School trip for G&T kids. I don't approve, but not sure what to do.

(65 Posts)
PigOnRollerskates Wed 13-Nov-13 11:22:49

In the next 3 weeks DD (Y7) is going on 3 school trips. One is for whole year group to local big museum. Fine.

One is to panto for kids who have got the most reward slips. Again fine, although tough on those who just missed out. (she might miss out yet - she's making the cut at the moment but still 2 weeks to go)

Third is for kids identified as G&T. It's to another museum and is directly linked to the big humanities project that the whole year group are working on.

I have a real problem with this. Letters were publicly handed out in tutor groups to make it clear to all who weren't invited that it was because they weren't clever enough. DD and one of her best friends got a letter, their other best friend didn't. They are all in the same sets and have the same targets, so clearly it was a close call and based (I guess) on friend 3 getting slightly lower CAT scores.

Also of the kids I know who are going, they are all from families who take their kids to these museums anyway, and have tons of opportunities. The kids I know whose parents struggle financially or don't place much emphasis on these types of activities are not in the group (obviously this is not a co-incidence)

This is a mid-performing comprehensive school. I understand that DD is in the top 10% of this school, but probably wouldn't be in a more selective school or in another catchment area. I'm all for differentiation and making sure the brighter kids are getting stretched and reaching their potential, but special trips for G&T make me feel very uncomfortable.

DD agrees, and said she felt very awkward when the letters were handed out. She wants to go though, and I don't want to ban her from going based on my principles.

Does anyone have any experience of this? Would you raise it with the school? Is this a common thing now or OFSTED requirement?

I know the bottom 10% get extra funding and help, but what about the 80% in the middle? Is their education considered unimportant?

Sorry - rant over!

bundaberg Wed 13-Nov-13 11:25:06

ugh i would have a massive problem with the panto trip AND the g&t trip quite frankly!

and yes, i would bring it up with the school

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 13-Nov-13 11:25:56

I had always understood that G&T trips and activities weren't based on things the whole class are doing anyway - hence lots of masterclasses on generic things like Becoming a History Detective and stuff. So yes, if it's linked to a project everyone's doing, I don't think that's very good.

Probably if I were you I'd mention it in passing at next parents' evening. But I tend to be a bit careful, and always strongly encourage the dc to do things like this, on the grounds that They won't need much encouragement to abondon funding for things like this, and a low uptake would lend credibility to such a decision!

I think that a lot of parents are faced with a dilemma between their own principles and doing the best for their child. Typically you might hear about parent who is opposed to private schools deciding whether their child should go to a private school that meets that specific child's needs.

Presumably the trip is specifically designed to extended the learning of the G&T children so maximise their learning. Would you feel the same way about a trip targeted at the least able children being unfair to the rest of the year group?

Honestly, I don't know the answers and certainly don't feel the 80% should be overlooked. But it is an interesting dilemma.

titchy Wed 13-Nov-13 11:42:50

So effectively you want to ban all enrichment activities for those on academic G & T? Presumably for all those excellent at sport you'd want NO extra coaching? Those G & T in drama - sorry no theatre trips for you! Just in case the average majority felt a bit left out?

Why can't we all accept some kids are good academically, some are good at sport, some are gifted musicians etc. And treat them accordingly rather than withdrawing all extra activities so each kid can be treated the same.

And yes schools are on a three-line whip from OFSTED to provide extension activities for G & T. They also have to spent pupil premium money on the more disadvantaged kids.

The ones in the middle do go on trips, they're hardly missing out, indeed the entire curriculum is predominantly geared towards their needs, rather than the needs of those at the top or bottom. Hence the enrichment for those at the top, and the pupi premium activities for those at the bottom.

PigOnRollerskates Wed 13-Nov-13 11:44:32

I guess for the social reasons I posted above I'd have less of a problem with the bottom 10% going. I know that kids from deprived backgrounds can be in the top 10% and kids with very involved parents who are capable of accessing these museums might be in the bottom 10% but there is a general trend that the top 10% probably get more input at home. Sorry if this sounds like a generalisation but I don't imagine many will deny there's some truth in it.

I'm not particularly rich. I'm a lone parent and work part time. But I'm well educated and very engaged with my DD's learning and schooling, and I do take her to specific museums based on topics at school etc. And anyway both museums have free entry. We've been to both the museums within the last year, as well as many others. So has her other friend who is going.

I know what you mean about the dilemma of principles versus your own child. I've always said I'd never consider private, and fortunately it looks like I'll never have to. DD's communist grandfather would turn in his grave! I also don't agree with segregation in education based on gender, religion, ability or finance, but again I'm very lucky that I live in a town with a comprehensive school and no 11+. Not sure how principled I'd have been if I'd had to refuse to let her sit the 11+ and go to a poorer school where the top performers had been creamed off.

Maybe I'll just have to resign myself to being a hypocrite.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 13-Nov-13 11:46:16

titchy has a good point. There's supposed to be extension work for G&T. You can't put their education on hold on case it upsets someone. You only get one shot.

As long as there are trips for everyone

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 13-Nov-13 11:55:03

I'm with Titch too. The trip to the museum won't just be a trip to a museum. There will be discussions about what they see, and activities relating to the trip afterwards. Not all G&T kids have parents who take them to museums you know.

As Titch says, academic ability ought to be encourged in the way that musical ability, sporting ability, artistic ability etc are also encouraged. Otherwise, if we want a completely level playing field, there should be no extra-curricular orchestras, hockey matches etc (whether or not parents chose to pay for lessons outside of school) - because it's not fair to kids who can't play hockey well enough to make the team etc.

PigOnRollerskates Wed 13-Nov-13 11:55:04

Just to be clear - I totally agree with extension work and have been requesting it for years at primary. I also agree with extra curricular activities and extra coaching geared to skills.

This is none of these. It's a reward for being clever. My DD isn't G&T at humanities. She's very good at maths. This isn't a maths trip, so the comparison with theatre trips for drama students doesn't apply.

Where Titchy got the impression I wanted to ban all enrichment activities I have no idea. Maybe I touched a nerve.

DD will take part in the Maths Challenge later this year. That's a great enrichment activity for kids that are good at maths, and those that aren't probably wouldn't want to take part.

Her friend is very good at sport and is therefore in the netball team. DD would like to be but understands she can't catch for toffee isn't as good. Again kids understand this.

This trip is not the same thing at all.

PigOnRollerskates Wed 13-Nov-13 11:57:51

And I stand by my point. Why should the top 10% get more taxpayer money spent on them?

Do those of you who agree with this trip have kids who are G&T or not? If so would you be saying the same if your kids were hard-working, above average but just missing out on G&T?

I'm not asking this to cause a row, I'm just genuinely curious.

titchy Wed 13-Nov-13 11:58:06

The principles upon which comprehensives were founded was that basically one-size would fit ALL kids.

The GCSE system generally is as a result of this. The consequence of this is that exams and comprehensives generally are a good fit for the majority - the 80% in your OP. However they are lacking in provision for the top 10 and bottom 10%. And such activities go some way towards alleviating this.

Whilst it's probably true that most of the top 10% have parents who value their education and will regularly visit museum etc, some won't and clearly school can't have a trip for 'bright kids whose parents are a bit lacking'.... Also I would guess that when you visit a museum it's for pleasure, and you won't be expecting your kids to take that experience and apply it to project work over the next few weeks.

Remember it's an EDUCATIONAL trip, not a pleasure one. The panto is the pleasure one and is a rewards for hard work and/ or good behaviour.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 13-Nov-13 12:03:26

Dd is only 7 and not G&T as far as I know smile

I want her to do as well as she is able and be given the chance to do that. Ie not held back because it's deemed unfair or she wants to be like everyone else. And equally not pushed to go on a trip that she hasn't the capability to understand just because they can't differentiate.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 13-Nov-13 12:04:16

"Why should the top 10% get more taxpayer money spent on them? "

They don't - the G&T programme was brought in precicely because not enough money was being spent on encouraging Britain's brightest and best.

The country needs brains - and it needs to start developing those brains from an early age. We are not all the same, but I'm a firm believer that everyone has something they are good at.
In some cases this is maths, in some cases it's carpentry, or caring for people. We should encourage every child to do more of what they're best at, and extend them as far as they can/want to go in that area.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 13-Nov-13 12:05:04

And like titchy said its educational!! Not a reward

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 13-Nov-13 12:07:52

The museum trip is NOT a reward for being clever - it's an educational trip designed to extend the kid's knowlege in a certain area and to foster an interest.

The panto trip IS a reward - for being well behaved all term, or whatever.

Do you/would you accept a bonus in work for getting a job done? My company hands out bottles of wine/chocs etc for good work, and the annual bonus scheme is based on performance ratings throughout the year - different percentages for different performance scores. What's the difference?

Rosencrantz Wed 13-Nov-13 12:10:19

Agree with titch.

Benefits of being g+t act as encouragements to keep trying hard.

Sod the average lot, be selfish and further your own education. Job market doesn't want average.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 13-Nov-13 12:12:31

Rosencrantz is right. When it comes to your own kids - sod your socialist principles and do what's right for them.

PigOnRollerskates Wed 13-Nov-13 12:15:48

Ha - "Do you/would you accept a bonus in work for getting a job done?"

I'm a charity fundraiser and project manager, and the Institute of Fundraising is very much opposed to bonuses / commission for charity workers, and I have argued against bonuses in charities on moral grounds.

Rosencrantz - I can't tell if you're being serious or satirical?

Those of you who haven't answered my question about whether you've got G&T kids or not - perhaps you'll answer this. How many of you have ever uttered the sentence "Say what you like about Margaret Thatcher ..."

grin

curlew Wed 13-Nov-13 12:19:48

Surely the answer is a museum trip for all, with differentiated work during and after?

Everybody can benefit from a museum trip, not just the G&T. It's not like, as in our school, a trip for gifted mathematicians to the university, or talented footballers to the local semi professional club.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 13-Nov-13 12:20:06

I'm a little confused as to why you think the trip isn't relevant because she's G&T with maths.

Maths is not confined to the class room. A museum is a fab place to combine all the subjects those going are G&T at.

Bramshott Wed 13-Nov-13 12:22:03

Hmm - I'm with you OP - it sounds badly thought out.

DD1 is in Y6 and G & T for English, so she's been on some workshops at the secondary school to develop her creative writing. IMO an excellent use of resources and a well-thought through extension activity. Others have been for maths stuff etc.

This isn't that, unless there's a very specific focus that's not apparent now - eg. these kids are going to do a special project based on this trip - produce a newspaper / work up a business plan based on running a successful museum.

curlew Wed 13-Nov-13 12:26:06

So hoping that middleaged and rosencrantz are being ironic.......

If you are good at something, you should be encouraged.

I was at an SN boarding school but took language classes at the high school. I was moved into the IB Spanish 3 class from Spanish 2 and SN school complained. I wanted to work at the UN as a teen and know 7 languages now.

Let the G&T kids go on their trip.

titchy Wed 13-Nov-13 12:28:08

Curlew - the whole year ARE going to the museum! This is an extra visit for those who have been identified as academically G & T who presumably will have a different programme of activities to do at the museum which wouldn't have been suitable for the majority of the cohort.

To answer OP's later question - I have one on G & T and one not (arguably the brighter of the two....go figure!).

ercoldesk Wed 13-Nov-13 12:28:49

Going against the general flow here, I tend to agree with you OP.

However, I know from DDs old school that a similar group were taken to a local arts centre to see an exhibition, and then did an extended writing project that would have been beyond most other DCs in the year. The trip wasn't about introducing them to the gallery, but collaboratively working on a specific project. The work produced was outstanding, and I think exactly the sort of G&T extension work we'd all hope for for our DCs.

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