15:52:30

Yoni Well a lot of private school parents work very hard in stressful jobs that have required a lot of work to get into in the first place. In educational terms, this will be a big boost e.g. to aspiring Oxbridge candidates.

In my experience a lot of superselective (and comprehensive) school parents work very hard in stressful jobs that have required a lot of work to get into in the first place, too. And that probably does provide a big boost to aspiring Oxbridge candidates, yes. As the children of my friends and colleagues approach the age where they are all thinking about university I find myself increasingly asked to talk to their kids about what it was like going to Cambridge. Of course, many of these parents didn't do that themselves (despite some of them now being selective independent parents (some of them even have daughters at Habs. I don't actually know any Habs parents who did go to either Oxford or Cambridge, but I expect some exist)). I think they are probably encouraged when I remind them that my parents didn't go there (or anywhere) either. And that it's not what someones parents might have done or not done which has to determine what they go on to do.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 17-Apr-13 15:53:23

Slipshod You're probably right. I'm a terrible parent. sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 17-Apr-13 15:56:56

I agree with Xenia about the peer group point. Many teens are incredibly conformist. Many aren't, true - but many are. However they don't seem overly picky about what they conform to - so long as it is, definitely, the norm.

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 16:15:01

Right about what Russians?

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 16:17:02

Ah yes, the peer group thing. That is huge

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 17-Apr-13 16:18:00

Right about very successful career people not always making the best parents. sad

This morning DS was an hour late for school because his little sister had hidden his school shoes in the laundry basket. sad

I am clearly DERELICT.

YoniMaroney Wed 17-Apr-13 16:18:57

There is quite a large difference between top schools in terms of Oxbridge stats.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 16:22:54

seeker it really isn't all that straight forward vis a vis selection.

DD's school isn't academically selective, yet the results are better than the nearest grammar and a more selective nearby private school. Actually, a local CofE comp does better than the later!
Christ alone knows why anyone pays for it.

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 16:26:40

Word I agree that is sometimes true lower down the tables but I do not believe it really applies higher up

Russians there are many ways to skin a cat.....

slipshodsibyl Wed 17-Apr-13 16:30:13

Toni yes there is with the most selective getting the most places. Which is not to suggest the schools don't add value but ultimately that is what it is.

SanityClause Wed 17-Apr-13 16:34:30

Do state schools not withdraw students who are unlikely to do well in an exam, then, seeker?

A few years ago, my friend's DD was doing her GCSEs, and got really behind in Art. The (independent) school suggested she drop the subject, so she could concentrate on her other subjects. Would this not happen at a state school?

Xenia Wed 17-Apr-13 16:47:56

I can remember only one girl in one class of my daughters at Habs or NLCS over 15 years who left because of difficulties with work, left aged 10 I think. Another left whose parents moved. they are certainly schools which seem to be very experienced in selecting who will do well at the school so seem not to make too many mistakes. There is no massive weeding out. I think one girl left after GCSE for Westminster sixth form but that was not because of inability to keep up with work. It was probably because of boys....

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 17:57:52

"That's not the preserve of indies, why should it be? The indies might like to claim it is, but it isn't. At the end of the day the stuff the students in both sectors are examined on is exactly the same"
Yellow I can only report on what teachers at my DS's school have said to me; they in thier experience feel that they have significantly more frredon to teach what they like. I believe my DS's school is virtually unique in that it doesn't do either Eng Lit or History (I) GSCE only offering it as a formal examined subject at Pre U level but the boys do usualy daily lesson in the subjects for the first three years.

seeker Wed 17-Apr-13 19:01:56

"i Well a lot of private school parents work very hard in stressful jobs that have required a lot of work to get into in the first place" I don't quite know where to start with this one- so I think I'll leave it!!

Happy- I do really think you son's school is such an outlier that what happens there is not really relevant to any general discussion about education!

seeker Wed 17-Apr-13 19:03:21

"Do state schools not withdraw students who are unlikely to do well in an exam, then, seeker?"

Not in my experience, no.

BooksandaCuppa Wed 17-Apr-13 19:32:08

OUr highest achieving comp is notorious for doing exactly that, seeker.

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 19:46:16

seeker how nice and refreshing to be an outlier maybe that’s why we choose it!
Both our comp and local 6th form college chuck out children who fail to achieve the required grades at AS level. Many of the comps in my county will only let you do the A levels in the subjects you achieve at least B's in. Children are also withdrawn form subjects that they are going to fail dismally so it’s not just the independent sector doing this. Many, on paper, fairly non selective independent schools will only let you do A levels in subjects you achieve at least an A in as my friend’s DD found out.

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Apr-13 20:12:24

I went to a selective independent.
As did all the other people at my very expensive retake crammer.

seeker Wed 17-Apr-13 20:22:34

Sorry- obviously it's routine not to be allowed to join the 6th form or continue beyond AS without the grades. I was thinking about GCSE.

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 20:31:43

talkin and as the league tables clearly demonstrate many leave super selective independents with outstanding results.

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Apr-13 20:43:25

Interestingly, your DSs school one one of the very few famous schools that I do not remember meeting failed alumni from during my rather entertaining year in South Ken.

The trouble with comparing independent and state schools is that one is really comparing Waitrose and Asda.
The economic constraints that limit intakes to fee paying schools (regardless of the number of bursaries - because the number of bursaries will never reflect the number of poor bright children)
mean that many such schools receive the children of highly motivated parents.
Which is of course the greatest factor in a child's academic success.

Grammars are an oddity because there are so few of them and so much of the country does not get involved with them.

There may be less parental 'drive' in Comp counties like mine, but at least children of unmotivated parents get a chance to get to the top.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 20:59:07

Thing is though, many top perfroming schools are termly boarding schools, where parents don't have much input on a day to day basis.

DS is a day boy, but quite a few of his mates are boarders who only see their parents during holidays (parents abroad)...

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Apr-13 21:04:22

the overseas students at famous Boarding Schools should not really be part of the UK statistics. They arrive at 13 and leave at 18.

The vast, vast bulk of independent schools are day schools.
Many boarding schools have multiple exceat weekends per term and parents arrive at the weekend to cheer on sports teams.
With the long holidays from boarding schools, the parental impact in those weeks is significant.

seeker Wed 17-Apr-13 21:04:30

"talkin and as the league tables clearly demonstrate many leave super selective independents with outstanding results."

Many leave comprehensives with outstanding results too!

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 21:44:23

seeker if you take the time to read back through this thread you will see I have in fact stated this. As full boarding parents we obviously don't have input on a day to day basis but as the children get 21+ weeks holiday a year most parents remain exceedingly influential for better or worst. I suspect most children at top boarding schools are under no illusions about their parents expectations.

Xenia Wed 17-Apr-13 21:49:04

I cannot remember a single one of my chldlren's friends who had to stop a subject once started - eg be told they could not take a GCSE once the course was started. I am genuinely surprised that happens at some schools. Now it may be they are such academic schools many of the children feel anything less than an A is a fail anyway because everyone is clever.

I see nothing wrong with when they move to sixth form their doing A levels in subjects in which they got an A. Again though that is because most of the GCSE grades will be As in every subject anyway so it is no big deal to get As in most subjects so the school saying if they do say so you need an A to do your A level is absolutely fine as 100% of the child will easily meet that in loads of subjects.

BooksandaCuppa Wed 17-Apr-13 22:02:07

No, I meant state schools not allowing dc to finish (or even start) a GCSE without an almost guaranteed grade C. Or charging their parents for the entry if they insisted on their dc sitting them, with the offer of refund if a C gained (which of course would mean the parents would do
everything they could to aid the grade being achieved).

MintyyAeroEgg Wed 17-Apr-13 22:05:03

Genuinely don't understand question.

Talkinpeace Wed 17-Apr-13 22:09:24

The case I'm aware of, the child was enouraged not to start certain subjects rather than stopped from taking them once commenced.
And at my own school a girl was allowed to leave a few weeks before the A level exams she would have failed.

Yellowtip Wed 17-Apr-13 22:12:30

I'm not convinced that the school her DS attends is quite as much of an outlier as happy would like to think. I think that someone on this thread may well have a DS at an independent school more meriting of outlier status. Harder to get into, but more outlying. And a tad cheaper (I think). Still, it's pretty marginal at this extreme.

happy, you do seem to buy too unthinkingly into what your school claims, or perhaps what you understand it to claim. Yours is a fabulous school, no question (lots of university and work peers went there including two godfathers who are both very nice blokes), but it really, really does not have a monopoly of going beyond the curriculum, even if that's what you want to infer from what the teachers at the school say. Are they saying that though? Or is that what you want to hear, to justify your £30k+ pa investment?

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 22:45:46

talkin the description "outlier" was not my description but *seekers". I also didn't say it has a monopoly on going beyond the curriculum I was reporting on comments made by teachers who have moved there from other schools and maybe they are wrong but on the other hand maybe their experience is valid.
I am labouring maybe erroneously under the impression that it is one of the few schools to not offer either history or eng lit at (I)GCSE but still do almost daily lessons in both subject. I know lots of children at lots of different schools admittedly mainly independent and I know of no others that do this. This is not a points scoring exercise and some may think this is not a good approach many parents are surprised when I tell them and would not be happy with arrangement. I have no problem with this.
I am not in the slightest bit insecure about my choice of school so have no need to justify my choice. For my DS his school is the best fit it's not perfect but it works very well for him and for me that is all that matters. There are many other boys who are happy and thriving there but I'm not under any illusions that for other equally bright boys there it is not the right place.

happygardening Wed 17-Apr-13 22:46:55

Sorry that last post was aimed at yellow.

YoniMaroney Wed 17-Apr-13 23:35:36

The top grammar school in London kicks out 1/4 of its intake prior to A Levels.

I'm not aware of anything similar happening at any private school.

AvrilPoisson Wed 17-Apr-13 23:44:25

I know for a fact that some state schools do not enter pupils for subjects if they will not get a decent grade (comprehensive in this case, not selective)

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 07:23:36

Yoni Most indepednent schools will have a minimum requirement to stay on to do A levels and will kick out those who don't meet it and many only allowing them to do subjects in the one's they got A's or A*'s in. They will also kick them out if they dont get the required grade at AS level.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 07:57:59

I think schools in all sectors massage and manage their league table figures by fair means and foul. In my neice and nephews school they begin their GCSEs early and then keep sitting and resitting until the holy grail of five has been achieved. A torrid experience and one which cynically chases maximum passes at the loss of top grades. And I'm not such a Pollyanna as to think different tactics aren't used at my DCs schools.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 08:28:04

happy you approved the description. That approach to History and Eng Lit is clearly exceptional but you do seem to dismiss too readily the idea that any other school, particularly those in the state sector, teach beyond the curriculum and it goes without saying that the staff at the school are going to laud it when speaking to parents shelling out £30K pa. Nevertheless, the fact remains that it doesn't have a monopoly on this sort of approach.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 10:39:05

I suppose one of the main differences though, with a school like Winchester, is that the DC essentially live there for periods of time. This must allow for more fluidity, no?

There's a freedom to dip in and out. No sense of class ending as it were.

I think termly boarding must be able to offer somehting that any other school simply can't.

Don't get me wrong, it's not enough to seduce me to it, but I can see that it offers a very different methodology and process.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 10:49:39

"happy you approved the description."
Yellow I enjoyed the description although this does not mean I approved it and my reply to seeker was meant to be an obviously unsuccessful amusing retort. The term is not one I would ever use to describe my DS's school in a million years as I probably unlike you and seeker know how it works exceedingly well. Maybe staff are lauding the school when speaking to parents but what would be the point? My DS like most Wykehamists is exceedingly articulate but unlike many boys happy to tell me what goes on in school; some of its good, some of its just plain odd, some of it is funny, and some of it bad, this is inevitable as all parents know, he has no axe to grind. IME experience as someone who works with children there take on something is often completely different from an adults take on it, their views are often more honest. As far as I can see and I don't spend hours interrogating my DS, his experiences of these lessons is pretty similar to the couple of teachers I was talking too. I think we also have to ask ourselves why teachers would "laud it" and by your implication over exaggerate the difference? I don't know about you and the parents at your DC's school but IME parents stumping up £30 000+ a year are pretty savvy and when things don't go the way they want or they're not getting what they think they should be getting and even worse told they would be getting they are pretty quick to complain/vote with their feet so for a teacher to over exaggerate something or make erroneous claims about how something is organised he and his school are heading into very dangerous territory.
yellow I am also fully aware of what goes on in the state sector becasue I have a DS in a state school have worked in one and they do go beyond the curriculum at times, I don't think I said that independent schools and more specifically my DS's school have a monopoly on doing this although even you can't deny that the sheer extra time factor at boarding schools makes this easier. In the past I have looked at less selective independent schools for DS1 and IMO they too were not going beyond the curriculum any more than the local state school my Ds attends in their desperate attempt to get A*'s out of pupils whose ability meant that they weren't really A* material.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 11:36:13

happy you don't have a monopoly of knowledge about top independents any more than the top independents have a monopoly on teaching beyond the curriculum, or sparking the intellectual curiosity of its students. There's a real arrogance about this, since you appear to be generalising hugely from your other DS's school which may bear no resemblance to the schools at the top of the league. I completely accept that your DS's independent school is an utterly outstanding school but its general approach is shared by other top schools; the difference lies in the detail. And resources of course. But my view is that the difference made by finance is reflected more in the upkeep of fine buildings and grounds than it is in the quality or approach of teaching and learning. And there's also discernible arrogance about the quality of parents at state schools too, which is a bit off.

I'm not sure about termly boarding providing huge educational benefits per se. There's an argument both ways.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 11:52:26

The main benefits of termly boarding are time and teachers on site and available to their pupils. It seems to provide a fairly seamless and fluid education.

I can't see how you can replicate it in a day school.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 12:13:08

I agree that it would be difficult, nigh on impossible, to replicate some of the benefits of termly boarding in a day school. However there are clear drawbacks to boarding which are not experienced by day school pupils and families. And I'm not at all sure that these wouldn't outweigh the benefits for most families.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 12:18:55

Hang on a minute yellow ....... I've carefully read through what I"ve written although not evry posting i've ever put on MN especially the ones on the dog bit. I've never once said I have a monopoly on knowledge on all top independents but I do know about my Ds's as i am a current parent which I'm assuming your not and therefore don't really know a lot about only what you've read and heard. I have not generalised either "hugeely" either. I am beginning to wonder if you are either unable to read or have problems understanding what I write. You also seem to contradict yourself:" There's a real arrogance about this, since you appear to be generalising hugely from your other DS's school which may bear no resemblance to the schools at the top of the league. I completely accept that your DS's independent school is an utterly outstanding school but its general approach is shared by other top schools; the difference lies in the detail." But then maybe I cant understand what you write. We do have friends with `DS's at other top schools and Im quite surprised at the difference but as you say its in the detail.
Finally I ma also stumped as to why you come across as slightly aggressive I like all on MN am voicing my opinions and experiences which are as valid as yours and i see no reason for your constantly attacking and misquoting/understanding what I've said. You may not like my views, my choice of school or for that matter my choice of dog that is your prerogative. Perhaps you should spend less time attacking me and more time detailing your own experiences which I'm sure are different from mine interesting and equally valid.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 12:44:17

happy I've seen significantly more aggressive posts than my own. I wouldn't categorise these posts as aggressive at all.

Some people on MN choose to say what their experience is in every last detail but I don't. I find the frequent assumptions that no one on these threads can know anything about any school other than their child's rather silly. You're correct in saying that I don't currently have a child of my own at the school we're discussing though.

If you want to be semantic, then I perhaps should have said that your DS's school is one of several outstanding schools. They tower above most of the rest, which makes them stand out. I was really just acknowledging what everyone knows: it's an excellent school. But it's simply not alone in the way it achieves what it undoubtedly achieves and that's something you appear to be blinkered about.

Opinions may be equally valid but incorrect statements purporting to be fact of course won't be as valid as a correct statement of fact.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 12:52:55

Russians I agree.

DS is a day boy at his school. That is his choice and mine.

But I can see that the education he receives is not quite as extensive as the termly boarders around him. It would be disingenuous of me to say otherise.

That said, we're happy as we are grin.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 12:55:27

TBH yellow you are coming across as a tad grumpy!

It's only MN. Nothing rests or falls on it yanno wink.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 12:56:14

Happy You and others - you are certainly not alone - have a habit of disparaging the parents at non independent schools. You personally also have an unhappy habit of disparaging the education offered at the top grammar schools, continually claiming it can't possibly be as good as that offered at your DSs school, quoting an alleged 'top' grammar that you apparently rejected for that DS. You also frequently cite your other DS's comp as a 'top state school' although a glance at the league tables could tell you that however good of a comp it is, it cannot be one of the 'top state schools' by results since those are all grammars. This does come across as arrogant.

Note - I am not saying a comp cannot be a top state school all in all. I am firmly of the belief that my old school (comp) is the best school in the country, but that isn't just based on the results (good though they are) since they are not as good as the results of a whole load of grammar schools (including the one attended by my DD1).

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 13:04:09

word I'm not sure the tone of my posts ever suggests that I think something may rest or fall on MN. I'm pretty chirpy today too.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 13:08:54

I had been just about to ask you word, do the results of the boarders regularly trump those of the day schoolers or not?

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 13:09:26

Yellow It's just the way you're like a terrier with happy. You give the impression that it matters to you that she admit she's wrong.

I mean, it's her opinion that a state school, no matter how sooper-de-dooper, can't replicate what a a termly boarding public school can do.

And given any state school can't compete on time, space and money, there's probably something in that, no? Seems fairly uncontroversial to me...

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 13:11:17

Do you know yellow I don't know!

I suspect the Chinese students get top marks. And yes they're boarding, but they might get 'em anyways.

But the marks are pretty good regardless, and even if there were a definite spike for the termlies DS wouldn't go for it. Not his cuppa at all.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 13:15:05

But Word kids aren't coming away from those schools better qualified than all state school kids, and they don't all go to better universities or get better jobs than all state school kids. The one thing they definitely have over all state school kids - the one single thing - is the snob value. And that is nothing to do with education or academic talent or achievement.

Being over-engineered doesn't necessarily mean being better. I don't know what Yellow's issue is, but mine is that she continues to peddle her schtick that 'top grammars' aren't all that. And that you get a better class of parent at independent schools. Neither viewpoint is accurate.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 13:23:18

True Russians. An A is an A is an A. But there's a hell of a lot more to an education than that, no?

All that stuff you can learn and enjoy that has absolutley no impact on exam results or university destinations. Surely that stuff is worth something? Surely we're not that reductive?

And all I'm saying, and I think all yellow is saying, is that it's that stuff that a school like Winchester, where kids and teachers live on site, get so much of.

I mean, when DS is at home playing Assasins Creed and eating his body weight in Doritos, the termlies are getting all manner of opportunities.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 13:24:43

I suppose it's a bit like the students who stay at home with parents and only go to uni for lecture and tutorials. Are they having a good education? Yes. Is it the same as those living on site? Probably not. Does it matter? Probably not in the grand scheme of things.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 13:30:18

I was trying not to mention any particular contingent word smile

I'm not in the least bothered about happy admitting anything and it's great that she likes her school; very few wouldn't. But it certainly gets tedious to hear how her school does something as ordinary as going beyond the curriculum as though it's patented the idea. I think happy is not in a position to compare, so perhaps she shouldn't.

I'm not sure why it is that MN parents at top state schools seem able to accept that Westminster, St. Pauls, Winchester etc. are fabulous schools but that the parents at those schools can't seem to give top state schools the respect they're probably due, especially given the struggles with resources. I suppose it's because they're paying out massive fees so assume those fees must be buying a lot; I can't figure out what else it could be.

Copthallresident Thu 18-Apr-13 13:31:52

Well I am a buyer of an indie education for my DDs, and though it is in top 10 I do not think we bought better results for them. They have not done better than peers of similar ability at the local outstanding comps and sixth form colleges, nor come to that have the DDs who managed to get into the "top" 3% who gained admission to the grammar. I picked the school because we weren't offered a place at an outstanding local comp and it was the one the DDs wanted to go to. They have obviously gained from the facilities and opportunities that the school is able to offer but they have frequently been frustrated by the narrow mindedness and sense of entitlement amongst their peers at the school, whose confidence frequently strays across the border into arrogance and exclusivity, sometimes it has felt that they were fighting a rearguard action to maintain the values of inclusivity and caring we have encouraged in them.

BooksandaCuppa Thu 18-Apr-13 13:37:50

My take on the point mooted in the middle of the thread - about some schools being able to deliver way and above the curriculum - would be this:

Most independents and selective state schools, as well as many comprehensives, do deliver an education which goes beyond the curriculum/the minimum/just results because, quite simply, the children they have are much easier to teach the curriculum/exam syllabi to and so they have more time and energy left to deliver other things.

Sure, the independents also have the facilities (not in ds's school's case - their facilities are not as good as many of the local state schools, but then he's not there for the facilities), the extra money and, in the case of the very best schools in both sectors, their pick of excellent staff. But I think you can't overlook the different levels of energy, commitment and resources required to get good 'results' out of one cohort compared to another, making it nigh on impossible for some schools to provide anything like the same kind of overall experience.

It's like when the specialist schools idea first happened. Overwhelmingly, in our county, the 'best' schools with the best results were the first to choose a specialism with the attendant extra funding. As one of their Heads was heard to say, it was quite easy for them to dedicate time and effort to put in their specialism application when they didn't have discipline, learning and high staff turnover issues to concentrate on.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 13:39:01

Word Given the other comments I have made on this thread in the last couple of hours, and on other threads since time immemorial, clearly I don't think that results are all there is to education, no. However I don't think that the other aspects of education are necessarily any better served by posh schools than by good state schools with engaged parents.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 13:39:58

Word And you should perhaps consider that not all non-boarders spend all their time sitting at home playing assassins creed and eating their body weight in Doritos. smile

rabbitstew Thu 18-Apr-13 13:53:04

And, I presume, not all boarders spend all their time engaged in wholesome activities. The lack of privacy would become unbearable and a riot would surely break out.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 13:56:57

yellow I'm sure most of us accept that there are great state schools. I've even heard xenia concede that shock.

The results of some schools speak for themselves.

But the ugly fact remains that fabulous or not, they can't match the resources of well funded public schools. Again not highly controversial, I wouldn't have thought.

And if you're into the whole boarding thang, then I can see that you'd consider a day school (of any colour) an inferior thing as there's just not as much on offer...

I dunno. Maybe it's the sunshine streaming thorugh my study window, or maybe it's the rather nice email I received this morning from my agent...but I'm failing to see the argument.

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 13:59:32

Well, my child goes to a school that would not tick many mumsnet boxes. But he does many things that children at happygardening's school do. Because I make them happen. As do many other parents at such schools.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 14:00:37

rabbit I'm sure many a boarder sopend the night eating Doritos wink...

But to be fair, there is oodles of stuff on offer. Quite breathtaking really. And sometimes I do think that DS is missing a trick...but that Assasin's Creed won't play itsef you know!

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 14:01:47

Nobody is denying that Winchester has more money than practically anywhere else. Some people are taking issue with the claim that this means that kids attending Winchester therefore automatically get a better academic and all round education than kids going anywhere else. This is clearly not the case so I'm bemused as to why anyone might think it was true unless they (a) refused to recognise anything that didn't coast £30k a year or (b) included snob value as an element of education.

I was very heartened to read copthall's post above, her description of the downsides of posh schools and in particular the entitlement and arrogance issues chime in very much with my own observations of certain fellow students when I was at university and colleagues and professional contacts now.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 14:02:38

Well seeker you are clearly far superior to us mere mortals.

I wouldn't know where to even begin! And even if I could source those things, I don't think 'd have the time, energy, cash or inclination!

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 14:04:14

Sorry, posted too soon. The difference is that she makes them happen by paying 30k. I make them happen by knowing how to access stuff and knowing how the system works. And there lies the inequality. If you have the money it's easy. If you don't, you have to have other stuff to invest in your child. Time, money, knowledge, confidence,privilege.....all the things that many people who use state schools don't have.

And privilege continues to gain more privilege..........

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 14:04:40

Russians funny how when someone gives an opinion we like it becomes fact...

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 14:05:41

Wordfactory if your child was at my child's school, believe me, you would.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 15:23:18

Where did I say that Copthall's opinion was fact? Nowhere. I said it chimed with my experience. Which it does.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 15:55:10

"quoting an alleged 'top' grammar that you apparently rejected for that DS."
So now I am accused of lying as well! It seems to me that when i say something some don't want to hear I'm either lying or claiming to knowledge that no one else has. How bizarre. I dont claim I know that my DS is at a top state school; the top of school in the county its plastered all over their website regularly commented on in letters from the head with the associated links to league tables which as I wouldn't believe everything the man says I've taken the trouble to check (he makes Tony Blair a positive amateur at spin). . Frankly I am underwhelmed by it but thats only my view which is why I frequently put "top performing academy" in quotations. I do have a DS with "moderate" learning difficulties (but who did pass his maths GCSE today something I thought he would never do, we're going to celebrate tonight I'm so proud of him) which anyone in the same position will tell you are poorly met in both sector so this maybe jaundicing my view of it. I would link you into the league tables but would completely out me and I'm not prepared to do that.
For the record I am not anti state ed (read my post at the beginning of this thread) or anti grammar school I have worked in a very well regarded one and again was underwhelmed but then maybe as someone once said to me in a different context (thats another story) "you expect to much" and in fairness I have been underwhelmed by many top independent schools as well.
I work with children and am completely committed to their welfare and would like all children to receive a broad interesting challenging education where their individual needs are being met. I would like expectations to be high for all not "oh well a C will do' I actually believe that this should be offered in the state sector. There will always be those who pay and that fine but I hate it when people feel they have to pay becasue they've no choice.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 16:03:35

Well, my child goes to a school that would not tick many mumsnet boxes. But he does many things that children at happygardening's school do. Because I make them happen. As do many other parents at such schools.
seeker you are very lucky to live in an area where you have on offer all that my s has on offer. Sadly although I live in a lovely area we don't have all those resources on offer unless I used the fees to purchase my self a helicopter. Even with a helicopter i doubt i would have the time to wheel him round to all these activities.
"Russians funny how when someone gives an opinion we like it becomes fact..."
word of course it becomes fact becasue although I clearly know nothing about state ed. she and others with similar views know everything about every single independent school out there.

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 16:36:14

I did say many of the things, happy. Not even my enthusiasm could match your son's school's magnificence!

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 16:45:56

But back to the opening post .....

Selective schools - whether fee paying or not - will always get better headline results than non selective because they only have exam fodder coming through the gate.

What is extremely debatable is which type of school gets the best out of the top 5% of exam fodder pupils

and it is of course impossible to test because each child only goes to school once
and it is not possible to data match, say, my son and happygardening's son or seekers's son because the socio-economic differences are too extreme.

So we will just have to agree to disagree, do the best for our children and hope that all children are given as good an education as possible for them.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 17:09:11

seeker i stick by original post and i genuinely mean it you are exceedingly lucky to live in an area where you have on offer many of the things that my DS has on offer at his school and also have the time to take them. I sadly don't.

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 17:16:35

Out of interest, how may of the opportunities does your son take advantage of?

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 17:27:51

He does a surprising number he like me is not a team sports player (he does not have to do any team sports at all at win Coll) this is one of the reasons why his local options are more limited. I looked into it a few years ago when I became disillusioned with his prep and thought about home educating him for a year. I also looked into it when he was offered a place at the "alleged top grammar school" because frankly I am tired of paying. He prefers more niche sports two that are not available in either our county or the next. He does 3-4 other weekly activities another which would never be available locally and only in a few locations nationally and attends 6-7 plays a term and lectures/concerts.
Contrary to what many think I very carefully considered all our options there are plenty of other things I could channel the school fees into including as we are not wealthy e.g. having a bit more of a life for myself God forbid. Eventually logistics opportunities within the school day we like and believe in boarding and one eye on the Ivy league won the day.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 17:44:52

Happy, I can see that the 'niche' thing is an issue.

As a comparison, DS (good local comp, technically a secondary modern but in fact outperforms our local independents) in addition to sports / PE within school time, plays:

Team sport 1 (summer): 1 lunchtime, 1 after school, 1 good out of school club in the evening (also attended by many children from local independent) per week.
Team sport 2 (mainly winter): 1 weekend afernoon per week all year +1 evening per week for c. half the year.
Individual 'minority' sport 1: 1 lunchtime, 1 good out of school club (2 in the winter) per week.
Individual minority sport 2: 1 after school club run by an excellent out of school provider, who would also provide out o school club opportunities but time is limited by...
Individual instrument tuition: 1 lesson per week out of school.
Orchestra: 1 after school club per week.
Jazz band: 2 evening sessions (same evening) provided at county level

Can't match the concerts and plays - not DS's thing really, though we do attend a few per year.

DD is younger and less eclectic, preferring to spend between 7 and 9 hours per week at a single (outstanding) local dance school (no similar provision in any local independents - good dancers from whom usually transfer to DD's dance school though tend to be at lower grades than those who have been at the dance school from the beginning) on top of individual instrument tuition, rather than doing a wider range of activities, although I suspect when she transfers to secondary her portfolio of activities will widen.

It is harder work sourcing / maintaining all of these as a state school parent, but I suspect that DS at least would do no more at any other type of school, and DD would not receive such high-quality tuition in her chosen area at an independent.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 17:50:02

[Sorry, should clarify - I know that there is at least 1 independent out there with a full-scale dance school attached, and there are obviously the speciaised dance schools like Tring. I meant that DD (who is also extremely academic, hence not considering e.g. vocational dance schools) could not get such good tuition at a 'mainstream' selective independent]

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 17:50:53

Trouble is, if we don't know what the niche sports are, we don't know whether they are ones we could get to play locally!

My ds certainly does the same number of activities. I suspect they might be of a slightly less high flying nature. But hey ho. Man does not live by real tennis alone.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 18:23:11

But the point is he can't play them locally I think I know where you live and he could do one in your area.
As a non team sports player he is exceedingly pleased that he wil never have to grace a rugby pitch again as there are no team sports versus minority sports at Win Coll all sports are viewed the same sport is also not compulsory I think after the first year some do no sport at all.
Sorry to disappoint you seeker no real tennis at Win Coll no beagles either or polo.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 18:29:47

I suppose the issue is not how many activties a child does, but if there's enough on offer to suit everyone...even those with niche tastes.

As it happens both my DC have fairly mainstream tastes. Choir, team sports etc. They also both have a lot of outside school commitments (in terms of time, not number of activities)...

But that doesn't mean those niche opportunities are wasted as some seem to be saying. It's lovely to be able to try them out, even if you don't want to take them forward, isn't it?

Folk seem to be trying very hard to convince happy that she's wasting her money. Why? TBH it seems a bit rude, and anyway it's not as if she has access to your schools is it? I mean they might be marvelous from marveldom, but if she doesn't live there...

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 18:40:31


No, I don't think that Happy is wasting her money. Tbh, Winchester is one of the few independent schools I would consider unquestionably 'worth the money', though to be fair I only know ex-scholars, I don't know anyone who was a 'normal' pupil there.

I suppose what i am responding to is the idea that is frequently peddled on threads like this, that the 'broader educational experience' available at indpendent schools cannot be replicated within / around the state sector, or even understood by those of us who use the state sector.

As a kind of 'all in package holiday' equivalent, then of course many independents put together in a convenient single package (though at a cost) a whole range of academic and other opportunities. The 'independent traveller' version adopted by involved state school parents IS harder work - like assembling a holiday from its consituent parts - and some options aren't always available in all places, but a similar, or even better-tailored 'overall experience' CAN be assembled, though at a cost of effort and time...

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 18:42:05

Funny about real tennis seeker since DS2's best mate is this year's or last year's national champ, and state ed'd.

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 18:48:17

I don't think happy is wasting her money. I do find her insistence on the practically perfect in every way nature of the school a little tiresome. Particularly as I know a child who is currently utterly miserable there while his parents insist that he is glowing with happiness.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 18:53:56

But she hasn't said it's perfect. She's said it's perfect for her son! She's conceded it wouldn't suit everyone.

I would have thought the sheer amount of opportunities he gets there given a. the resources and b. the amount of time he spends there are more than any of us could manage ourselves without a tardis.

It's okay to admit that, isn't it?

I for one don't feel remotely bad about admitting it!

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 18:56:17

Absolutely teacher: Winchester, Westminster, St. Paul's - I'd have had mine go there like a shot, even though geographically we've been very lucky, state school wise.

But I'm not quarrelling about the extra lectures or the plays, it's this misinformed notion that on the main event, the academic education, state schools are so narrow in their vision and aspiration that they don't go way beyond the call of the exam specifications and enthuse their students. I accept that spending £30k makes a parent more suggestible to perceived advantage, but the other sector at its best is able to meet Winchester and the like on a significant stretch of that front. The fee paying parents may not like it, but nevertheless it's so.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 19:01:03

word I repeat it and repeat it: it's a fabulous school. But happy appears not able to brook the suggestion that there are rivals, costing £30k less.

And Copthall yet again, absolutely. A significant advantage of state education: the lack of unmerited self worth inflation.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 18-Apr-13 19:06:49

The broad spectrum of sports isn't actually available to all children at indy's though. DS's school offers: tennis, real tennis, table tennis, squash, badminton, swimming, archery, golf, fencing, cricket, football, hockey, rugby, athletics, rowing, and probably a host of other things. DS would have loved to have tried his hand at a wide variety but as a sporty lad who is in the first XI for football and cricket, was first X1 for hockey but had to chose between it and football and first XV rugby, he has not actually been given the opportunity to do the other more varied stuff. On occasion he has felt this sucks. The good sportsmen are pushed to the sports the school wants to excel at rather than the sports they would like to have a go at. Having said that we still think every penny had been worthwhile.

Of interest dd went to a top 100 comp in yr 7 and yr 8. I could not criticise the school's academic offer but the appetite to deal with disgraceful and disruptive behaviour was non existent. There was a hard core of 6-8 children who appeared to be above sanction and who were diluting the enjoyment and immeasurable achievement of the majority. That is why we tranferred her and are happy to pay every penny for a mid league independent school which is not hugely selective but where she is much happier and better able to focus in lessons because there is zero tolerance to that sort of behaviour - and yes girls are expelled if they cannot behave. That, in my opinion, for the sake of the majority is as it should be and I would be happier to pay an extra penny in tax to facilitate it.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 19:16:29

yellow may I suggest that you spend some money in either reading lessons or comprehension less

BooksandaCuppa Thu 18-Apr-13 19:17:33

married makes a good point that not only can a school (in any sector) push dc into certain things that they excel at, precluding other activities, but often the very excellent choices on offer cannot help but clash with one another, sometimes resulting in fewer choices than at first glance.

Ds is neither sporty (at least team sports) nor musical, but there are still a wide range of activities available to him at his school.

However, all the things he wants to do are all on the same night: he would like to do sailing, art club, drama, badminton and something else I can't remember. These all fall on the same evening.

BooksandaCuppa Thu 18-Apr-13 19:18:28

Posted too soon. And meant to also say: that this can also happen whether you are at a state or independent school or trying to arrange your activities out of school.

Xenia Thu 18-Apr-13 19:20:23

Although yellow some parents pay for exactly that - it's called confidence
"unmerited self worth inflation" and it can be what a child gets from a private school which does them the most good in life (although if you are utterly useless and don't realise you won't of course last long in most jobs).

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 19:23:28

Yellow I considered mentioning about the Real Tennis champ! grin There are also national gymnastics and chess champs at the moment, I seem to recall.

My DD doesn't do sport, although she goes to the gym with me most weekends. Her SEN condition means she is crap at most of the wide variety on offer but she has a deal with the PE staff that so long as she runs around for most of the lesson being active they don't mind if she isn't anywhere near the action (and she isn't). This was before she got injured obviously. sad

In terms of activities though - she does four instruments to a very high standard (one of which is exceedingly niche, and which she to be fair doesn't learn in school although she will be leading a group of players once she is in the 6th form). She has between 4 and 5 lessons a week, in and out of school, some of them >1 hour, and she plays her first study instrument in a national ensemble. She has additional lessons from an international level tutor on her first study instrument. Apart from the international level tutor, her music teachers all teach at the independent as well as the state schools. She does all the usual choir, jazz band, clubs, orchestra, festivals stuff too. On top of that she goes to a very well respected theatre group at weekends (well attended by kids from the local independent schools) and she certainly goes to or performs in > 20 concerts/plays a year. In the national ensemble it is true that many of the other kids/young people go to (or went to) independent schools - but by no means all of them.

DS does much much less but he could do as much if he wanted to. DD2 is only at primary but she does way more (at a younger level) mainly because she is a nutter. We will have to cut down on her performing activities when she goes to secondary school, I think. Her contemporaries in her out of school activities are again mainly, though not all, at independent school.

I have no doubt that the extra curricular activities at most independent schools are great. I object to the fallacy that kids at state schools cannot access the same level of opportunity if their parents are prepared and able to pay and facilitate it.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 19:33:13

The other question which has occurred to me (why I haven't really considered it before now is beyond me) is that it would be interesting to see a league table considering only those children whose parents' / true guardian's main residence is in the same country as the school (or, at a minimum, in the UK).

Although the position of the selective day independent schools would not change, and nor I suspect would the very top boarding schools by very much, I suspect it would be interesting to see how the results of the middling boarding schools are affected by the removal from the figures of e.g. Chinese students.

As no grammar / comprehensive schools are in a position to run marketing tours abroad to bring in high-flying students from elsewhere, it would make the comparisons a little more transparent.

[Muses - same exercise would also be interesting for universities]

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 19:38:41

What exactly have I failed to comprehend happy?

Confidence is great in its place Xenia, but surely it has to be based on something worthwhile as opposed to simply having attended St. Cakes?

Ordinary tennis champ too Russians grin. And DD3 as an ex pupil is nearly a blue (well she's on the university team of a predominately male sport - a total cheat and maddening to the other DDs).

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 19:41:51

you are probably right :
its like I've asked the BBC to do a league table of the top 50 kids at each secondary - so that non selectives suddenly become selective.
No political will though : not even from the Guardian!
and the data is there just not on the full public websites

universities and overseas students is trickier : when I was at Uni many moons ago the Hong Kong engineers were an integral part of the faculty - it depends on whether they are being admitted for financial or academic reasons

Copthallresident Thu 18-Apr-13 19:49:52

Xenia I know at least one of your DDs went to a similar school to my DDs and I am not talking about confidence, I am talking about arrogance and a sense of entitlement and some really extreme attention seeking behaviour from DDs who seek to dominate the group norms, sometimes with a very unhealthy obsession about looking and behaving in a certain way, and exclude others. Confidence and assertiveness preclude illusions of superiority and do not preclude having values that encompass empathy, understanding and care for others. Qualities and values that I am sure you appreciate will stand my DDs in good stead in their chosen careers. I am fairly sure that these DDs behave the way they do because they have been made to feel insecure by parents who measure their success by what school they get into and who they know and party with. It is actually very sad.

happygardening Thu 18-Apr-13 19:58:51

yellow may I suggest that you spend some money on either reading lessons or comprehension lessons. I have at least twice this afternoon stated quite clearly that I accept that many state schools do go beyond the curriculum provide extra curricular activities and heaven knows what else but I think even you have to accept that many don't. I have personal experience of the state sector as I've worked in a grammar and send my DS to a comp and neither provide even a third of the opportunities and in my experience go beyond the curriculum to the extent I would like them too. Where I live there are no state schools be they comp or grammar that provide remotely the amount, or the right of extra curricular activities I was looking for, or the breadth of education I wanted my DS to receive and as I've already said till its frankly becoming boring there are many "top indies" who in my view don't either. I have the money and as his interests are not only not available on my doorstep they are not available in Smalltowmsville/my nearest biggish city/county or even not always in the next county. I am lucky to have enough money to choose a school that I believe is right for my DS. Oh and let's not forget I was advised on at least three occassions that my DC would be better off in the independent sector the last time I was given this advise by a teacher at our local comp was two years ago!
As already said above no where have I said its perfect maybe some on MN know of a perfect school (free of course) and your DC's are fortunate enough to go to it but I don't know of any in either sector. I have choosen school that fits him and us as a family. When I detail how they do things it's never to say its because this is the best way or the right way or the only way to do something I do it because sometimes it does things differently and maybe it might interest others and show that there is another way of achieving something. So for example Eng Lit is not studied at IGCSE and contrary to what many think it does not have a detrimental impact on their Pre U results or university entries (a thread recently on MN) ditto only studying three Pre U's/A levels instead of four another recent MN thread.

seeker I'm sure you know of a boy who is absolutely miserable there, at work I regularly come into contact with boys and girls who are utterly miserable at many top indies and at state grammars and comps parents are often indenial and ignore our advise to move them if posible. But I also regularly come into contact with children who are blissfully happy at top indies state comps and grammars some even have parents who for some unknown reason believe they are not.
Education is not black and white, although I feel it's becoming increasingly samish we all have a different agenda and therefore have different expectations and want different things. You're all hopefully with your choices and I'm happy with mine I sincerely hope that your choices live up to your expectations because that is after all all that matters.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 20:01:41

That merits an applause emoticon Copthall. Very, very familiar to me too.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 20:14:14

In fact I find the stuff you say which I didn't know about Hist and Eng Lit etc. very interesting happy but it may be you who needs to perfect the art of close reading (many thanks for the suggestion though but I may have more pressing demands on my money): I have zero interest in claiming that my DCs' school is the best in either sector because that would be a nonsense and I can't imagine for a moment it would claim it for itself. It's certainly innovative and amenable to adaptation, usually ahead of when it's required rather than trailing. The only thing I find ridiculous is this closed mind of yours, that your school has a magic which is nowhere reproduced in either sector. It's based on insufficient knowledge clearly but it's nonetheless arrogant that you can't be arsed to go out there and learn. Ironic really.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 20:39:05

As Winchester is as representative of independent schools as my catchment school is of state schools could you two quit bickering and widen the argument.

Happygardening : you say you have experience of other schools
how do you thing the schools your sons are not at cope with their top 5%?

Yellowtip: what would you suggest be done to allow the top 5% in all schools to achieve that to which they should be entitled?

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 21:06:56

I'd suggest hoiking the top 5% out into a school all on their own, obviously.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 18-Apr-13 21:10:21

I'm going to make an interesting observation. DS was offered a very nice academic scholarship at Winchester for 6th form. We, the parents, thought the school was amazing and the way they handled us and dealt with everything was second to none. DS refused it because he was so happy where he was even though the 6th form options meant he had to be broad and could not focus on his absolute strengths. We were very uncomfortable with his decision at the time.

Half way through L6 his focus changed; he decided he loved a subject(s) he had not been committed to and passionate about for the previous five to seven years. He was expected to do x and it was regarded as something as a certainty. He has a place at uni to read a subject for which he was not awarded the scholarship. Funny how things turn out and how important it is to let the young men and women make their own decisions. We would not, in a million years, have forecast this.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 21:12:48

I must admit that I'm not convinced many schools of any sector can deal that appropriately with the top 5%. As I said downthread, I'm not convinced a girl in that category would be well served by DD's school. And, would the use of funds needed to accommodate the odd one be justified? I dunno.

You need enough of em to make it work!

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 21:13:26

Nobody has yet satisfactorily explained to me why it's a good idea to hoik the top 5, 10,15 or 25% out and educate them in a different school. I am slightly persuaded that there is an argument for education the top 2%- those who are so bright that it almost amounts to an additional educational need. But what possible advantage can there that is powerful enough to outweigh the disadvantages of separating off a larger number?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:15:56

Talkin For a start:

1. Abolish the EBACC
2. Abolish the performance tables in their current form
3. Abolish the national curriculum
4. Encourage schools to teach kids to their ability not to their age
5. Get universities much more involved in outreach to schools
6. Facilitate ability rather than age related learning by establishing school 'clusters' so that critical mass can be achieved across all subjects at the very top of the range
7. Set basic attainment requirements for English, maths and MFL and then leave it up to schools, school clusters, and the involved universities
8. Make more use of things like online classrooms
9. Do the G&T stuff in school time not at weekends so it doesn't seem like a chore
10. Stop being obsessed with science.

JollyPurpleGiant Thu 18-Apr-13 21:19:20

I went to a selective independent school and have been around it a bit since I left.

I felt that the top 5% were adequately supported. I don't think many of the most intelligent cohort could have achieved higher grades than they did. I feel that the results were largely down to the selective nature rather than because of the quality of the teaching.

Xenia Thu 18-Apr-13 21:22:18

You hoik them out at age 5 in our case because you want the standard of the class to be a high one so the children enjoy school with only other bright children and then everything else seems to be done to a high level too. It seems to work well for bright children and helps ensure the lazy ones follow the herd - the herd just about all doing well. If the herd is leaving school at 16 to do tourism then lazy bright ones may take that option or pick up awful regional accents which will hold them back in many careers or whatever one might be seeking to avoid.

Confidence is a huge booster for most people and there will be shy children at all schools but I do think some independent schools help foster it.

Were the precludes the wrong way round on this or am I just tired? "Confidence and assertiveness preclude illusions of superiority and do not preclude having values that encompass empathy, understanding and care for others. Qualities and values that I am sure you appreciate will stand my DDs in good stead in their chosen careers.." I thought the point being made back to me was that confidence etc did preclude good things. If not then of course I agree - confidence can be good and you can have it with empathy too. Of course we will all agree that if a child is useless and thick as a plank but thinks it is the bee's knees although even then it may do better with women and in getting jobs through life it may find its ability to obtain an entry to things does not mean the career/impression of said wife is sustained once the true colours are known I suppose. And some are born confident or so it seems.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 21:23:54

Which top 5% would you drag into a different school?
Mathematicians / Linguists / Athletes / Artists
those who are top 5% for some of those but only top 15% for the others ....
which is why I like seeker would rather all schools were open to all pupils and setting actively used

I utterly agree with you about clustering.
DH has been involved in University outreach for 13 years : its good but in no way a panacea
and sorry but the Arts will not save us from Climate change - only science will grin

your point is partly handled by the clustering / federating idea (which is actually one that DH and I discussed a couple of months ago at one of our strategy meetings --dinners out--)

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 21:24:49

That is interesting married and I know you've mentioned before what sort of category he's in (stellar). Did he go from a science to a humanity or the other way round? Or which variation? Give me a clue! And what was it that sparked the new interest? Or had he been told by school that the original route was what students like him do? So many clever students have more than one interest, which is why I'm always a bit hmm about a fixed passion at the age of 17/18.

MintyyAeroEgg Thu 18-Apr-13 21:25:24

Just want to offer wine or brew or flowers to TIP and Seeker for your long-term commitment to these threads. Wish I had your stamina, I really do. Me, I tend to zone out after about 30 seconds after the usual brag-fest about whose child is at the best school!

Atm I am supporting a friend whose child is going through an utterly catastrophic time at a top 10 public school. If it weren't so sad it would make me roffle that people honestly think you can buy your children a better life by paying through the nose for an independent education.

I know a few high achievers. None of them are happier than me, have a warmer house than me or have more food to eat than me. Some of them might have better relationships within their families (but that has 0 to do with schooling) and of course they all have more money than me. But having money is stressful in itself. As I said, none of them are happier than me. I would not change places.

wordfactory Thu 18-Apr-13 21:29:31

People have explained this to you before; critical mass.

You can't justify a class for a smattering of kids. You just can't divert resources that way, not when there aren't enough resources to ensure that all DC can even access the curiculum.

For example, DS is currently working on a piece in French that would be beyond what my DD could tackle. She's in the top set for french and will get an A*. Probably will do A level in it. To make it worth having a French class doing what DS is doing, you need numbers!

duchesse Thu 18-Apr-13 21:30:35

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.* This for me sums it up perfectly.

It's about expectation first and foremost. The focus is not on the exam but on the education of the child (that thing that even if they are stuck in a desert dying of thirst, they still have with them). I wanted an education for my children, not just a bunch of exam results. The exam results should be a by-product, not an end result. The extra resources in independent go towards achieving the aims.

And teaching can and does happen with a blackboard under a baobab tree (to quote one of my wonderful university lecturers)- you don't need a load of expensive hardware and software, just dedicated, talented teachers.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 21:30:44

I participate because DHs work involves going to all sorts of schools and the views of the parents are a form of CPD

My sister is an ex public school top Uni high achiever. She is clever, rich, highly paid, very successful, taller than me, has a lovely (public school) husband and gorgeous son.
She and I get on a storm because there is more to life than money.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 21:36:03

Talkin since we're being utopian I'd include an even mix of all subjects, though I wouldn't include sport as a subject (it would come incidentally anyhow, as would music and drama and art, even if they weren't separately included at the outset, which I'd like them to be).

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:37:10

talkin DH has also been involved in university outreach. And I've been involved in profession based outreach. It's not even close to being a panacea but for some subjects (not the ones that DH and I are involved in, as it happens) it could make a gigantic difference, especially in the wake of years of dumbing down or rather narrowing the focus in some subject.

As for science - of course I'm not saying ignore science. But not everyone can be a scientist. Not even everyone at Winchester is good enough at science to become a scientist even if every single pupil the wanted to be one. Same with medicine and vet Sci. This relentless focus on those being the only subjects that matter is doing serious damage now to other subjects and to the esteem of kids who are gifted in those subjects. We do not, as a country or indeed as a world, need everybody to be good at music. We do not need everybody to be good at philosophy. But neither do we need everyone to be forced down the route declared by the soulless minions of orthodoxy to be the One True Path to braininess. It's as if the whole country had gone collectively mad, to be honest.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 21:37:23

The % of children who genuinely need to be educated separately because their 'special educational need' of being exceptionally intelligent is of such a high order that they cannot be efficiently and effectively educated in a mainstream school is probably far less than 5%. Probably fractions of 1% - the top 2% of ability encompasses the same total range of ability as from 2% to 98% combined (because of the shape of the normal distribution curve) and the very top of that 2% is therefore really quite extreme, whereas the child at the 98th centile is actually still quite close to the 'average'

Giftedness literature varies, but some authors say 1 in 10,000 level is 'exceptionally gifted', not the 1 in 20 implied by top 5%, and it is only those 1 in 1000 or 1 in 10,000 children who have utterly different needs and thus need special treatment - those who do University level maths at primary age, not those who get 10A* vs a child with 8As and 2 Bs at GCSE.

And yes, a 'special school' type provision for those VERY rare children is sensible. But not for the top 5% - someone on the 95th or 96th centile is well able to thrive within mainstream education.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 18-Apr-13 21:38:56

It isn't as drastic as humanity to science *yellowtip*. I have tried to pm you but can't at the moment - there seems to be a problem with the website. Paradoxically he's a bright boy in a very selective school but certainly not stellar within his micro-environment.

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 21:39:56

As I said, wordfactory- I need advantages that outweigh the disadvantages. Your French whizz could be in the top set of a comprehensive with the other A* candidates, and have outside coaching to top up.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 21:42:26

(I am a 'normally bright' - PhD educated, Cambridge 1st - type person, and I suppose if my picture of 'high intelligence' was someone like me, or someone like my children (also 'normally bright' in the same mould) then I would view this slightly differently. However I also know 2 '1 in 10,000' bright people - 1 an adult, 1 a child' - and recognise that their intelligence is utterly unlike mine, and utterly unlike that normally regarded as 'top 5%' etc. I know that they have needed a very different type of education)

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 21:42:38

Is there pressure on everybody to become scientists?
DH and I have actually persuaded DD that Biomedical will be better for her (and the planet) than vet school.
But until media types are no longer permitted to greet DH with "I know nothing about science" science still needs pushing.

The views of Richard Feynmann on genius are very interesting : he was very anti segregating the incredibly bright off from the rest of us because it makes them so isolated that they may never properly re integrate - that was why he did not like the IAS at Princeton.

duchesse Thu 18-Apr-13 21:42:56

Teacher I'm not sure it's as simple as that either: personality plays a huge part as well. I have 3 children with IQs tested at between 133 and 145 at various points. Children 1 and 3 were absolute buggers through primary school and not a bed of roses through secondary but child 2 with similar IQ has been absolutely fine all the way through and would probably have been fine anywhere.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:43:20

seeker But why should he have to sacrifice his free time to be taught at an appropriate level? And lose the opportunity to do the sort of extra curricular stuff that actually matters far more in educational and roundedness terms than a sheaf of GCSE certificates? It's bonkers. And deeply unfair.

duchesse Thu 18-Apr-13 21:45:39

And by "an absolute bugger" I mean school refusal/self-harm/disengagement/refusal to take part, not beating the hell out of other kids.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 21:47:03

Duchesse - which is why I believe that assessment for such 'special schools' would, like the assessment for current 'special schools' be via a battery of tests and observations by Ed Psychs or the like. A single measure of 'intelligence' alone would not be sufficient to determine who would need segregated education and who would do best in mainstream - as is common practice in SEN education at the moment.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 21:47:34

whereas the cluster / federated system would allow the top one or two from each of a group of schools to work together
and different kids in different subjects
and no exclusion of those without rich or motivated parents
and will be cheaper than setting up yet more schools

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 21:48:00

(to clarify, multipe tests and observations inform the decision as to whether a child would do best in SS or in mainstream)

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:49:13

Sciences are prioritised at GCSE and A level in the current league table environment at the expense of arts and humanities subjects. And at the expense of diversity in MFL teaching too. How can it be right that double science is a requirement but one single humanity and one single MFL (and zero arts subjects) are required for the currently mandated measure of acceptable attainment? There should be more and better science teaching in all schools - but it shouldn't be imposed on kids who have other interests or talents and who have achieved an acceptable minimum level of understanding.

duchesse Thu 18-Apr-13 21:50:30

My 2 problem children's teachers just thought it a good idea to tell me my children were autistic/immature/naughty/lazy instead. It got quite boring in the end.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:51:07

talkin Exactly. That's why I proposed it.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:52:19

Teacher- that's basically what happened with my DD1.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 21:52:57

Please carry on trying to pm married, I'm genuinely interested. Bright in that environment will be just fine smile (stellar could end up spooky).

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 21:54:07

do you think that kids should be fully segregated from mainstream schools - top and bottom of normal distribution - or units attached to main schools
(and I am not including those who are disruptive by breain chemistry)

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 22:01:36

I'm a fan of the top 5% precisely because it allows 'normality' whilst not noticeable adversely affecting those in the 95% school. I set huge store by normality, for all sorts of reasons.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 18-Apr-13 22:05:04

Having read up the thread a bit Yellowtip a lot does indeed depend upon where one lives. We do not pay £30k; we pay about £19k for a top London selective. There are no other viable options in South West London for clever boys whose strengths are humanity/creative/ linguistic based rather than mathematical or scientific.

Had DS been naturally mathematically or scientifically motivated we would have sent him to Tiffin. He would have got in but if I say he got 99%, 98%, 97%, 96% respectively for Eng Lang, Latin, Mandarin/Eng Lit, History and still got A*s closer to the border for Maths/sciences I think that puts it in perspective. That really isn't meant as a boast but as a justification for why one makes the decisions one does taking all the prevailing circumstances into account.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 22:05:32

but which 5% / .... that is why the setting / clustering would allow the top 5% in every different way to be catered for

that is of course the crass failure in seekers favourite Kent 11+ : kids have to be all things to all people to get through it rather than being allowed to be individuals

seeker Thu 18-Apr-13 22:13:49

"seeker But why should he have to sacrifice his free time to be taught at an appropriate level? And lose the opportunity to do the sort of extra curricular stuff that actually matters far more in educational and roundedness terms than a sheaf of GCSE certificates? It's bonkers. And deeply unfair."

Turn it round. Why should the entire education system be geared to suit the needs of a tiny minority? Particularly when it's a tiny minority whose needs can be adequately met by alternative means?

Copthallresident Thu 18-Apr-13 22:21:37

Xenia You must be tired. I was making the point that true confidence and assertiveness comes with the maturity to know and understand your strengths and weaknesses and to be secure enough to listen, have empathy and to care. When those qualities are missing as they certainly were amongst some of the madams at DDs school who seek security through tribal behaviour and exclusivity, it doesn't really make a difference that they are part of a sloane rather than chav tribe, then it is arrogance and a sense of entitlement.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 22:29:24

Geography is all married, which is catastrophically unfair if you can't up or downshift. We were where we were and incredibly lucky, I'm very conscious of that. I don't have any grounds for believing that my DC would have fared well in London assuming we hadn't been able to pay (I couldn't have competed with the mad levels of Tiffin/ HB/ QEB tutoring) and yet plonked in an arid zone of unremarkable comps I think they'd have done very averagely too. The variable quality of education is just such a mess, and I do count my blessings. I don't subscribe to the view that bright kids will do well whatever the school; I believe the quality of school is key.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 22:33:43

I don't subscribe to the view that bright kids will do well whatever the school
large numbers of kids come out of dire schools with amazing results

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 22:46:58

Seeker To punish people for being good at stuff is the surest way to ensure that nobody except the people who can buy out of such an iniquitous system never even try. Kids have an absolute right to be taught to their ability in the time set aside for education. It's ridiculous and a bit twisted to suggest that they should be punished and robbed of their free tie just so that the kids who aren't quite as good at whatever the particular subject is don't have to admit that sometimes someone is better at sme stuff than they are.

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 22:47:59

I happen to believe that the quality of educational provision is hugely important Tp and should be evenly distributed around the country.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 22:49:20

Talkin They do. But large numbers who should, don't. Despite what Seeker maintains one size does not fit all and individual kids have individual needs. And as we all know, sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of many. And now excuse me while I go off to have a quiet little cry grin

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 18-Apr-13 22:50:00

And I was probably top 20% and went to a very very good Kent grammar school where I was spectacularly unacademic at the time - if i hadn't got in my parents would have kept me at my frightfully nice independent school which I attended from age 7 and which probably won my place at the grammar. They girls who didn't get in, stayed.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 22:50:38

Shit shit shit. This bloody iPad. The needs of the one outweigh the needs of THE many. That is the one quote I would never ever get wrong except for my rubbish typing.

teacherwith2kids Thu 18-Apr-13 22:53:17

Interesting one on the 'specialist units vs stand alone schools' question. Locally, the special schools are in the grounds of a good comprehensive - spearate institutions on 1 site. I think that is a possible model BUT geography might dictate a different arrangement e.g. on the camps of a local university might be another option. Co-location does porovide for e.g. very spiky profiles, mainstream provision in subjects where ability is less extreme (e.g. both the people I know would have benefitted from mainstream school in 1 or more subjects), PE etc etc

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 22:54:09

Ok but before you cry, what had DS done to warrant the laundry basket crime, or is DD simply mecurial like that?

Yellowtip Thu 18-Apr-13 22:56:49

mercurial. Triple shit.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 18-Apr-13 23:05:24

Yellow I've lost track of their many concurrent running disputes. I think it was a revenge mission. Who knows. sad

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 00:18:54

Maybe I've spent to long battling to get help for my DS1 and have become bitter and twisted about the ability of state ed to meet the needs of those who are not the norm. But I can't see the state sector ever meeting the needs of the top 1% let alone the 1 in a 10 000 they just don't have the mind set or resources to cope with significant difference.
Before I get accused of bashing state ed again IME the main stream independent sector was also unable to meet the needs of DS1 there has been one difference between them; at the independent schools he's attended they promised to implement the recommendations in the ed psych report but didn't (which is why yellows accusations of my gullibility is so laughable I've been lied to by teachers so many times that I can detect a lie before they even open their mouths to speak and have become thoroughly cynical), in the state sector they commissioned another report, carefully read the recommendations which were even more specific than previous ones and then filed the report under B for bin and told me that they had no intention of implementing the recommendations least you know where you stand so I've decided that a preferable. I just want to add that none of recommendations required anything more complex than the ability to press the print button when doing slides for a smart board and occasionally checking his comprehension when detailing complex instructions. DS1's problems are I accept usual apparently only 1 in 500 have his profile and the system like the NHS and other areas in the public sector large and unwieldy so ultimately there is not room for significant and long term variation on a theme. So my experience has taught me that for those who academic ability puts them in 10 000 or any other needs for that matter they haven't got a cats hope in hell of having them met.

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 00:21:39

Unusual not usual. This new gadget thing can't get to grips with my awful spelling!

Yellowtip Fri 19-Apr-13 07:41:21

happy the top schools have exactly the mind set to deal with the top per cent, and do so very effectively. You are very definitely extrapolating here, and concluding wrongly. You may well not wish to believe your DS could be catered for in the state sector but I expect he most probably could.

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 08:12:11

Maybe I am extrapolating but my experience i very sadly far from unique many with children with SEN or other issues; moderate learning difficulties and even or significant health needs including things like type 1 diabetes school refusers and most worrying for me CP feel that children's individual needs are not being met. This isn't just at my DS1's school the more people I've talked to about my DS's problem on specialists forums/helplines and listen to those I work with the more I tragically hear the same story. I just cannot see that there is the infra structure man power or willingness to support the 1 10 000 super bright child they like those mentioned above would find the responsibility would be constantly being out back onto the parents.
"You may well not wish to believe your DS could be catered for in the state sector but I expect he most probably could."
Perhaps you didn't read one of my comments yesterday but when I looked at our local comp a couple of years ago for DS2 (where his brother goes) a couple of teachers and the head of SEN advised me in confidence to remain in the independent sector if I could afford it and if not to try and get a scholarship somewhere! We had been given this advise twice at primary level 6-7 years previously but I was hoping it would be better at senior level.

wordfactory Fri 19-Apr-13 08:28:35

Sorry seeker but I just don't think DS would be appropriately educated if were in a top set at a comp (at least in some subjects).

There would be no point for him to be doing the GCSE sylabus in certain subjects. So why should he go over and over it? That's hardly a recipe for promoting passion in a subject, is it?

And why should he do extension work in his spare time? In his spare time he has PC games to play and crisps to eat!!! And he's a chorister which at his school is A Big Thing. And he plays a sport out of school which takes up a fair wad of time in training.

And anyway, who would do this extension work with him? Teachers are already up in arms about Gove's proposals to extend the school day, why would they want to spend Saturdays teaching my DS?

And here's the thing. My son is catagorically not a genius. He is not gifted. I have a friend with a child like that and DS is not remotely similar. But because he has been around peers with a similar ability and interest, his ability and interest has grown and grown. The collegiate atmosphere has done what yellow described and normalised DS academic abilities.

Now I'm perfectly happy to pay for my DS to have this. And lucky me I have money and a flat in town where we can live during the week so DS can attend his school of choice. But for those kids who don't have that, surely super selective grammars are the way to go?

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 08:42:59

There is also no point in doing extension work at home and then coming back into the classroom and doing the same as the rest of the class even if it is the top set IME this just results it boredom and pissing about.
And yes you are right word your DS needs to have time out of school to enjoy other things.

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 08:45:29

On tribal issue I don't think the confidence some children have and perhaps have more of at private schools is always a bad thing. Also any group of teenagers on the planet if they are normal will have sometimes awful divisions about who is "in" and who isn't, in comprehensives and private schools. It is the nature of humans to be so and not always one of our best characteristics. I don't think the private schools are any worse than any other school for that and in the very bright (and hugely mixed racially and culturally) independent schools around here (which by the way c an be tiop 10 in the country and £15k, not even the ££19k or £30k mentioned above) there can be less of that than in the state system.

Confidence is important. Both schools sectors should aim to ensure as many children as possible leave school with it.

duchesse Fri 19-Apr-13 08:49:27

I entirely agree with Xenia. Having myself grown up with academic ability in spades but zero confidence and seen where that got me, I wanted almost the exact opposite for my children. Luckily they're bright as well. I don't have the confidence to go out and earn £££ like Xenia does but I earn £ and spend it all on school fees because I feel that strongly that my children shouldn't told they are lazy/ autistic/ naughty/ from the word go at school. And it seems to have worked, thankfully. My children all have a lot of confidence to try new things and aren't knocked back by reversals or failure.

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 08:56:14

I always thought I was good (and I suppose objectively I am). Interesting issue is whether as I was at a not very academic school (small/private) and I think I got the best A levels in my school, scholarship to university, university prizes etc I had that feeling because of the fact compared to quite a few of the other girls I was pretty good or whether it as just objective knowledge.

Had I been at a school like those my children were at (which have their fair share of the genius type of child never mind my ordinary fairly bright ones, then may be it would have been otherwise although I suspect not.

Having been through graduation and first jobs with my older ones I do think skills such as ability to talk to people, knowing what to wear, accent, conversation topics can make a big difference to obtaining jobs and keeping them particularly in difficult economic times such as now and indeed when I made 115 job applications at university a good few years ago before Thatcher's wonderful efforts began to pay fruit.

duchesse Fri 19-Apr-13 09:05:47

I was objectively good and always thought I was crap. I know which ethos of the two of us I'd rather have had.

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 10:31:55

I wonder what makes some people think they are okay and others not. Are we just born like that? Obviously in some cases if you've had a parent telling you you are useless that can be the reason.

I suppose it may be happiness hormones or just the natural outlook on life with which people are were born. I am very much at one extreme. I remember one mumsnet thread in part about all the things that have gone wrong - so many of my attempts with worth things have not succeeded but it doesn't seem to matter as I know it will come good so I just bounce along like a rubber ball knowing things always work out well and get better and better.

(I am only using good academically as it's not for me to say if I'm morally good although I don't think I'm too bad at that nor at being a parent either).

I don't actually think that private schools or comps or any schools "make children happy" (even Wellington's attempts at happiness lessons cannot provide a cure all for that) although I do think some children are unhappy to be sent to boarding school and some children may end up in schools in any sector where they are bullied and best to leave. However sometimes the sport, uplifting music and fields/trees/lakes and architecture of some schools can help.

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 10:47:28

Xenia if only we knew exactly what makes children happy confident and secure. Of course we know what doesn't; what makes them dysfunctional and with significant mental health problems etc, but the absence of these things doesn't mean that they will happy go lucky successful well balanced individuals.
My GP believes that failing to meet a child's individual education needs, especially in teenagers, by schools where expectations are high curriculums are more complex, and pressure is on for good grades, uni entry etc is one of the reasons teenagers turn to drugs/alcohol/anti social behaviour etc and why they develop mental health problem: school refusal, OCD depression and physical problems IBS persistent migraines ME etc

duchesse Fri 19-Apr-13 10:56:38

Imo happiness and mental health are not necessarily as genetic as they appear. In my father's family there has been incredible depression (possibly manic in my father's case) for generations. In DH's family there was also depression down his father's side. Both DH and I are subject to depressive episodes (though thankfully nowhere near as badly as our fathers- my father still has new acquaintances' jaw dropping). I was depressed from the age of 6. Not one of our children is depressive- they all have sunny personalities and are able to bounce back from adversity. Of course they could just all have been genetically lucky and inherited their grandmothers' outlooks, but I do think that the efforts we've made as parents to create a positive environment for them has helped a lot in the positivity of their outlook.

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 11:04:18

We know some mental health conditions have an element of inheritance eg schizophrenia, another example is that if either of your parents were alcoholics you are more likely to be an alcoholic.
But there was a fascinating program n the radio. A US academic had been able to identify on a CT or MRI what a psychopaths brain looked like. But on scanning his own brain as part of the research he was upset and shocked to discover his brain also had the same structure but he was not a psychopath. The conclusion he came to that it nature and nurture that affects how we turn out.

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 12:02:38

That is probably true. My father, a psychiatrist, felt we were all probably 50% nature and nuture and that seems to be consistent with a lot of studies although adopted children are not always like the siblings of the family into which they are adopted and we are finding out more and more about genes and their interaction so it may be that genes are little higher than 50%.

Happiness is higher if you eat good foods and exercise and go outside so certainly parents can have an influence there.

I did see the recent articles about pressure on teenagers and 20 somethings. I am not a pressuring sort of parent

Copthallresident Fri 19-Apr-13 12:44:29

There is a lot of sense in this article, I am sure Yellowtip will enjoy the first paragraph wink and I can certainly vouch for the fact that getting your child into an indie/ and / or Oxbridge in no way immunises them from the difficult job market they will encounter.

What I was actually looking for Xenia was the article about SPGS starting a parenting forum, a symptom of the fact that all the Heads at these independent schools are increasingly concerned about the welfare and behaviour of parts of their cohorts, and the way in which they feel some parents are contributing to the problem, as she says in this article, you can't parent by iphone. In the case of my DDs' school one Head of Year said that it had been getting worse all through her thirty year career but that DDs' year was by far the worst, and some of those girl's back stories would make you weep. In the end one third of the year left after GCSE because of the disruption and intimidation caused by the alpha group of girls, and that group of girls still sit at one end of the Sixth Form Common Room and hiss at anyone who dares to sit in "their" seats. Of course teenagers hate to be different and like to be in a group with shared norms but you have deliberately ignored my point that these are DCs who have not been equipped with sound moral values, and the security to live by them. Being secure is different to confidence, and is rooted in complete and unconditional parental love, something I know some of these girls do not feel they can rely on, hence the attention seeking behaviour. As my DD has commented she used to envy those girls whose parents never seemed to say no but then realised it didn't make them happy and in a way the fact that I did was reassuring, as well as obviously soooo annoying smile

An indie education is also not inoculation from the consequences of bad parenting, and the affluence and the fact it is perpetrated by clever girls actually can make it more damaging for others.

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Apr-13 12:58:25

Presumably good parenting and good schools both help foster resilience by setting boundaries and finding the time to work on issues.

Indies have advantages here because they are better resourced and can select. (I suspect from a few odd 11+ decisions, that Prep Schools may tip off senior schools about bright but potentially challenging pupils.) More mixed comprehensives will inevitably need to prioritise those kids who are potentially in real trouble, eg in care or on the periphery of gangs.

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 13:51:05

CR, I agree. I was taking confidence to include security. A lot of bullies and nasty people go home and cry, are awful because they were never loved etc etc. However simple self confidence springing from being happy and perhaps a good school environment is a huge life asset.

As for schools with cliches I am not sure they are too different now from how they ever were in all schools ever or indeed any group of school gate mothers or men or women in an office. I imagine day schools are better because you can be yourself at home even if you feel under pressure at school.

I don't think bullying girls are those whose parents do not say no to them although damage at home of some kind probably does make those children more likely to be like that. A lot of children find social media really helpful - they can make friends on line who may be share their interests where that is stamp collecting or being a goth or whatever else kind of different from the prevailing norm is there at school. Also surely most schools have groups of different teenagers and most children find some sort of niche and indeed learning to live with people who can be awful to you is not that bad a life skill to develop as any of us with children moving from university work will know. The office is the school x 1000 worse and you need at school to have learned how to fit in or how to lead or follow or how to be different.

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 14:06:45

") More mixed comprehensives will inevitably need to prioritise those kids who are potentially in real trouble, eg in care or on the periphery of gangs."

Needmoresleep- you are aware, arent't you? that 93% of the nation's children go to state schools? And very fewnofnthem are "on the periphery of gangs". Whatever it says in the Daily Mail.

Yellowtip Fri 19-Apr-13 14:13:00

I certainly did Copthall, thanks smile I enjoyed the rest of it too.

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Apr-13 14:37:00

Seeker, I was perhaps thinking more of the inner city choices we faced. Unless the debate is simply about why state schools in nice leafy suburbs don't do as well as private schools with similar demographics.

Our local school had 93% on free school dinners, and its positive Ofsted report was clear that it did well for some very troubled kids. Not just those flirting with criminality but plenty with other educational and social needs. One consistent concern of local parents both at primary and secondary is that as priority for resources was given to those who needed it most, their children's less pressing needs might be over-looked. Eg that it is not just private schools have more resources, but that the strains on those resources are not as great, so they have more scope to work on petty misbehaviour and low level bullying.

Gang culture and the pressures put on local teenagers is a big concern here in Sarf London. As much, indeed probably more, from parents with children at state schools, and certainly something that seems to worry parents of boys from those ethnic minorities most associated with gang culture.

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 15:16:39

Perhaps for teenagers you pay fees to buy a more preferable gang culture which may do them mroe long term good if the gang you pay for them to join is the well connected blonde thin clever Oxbridge girl gang or the CCF boy gang etc. or C of E or Catholic school gang. Perhaps it is all about gangs at the end of the day and being in the gang that gets you a job and a nice partner.

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Apr-13 15:23:42


I had not meant to say anything controversial....or particularly Daily Mailish, though can't see why the odd Daily Mail view cant be thrown into the mix once in a while - if only to have Grauniad readers choke over their coffee. Or perhaps we could try to keep debate in the format of Sun headlines.

wordfactory Fri 19-Apr-13 15:28:16

The fact is that some schools have a whole host of problems to deal with, and do deal with them admirably.

But, quite rightly, it does mean that little Johnnie's high ability in Latin is fairly low priority.

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Apr-13 15:58:22

Whilst Mr Boffin the Science Teacher that everyone thinks is "super" is only at MN Posh School because he could not control his class in the state sector.

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 16:32:28

Wow- I don't think I've ever come across a school with 93% FSM!

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Apr-13 17:02:16

It was a few years back at the stage we were considering our approach to education (move, cheat, find religion, hope our kids were clever, or pay). I did some voluntary mentoring when my kids were young and though teachers were impressive and individual kids super, the educational offer they received was unacceptable and disruption levels in the classroom high.

Things are better now, in part because the demographics are changing, but still not great. Hence those threads about renting in the Graveney catchment, etc.

Copthallresident Fri 19-Apr-13 17:39:45

Xenia I hope what I paid for is an education that would enable my DDs to see beyond stereotypes and the need to be part of any sort of tribe. That is certainly what the schools ethos is about "encourage self-confidence, self-esteem, adaptability and
independence of thought, and to support the girls' personal,
moral and spiritual development;" and I do not know of a teacher in state or private schools who would support your sad idea of what constitutes a successful approach to life. I wonder what on earth you do since in my business career what mattered most was the ability to network with people regardless of background.

I know plenty of thin blonde clever Oxbridge women who are a bit bitter and twisted because it did not bring instant career success, or a partner that was necessarily nice.............

Good grief presumable you would advocate assemblies on how to get thin, then perhaps more than two of DDs peers would have been in the Priory by the age of 14 with Anorexia.............

YoniMaroney Fri 19-Apr-13 18:10:16

seeker: the highest is Lilian Baylis in Vauxhall

76% FSM, though 91% within past six years.

YoniMaroney Fri 19-Apr-13 18:13:25

Ofsted Outstanding, FWIW, although I suspect it is outstanding by its many deprived children, and it would be a pretty 'committed' London middle class liberal that chose to send their child there.

Talkinpeace Fri 19-Apr-13 18:16:38

Interesting point about self esteem.

I was not brought up with my father (a series of father figures and a stepdad but not the blood one) : a trendy view when I was starting work was that my assertiveness in work was because my father had not slapped me down.

On the other hand the fact that I was the school bully was never recognised as being because my relationship with my mother was grossly dysfunctional : something I've only resolved recently, hopefully in time to help my own kids.

I "under achieved" because I could not see the point as I never got praised. My sister has achieved fabulously and it reassures me that if I give my kids the support she got, they will do as well; even though my kids are at state school rather than boarding.

Happygardening I know you are pleased with what Winchester is achieving with your son, BUT as you have no way of testing the hypothesis that if you had not been rich, a state school could also have done excellent things with him, please do not dismiss all state schools on the basis of your perceptions of his needs and abilities. Only time will tell on the relative merits of the choices you have made for your two sons.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 19-Apr-13 18:26:23

Sorry, have not read the whole thread, but WordFactory made a very interesting point earlier in the thread - ie that Common Entrance is more or less GCSE standard, and that GCSEs are just a minor hicccup/irritation in the process of educating the whole child. THAT is why we wanted our DC to go to a school where education, rather than exam-passing was the ethos. DS1 is in Y10, and the work he is doing is what our Y12s are covering at the maintained school I work in - serious physics/maths/etc that DC laps up. My Y8 DS is doing stuf that at my school is A* GSCE, so likely they will all walk it in Y11. My school is not GS, but is outstandinging comp, where a class of Y11's have done their GCSE maths 6 months early, and all but 3 have acheived A*.
Forget results - what we are paying for is the ride - the results are incidental.

Slipshodsibyl Fri 19-Apr-13 18:33:32

Mrssalvo , is the work you do at the maintained school teaching or some other role?

Talkinpeace Fri 19-Apr-13 18:36:41

Your child will not "walk" GCSE in year 11, he'll be bored out of his tiny mind by then. Or will he do everything early? And then have to tread water until university? Or go there early and then have to tread water?
Or enter the world of work immature and unready?

DD is in year 10 at a comp. She is coasting a lot. She could get straight A / A* next week in her GCSEs
but instead she does DofE, music, dancing, learning about the world and teaching herself spare languages because she wants to
she has developed self motivation, so that when she hits University she'll be ready to stretch sideways in new ways while still planning her own time effectively

DS is still "work in progress" !

Needmoresleep Fri 19-Apr-13 18:43:39

Yoni, you got it. Going back a bit further I think it got up to 93%. I had not however realised that it was such an outlier. However illustrates that state vs private is a difficult debate when there is such a range within the state system, and within the private sector.

happygardening Fri 19-Apr-13 18:53:24

"BUT as you have no way of testing the hypothesis that if you had not been rich, a state school could also have done excellent things with him, please do not dismiss all state schools on the basis of your perceptions of his needs and abilities."
I dont think I have dismissed all state schools I've frequently encouraged people to consider the state sector not once have I ever said that the independent sector is perfect or always the better option.
You're right I have no way of testing this hypothesis I'm interested that you think the outcome would be the same although ultimately it couldn't be because of lack of opportunities is that your experience?

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 19-Apr-13 18:54:36

TalkinPeace precisely! They are ticking over the work they need for the GCSE, but expanding their interests outside the narrow confines of the syllabus.
Slipshod teacher. Love the school I am in, and do the best for the students, as do all the teachers there. The maintained (state) sector can provide an excellent education for those who work hard, and bends over backwards for those who are disadvantaged, but it IS a postcode lottery.

Talkinpeace Fri 19-Apr-13 19:46:13

and too many fee paying school parents do not realise that the state schools do the fun stuff with the bright kids too ....

stuff beyond exams does not show up in league tables after all

based not only on my personal history, bus also on DHs experience of working at around 100 schools a year for the last 14 years,
if exceptional kids are supported in a constructive manner they will excel anywhere (sadly too many thick mums think Titus is bright and skew reportage - I do not count you in that list)

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 20:23:52

Since when have people called them "maintained schools"?

Slipshodsibyl Fri 19-Apr-13 20:38:51

Maintained is the what state schools are called by the DFE so is the official terminology really.

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 20:40:01

Hasn't been in common use for a long time, though, surely?

wordfactory Fri 19-Apr-13 20:40:01

Talkin - I don't doubt that some state comps do some 'fun stuff'.

But let's be brutal here. It simply won't be the same.

First, there won't be the critical mass of students in the same situation. So the students in question will be an after thought rather than the norm.
Second, you won't get the same resources. Teachers is state schols are knackered. Go to any threads with teachers on them and you'll find reams of posts explaining that they're over worked, underpaid, undervalued and leaving in their droves.

You just can't expect them to prioritise kids like these! It's as you say for your DD; they coast!!!! And whilst you might not mind that, I jolly well do.

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 20:44:59

So what happens to the "children like that" if they happen to be born into a poor or disadvantaged family?

Slipshodsibyl Fri 19-Apr-13 20:46:19

I am out of date but I use it when writing, though not in conversation. As far as I know it is still commonly used in educational settings and certainly in DFE communications

wordfactory Fri 19-Apr-13 21:19:03

Same as happens now seeker ...

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 21:22:35

I didn't say the posh, the rough, the emo, the thin or the fat or the anything gang was desirable but I do think parents in effect pick a peer group when they choose a school for teenagers and if you pick well you can benefit your child. I would hope most of us want our children well able to be individuals but if the peer group is 100% going to the best universities they are less likely to err and stray than if the peer group is headed for the doll. Thus pick a school with the right gang and half your work is done in a sense.

wordfactory Fri 19-Apr-13 21:27:12

seeker sorry I thought you asked what will happen, not what does!

So what does happen to them.

Well some 'em manage a place a selective school.
Some of 'em will find their way into a non selective school and happen upon some or one great teacher who challenges them.
Some of 'em will coast but do just fine.

But IMVHO most of 'em will underperform. Which is a shocking waste of talent.

Talkinpeace Fri 19-Apr-13 21:43:52

but you - as my parents did - pick on a date in year7
and my school till year 10 was fab
then the head changed
and by year 13 was 17 / 42 having to retake
GDST high profile school that picked wrong ...

Xenia Fri 19-Apr-13 22:31:47

May be but the leading schools tend to be in the top few for exam results for 40 or 50 years. North London C where a daughter went has always been pretty good since Miss Buss and Miss Beale founded it in the Victorian age.

As long as you have that good reputation evne if you have a not go good head for a couple of years until Governors realise their mistake you still have the teaching staff and the local parents fighting to get the best chidlren into that school so I don't think they suffer that much which is why I like league tables which give you data going back a very long way- not just how did one school fix its figures in 2013 but has ie always be a top 10 school for 15 years or whatever or placed at 50 or whatever is what people feel matters to them.

seeker Fri 19-Apr-13 22:50:46

"The best children"

<pulls skirts away with a moue of distaste>

bulletpoint Fri 19-Apr-13 23:28:48

Interesting thread.
Let's face it Xenia in your perfect world, children will be selected by their IQ's, the cut off point for you is 120, anything less is not fit to sit next your dc in class, as you have said on many a thread. Only these priviledged einstein's will be allowed to go to university, majority of university courses will be scraped e.g teaching etc as anyone can teach! The "thick as two planks of wood" children as you call them will be
sent to the gas chambers used for hard labour and serve the 'bright citizens' have I summed it up well grin

Copthall Xenia does not get what you are pointing out re: confidence v arrogance and entitled because she is the embodiment of it. These ghastly 'gangs' that she has profiled are exactly what makes people like her tick. She will never understand attributes like moral and spiritual growth, empathy and caring, to Xenia these are weaknesses, for the dim.

seeker Sat 20-Apr-13 07:53:25

"Thick as two planks of wood" comment is an improvement for Xenia. "Dregs" was her word of choice a while ago.

Xenia Sat 20-Apr-13 08:39:31

I am being taken rather out of context. I have simply said most parents want to do the best for their children and bright children do better in schools with other bright children. I obviously understand the average IQ is 100. I have never said I am against the provision of state schooling for children of any IQ level.

No, the gang can be one which is caring. having observed so far at least 3 groups of teenagers and their friends under the veneer some of them have teenagers can be some of the nicest, most open caring beings on the planet. However without doubt most parents even on mumsnet are choosing a gang, a peer group when they decide which school and in life and in work and in relationships people tend to be in groups.

If anyone is suggesting children who are not clever should go to university or obtain jobs as brain surgeons I think they need to think very carefully about the implications of that. Do you want to be operated on by a surgeon with an IQ of 95 who managed to qualify through paying bribes or who qualified under a system where you need no competence?

rabbitstew Sat 20-Apr-13 09:03:04

I think, Xenia, that some people are questioning what "doing better" means. I think also that trying to find the right group or gang for your children is more of a concern for parents who are that way inclined themselves. Those parents who never felt drawn into any need to change the way they thought or behaved in order to fit in with a group themselves are less likely to have that concern cross their minds with respect to their own children (unless and until it happens).

seeker Sat 20-Apr-13 09:10:40

"I am being taken rather out of context"

The last refuge of the scoundrel.

bulletpoint Sat 20-Apr-13 09:46:40

if anyone is suggesting children who are not clever should go to university or obtain jobs as brain surgeons I think they need to think very carefully about the implications of that.

What a ridiculous statement! No one is suggesting anything of the sort and this is why we already have a system that can select the best candidates for each vocation wether it be brain surgeon or car mechanic.
Who exactly are these not very clever people going to university AND becoming brain surgeons confused

Do you want to be operated on by a surgeon with an IQ of 95 who managed to qualify through paying bribes or who qualified under a system where you need no competence?

You do talk a lot of bollocks! The point is Xenia under thinly veiled arrogance you look down on many children, university graduates and professions that in your opinion don't quite meet your IQ of 120 and above, the right accent, gangs, and earnings. Youhave said in the past that the majority should never have had the opportunity of attending university. I completely agree that there is a proliferation of what i would call useless degrees i.e degrees in 'line dancing' whatever, but you go quite beyond that.

Like rabbit has pointed out, most parents who never felt drawn into your type of 'mean girls' world would not seek this out for their own children. Your comment above about 'parents fighting to get the best children into that school' sums it up neatly for you its not enough to fight to get your OWN child into a good school, but YOU also feel the need to to fight to keep OTHER children OUT of that school. Basically you're not quite satisfied with the school selection system, and so you and your gang do everything you can to squeeze any 'dregs' that might slip through by being actively involved in the school. I can just see you sizing up the new intake every year and tutting at certain children, especially if they're fat!

happygardening Sat 20-Apr-13 11:44:25

"First, there won't be the critical mass of students in the same situation. So the students in question will be an after thought rather than the norm.
Second, you won't get the same resources. Teachers is state schols are knackered. Go to any threads with teachers on them and you'll find reams of posts explaining that they're over worked, underpaid, undervalued and leaving in their droves."
word Couldn't have put it better my self especially the 2nd sentence. DS1 IQ puts him in the top 5% to enable him to access the curriculum and produce the work he is capable of and to his ability he needs a little bit of help he's not even an after thought the staff at his school couldn't care less. I just want to make it clear that Im not hoping for a string of A*s and A's at GCSE I'm just asking for a string of C's rather than D's and E's. What hope have a tiny tiny minority of super bright got if you could care less about a child who has an extensive and detailed ed. psych report. Oh its that particular school I here you say. Sorry he's been in a variety of state schools same story. At one school I removed him from I actually said on the day he left to his teacher "I know you think he's as thick as a plank (pre ed. psych report) but I don't think he is" Her reply "Oh no I actually think he's the brightest child in the class but he's got something wrong with him but I dont have the time or the interest to find out what it is!" DS2 at another state was identified by them as a gifted mathematician "the governors actually told me to my face that they didnt have the interest or money to channel into one exceptional child as statically the chances of another one like him coming along in the next 30 years were negligible.
talkin I obviously don't know any thing about your DC's I am assuming they are doing very well at a state school or for that matter what your husband does for a living but this is my experience of state ed and its not just my experience if you talk to to may others with either similar profiles or even worse than my DS1 we will tell you the same thing or even more depressing stories and even more interestingly the general consensus from many parents I meet (and because of my job I met a lot) is that those at the very top the really supper gifted like my DS (maths and related subjects) their needs are not met in the state sector. talkin you can voice your opinion all day on MN but my experiences and others are real day to day experiences real experiences we actually know what if feel like to have our DC's in schools where when the push comes to the shove they couldn't care less.
The other thing you all need to take on board is that there is just no money left in the public sector. I still do some occasional work in the public sector and I am shocked at whats going. I've spent 29n years of my life working in the PS and thought i'd seen everything, in the last 10 years its been bad but I've never seen anything like this before. I for the first time am really frightened for Joe Public in particular the most vulnerable but even the likes of you and me are now regularly being out in life and death situations (I am still having nightmares about a situation the other week and) I cannot whistle blow because I will loose my job. So you who think that special schools groups or God know what can be set up for the 1 in 10 000 you are deluding yourselves they isn't any money left.
seeker you are right what about those who dont have the money to pay or those who dont have the confidence to fight the system (not that its going to do them nay good), who aren't articulate enough to at least try and fight, those who cant write a good letter and know who to complain too. Well they frankly are fucked.

Copthallresident Sat 20-Apr-13 12:15:57

I am thinking of MY peers who grew up on Council estates, went to state schools etc. and ended up at my uni (lower reaches of the RG), trying to think of what professions and careers they have been excluded from because they were not in one of Xenia's gangs, They are in the city, in banking, lawyers , barristers, senior management roles in business, publishing, advertising, doctors, journalism, including a couple of quite famous broadcast journalists . One thing is for sure, it doesn't matter what gang their children are in, they have next to no opportunities, in fact I know one Oxbridge DC who by the by is blonde and thin but also bright, charismatic and has built up a very impressive CV of internships and other activities but is now in their fifth year of trying to break into paid jounalism, even 30 years ago when we were starting out they would have walked straight into the BBC, now for someone from that "gang" it is actually an impossibility. The only thing I can think of that they might have been (self ) excluded from is upmarket estate agents and fine art auctioneers. Is that Xenia's career I wonder. Xenia inhabits a strange anachronistic world.

Talkinpeace Sat 20-Apr-13 20:31:53

Xenia has lots of contact with the real world in her work, she just chooses to stir it in her posts on here.

rabbitstew Sat 20-Apr-13 22:20:24

How do you know she has lots of contact with the "real world" in her work?

Talkinpeace Sat 20-Apr-13 22:22:56

grin - guess : that pacific Island she goes on about kinda gives her away sometimes

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 20-Apr-13 22:47:34

There are certain well paid careers which while most definitely being real themselves, and dealing with a facet of life which is very real, are nonetheless drastically removed from what most people consider to be 'real life'. Mine is the same - it's most definitely real, but it's as far removed from most people's lives as narnia is. Just like whizzy corporate legal work is.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 00:17:19

But those jobs are only available to "the best children", not "the dregs".

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 00:20:00

And I gt so pissed off with this "oh, I have so much contact with all sorts of people through my job. Why, only yesterday there must have been, oh, at least 10 working class people brought before me when was on the Bench. I so understand what their lives are like!"

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 00:36:19

seeker you're getting silly.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 00:39:50

Also, those jobs are actually available to the brightest children (as they have been for decades) which is no doubt all that Xenia meant by the 'best'.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 00:41:15

And I do wonder how far you know what their lives are like seeker?

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 07:31:24

At least I am aware that my knowledge is limited!

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 21-Apr-13 08:40:27

seeker And I gt so pissed off with this "oh, I have so much contact with all sorts of people through my job. Why, only yesterday there must have been, oh, at least 10 working class people brought before me when was on the Bench. I so understand what their lives are like!

Well, quite - that was kind of what I meant. Corporate law certainly deals in an aspect of 'the real world' but it might as well be Narnia as far as most people are concerned. I think the concept of 'the real world' is ridiculous anyway - what are the characteristics of 'real' in most peoples' experience? Health problems. Relationship problems. Money problems, yes, but most people would put them below the other two in terms of absolute badness and anyway, even the rich aren't impervious to those and they cat inky aren't impervious to the other two categories sad

As far as a particular type of career not being open to the dregs - bit fat WRONG. I'm certainly one of Xenia's 'dregs'.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 21-Apr-13 08:42:38

Cat inky? This marks a new low (or high?) in iPad autocorrect. I think I meant certainly. But from now on I will say cat inky whenever I mean the other thing. grin

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 09:24:30

I am being ascribed views I do not have. I respect all people. However none of us surely want children who are not bright enough to be going to university or doing jobs they are not up to, just as you would not want a useless footballer playing for England.

Yes, there are groups and gangs of all types across the globe from Amazon forests to the City to groups of mothers at school gates. I am sure everyone agrees they exist. I am probably one of the least clubbable/gangable people around actually, but to deny groups exist and not to give your children the tools to be part of a group is to fail them as a parent. Now that group may simply be your husband tells his son who leaves school at 16 to join his father working in the local post office what you do to fit in at the local post office or working at Heathrow as cabin staff or it may be helping your daughter fit in at Ernst & Young where her mother is an equity partner on £1m a year.

I certainly agree that we will get the best out of young people and recruit good people if we recruit quite broadly as long as broad is not recruiting from those who are not at all bright for jobs where that is required just as you would not recruit for the Olympics gymnastics team from women weighing only 20 stone and over.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 09:49:50

Recruit quite broadly"

What from Habs and NLC?

teacherwith2kids Sun 21-Apr-13 09:59:09

Surely, Xenia, recruiting the 'brightest' people would almost by definition require looking across the whole range of schools, for the top % of each of them - and in particular recognising that the very brightest children may well be those who do very, very well in non-selective, non-hothouse schools, as that often requires an intelligence and determination over and above that of children who have been in an environment where obtaining such results is 'the norm'.

It's like that statistic that says that non-selective state educated students, once at good universities, do better than their privately-educated and grammar counterparts, even if their A-level results are less good, because they have had (in general) to be brighter and have a strongter work ethic to get those results from those schools.

Slipshodsibyl Sun 21-Apr-13 10:13:26

Does she say that recruiting suitable candidates from abroad range is not good? I thought Xenia just feels her chosen schools are the most likely to equip her children with skills she hopes they will have due to peer group and practice etc.

I don't think the statistics above are as reliable as they sound. I believe the research was done including all subjects at all universities and if I recall correctly, was done by Bristol University. I think that Cambridge have stated that there is no difference between students with similar grades from either sector in their studies. I might be wrong, but this statistic has gained such currency that it is a bit unfair to state schools, most of which are preparing their A Level students pretty well.

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 10:18:51

I said the brightest. Sometimes ultimately the child who chose not to work at school and left at 16 builds up a business which does really well because they are very bright but were just into girls and drink until they were 25.

I doubt there would be many parents no here who would choose a school their child is likely to do well in than one they would do well in if they had the choice.

Plenty of children go to Oxbridge with good A level grades from comprehensives. The universities have always also made allowance for children from schools which do not usually do very well where a child is doing much better than others there. In a sense that ought to have applied to me - tiny private school where most children did not go to university and I got aberrantly (if that's a word) excellent results.

Where have I said employers recruit only from two private schools? No employers do that. However if you send your children to a good comp or grammar or private school then yes you will improve its chances so go for it.

happygardening Sun 21-Apr-13 10:49:10

I am being ascribed views I do not have.
That's a first for MN.
Well you lot may not have contact with the real world on a regular basis but I do.Those on the bottom on the heap the children of illegal immigrants, the under classes, refugees, the physically disabled, those with mental health problems, learning difficulties and more. Let me tell you its a crap place to be in the UK . For these groups getting their DC's into Ernst and Young is not on their radar feeding them, clothing them, putting a decent roof over their heads, access to caring high quality health care and basic education is their priority. They are being let down by the state including education at every turn. It is beyond my comprehension and it makes me so angry that we as one of the richest countries in the world allow this to happen. These are children we're talking about, our future they don't ask to live like they do they haven't chosen it.

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 12:06:02

How does that relate to selective schooling though unless I suppose selective schooling can be the route of those awful starts some children have? There is a proposed new selective sixth form in London with Westminster School which will be a state selective academy so that may be a route out of poverty for some of those children and be relevant to the thread.

Copthallresident Sun 21-Apr-13 12:07:41

Xenia You are mixing up social skills with tribalism, one is inclusive, the other exclusive. Of course we should equip our DCs with the social skills that will enable them to interact effectively with everyone they encounter, but I think it incredibly important that I raise my DCs to be inclusive in who they interact with, and not dismiss a person because of how they dress, talk, what school they went to etc. etc. Thankfully the education and business sectors understand the need for diversity. No one is saying you shouldn't select people on the basis of the qualities needed for the job , course etc. just that if you have those qualities you shouldn't be excluded from opportunity just because you don't speak and dress in a certain way. That of course works both ways since in some lines of work these days having been to Eton would put you at a disadvantage. Too many of DDs peers at their school do not have these inclusive social skills.

slipshod and teacher Those statistics are compiled for students who are admitted on the basis of contextual evidence of disadvantage, just going to a non selective state would not be sufficient evidence of disadvantage but going to a poorly performing state school and / or shortcomings in teaching would, along with family problems, SpLDs etc . Makes sense given top sets in a good comp will offer the same opportunities as Grammar Schools and a lot of independents to do well All universities are compiling those statistics on an ongoing basis as part of the process of devising fair access strategies and at my uni they do still show that there is a way to go to fully level the playing field, those students who have evidence of disadvantage do outperform other students with similar grades, makes sense , they have already had to be more motivated to overcome disadvantage.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 12:17:41

All 6th forms are selective.

happygardening Sun 21-Apr-13 12:17:44

"How does thta relate to schooling?"
We know that that all the things I"ve mentioned affect educational outcomes. Ok there will always be the exception to the rule but most will significantly under achieve many will barely learn to read and write! If they live in an area with a selective school be it a state or independent with a generous bursary system they haven't got a cats hope in hell of getting in. If you parents can't even afford to feed you that is going to be their main priority not tutoring for the 11+/13+. But many of these children are likely to be as a capable as yours or mine for example many illegal immigrants/refugees are highly educated thats why they can afford to be here just disadvantaged by the system/lives.
I've sat in meeting and heard teachers say; "well .... lives on that dreadful council estate or in BB or the dads in prison or mums very ill in a wheel chair" so whats difference does that make? That's fine then is it if they under achieve?

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 12:28:57

Of course it related to education! The single most reliable predictor of educational underachievement is poverty.

That's why selective education is so damaging. Poor kids don't get into selective schools. Of course there are exceptions- but they are very few and far between. So a comprehensive school, where all the opportunities are at least available to all is at least a step in the right direction.

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 14:25:24

I don't dismiss people who aren't in "my" tribe for example men. I do give them some time and space. I would hope most of us bring up our children to interact with a wide range of people. That is not the same though as wanting to work with or be married to someone who is very unintelligent. There is nothing wrong with wanting a bright partner as that affects the conversations you have for 20 years. In other words some filters like IQ are useful in deciding who will become doctors or one's spouse or whatever. Not all filters or tribes are wrong.

Most people do like to form themselves into groups. I think I am different in that I don't and I like to interact with people of lots of different kinds. I do not hang out at one sailing club but am instead happy to "talk" to benefits claimants on line.

Yes, social skills matter and there is no reason a comprehensive cannot stop children saying "haitch" or you was or "you know" or adding in "like" to sentences where it is not needed as any other type of school - in fact more so as it is more likely the children will not have learned those things at home. Ditto shaking hands, looking people in the eye etc.

I don't think we're in disagreement over the fact that employers tend to do better if they recruit widely. They almost should try to get at least 50% of boards female not 15% (or 1% in Japan). There is some very very narrow recruiting going on which seems to make having a penis the principal criteria.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 14:44:01

Selective education is not damaging seeker. Selective schools are dead keen on ensuring fair access at the moment just as top universities are and top employers.

Isn't there also a fair amount of social apartheid still continuing between the best and worst performing comps as well as within the comps themselves?

teacherwith2kids Sun 21-Apr-13 14:52:50


Access to our local selectives relies on passing the 11+ (verbal reasoning alone, which is not part of the curriculum at state primaries).

State primaries are prohibited from providing any teaching or coaching for the test.

Therefore one of 3 things tends to happen:
a) children are sent to private primaries who specialise in training children towards these tests throughout their primary career.
b) children are coached by private tutors, often for up to a year before the test.
c) parents coach their children at home.

In the face of this, how are these selective schools ensuring fair access for all children regardless of parental income / intelligence / educational background?

happygardening Sun 21-Apr-13 14:53:09

Sadly seeker those I've worked with don't do well in areas where's there are not grammar schools either. But how can they? Your parents are illiterate/poorly education, out of work, scratching around to buy food, you live in appalling conditions a B and B or substandard social housing,or your parents are suffering from a debilitating illness or they've been shot or raped in front of you or you face the constant threat of deportation. And let's not forget many experience open hostility from DM readers and the like. State ed rarely comes galloping to their rescue. There are exceptions we have one near me but it requires vision and hard work.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 21-Apr-13 14:57:56

Yellow Of course there is. The system of catchment comps has always been favoured by a certain type of middle class person who can claim to be ever so egalitarian while completely insulated by money and ability to buy or rent in the 'right area' from any of the consequences of a system open to all. It;s a far more reliable system for insuring that people like my sister and I wouldn't sully the doors of 'their' schools.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 21-Apr-13 14:59:28


Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 15:15:15

teacher same in this area and I assume the majority of others. There's been a lot of disquiet for years but it's pretty much come to a head with the mad, mad levels of tutoring that so evidently exist. I hope the tutoring threads on MN have played a small part in rattling those in charge, it would be a pleasing irony. Anyhow, I'm sure you read the stuff about changes afoot. There are often pieces about active outreach programmes too, and diatribes by current HTs about the even worse inequity of comprehensive selection purely by wealth. The HTs very clearly do care and all seem pretty united in wanting to act. They're probably collectively bright enough to work out the mechanics of how.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 15:18:44


seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 15:33:13

"Selective education is not damaging seeker. Selective schools are dead keen on ensuring fair access at the moment " No they aren't.
Well, they might be dead keen on it, but state selective schools select "blind" so there's nothing they could do about it if they wanted to.

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 16:17:25

Most of the country has no selective state schools. They were abolished in about 1970 in my original area. (Both my parents did rather well as they were pretty bright and they both passed the 11+, did well). However the Sutton Trust found that comprehensives in areas without grammars are as good as grammars over all at getting children into good universities, I thought. I might be wrong, but that seems to be so.

poppydoppy Sun 21-Apr-13 16:35:48

Do you think employers really care "what" school a child attended?

happygardening Sun 21-Apr-13 17:14:08

I don't think in 2013 employers give a toss about what school you went too. They are I suspect interested in which university you went too and your degree classification.

Talkinpeace Sun 21-Apr-13 17:46:31

I wonder whether Xenia would have coped had one of her kids turned out autistic or CP or any other sen that would have stopped them fitting into her world view
However none of us surely want children who are not bright enough to be going to university

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 18:28:57

seeker I should perhaps have said that there is clearly considerable impetus towards ensuring that tutoring ceases to provide advantage, as far as possible. There are concrete proposals being made as I expect you yourself will have read in the educational press and there appears to be an abundance of will to push reforms through. You sound a bit defeatist. I'm quite optimistic, since I think the best of the selective state schools do an excellent job and it would be good to knock the tutoring thing on the nut.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 18:45:57

Xenia is utterly honest. That's worth respect. Rather honesty than hypocrisy any day. A lot of the time she probably says what a lot of other people think but prefer not to say or don't even admit to themselves, because they're deluded by middle class angst. I'm a little disappointed to learn that she's a doctor's daughter since I thought she'd won a scholarship to this dreadful mediocre private school and fought for her success like a cat. I've probably sent my DC to the selective state school for the same sort of reasons: some of them would never have worked particularly hard at the local comp, because they have wanted to join the crowd which would have produced middling results and therefore not provided them with the chances they now seem to have. I don't really see that that's despicable. Xenia did just the same but added in money to the equation. I think it's a bit cheap to claim that a particular poster couldn't have tolerated a SEN child. Almost all mothers deal with whatever adversity they're presented with, even when sometimes it's phenomenally hard.

happygardening Sun 21-Apr-13 18:50:43

I would be happy for my DS's not to go university if there was a good alternative and they demonstrated an appitude for something. Many trades including those who work for my DH's company require a high degree of intelligence an ability especially at math. I have a friend whose a farrier a four year apprenticeship least it was when I last owned horses he's not only highly intelligent but also very successful earning double xenia's bench mark of success £100 O00 pa.

happygardening Sun 21-Apr-13 18:59:38

I agree with you yellow (there's always a first time for everything). It is cheap to claim someone can't tolerate an SEN child. We all want healthy "normal" children but as a general principle mothers also love their child what ever. There are some extraordinary parents caring heroically with children with severe SEN when ever I meet them I am awestruck by their dedication and love. They come from all walks of life without a doubt money cushions the rich but it does not take away the emotional stresses and strains.

Talkinpeace Sun 21-Apr-13 19:24:21

My point was that Xenia's posts do not exhibit the introspection that would show her able to cope with true adversity.

Dear friends of mine - both very bright etc have an eldest daughter who is a long way into the autistic spectrum. She will never "achieve". Their younger children will. But the impact of the oldest has shaken all of their (and our) preconceptions about bright people having bright kids and watching them earn well after university.

Xenia has regularly shown diddly squat sympathy for those less fortunate than herself, without really trying to understand what has held them back from living like she does.

Its one of the interesting things of having ones kids at a comp that one meets Mums who are great fun etc etc and then the DCs point out that their kids are bottom set remedial : you cannot always predict the children from the parents and vice versa.

wordfactory Sun 21-Apr-13 19:47:19

The fact is that many industries want bright students...I'm not convinced they need the absolute brightest.

There will be a whole heap of skills needed in addition to being bright.

DH is involved in recruitment at trainee level at his law firm and he alsways says bright is a given (evidenced by a 2.1 in a decent subject from a decent university). But there is a lot more he's looking for. Evidence of flexibility, good communications skills, international outlook (including the ability to take posting abroad) and tenacity (sometimes the hours will be brutal)...

He says where applicants went to school doesn't interest him per se, other than where they might show evidence of certain skills.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 19:49:31

"Xenia is utterly honest"

No she isn't. She is a self parody.

MintyyAeroEgg Sun 21-Apr-13 20:27:09

I'm afraid I think, after 7 years on Mumsnet, that X is the T word.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 20:38:49

Me too. Which makes me so angry with myself when I care about how she talks about other people.

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 20:59:10

My oldest is slightly dyslexic actually. I tend to try to avoid writing anything personal about the children particularly the ones still at school. My late sister had down's syndrome. I think most parents must find it hard to have a child with special needs or anorexia or who is suicidal etc.

I don't think people can say I have had no adversity. The things that tend to make life hard for people are things like deaths and if you take my last 10 years divorced, deaths, dementia, disease, over £1.3m of debt I don't think that is that easy although I have always been able to feed up all so I am certainly not claiming poverty.

I agree with wf's husband's points and having had 3 older children graduate I can see what employers look for. I think the ability to tolerate, put up with, be stoic, never call in sick, keep going whatever, the kind of stuff that the empire was built on which one hopes the comprehensives teach too is important in many jobs which is why employers check in all kinds of jobs how often is the person late, are they always off sick , are they a jobsworth etc. Endurance. That is why playing sport can help too as that shows I supose commitment to a team although not all my children are as sporty as the others (One just got back from 3 days of playing for her country - picked for the team this year and she's very pleased about it - I just had a nice call - her employer I think is going to announce it to the company. I don'tthink employers look too often at schools although once the other daughter said her new boss saw her school and said ah you must be clever (as only clever girls get in there). It would not of course get anyone a job on its own).

(When someone writes about me and then puts a sentence in quotes it gives the impression I had said that sentence eg. "However none of us surely want children who are not bright enough to be going to university". Now I suppose I might have said that but I don't think I have. Is it supposed to be a quote from me on the thread? )

Talkinpeace Sun 21-Apr-13 21:12:43

Your own post at 09:24 first sentence.

Slipshodsibyl Sun 21-Apr-13 21:15:45

Talkinpeace, I read it that Xemia meant that no one wants children who are not cut out for academic study to be at university when there are better options for them. I think that is how she intended it.

AvrilPoisson Sun 21-Apr-13 21:43:05

The other thing you all need to take on board is that there is just no money left in the public sector. I still do some occasional work in the public sector and I am shocked at whats going. I've spent 29n years of my life working in the PS and thought i'd seen everything, in the last 10 years its been bad but I've never seen anything like this before. I for the first time am really frightened for Joe Public in particular the most vulnerable but even the likes of you and me are now regularly being out in life and death situations (I am still having nightmares about a situation the other week and) I cannot whistle blow because I will loose my job. So you who think that special schools groups or God know what can be set up for the 1 in 10 000 you are deluding yourselves they isn't any money left.

seeker you are right what about those who dont have the money to pay or those who dont have the confidence to fight the system (not that its going to do them nay good), who aren't articulate enough to at least try and fight, those who cant write a good letter and know who to complain too. Well they frankly are fucked.


I have worked in school improvement for the last 15 years, and I have just gone back into a school. The difference today compared with 15 years ago is shocking, and not in a good way. To be honest, there hasn't actually been any school improvement in our authority for around the last 8 years or so (since they were forced to merge Education with children's Social care and suddenly all funding for educational projects was pulled in order to plug the hole in the dyke that is children's placements).
I really, really worry for pupils in the medium-to-long- term.

MTSgroupie Sun 21-Apr-13 22:27:35

seeker - you got a DD at a posh GS. You constantly go on about how pissed you are with a system that stuck your DS with a secondary modern. But that doesn't stop you from constantly criticising parents who favour selective education for their DCs.

So you hardly in a position to display moral outrage at Xenia's comments.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 22:59:57

Were you the elder sibling or the younger Xenia? And did your sister survive into adulthood? I've recently read Rosa Monkton's comments on attitudes displayed to her DD and her description of the family's exceptional love for her. My second cousin was born with Down's while his mother was (quite literally) running away from the opposite side during the war (he was born in a field in a shed, with a toddler in tow). Very much loved until he died in his forties, but so sad still. DD3 was given a rubbish prognosis at 16 weeks and I had to question myself deeply for three to four weeks until the results came through. There's more to life than selective or private education. As Russians said, some adversities are common to us all.

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 23:09:01

word DD1 is currently only a very baby trainee but appears to have worked right through the night about three times in the past couple of weeks. As a mother (and even as a mother who did the same job for a short while in the Eighties, albeit at a slightly different firm) I'm appalled. But she's hacking it, God knows how. And why is there this overnight stuff? Why is it necessary now when it was barely needed in the heady Eighties with all the privatisations etc? (sorry, off thread).

Copthallresident Sun 21-Apr-13 23:25:23

Yellowtip Law? That wasn't necessary in the 80s and it isn't now. As a client I remember the young blue eyed boys (as they mainly were then) being offered up as to the slaughter by the older patrician partners, their "overnighters" served up as evidence of our privilege . I made myself unpopular by demanding that we agreed sensible chargeable hours aligned to the task, at every level, in advance (yup privatisations, been on my mind a lot this week, a lot of hand bagging) . I am appalled that young bright recruits are still treated as canon fodder, it's the culture not the demands of the work. What gets me is that my peers are party to this, they didn't agree with it at the time but now they are busy advising DCs that they only recruit from six universities (none of which they went to). At least the six are in the forefront of fair access........

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 23:44:35

Copthall of course. And of course she may be exaggerating. I certainly hope so. Is any of that sort of stuff really that urgent? (Mind you, that attitude may be why I was so bad at the job). She's being very matter of fact though, not complaining at all (in fact just saying that she gets supper provided and a comfy ride home and that she likes it a lot). Yes, I've avoided the thread asking what were people doing in the Eighties. I thought saying I was at the launch of the British Gas privatisation might not go down so well smile (to be fair I was only asked to correct a couple of spellings and I think hand out the coffees). How one's perspective can change....

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 23:50:59

I was a civil servant in the days of all night sittings. Did nothing for the decision making, and made everyone very laddish and macho! Lots of crwp legislation got through in the 80s- I'm sure that's partly why,

Yellowtip Sun 21-Apr-13 23:53:08

Not everyone seeker smile Perhaps everyone who was successful.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 23:54:55


seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 23:56:04

Sorry, get it now.

Well I never met a Cabinet minister who was improved by an all night sitting...........!

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 08:24:37


I don't think there's a lawyer out there who hasn't pulled an all nighter. They're not ideal of course, but sometimes unavoidable.

I actually think it's not the odd all nighters that really hurt, but the cumulative effect of constant long hours...but sadly that's the job.

Why necessary?
Well sometimes of course they're caused by machismo and inefficiency within lawyers...but not mostly.

They're actually caused by the fact that most law firms are down to their fighting weight and everyone needs to be very busy to optimise profits.

Then there's the international aspect. Bakc in the eighties most deals were happening here in the UK. Now there is very little work here. DH currently has a job on where the clients are in So Cal so obviously the time difference does not work in his favour. He, his assitant and his trainee have not finished work before midnight for over a week.

This is one reason DH makes very sure that trainees and young associates hoping to join his firm understand that they may have to travel a fair bit...

Another reason for silly hours is client inefficiency. DH is brutally efficient. A machine. But his clients...not so much. He will often get shafted by the late arrival of a document.

And of course there's the issue of money. Sometimes deals are very price sensitive so have to be done ASAP on the QT. Or sometimes the bansk will only hold things together for a short period (this is far more common now with firms going to the wall).

The idea that international commercial law can be done in civilised hours is a non runner sadly. I wish it were otherwise. That said, as your DD becomes more senior she will get more control of her life. DH rarely works weekends (well he might work but he's usually at home), he has never missed a xmas or birthday. We have regular family holidays which he will not move (he'd rather work on the beach).

It's not an easy life and most fall away but for those who can do it, and want to do it, it offers very good rewards.

Slipshodsibyl Mon 22-Apr-13 08:49:31

Yellow, i don't think your daughter is not exaggerating, as I suppose you know really. It has always been a hard slog and harder now than it has ever been as you must see from your daughter.

The business model, with early promotion to partnership - and if you miss that vital period through taking time out for motherhood , then partnership prospects are hugely reduced - is not good for women. (I don't think it good for men either ). Partners currently have a far shorter shelf life than they did 15 years ago as they are no longer able to slow down as they beome senior,which inevitably encourages them to maximise their own income during those limited years and doesn't encourage long term management of people or the business.

The model needs to change if diversity is to be be more than just a politically correct term used to keep folk happy. There are people in firms working on it but the people i know who are given the job of doing this see plenty of goodwill but no real incentive to change because the current model gives no incentive and of course the recession makes this worse.

. I think, until there is a change, perhaps an answer for the individual would be to try Xenia' s choice of having one's own business or using the excellent experience gained to move into something different after a few years. There must be some who still thrive upon it, but a number of our (aging) friends in the city feel ground down and those who have made a change, it seems, would not go back.

I expect there are others on the thread, more directly involved,who might have something to say.

Slipshodsibyl Mon 22-Apr-13 08:53:28

Ah I see word already has!

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 08:59:25

slip DH says the biggest factor is the applicants. They're overwhelmingly from private school and grammar. A fair number are from abroad.

The ones who aren't get a fair crack as DH is a working class state schooled lad so not looking for Eton style. But DH says they're not always as polished, as confident, as savvy, as international looking.

As for women, well more apply than men and the number of woemn trainees is usually bigger than the men. But along the way women jack it in so there are relatively few women partners. The ones there are are hugely involved in encouraging other women to stick it out and you often find clusters...

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 09:23:57

There is no such thing as 'International looking'.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 09:54:19

International in outlook, maybe, RussiansOnTheSpree?

I certainly wasn't willing to hack the ridiculous hours and all-nighters of City law work for more than a few years. Yes, it's fun when you are young, free and single and know you don't have to do it forever, but I heard far too many telephoned goodnight conversations to children who hadn't been seen in person for several days, problems with nannies, and broken relationships as lack of seeing one's other half descended into lack of getting on with the other half particularly well when you did see them, which descended into pretending you had to work late through circumstances out of your control when actually that day you'd had a long lunch break and only started working at about 4pm and had no intention of going home to help with the stress of children's homework, bathtime or bedtime routines... Basically, I saw a lot of people with dysfunctional relationships and couldn't help but connect that to their dysfunctional work lives... and I did not want that for myself or my children, if I were ever lucky enough to have children. Fairly predictably, therefore, I didn't hang around there when I had children. No telephoned goodnight conversations and complaints about nannies or private school entrance exams for me! Even Xenia had the common sense to see it is not necessary to lead that sort of life in order to be successful.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 09:59:49

Of course there is russian.

Some people are very global in their outlook. Others view things in a much more UK based way.

There's nothing at all wrong with the later, but it wouldn't be a good fit for an international law firm.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 10:06:29

Rabbit Nah, it's just bunkum. grin I have an international role in my firm, my job title includes that very word and I have to go....everywhere sad (I have just managed to neatly sidestep going to Somewhere Scary in South America though. Which I'm quietly pleased about. However the whole Smewhere Scary In South America saga has made me less [smily of a person vomiting] about going back to Smewhere Where They Drive On The Pavement In The Former Soviet Union so perhaps it was just a bit of psychological warfare on the part of the chairman. Who knows) Either you can do your job, or not. At graduate entry level, either you have the potential to do the job, or not. It doesn't matter about your outlook. In fact, practically everywhere in the world is a shit hole but if you don't know that before you've been, and have some silly fantasy about the world being an interesting and inviting place, then it's not a problem. grin

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 10:08:12

Word nope, you're completely wrong there. Sorry. You just have to be able to do the job the best. And then it doesn't matter if you hate the sight and touch of foreign soil or love it with all your heart (so long as you don't give away how you feel - but you won't be good at the job if people know what you really think anyway).

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 10:09:24

rabbit there was an interesting article in The Times on Saturday about XX women.

And how many XX women (Cheryl Sanberg was mentioned natch) spned a lot of time trying to show women how to make high commitment jobs work with family life, whilst not really understanding that most women don't want to make it work.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 10:11:58

russian I didn't say you have to love anyhting.

But you do have to understand it. And you do have to accept it. Some people have no interest in either.

But it does beg the question, why anyone with an iota of intelligence would want to do a job that involved so much of what they hated...

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 10:18:41

I love it when people try and tell me what my job is, and what qualities are needed to do my job. Particularly when they don't do my job. grin

word Money, love. Money. But there are other compensating factors too.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 10:25:14

RussiansOnTheSpree - I think you spell it out there when you say you mustn't give away your feelings about foreign soil if you want the job. That's what an international outlook is - the ability to agree to work in any shithole, despite your own or your family's feelings about it. It's pretty much the same thing as naked ambition. Law firms have no real interest in whether you genuinely like working abroad (as they know that in reality even those who like the idea of being based overseas for a while, or even long term, generally have views on which parts of the world they would happily do this in), just in whether they can send you to any shit hole they like if the need arises and then keep you there for a few years if necessary.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 10:30:25

DH says he smiles to himself when applicants say they want to travel.

Because of course it's not often fun.

But the fact remains that he has a lot of clients overseas and it's his job and the job of those who work around him to keep those clients happy. And whilst much of that will be doing a good job, anothe rlarge part of it will be keeping that relationship alive. Which does require a different set of skills.

And yes, DH would much rather have people around him who understand and accept that.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 10:36:17

russian but surely you could do something that earned good money and you liked?

Lots of legal roles don't involve traveling to shit holes.

Most of DH's trips are to California. Which could be a lot worse! And they're not that often. Most of the work he does here in the uk. Which does mean the hours can be dodgy, but at leats he's not on a plane!

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 11:35:14

Rabbit Technically an international outlook is understanding what is needed to work internationally. It's got nothing to do with liking or disliking travel and very little to do with language skills either. It's completely different to being cosmopolitan or long suffering/prepared to put up with shit. It's a mixture of knowledge base and experience. And no graduate trainee applicant will have what we mean by an international outlook. And they certainly won't be 'international looking' which is what Word originally claimed and which I assume was in fact an unacknowledged typo on her part.

word I never said I don't like my job.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 11:36:22

Doesn't an international outlook also means being the sort of person who might be appealing to employers/clients from other countries?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 11:38:00

Seeker Not really. Because if that was the case then you wouldn't get very many women in senior international roles sadly.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 22-Apr-13 11:38:01

Oh I hate it when I miss the bit of the thread that was about the OP! grin

Um, internationalization, yes. It is good. Probably.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 11:41:53

It can also be code for "no women- we are thinking of expanding into the middl East" grin

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 11:45:15

Nit - nah it's rubbish. But it keeps some of us in jobs, so, you know, swings, roundabouts......grin

To bring it back to the thread subject - there is absolutely no reason why a state educated person cannot have a very senior international role in law or finance or any of the other professions that go in for that sort of thing. The main predicator of whether you are good enough for that sort of job or not is your BRAIN and the way it works (not just the knowledge and experience it has stored up). In some ways state educated people have an advantage over poshos, in fact. Which is nice. Poise is not one of the attributes of being able to be successful in the international area (thank heavens for that). Neither is accent. Some of the most successful internationally facing people I know have very non plummy voices, as it happens. Since many people round the world are either war of or completely antagonistic to perceived British arrogance it is actually an advantage to be less overly confident (with no evident basis in reality).

Therefore, I would suggest that if you want the sort of job that involves travelling round the world being clever and interesting (or, if you like, clever and boring) then having gone to a state school is no drawback, and if you went to an independent you will probably be better placed if it was selective rather than just posh.

But that;s just the view of someone actually doing that sort of job.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 11:45:56

wary of. Not war of.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 22-Apr-13 11:48:58

Internationalization is a sort of token concern where I work, but in a different context... it's not really a day-to-day consideration for most of us yet.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 11:54:31

Well russians DH is adamant that he looks for more than just brains (lots of applicants have excellent academic track records) And yes, an international outlook is one of the things he looks for.

But that's just his view as someone doing the recruiting. You may take a different view when you recruit.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 11:57:31

And yes, of course state schooled pupils can do well. Did anyone say differently? DH is working class and state schooled and definitely not plummy. He has been hugely successful.

But he can't choose state schooled applicants if they don't apply!

Hamishbear Mon 22-Apr-13 11:58:07

Russians good points. Some of those I know who've been tremendously successful internationally certainly fit that profile, that and not being remotely shy of seriously hard work.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 11:59:33

RussiansOnTheSpree - quite a lot (actually, most) of the people I know who work overseas or have spent a lot of time working overseas grew up in families which worked overseas or spent a lot of their time travelling overseas for work, so I think you are wrong that a young person cannot have the international outlook firms are looking for. Such people are often also more tolerant of the idea that they could be packed off to work in Nigeria for a few years and their children sent to boarding schools in the UK, because that's the life they had. It's a matter of lifestyle choice - not just ability to do the job, but willingness to live a life like that. If I had been brought up by a nanny and spoken to my parents on the telephone at bedtime every night, I'm sure I would have been more willing to do that to my own family. If I had thought my career was hugely meaningful, I might have been willing to do it, anyway, but I wasn't going to lead a life that felt alien to me for a career that meant exceptionally little to me, except to the extent that it paid the bills.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 12:00:01

slip DH also made the point in answer to your observation that too many partners think short term these days, that there is some truth in that, but bear in mind that he and many others have huge capital investment in their firms so it is in their interests to make sure their firms are in good nick when they leave.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 12:01:01

Russian- it would be naive to say that the is no old boy network or "people like us" going on, surely?

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:08:30

It would be sensible I'd have thought seeker.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 12:10:38

Hi yellow.

I've been thinking about your DD. Remembering my own days as a trainee...

Does she like it?

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:20:49

Yes word she's enormously keen and having a ball. She's a pretty hard worker by nature. I've asked her if she understands the more esoteric stuff (remembering my own days smile) and she gave a sensibly moderated answer. Anyhow, I've told her to spend a significant wodge of her new found wealth on making like outside work good and comfortable and she seems to be doing just that (as in she phoned me from the airport on Thurs to ask if she'd told me she was going away somewhere smart until Sun (no smile). I've also offered to take her babies when she has them but I think there's still a conversation to be had about that.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 12:21:35

Oh dear: making life

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 12:27:36

Word I am involved in recruiting. smile

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 12:39:37

I am glad to hear that yellow grin.

russians I assumed you were.

Different folks take different approaches to recruitment. You get a better spread that way too.

musicalfamily Mon 22-Apr-13 12:53:28

I work for a very large multinational and have worked in very large multinationals at a senior level for many many years. I have also been involved in recruitment, both UK, USA and EMEA.

A lot of factors involved in recruitment these days is getting the best person for the job (cheaper!) and very little to do with plummy accents. Especially as we recruit internationally. I have also been involved in UK Graduate recruitment and I would say that the Oxbridge types do tend to come through and this is not because we see Oxbridge on their CV but because they do stand out as being very bright (not all of course, but they do make up a high %).

I am not sure where they went to school, it is not something I have ever bothered looking up as I am not British and had no clue of the British schooling system until I started looking into it for my own children (so if I had seen Westminster or St Paul's on CV it would have meant nothing to me! I would have recognised Eton though).

I second that in the years I have seen a shift in the UK people's profile at the very top of organisations; they tend to be less plummy, less white and more sales-y in the main. The only thing that hasn't changed sadly is that very few are women. We have made very little progress in the gender issue but we all know why.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:12:37

Nothing in the least bit wrong with using Oxford or Cambridge as an initial flag in recruiting. It's not as though buying a library gets you in any more. In any area requiring clever people it would be pretty daft not to I'd have thought. Quite a fine line between saying it's not because they went to university there, it's because they stand out as bright....

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 13:23:02

"Nothing in the least bit wrong with using Oxford or Cambridge as an initial flag in recruiting"

You're not in recruiting, are you, yellowtip?

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 13:25:24

"Honestly, it's nothing to do with class, or the Old Boy network- it's just that people from Oxbridge are brighter.........." grin

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:29:14

I recruit up to a point yes seeker.

People who go there these days are bright seeker, what's the problem with saying that? confused.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 13:31:34

Nothing wrong with saying people who go to Oxbridge are bright. Obviously they are.

Using Oxbridge as a first filter,however................

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:35:03

seeker read the words. I said initial flag, so a strong positive on a first reading of a CV. That in no way excludes other applications. I prefer to be realistic seeker, not pretend.

Xenia Mon 22-Apr-13 13:44:50

Very few places use just Oxbridge as a first filter but they may have a small number of universities including those on the list simply because as wordf's husband find so many graduates are clever so there is not much point ploughing through 1000 CVs fom an ex poly where most people are not very bright o find the one pearl among the swine as it were when you can limit your pool to a few good universities (obviously it depends on the job). Even those at the good universities are then competing with many others with CVs which are just as good.

Musical is right that it varies by type of employer and type of work. However in the UK the ability to speak and write clear English matters. That is not necessarily a schooling issue but it is worth children knowing the importance of that in many careers. You need to be able to make yourself understood. I was working on something on Friday from a very bright lady in Switzerland. It was much better than my A level German would have been. However I did change the English to good English hoping I was not insulting her in the process as well as the material changes which was task was all about.

Glad the YP daughter is doing fine. My two are a little ahead of that and doing okay too with a marriage in the offing for one which will be fun as long as I don't have to look at or talk about anything remotely connected to clothing and the like.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 13:50:07

Jesus wept.

YoniMaroney Mon 22-Apr-13 13:54:59

You'd have to be a pretty shitty recruiter to filter on Oxbridge from CVs of experienced adult professionals. I certainly wouldn't, and I went to Oxbridge, it doesn't mean much tbh.

The difference is more in immediate opportunities while still at Uni, i.e. there will generally be more and better careers events for well-paid jobs at Oxbridge than say Leeds.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:55:29

Can you expand a little on that seeker?

YoniMaroney Mon 22-Apr-13 13:57:03

And there's be a deal of logic in favouring applicants who didn't go to expensive fee-paying schools also, since those from a failing state schoould would have risen to the top rather than merely floated along on a see of nepotism and privilege.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 13:58:45

It really beats me why those reading that post can't see that I meant Oxford and Cambridge undergraduate degrees are a good. That's not the same as an exclusive filter. On the whole I'm talking about recent graduates anyhow in a setting where they do need to be bright.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 14:01:31

Happy to. Saying that first flagging Oxbridge candidates because somehow they are uniquely bright is depressing.

Saying "so many graduates are clever so there is not much point ploughing through 1000 CVs fom an ex poly where most people are not very bright o find the one pearl among the swine as it were when you can limit your pool to a few good universities" is just fucking heartbreaking.

But I don't know why I engage with Xenia- she is so obviously a wind up merchant. It can't be lack of brain because I went to a good must be that my contact with the "dregs" has pulled me down.

Xenia Mon 22-Apr-13 14:02:24

We are talking about graduate type jobs here and recruiters who definitely do have a list of a few preferred universities which is likely to have on it Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol and a few others too. They just do not have the resources to look too much more widely. However 10 years into your career when you are the leader in your field it is not likely to matter much at all where you went although it stillc an count. I was checking out a small company for someone last week and one of the things we looked at to see if they were a scam, what they said they were, sensible was the career history on linked in, any gaps, any fake degrees (the week before I found someone with one you buy for £10 over the internet for example) and this chap had gone to an ex poly and with the other bits that did not sound too right and his partner who had been at a university supposedly but for a strange period of time, well it did look a bit strange and the co-operation did not proceed.

YoniMaroney Mon 22-Apr-13 14:02:37

If you are looking for trainee quants, then yes that would make sense.

But for most jobs the correlation won't be that great, but more importantly you would generally be looking for the best individual candidates, not recruiting an entire graduating cohort, so filters are generally not that wise.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 14:03:53

Yoni I suspect your experience is atypical. For many of my contemporaries (and, no shadow of a doubt, for me) having Cambridge on the CV did mean something. It didn't mean everything. But it didn't mean nothing. The discussion above was about gradate trainees so I'm not entirely sure why you would raise the spectre of experienced adult professionals - but I would point out that for me Cambridge was a definite positive on my CV for some years after qualification. It's probably irrelevant now. But frankly, at this point having my own teeth has assumed more importance than I ever thought it would - I seem to have seamlessly moved from 'bit young' to 'is she still alive' almost overnight.

(It's possible I am over exaggerating my decrepitude but I feel OLD today).

YoniMaroney Mon 22-Apr-13 14:03:54

Lol @ xenia refusing to deal with graduate from ex-poly. <shudders>

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 14:10:44

I made a brand new shiny will on Friday Russians, in a sudden access of gloom.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 14:19:57

seeker you really are poor at reading, but I can't help you on that. Blimey though, you don't half twist.

It might be helpful if you suggest at what stage one ignores credentials on a CV. Ignore quality of university? Class of degree? A Level grades? GCSE grades? Should it only be done by which candidate grew up on a council estate? Do we grade council estates? More interestingly what happens in the next generation when the disadvantaged parent earns ample to advantage his child? It's a bit shallow, all this.

musicalfamily Mon 22-Apr-13 14:23:59

In technology (my sector) of course it is easier to be more open-minded, as we could run through thousands of graduates who had the minimum requirements (a 2:1 in a science/IT/maths degree) through very tough tests in large centres.

Then we could do interviews for the rest. I believe this is still common practice for many, including large giants like IBM. For something like law it would be harder to do that, I guess?

I think the technology sector tends to be less "snobby" in general anyway, or so I am told by comparing notes with people in other sectors!!

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 14:25:18

Yellowtip- which bit did I misunderstand? You said you flag Oxbridge. Xenia said there's no point looking at CVs from "ex polys"

Is that not a pretty depressing outlook?

musicalfamily Mon 22-Apr-13 14:25:50

PS Just to qualify what I said earlier, we never flagged Oxbridge on a CV but I noticed that out of the handful of graduates we selected each year, there was a number of Oxbridge graduates that had come through. Interestingly one of them told me that he had got rejected by Accenture as they thought he was "too academic" so it depends what the interviewer is looking for on the day - it can be very subjective....

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 14:27:16

Yes but she's talking about young graduates yoni.

Young people in their early twenties who pretty much have been to school, university then law school (a lot of them won't even have done that yet, applying as many do, in advance).

So of course where they went to university and what they studied there, takes on more significance than it does years down the road. And no, a degree from an ex polly won't be enough to make the cut in many a law firm's training program.

That's not because there are't good candidates from those places, but simply because there are thousands of applicants and no business has enough time to interview everyone (DH and rusians have to spend their time fee earning, not interviewing). So you have initial filters.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 14:30:13

But seeker with the best will in the world, DH doesn't have time to interview everyone.

And the fact is, you're more likely to find a keeper from Oxbridge than Leeds Met.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 14:34:37

In terms of academically competitive jobs, or academic jobs, I'm struggling to see why grades and university shouldn't count seeker. I really don't find what Xenia depressing. It's realistic, that's all. You'd have to be a pretty shitty recruiter if you ignored all that.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 14:48:04

Of course he doesn't have time to interview everybody. But he should have a better filtering mechanism that "Oxbridge? You're in"

It's not the 1920s!

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 14:51:09

You really are saying "Poor? Working class? Don't bother" I am sorry to hear that from you, in particular, wordfactory..

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 14:52:16

I too was involved with graduate recruitment to an International company and we did a first sift on a combination of academics, GCSEs, A levels, (predicted) degree class as well as evidence of outside activities, work experience and positions of responsibility etc. That did tend to push through Oxbridge applicants more than say non RG unis simply because they were the ones with the academic results that got them into Oxbridge in the first place Then the main process was based on identifying evidence they had ability and personal qualities in 8 main areas we had researched to be important to success in the organisation, 4 personal and 4 intellectual, through psychological testing, role playing and team exercises, case studies and interviews. Clearly the way someone talked or dressed (within reason) did not count as evidence of anything. At that stage it was very much about personal qualities and the graduates we took on were a complete cross section, we didn't engineer diversity but we did monitor it and on the whole achieved it. It's quite a common model for recruitment and used in DHs bank.

I completely disagree with Russians on international outlook having lived and worked in as well as studied a different culture, one perfectly capable of delivering shitty experiences as well as being fascinating. I have watched representatives of UKPLC operating there with an utter ignorance and disregard for the culture that put them at a serious disadvantage (including David Cameron). On the whole I think that lawyers and bankers, having to get involved in intense high stakes negotiation, quickly learn the skills they need to operate but I always felt like I was operating with one hand tied behind my back. Though I aimed to be culturally sensitive I realised after studying that culture deeply back in the UK that I had nethertheless been looking at everything from a western perspective, and it was a bit of a road to Damascus. I would approach my job quite differently now, but then I found it all so fascinating I have never really gone back to the day job grin

The graduates who emerge from my uni really do understand the cultures they hope to work in and do very well in the job market, including women to practise law in the Middle East, having been taught by some excellent role models. My DDs though having spent formative years in another culture just don't even need to engage with the issue intellectually. They are totally adept at operating within different cultures and both have a multicultural group of friends, they don't see themselves as "British" but global.

I do think from experience and our outreach activities that this is one area in which state schools have a way to go. When we came back from overseas the indies were falling over themselves to make it clear that they really valued the DDs overseas experience, the state schools were entirely disinterested, though perhaps that was because they knew we wouldn't get a place as late applicants. Candidates from state schools to our uni tend not to have quite such strong applications in terms of their curiosity about the culture, and it doesn't have to be a gap yah, or travelling with the rents, reading books and newspapers can demonstrate equal intellectual curiosity. Ironically some of the schools we visit are very multicultural, I suppose if the schools are not encouraging them and equipping them to make university applications, it is far too much to hope it would be opening their eyes to the prospect of studying another culture. My point is demonstrated by the phenomenon of Mandarin teaching in schools, lots jumped on the bandwagon far outstripping the supply of good teachers, and then many jumped off it again. Few schools have robust strategies in place for effective teaching of Mandarin, and most of those are indies.

The lack of opportunity to study MFL in state schools, our local comp plans to offer none at A would certainly hamper state school applicants to DH's bank as they require a knowledge of 2 languages, at least one to speaking standard.

Finally, sorry very long winded word factory I have worked extensively with banks and law firms and I really do think the overnighter thing is 70% to do with culture, 30% need. Decent project planning and business management skills, albeit as much on the client side, really can reduce the need for all those long hours. When my friend persuaded her fellow partners to let her go part time she met with huge resistance, and yet her clients had no problem and her chargeable hours were amongst the highest in the partnership. It wasn't the demands of the job that drove her into the public sector, it was the attitudes of her fellow partners which were largely the result of the fact that putting your head down and getting the job done 9-6 wasn't valued in their cultural paradigm. I accept city law firms are running very tightly but at least one of my peers can routinely be seen at the station at 11am, just because he chooses a 12 hour day that ends at 11pm, it scarcely seems fair to inflict that on others in his department. My DH is at that station at 7am so at least he sees his DDs before bedtime, but don't get me on the long term impact of that culture and those hours..... sad .

Really gone on here but you touched a few nerves grin

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 14:52:56

Don't be silly seeker it's not Oxbridge and you're in.

But an upper second from Oxbridge in a decent subject would be enough to get you through the first round of filters. As would Bristol, or Exeter, or Durham, or Wawick, or Yale, or Harvard...

Not the right degree and not the right place means you get folitered out first, that's all.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 15:04:23

Sorry seeker didn't see your comment about poor and WC.

Look, it's not that anyone wants to exclude those from poor WC backgrounds. DH and I both come from WC backgrounds and I was very poor.

But applicants have to be able to demonstrate on paper that they're clever enough for the job at bare basics.
So how do you do that if you went to an ex polly?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 15:04:57

Seeker, while you continue to comment on how annoyed with yourself you are for letting some of what Xenia says get to you, please be assured that I am equally as annoyed with myself for letting your continued refusal to acknowledge that poor and working class people can and do go to Cambridge and probably Oxford, get to me.

You and Xenia are two sides of the same coin. Both with demonstrably flawed idées fixe which you never tire of trotting out. Nothing Yellow or Word have said in this subsection of the thread is either inaccurate or offensive.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 15:10:39

I'm also going to say somehting now, that might be controversial...and posters no doubt will tell me if I'm wrong, but the way Oxbridge teach, which is quite unique in the UK, is probably a very good stamping ground for commercial law.

Seeing it again, up close, all these years after I attended as a student, I can appreciate how very rigorous it is. That in depth analysis. That in yer face-ness of tutes.

And it's intense. Which again replicates to some degree, a career in the law.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 22-Apr-13 15:16:55

Do you mean because of the supervision/tutorial system in Cambridge and Oxford respectively word? I am inclined to agree that could be good preparation. Or something less tangible?

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 15:19:11

No that exactly nit.

I didn't appreciate how hard core that was when I experienced it as a young person - didn't know any better.

But now, having the benefit of an MA from elesehwere,a nd also having teaching jobs both there and elsewhere, I can see it provides a very unusual experience. One that could be very good training for law.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 15:19:53

But Copthall, you can't possibly as an undergraduate have the skills you will need to do whatever job it is you are called on to do wherever internationally that might be required. Different roles within the same firm/company will require a different mix of skills and experience. Some roles will involve dealing only with other international people in a far (or near) flung location. Other roles may involve dealing with others within the same organisation, yet others will involve dealing with clients or potential, then there are the roles which might involve dealing with regulators, or government (that's a big thing in China, for example) or say the press, which again require vastly different skill sets, personal qualities, knowledge bases, experience. You can't just look at two graduate trainee appolicant and say 'this one has more of an international outlook than that one' based on any experience they will have obtained in their lives up to that point. Even if they have studied abroad for a year or more (something I personally do like to see because it doesn't show nothing ) it's just not comparable to some of the things that people in transnational careers may find themselves doing.

I STRONGLY think it is misleading to give anyone the impression that a decision about whether a candidate is suitable for involvement in transnational work (which is such a wide ranging thing in itself, it needn't involve living somewhere either lovely or sordid for any length of time, although it can involve that, depending on the situation) is set in stone at the point at which they have their first or second interview for their fist post grad job. Because it's just completely not true, IM extremely wide E. To suggest that these things are set in stone at an early age would be to exclude those who haven't had the opportunity to travel up to that point.

I do agree with you that a lot of British people (and people from other countries too) make a right old hash up of transnational working. But that's a different issue. Many people who might have looked incredibly unlikely to thrive in such situations have magnificent triumphant transnational careers and lives despite have been 'the one most unlikely to....' at 21.

It's not something that can be determined at 21 and its not something that is the exclusive preserve of confident independent school types. Whatever some people might like to spin.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 22-Apr-13 15:23:03

We didn't have that at my gaff - we had lectures and seminars and fortnightly tutorials, and the latter were quite rigorous in a 'nowhere to hide' kind of way... where I teach, though, a tutorial more often means 'a chance for me to come and ask why I got a 2:ii in my last essay and have sentence fragments explained again' hmm. It's a shame - I can't imagine being able to get three of them in my office and force them to talk about poetry for an hour! Lucky Oxbridge tutors...

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 15:23:42

Word The Law course at my RG uni was run with challenging tutorials as well as mock trials and lots of challenging real life situations. I have a ridiculous number of peers who are partners in commercial law in city firms, several from similar backgrounds to you. Oxfords teaching model may be unique but it doesn't appear to be uniquely effective.

The irony is that at least one of my peers admits his firm only recruits from six unis, and the one we went to is not one of them.

Xenia Mon 22-Apr-13 15:28:02

I have never said you cannot be from a state school and at Oxbridge. 50% of children there are from state schools.

On graduate recruitment the initial stage is electronic and I think by UCAS points and whether you got a 2/1. It is filtered again after that. It is just a supply and demand issue. If we get short of brilliant young people there will then be fewer filters.

I was not recruitment the ex poly person. I was just giving a view for someone else as to whether they would take services from that person's business. We were looking at any unexplained things - gaps in CVs. I found someone kind of censure or something - thrown off some market I think it was and then a tiny part of that picture in our assessment are these great people or some kind of scam was his degree from an ex poly and his colleague's probably started but not completed degree so it just looked at bit wrong. Other things like they did not give their company name anywhere looked unusual too. You build up a picture.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 15:38:59

Russian- I have never said that poor and/or working class people can't get to Oxbridge. I know that 50% of undergraduates are from
State schools. But the state schools concerned are overwhelmingly the schools attended by the better off middle classes. It is ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

The very fact that 50% of undergraduate come from 7% of the 18 year old population is telling- even before you dig deeper into the figures.

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 15:39:24

SteamingNit Yes at my original RG uni for a humanity we had a weekly tutorial for each course in groups of about 5 and would expect to be challenged. Indeed one notoriously obnoxious misogynistic Professor reported back to my tutor that "the girl has spirit" so I must have argued with him grin. Actually at our uni, it is also a weekly tutorial per module and though groups are bigger the students are challenged to comment and have opinions on the reading and get a debate going. The only difference is that readings tend to be provided in a prebound book so no more racing to the library with the reading list and finding them all gone grin One of my professors who taught a module on my masters actually told a Chinese student that if he didn't have an opinion of his own on the topic to be discussed the next week he needn't come back....

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 22-Apr-13 15:43:00

Were you 'feisty', copthall wink?

Jeez, I can't even tell the buggers not to turn up if they haven't read the book - let alone failed to have an opinion on it! hmm

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 16:05:25

Russians Perfectly understand that a 21 year old is far from a finished product but my point is that if you have a job that is likely to involve operating internationally and you have a candidate who has any or all of having travelled / lived abroad / studied another culture / has other languages and the other candidate as you say has NOTHING then you have more evidence of the qualities that may well enable them to be effective in an international role, although obviously it goes into the pot with all the other evidence and the qualities needed for the job.

It isn't just true of law, banking and commerce, I was talking to someone from an ad agency the other day who said very few of their new recruits haven't spent significant time abroad.

I think that sadly the indies actually do prepare / equip DCs much better to value and be motivated to study other cultures, and equip their students for that job market, and it is something that should be addressed in order to make UKPLC more competitive. It is one of the supreme ironies of Gove's drive to make our education system supposedly globally competitive that apart from making a language one of the Baccalaureate subjects (which 9 times out of 10 will be European) he hasn't done anything benchmarked with all the initiatives being taken by education systems worldwide, especially the ones in Asia that he is so fond of, to ensure their students are equipped to operate in a global marketplace, in Singapore at least currently their primary strategic aim. To be a language teacher in a state school currently is to feel especially vulnerable to the effect of cuts, I know several who have had their hours cut.

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 16:08:37

I should add that is probably because Gove bought the same cultural sensitivity and understanding to his visits to overseas education systems as Cameron does to trade and diplomacy...........

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 16:13:17

Nit Very.... but also "pleasant" wink

Xenia Mon 22-Apr-13 16:19:03

As the West seems to be in decline it will certainly help our young people if they can work abroad. Quite a bit of my work is from abroad.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 16:55:30

Copthall studying another culture does not necessarily equip you with the skills you might need to engage in transnational work. It depends both on what aspects of the culture you studied and what the nature of the work might be. And, of course, where that work might be located and with whom the worker might be engaging. There are just far too many variables for anyone to claim that what will necessarily be a limited and possibly artificial experience (if it has been completed before the age of 21 ish) is certain to engender or enable the demonstration of the sort of skillset a given prospective employer will be looking for. It's just not credible. Having languages does help, immensely. If they are the right languages. The right languages change every year or so, of course.

My peers may well frequently recruit graduate trainees who have spent considerable time abroad. But its not in the top 5 criteria we look for and we don't discount people who haven't done that if they have the things we want. Often people who have worked or lived abroad are the ones who want international roles. But I think that claiming that aspiring graduate trainees looking at potentially internationally facing/transnational careers shouldn't be put off by not having had a privileged childhood and youth and not having had the opportunity to travel. Experience can be obtained at any age. Ability and other personal characteristics are innate.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 17:09:51

Copthall one thing which really would be incredibly retrograde in terms of access to the professions would be narrowing the pool of interviewees in the way you suggest.

Anyhow, plenty of those who are posted abroad live together in huddles and reject all engagement with local culture. That existence is all too often incredibly cloistered. It shrieks privilege though, so I'm not sure I'd even flaunt it.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 17:41:40

russians I agree that lots of young people won't have had the oportunity to travel/live abroad and DH certainly wouldn't hold that against them.

That's why I used the , admitedly cack handed, term 'international looking'. I meant an applicant who understands the nature of the global in an interntaional law firm in as much as any 21 year old can do that. And is ready and willing to engage with that even if they've never had any opportunity to date.

I guess what DH is trying to weed out is anyone who he feels doesn't 'get' it.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 17:47:37

Yellow That's just one of the reasons why extensive 'abroad' experience in early life isn't always a Good Thing by any means. It really does depend on what sorts of things one might be called upon to do in the future. The biggest asset any potential graduate trainee can exhibit other than being CLEVER and INTERESTING (these words always have to be typed in capitals. I don't know why) is flexibility.

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 17:51:40

Russians I totally disagree, a training in understanding the perspectives of people of other cultures, will equip any 21 year old with a skill set that will be of benefit in any job that involves dealing with other cultures, indeed any job involving people with different ideologies. Obviously just travelling and even study doesn't necessarily equip a student with that if they don't have the intellectual capacity and empathy wink and a 21 year old can develop that later but a study of the history, culture, language and ideologies of other countries wakens up the students mind to the possibilities that someone from another culture may approach issues and social interactions differently, and equip them with the motivation to understand and respond. I actually feel quite evangelical about what students from my uni and third country kids like my DDs can offer the world in terms of improving international understanding, the lack of which is at the root of a lot of the world's problems.

My job was marketing so you can see why not having a full understanding of the history and culture was like working with one hand behind my back. Martin Sorrell is very outspoken about the need for the people working in emerging markets to have a thorough understanding of local culture, and indeed that it is easier to equip a national with marketing skills than a marketing professional with the cultural capital.

Gove's proposal to eliminate the study of history of other cultures from any perspective but that of empire is further evidence of how blinkered he is in terms of needing to equip our young people with these skills. Of course the indies have been very outspoken about the fact that they will not be following those aspects of the proposed curriculum.

yellow I am advocating we make sure every student is equipped with these skills, and that currently it is an area where indies are doing a better job than state schools but you are right as long as state schools are failing in this you could not discount an applicant because they haven't had the opportunity. It is precisely the mindset that leads to expat ghettos that I think is wrong, the FILTH (failed in London try Hong Kong) who are too arrogant to be motivated to gain the cultural capital to operate in another culture. . However I think that old expat scene is changing, some nationalities were always more predisposed to embrace the culture they lived in, now there is much more of a social, and meritorious mix, amongst those in Brit expat communities they do tend to be much more part of the life of their host community, learn the language, absorb the culture etc. The Americans however seem to find that very hard.

wordfactory Mon 22-Apr-13 17:58:09

russians then you and DH are not too far apart.

For him clever is a given and after that, as I said last night, the first thibng he's looking for is flexibility. Then excellent communication skills. Then the international thing...

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 18:05:45

Copthall, again, sorry, but coming from the perspective of someone whose job is transnational, while I agree with you that knowledge is a magnificent thing (and I myself studied European history and politics both at A level and in my Part II) it's not a pre-requisite to a graduate trainee being able to access the sort of career I have. I feel more than a little evangelical myself, about dispelling the myths that only those who come from privilege have any chance of a fabulous career, actually. Myths which you seem very invested in perpetuating in this thread. Perhaps you are right about marketing though but that wasn't what either Word or I were talking about, she was talking about law I was talking about finance, commerce and the legal and regulatory environment. So maybe marketing is restricted to those from privilege. I must admit none of the marketing bods I know fit that description, our main guy is a bluff Yorkshireman who comes from roughly the same sort of background as I did. But I don't know very many marketing people, none of my peers went into marketing, so....

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 18:12:10

I should add that said bluff yorkshireman has been extremely effective globally. Not just with other yorkshiremen and/or women.

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 18:29:00

Russians You know that I also believe that we should try and make all jobs and uni courses accessible regardless of privilege, but I am not advocating that pupils be equipped with skills they need privilege to access. They should be accessible and encouraged in state schools, my local comp should not be allowed to offer no MFL at A level and Gove should not be allowed to derail History curriculums that have already developed to enable pupils to have a greater understanding of different perspectives. On another local thread another poster did an analysis of MFL results between the local indies and top sets in comps (which are outstanding and with nice affluent leafy catchments) and the difference just in numbers, let alone results, was appalling. This thread is about whether indies do better because the teaching is better or because of selection and largely I would agree with the latter but indies do provide better opportunities in some areas and, sadly, and wrongly, this is one of them. As *word" says it is about whether candidates to any International job "get" it and the current situation makes it more likely that a state school pupil won't.

I can highly recommend the recruitment of bluff Yorkshire types, dead adaptable, us.......

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 18:54:13

Actually Russians that exact same strategy that Martin Sorrell promulgates applies to finance and law too. I am not aware of any bank or law firm that don't have a strategy of recruiting nationals in their regional offices and seeking to develop their professional expertise precisely because of the value of their cultural capital. The fact that they so far haven't entirely succeeded is down to the fact that their education systems have significant weaknesses in giving them the skills to operate in International companies, mainly in terms of creative thinking and their ability to adapt to different hierarchies and ways of networking, weaknesses which are priorities for the development of their education systems, albeit with significant political obstacles. Gove however just seems intent on sabotaging our strengths in those areas.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 19:22:37

Copthall - you clearly haven't understood the points I have been making. Obviously marketing is a very different animal to other types of transnational business - 'Martin Sorrell's strategy' is not in fact anything new or even revolutionary. But anyway, I don't see how it is in any way relevant to the fact that on the list of attributes you need to be able to work well in a transnational environment in many (perhaps not all) professions that are actually global (and are actually professions) having lived or holidayed abroad while young is really not even close to being at the top. Having studied abroad is a bit closer to the business end but still below other more important attributes. I don't see my own profession changing its view on that any time soon. But clearly marketing and the like are different, and that's good to know. If any of my kids want to go into marketing I'll tell them that I scuppered them by making them holiday in Cornwall. sad

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 19:23:43

Well, if you want to know which palms to grease and how to work in a corrupt system in a corrupt foreign country, it helps to have local knowledge and contacts. Even in the law...

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 19:33:40

Rabbit - and that's exactly the sort of knowledge that students pick up studying for a term at the sorbonne, or working in a gite, or dodging the packs of dogs in Bucharest .....oh wait. No it isn't. It's the sort of knowledge that I suppose certain types of people looking to pursue certain types of life would pick up once they were working.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 19:44:01

Packs of dogs in Bucharest?

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 19:59:36

RussiansOnTheSpree - what on earth makes you think anyone on here is talking about backpacking round the world or studying for a term at the Sorbonne??? People who spent part of their childhood living in some dodgy part of the world because their parents before them lived and worked as ex pats (or locals) in dodgy parts of the world, however, might have a head start over someone whose only experience is a bit of backpacking and spending some time in a lovely flat in Paris doing a bit of studying. You could argue that someone who survived living on an inner City council estate but still managed to get into Oxford to make their CV look good might have a headstart in accepting and living amongst danger and corruption, of course...

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 20:01:27

Alternatively, they might have hoped they would get away from all that.

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 20:06:15

And Russians you seem to be dashing off to the furthest end of my perspective. I did not say in any way that having holidayed abroad whilst young was critical to success in an international careeer, what I said was that having gained an ability to understand things from the perspective of other cultures by whatever means is going to be of benefit in any career that involves dealing with people from other cultures. I didn't say it trumped things like being clever, having good communication skills or whatever, as I said earlier it goes into the pot with a whole load of other qualities , skills and experience. However understanding how a society can operate organically in a way that without rule of law means you have to grease the right palms in the right context and in the right way and at the right time, or that the organic way in which that society operates on the basis of informal and opaque networks will subvert your business model regardless of your business sector is an advantage and I know plenty of people in Finance and Law who understand that as well as I do. Indeed one is in the kitchen right now asking where his dinner is. It isn't knowledge, that as you say can be acquired, it is an awareness that it needs to be acquired.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 20:30:38

Yellow Yup. Loads and loads of stray dogs. Cats also but much more so dogs. I have a friend who used to do the proper expat thing - working on a contract for a big german bank out there 4 days a week - and he used to call it dogsville. Certainly the last time I was there is was a bit Scary (I really hate dogs).

Rabbit This thread is about the educational advantages offered by posh schools. Not about whether the kids of ex-pats have an advatage (in my experience, they don't). As far as your baffling remarks about my own life - it was Cambridge not Oxford, I didn't go there 'to make my CV look good' but because it was the best place in the world to go so who wouldn't want to go there, if they could, and I experienced neither danger nor corruption that was unique to the experience of growing up in council flats. I was at Victoria when there was a bomb in the early 90s, and I was in a serious car accident in the 80s but while dangerous neither event had anything to do with where I grew up. I'm sure that there were various dodgy dealings over bus routes, bin collections, council expenses etc but none of that impacted on me any more than it would have done on anyone living in a posh house in my borough.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 22-Apr-13 20:36:49

Perhaps I should have married someone who has an international director level role, and participates in graduate recruitment, rather than being someone who actually has that role and does that activity. Then people would stop talking to me as if I don't know anything about my own job.

Clearly the people with kids at independent school refuse to countenance the possibility that lack of exposure to the sort of foreign travel experiences afforded by privilege is not, in fact, an automatic barrier to ending up in a transnational career. And they don't want to hear any real world experience other than that of their husbands. So there isn't anything more I can add to this thread as my husband doesn't do that sort of job. sad So I'll bow out and leave the experts to it.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 20:47:52

RussiansOnASpree - how self-centred of you to think I was making comments about your own life.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 20:49:49

Perhaps, Russians, you should stop talking as though you are the ONLY person who not only knows about your own job, but about virtually any other job that involves working or travelling overseas. You have your own perspective on what you do and others doing a virtually identical job might, shock, horror, actually view working overseas somewhat differently from you.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 20:51:05

And so childish to assume everyone on here, apart from you, of course, is privately educated from a posh background with a husband who tells them all about the work that HE does.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 20:52:49

And, of course, if going to Cambridge is the best place in the world to go, then of course it makes your CV look good. Or didn't you realise that?...

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 20:57:13

Besides which, as soon as people started commenting on their children's careers in law firms and how they were enjoying it, this thread ceased to be solely about educational advantages offered by posh schools. Yellowtip did not claim her dd went to a posh school.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 21:03:36

rabbit steady on, this is becoming the MN Education Threads version of Jerry Springer.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 21:11:17

Coo, for no particular reason (other than avoiding washing up) I've just googled Jerry Springer. Born actually in Highgate tube station in 1944. Extraordinary.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 21:20:17

And it is pretty chauvinistic not to give Russians credit for knowing exactly what it is she's taking about, first hand.

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 21:42:50

yellow isn't it pretty chauvinistic and frankly strange to pick up one small aside I made about my husband's career choice to discredit all I have said that stems from the experience of three years living and working in a senior role overseas (and twenty five years in senior roles in international companies dealing with international companies before that) plus an MBA with a substantial international focus and seven years of advanced study at a leading institution for the study of other cultures . I can' t for the life of me know how she arrived at a job title for him, this is the first time I ever mentioned him on mumsnet in the context he is in banking.

I certainly haven't implied that she in any way doesn't have her own experience and perspective but I have too . SHe seems to be determined to misunderstand my perspective . What bit of by whatever means does she not understand. We frequently find the qualities and skills I know are valuable to international careers (valuable, note, not to the exclusion of all other qualities) in the pupils we encounter on outreach because they themselves are growing up in two cultures between home and school , and may also live between two languages . It is just that the schools fail to value it, let alone build on it or make them aware it might open up career choices, or indeed encourage those skills in others. By the same token that she declares I am not worthy of having a view point because I don' t do her job, and the only experience that I am trading on is my banker husband , I wonder exactly why she feels that the Director of my uni is talking rubbish when he highlights that we have a "long and distinguished history of widening our student's horizons and helping them gain the skills needed for a career in an increasingly international environment " (whatever their background) backed up by the fact that last year graduates from my department ended up at Linklaters, JP Morgan, Schroeders, TPInvest , Swires, Heinz, the Treasury (policy analyst on overseas projects) the Foriegn Office * 2 , the Swedish embassy, the BBC, the Olympic committee, many of those not from a privileged background , but as she has decided to flounce off I 'll keep naively believing that we do add value somehow.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 21:49:33

Copthall I honestly think that everyone with considerable experience of their own here seems to be taking comments too personally. It's all interesting is all I would say, to an outsider.

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 22:10:50

No, Yellowtip, what you are saying is that you will forgive Russians all her rude comments, but pick others up on what they say and then pretend it's all interesting, really, and you are doing nothing to inflame anyone. wink

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 22:19:58

(Now, remind me who it was, again, who didn't get all personal when she told seeker she couldn't read, didn't take it personally (ha, ha) when people apparently didn't understand her comments about Oxford and Cambridge in the way she intended, and brought up Jerry Springer and chauvinism?...All interesting to an outsider...).

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 22:20:49

To be fair rabbit I think the only person I've picked up on this thread is seeker, and richly deserved.

I do find much interesting, nothing false there.

Yellowtip Mon 22-Apr-13 22:25:07

Oh ok rabbit that sounds like me. Me objecting that seeker was twisting and being deliberately thick. I hardly came over all shirty. But isn't it fair to say you may also be an outsider now, in the world of commercial recruitment? I thought you said you'd departed from law, some while since?

rabbitstew Mon 22-Apr-13 22:26:02

Oh, so seeker was being chauvinistic, then, and no-one else?

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 22:30:45

I was being chauvinistic? Eh?

Does anyone want me to hold her coat?

Copthallresident Mon 22-Apr-13 23:02:26

Sorry yellowtip but I do take it personally when someone keeps wilfully misinterpreting my perspective and writes me off as one of those "people with kids at independent school" who " refuse to countenance the possibility that lack of exposure to the sort of foreign travel experiences afforded by privilege is not, in fact, an automatic barrier to ending up in a transnational career. And they don't want to hear any real world experience other than that of their husbands" simply because it is so far from the truth, and not what I was arguing . Perhaps it is also because it is not the first time Russians has decided to cast me as a stereotype, regardless of what I was trying to argue (probably ineptly but not that ineptly) except last time it was so obnoxious it was deleted by mumsnet for breaking the talk guidelines.

But I am still not going to retaliate............

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 07:48:00

No seeker wasn't being chauvinistic but some of the rest of you were. seeker was just misreading, as so often, perhaps wilfully but more probably not.

I said 'too personally' Copthall because the comment which blew your fuse didn't seem to be directed at you.

wordfactory Tue 23-Apr-13 08:21:49

Surely it's not chauvenisitic to believe ones own partner over a stranger on t'internet?

Surely that's just common sense?

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 08:25:52

I would call it taking to a logical conclusion, rather than misreading. People are often uncomfortable thinking about what happens at (c) and (d) when they talk about (a) to (b).

rabbitstew Tue 23-Apr-13 08:51:38

Now, when it comes to chauvinism, as in a biased devotion to your particular belief, I would say there was a lot of that going on on each side of the argument. How interesting that Yellowtip should only feel fit to comment on it one way. Anyone would think Yellowtip herself is somewhat biased.

rabbitstew Tue 23-Apr-13 08:55:45

Mind you, I agree with wordfactory that it is most odd to expect anyone who listens to their dh's opinion to agree that they are listening to a chauvinist and should instead reject all that in favour of the opinion of a complete stranger who claims to work in a particular field but whom they've never met and no-one can vouch for.

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 09:11:54

Most of our children will end up working in the UK. They will probably work with many different cultures form the UK and abroad and probably have business trips abroad. However most will not choose to move from their home country for work for all kinds of reasons.

Some children who are moved too much or live between several cultures are not necessarily advantaged by that nor are those sent away from those whom they love. Of course disadvantage of some kind and a difficult family for some, however, can be a key reason for future success - a double edged sword I suppose.

YoniMaroney Tue 23-Apr-13 09:17:47

best to starve them occasionally. keeps them on their toes.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 09:28:55

I'd call it not reading the words and substituting others which weren't there at the outset and were never intended.

I'd also say that there's a significant difference between logical conclusion which is fine and reducing an argument to the absurd, which is what you so often seem to do, with no subtlety.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 09:29:37

That was directed at seeker.

wordfactory Tue 23-Apr-13 09:30:32

I think that many of us who were motivated by disadvantage to succeed do worry that our DC won't have a similar drive. That the very priviledge we've provided will blunt their ambition...

Cloggs to cloggs in three generations, as the saying goes in my old stomping ground.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 09:44:59

Yellow tip- just because you didn't like me suggesting that it's not equitable for Oxbridge to be "an initial flag" or that a 2:1 from Oxbridge gets you automatically to the next round (I think it was you said that- forgive me if it wasn't) doesn't mean I am misreading or misinterpreting.....

poppydoppy Tue 23-Apr-13 09:52:59

I think its rather narrow minded to assume that most of our children will be working in the UK given the state of our economy.
We have offices in a few different countries and are looking to open more in emerging markets because that is where the money will be in the future.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 10:54:05

I suggest you read the thread and the words written seeker and then challenge them accurately because it's a waste of people's time when you ascribe meanings and words which weren't there.

It's obviously complete nonsense to disregard university when looking for graduate trainees in fact it's so completely obvious it shouldn't have to be said.

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 11:46:36

Of course the university matters. There are large numbers of very good candidates coming out the best universities and large numbers with rather poor results coming out of the less good universities. Good employers restrict recruitment for new graduates from the better universities for obvious reasons. Everyone knows that and it is very fair. If schools are telling children by all means go to XYZ ex poly as all universities are equal then they are guilty of misrepresentation. On the other hand if the child could not get into anywhere else it may well be able to work its way up having started someone badly regarded and that may be better than not going to university at all.

Statistically most UK graduates want to and end up working in the UK. Now of course our ancestors have moved across this planet searching for food for 3 million years and then jobs more recently so yes they may well move abroad, but I believe most of the children of those on this thread will not end up working in another country. Plenty will not want to or only for short periods. However yes of course it's good to ensure children will be adaptable. In fact it is terribly important to give daughters the skills to negotiate with a husband to force him to follow her not his career as far too many women sacrifice their career to a man's and regret it later.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 12:04:14

Those were your words yellowtip. I could cut and paste if you like.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 12:23:15

Assuming that the only candidates worth considering come for 2- or even 5- Universities is a) possibly denying yourself some brilliant candidates, b) doing nothing to challenge the status quo and c) laying yourself open to a discrimination case.

happygardening Tue 23-Apr-13 12:28:30

"Good employers restrict recruitment for new graduates from the better universities for obvious reasons."
It interesting that you should say this and I always thought the same but two friends DD's have just left two ex poly universities both did a years work experience as part of their degree at two internationally renown MNC's, one the sort of company that many would kill to get into and both have gone from university straight into work with them on a graduate training program all expenses paid and not bad salary for a 22 year old.
I dont if this is the norm maybe its not but I was rather surprised I have say.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 23-Apr-13 12:46:03

Copthall You continue to misread and misinterpret, doubtless on purpose. Following your pattern of attacking me in every thread we both find ourselves in. I wasn't talking about your husband's job title. I don't CARE about your husband OR his views hence my annoyance when you and Word both quoted your husbands as some kind of better authority on MY experience than I am. I was talking about my OWN job title (in generalistic terms). I have said several times that based on my experience the 'advantages' offered by independent schools in terms of overseas travel opportunities are not in fact advantages in the graduate recruitment market IN MY AREA. Because they aren't. I know this, because I am involved with recruiting and development and I know what we look for and I also have certain profession-wide roles so my experience isn't even limited to my own firm. Yet you keep telling me I'm wrong. With no basis in either relevant experience or fact. And then you quoted your husband at me. Why would I care what your husband thinks? I don't.

Rabbit If you weren't meaning to have a jibe at me then I apologise for assuming you were. It must have just been a lucky coincidence that you described my council flat to oxbridge youth almost to a T - however since you were pretty disparaging about that general route also, I don't apologise for thinking your comments were nasty.

rabbitstew Tue 23-Apr-13 12:48:25

In what way was I disparaging about the general route??

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 12:58:54

hg, yes work experience really matters. It was interesting that my second daughter once she had more work experience was much more interesting to employers and I suppose it is obvious that that would be so (and she has just about all As and a good university etc etc like just about everyone you compete with).

I doubt anyone would recommend taking the chance of a poor university though over one that is good. You can get work experience at both types so why take the risk of a lesser institution and if the other students are not to bright then the whole place becomes more down market and standards of discussion between students is duller etc etc.

rabbitstew Tue 23-Apr-13 13:04:50

Russians - I have several friends who went from council estates to good universities. My own father followed a similar route into medicine. However, I don't know anyone who managed that from the huge council estate in London I was once asked if I was interested to help set up a reading scheme at where several women had been raped in broad daylight in recent weeks, nobody felt safe walking across the estate on their own, the police didn't feel safe going to, and peoples' flats had been taken over by groups wanting to set up crack dens. I have to say, anyone living there who managed nevertheless to overcome the dangers surrounding them and go to Oxford or Cambridge would be something pretty special. So maybe we were just thinking of different council estates?!

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 13:04:52

"I doubt anyone would recommend taking the chance of a poor university though over one that is good"

<poises fingers to respond- remembers pledge and hits the gin instead>

happygardening Tue 23-Apr-13 13:13:47

But xenia these two were at "poor universities" not great A levels but have jobs that other friends DC's Oxbridge etc would love and in this current market dont even get interviewed for.
I'm not saying its usual but its certainly interesting.

poppydoppy Tue 23-Apr-13 13:24:58

Just to recap. It doesn't really matter what school you attend but it does matter what University you go to and the grades you acquire.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 13:32:15

Ah, that's it then seeker: Mother's Ruin. That explains the problem smile

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 13:44:45

Of course it happens just as I know multi millionaires who left school at 15 and did really well in business. However as parents we are trying to maximise life chances so we read to children and feed them well because that tends to help them. We seek the best schools we can find and the same for universities. We talk to them and love them. Just because some children make it through from difficult circumstances including ex polytechnics does not mean that is the route we steer the children down.

If lots of well educated women are sending their children to the worst universities they can find with very low A level result entrance requirements that will make it easier for children going to the better places so I suppose in a sense on a personal level one may encourage others to go for it.

Mimadre Tue 23-Apr-13 14:29:49

I am one of those ex poly types from a furrin country who bought the nonsense that all UK universities are equal. I work for a MNC now but it was not easy getting here and I had to jump through so many more hoops than my peers to end up where I am; including postgraduate studies and working abroad. It took several years of experience and proving myself over and over again before my university stopped being a disadvantage to my career. Even now I try not to mention it and you will not believe how many men in the City are so determined to let you know which particular Oxbridge college they attended, decades after graduation.

The utopian ideal would be of course to say employers should take time to understand the individual merits of each applicant but if you are going for jobs with the big name firms in banking, consultancy, fund management, law, accounting etc, employers will more often than not default to the same well known universities.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 14:37:49

Mimandre- two things. Obviously not all universities are equal- I don't honk anyone has ever thought that!

However, many of the attitudes overtly expressed on this thread show why things have not changed. Depressing,isn't it? Privilege follows privilege.

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 14:41:41

It is not depressing at all. It shows employers have sense. It would be depressing if employers recruited less bright students over clever ones surely?

Mimadre Tue 23-Apr-13 14:52:20

Seeker I agree - privilege follows privilege because many of these colleagues are not inherently smarter or better.

It is also not a case of just UK universities - we recruit internationally but also from a tight list of usual suspects.

The best contribution I can make is to ensure that students who want to get into financial services, law, consulting etc are aware of the facts and aim for the right universities. There is so much misinformation out there from unscrupulous universities pretending that you will work for Goldman Sachs as long as you just have a degree. You may but you will be the exception not the rule.

wordfactory Tue 23-Apr-13 14:59:34

With all due respect russians I did not say that my DH had a more valid view that you. In fact I simply relayed his views on the qualities he values and looks for. It was you who jumped in with size 10s calling it rubbish! Indeed you've rubished everyone's views that don't coincide with your own. No suprise really considering you don't care about anyone elses views! What a joy you sound!

wordfactory Tue 23-Apr-13 15:02:50

Seeker I agree it is a little depressing but there just isn't enough time or energy for people to interview all applicants in order to try to winkle out how bright they might be and how or why they ended up at less selwctive university. My DH spends enough time in work as it is.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:26:38

So. Back to selective education. Are there still people on here who don't think it's damaging? Bearing in mind the last day's discussion?

Mimadre Tue 23-Apr-13 15:45:15

Seeker isn't education at its core about selection? We may argue about what is the right point of selection - don't get me started about the way students are streamed in secondary schools in the UK which I believe is too early and does not take account of late developers or slackers who may find their interests later - but any system that involves exams and scores is modelled on selection.

I may of course have missed the point of your question (slacking at work is of course poly behaviour).

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:53:54

Mimadre, this thread is one of many about the desirability or otherwise of separating children at 11 into different schools- one for the clever minority (the size of the minority varies) and one for the less clever majority (ditto).

This was how State education worked in the UK until the 60s, when comprehensive education was introduced in all but a few reactionary pockets where it remains to this day. There is a constant background noise about bringing back selection at 11, and many mumsnetters are very much in favour of it.

The overwhelming majority of comprehensive schools set and/or stream- but the process is flexible enough to allow for movement up or down to accomodate late developers or early bloomers.

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 16:23:54

We separated ours at 4 not 11 as in fact do many state primaries with selection by houseprice.

In a sense the thread has got to the heard of selection - that in life you will be seleected for jobs if you have competence. That you will be picked as a spouse if you look quite good and are nice or clever or whatever else the other person is looking for whether 32DD chest or blonde hair or IQ of 150+. Selection is all about us from natural selection to life itself and all part of life's game.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 17:05:25

I do wonder why it so often seems to come back to blondeness for you, Xenia! confused

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 17:07:36

Actually I do prefer men who are blonde but it's certainly not top of my list and it was just shorthand for whatever people look for in their workers or wives/husbands. It might as easily be that he's tall or very slim or very bright or earns a fortune or is plain nice.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 17:11:27

Yes, I just realised I'd seen it a few times in your posts as one in a list of desirable things! I certainly hope my daughters aren't ever interviewed by someone who looks for blondeness in his or her workers though!

happygardening Tue 23-Apr-13 17:26:21

"The overwhelming majority of comprehensive schools set and/or stream- but the process is flexible enough to allow for movement up or down to accomodate late developers or early bloomers."
I just cannot accept the system is flexible for the early bloomers or late developers. This is just not my experience it is the experience of many others. seeker I can only assume that you can keep repeating this argument with such conviction when the actual evidence from those with direct experience of these two group doesn't back this up becasue you are lucky enough not too have either.

Xenia Tue 23-Apr-13 17:41:36

Blondeness would not be a legal criteria to have except for dating I suppose. For some reason i have 3 blonde children but neither of their parents are blonde.

Apart from race it is not illegal do recruit on the basis of looks and/or IQ which is why you can exclude everyone fat or badly dressed or with an accent you don't like (unless it's foreign). Discrimination on grounds of class and IQ is lawful.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 17:55:57

Yeah, I know it wouldn't be legal, it just reminded me of an earlier post about thin blonde Oxford girls or something!

Very minor aside!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 17:57:55

happy I do certainly know of children who've been moved both up and down sets: whether the ones I know of are enough, or whether there are lots of others who should have moved and haven't, I don't know. But definitely there is movement, and I would imagine more than there is between sec mods and grammars after the major sorting at 11. Or any other schools, come to that!

happygardening Tue 23-Apr-13 18:08:15

I accept that there are some decent schools out there but if you look any any forum for parents with the early bloomers and I mean early or the late developers there are rafts of parents detailing how their individual children have been let down by state an in some cases independent ed. Look on MN same. story. These parents experiences are legitimate and sadly the same story is told over and over again.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 18:11:36

I'm sure: I'm just putting on record that the point about movement between sets isn't a silly or unsubstantiated one either.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:57:25

There may not be enough movement between sets. But such movement is at least possible in a comprehensive school. If children are sent to different schools at 11 it isn't actually possible.

Tasmania Tue 23-Apr-13 21:48:25

Ha! Just checked in... the private v state debate is still going strong, I see.

This could really be the true Neverending Story... ;-)

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 21:59:17

No, Tasmania- you've got the wrong thread. This isn't private v state- that's down the corridor, second on the left. This is overt discrimination in favour of Oxbridge in the interview process, and how it entrenches privilege. Reinforced by an education system that ensures that the vast majority of Oxbridge undergraduates are drawn from the privileged middle and upper classes- thereby entrenching privilege further.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 22:10:32

Or even, why do selective independEnt schools appear higher in league tables of exam results, just to be really retro!

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 22:25:55

seeker this is so grindingly moronic. All I said was, which is true, is that if any applicant was a recent graduate from Oxford or Cambridge then that would be a good. It's unarguable these days that you have to be very bright indeed to get in to either of those two universities. There is also a small clutch of second tier universities which stand out. It's not in the least depressing since we're not now living in the 1920's when having attended a particular school or knowing a particular tutor at a particular college or promising a particular sum of money might have eased the path in. I really do think with all your angst about your own DC and their type of school and their Y6 SATs levels and their GCSE grades vis a vis their cousin's grades etc that it ill behoves you to be too precious about iniquity in the interview process for graduate jobs. Middle class self loathing writ large....

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 22:43:22

What a very odd post.

seeker Tue 23-Apr-13 22:48:22

You know perfectly well that in order to get into Oxbridge you have to be no only very very bright but also to know how to work the system, and probably be specially prepared for the process. which is why 50%!of Oxbridge undergraduates come from 7% of the population. .So letting Oxbridge candidates automatically through to the second round of an interview process is overtly and covertly discriminatory.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 22:49:16

Not a great riposte seeker. Your angst gets tedious and you can't do much more than misquote, 'misinterpret' or say 'Jesus wept'.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 22:51:51

Perhaps it's time for you to execute your cut and paste threat. Which poster claimed that Oxbridge candidates (applicants) were automatically through to the second stage? Go on seeker, cut and paste.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 22:51:59

Well it depends whether anyone automatically puts Oxbridge grads through, or just notes oxbridge as a positive which is impressive, and then weighs it against the rest of the Cv, I guess. Which are we talking about?

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 22:56:46

I also utterly refute the idiotic suggestion that an applicant needs to know how to 'work the system' and 'be specially prepared for the process'. (I love the cowardly 'probably' btw). If you could explain your particular personal insight into the 'process' seeker then I might understand your bigotry a little bit more.

Yellowtip Tue 23-Apr-13 23:03:56

I'm talking about the latter TOSN, as was utterly clear from my post on the subject. seeker ch