Apologies to Cambridge matmos.

(347 Posts)
grovel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:50:37

I just loved being number 1000. Such power!

grovel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:53:40

And 2 typo mistakes. Yikes!

pugsandseals Fri 15-Feb-13 23:11:02

Couldn't bring myself to do it! grin
Was a good thread those despite some of the heights of emotion. It means we all care deeply about education don't you think?

pugsandseals Fri 15-Feb-13 23:11:50

though those stupid auto text!

pugsandseals Fri 15-Feb-13 23:14:12

Off to bed now though. Night all!

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 00:01:34

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BeckAndCall Sat 16-Feb-13 08:30:39

Brilliant timing, grovel, I salute you.

And actually, LOl at totally - a light note to end on........ ( unless you meant it of course - lets not go there)

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 08:41:54

Relax Beck. Just got an allotment so gonna be busy all day digging it up. So I won't be going 'there'.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 16-Feb-13 08:45:47

At least we can spell. Unlike some.

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 08:49:20

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Perriwinkle Sat 16-Feb-13 14:23:37

The grammar school system is just as inherently iniquitous as private schools are.

Which county you live in determines whether or not your child can attend one. Grammar schools should be abolished in all counties, just as they have already been in some for a good many years now.

HesterBurnitall Sat 16-Feb-13 14:27:09

BS it's really out of order to continually discuss another poster, even more so when they're not even on the thread.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 18:09:16

I don't know what to think about the grammar system anymore! It helped DH hugely & he eventually got an Oxbridge place due to the connections of his grammar school. It means he (& I of course) have been lifted out of poverty & gave him opportunities he would otherwise never have had. I missed the 11+ by a very small margin, went to a huge secondary modern & got completely lost on the crowd & did very badly in exams. It was only my out of school activities that led me to better things. DD tried the local non-selective system & lost confidence & was very unhappy - is now very happy at a private school which was originally a grammar.
I've seen friends do very well in the classes below me at secondary modern. Much better than those in the top classes in fact, so it works for some!
Maybe it's the 11+ itself that needs to change? Reasoning papers are all the rage in private school entrance exams & I cannot help but feel this is the way to go! Surely it makes much more sense to assess the potential of the child rather than just what they are good at/can be tutored towards on the day?
I'm not completely against a fully comprehensive system, but think that streaming is much more necessary & at a much younger age too! And somehow we need to get away from the spoonfed culture which encourages everyone to just do the bare minimum. And instead get back to a competitive atmosphere which encourages learning & academia.
Just some thoughts grin

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 18:43:23

pugs in what way did the grammar school's 'connections' secure your DH his place at Cambridge? Did he get rejected initially and then get offered a place?

Reasoning papers are relied on heavily by grammars. Not just the VR and NVR but the Maths paper too is a reasoning paper. The whole point, obviously, is to identify potential.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 16-Feb-13 18:45:52

Is matmos the version of tripos that the maths students do? wink

happygardening Sat 16-Feb-13 18:59:32

I just want to say as far as I understand from colleger and peternas experts on Eton the fully paid for places at prep usually leading onto the KS no longer exist in the way they used too. I'm sure none of you care but I just wanted to set the record straight. Harrow still offer this; the Peter Beckwith scholarship or something sounding similar.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 16-Feb-13 19:04:30

Totally, I've no idea what's gone on with you and seeker but can you give it a rest? Thanks.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 19:08:30

YELLOWTIP - the school had a history of success with a particular college & as I said, had connections in order for him to get an interview. The same way as particular private schools have high success rates of students getting into particular colleges I suppose!

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 19:11:46

Happy, I think you're right.

From Eton's website:

Funded Places

About 20% of the boys currently at the school are receiving financial support, and some of them are paying substantially reduced fees or indeed no fees at all. Financial support can come through a scholarship or through a bursary. No parents with a talented boy should feel that Eton is necessarily beyond their means. These are the ways in which a candidate can secure a funded place:

In year 6 (age 11): a conditional place offered for entry to Eton in year 9 can lead to a bursary award. Some preparatory schools offer funded places for years 7 and 8.

In year 8 (age 13): a boy with great academic strength from any educational background can win a King’s Scholarship, and an outstanding musician with good academic qualities can win a Music Scholarship. We are also introducing a New Foundation Scholarship which will create an entry opportunity for a small number of boys from UK state schools at age 13; although such boys might find preparation for the King’s Scholarship difficult to achieve, they will have intellectual potential comparable to that of a King’s Scholar, and will sit a special examination based on the national curriculum but designed to draw out that flair.

In year 11 (age 16) : UK students expected to gain outstanding GCSE results can compete for a Sixth Form Scholarship. Boys under the age of 17 on 1 September after taking GCSEs and who are attending a maintained (State) school are eligible to apply. Candidates receiving substantial bursarial assistance at fee-paying schools with no provision for Years 12 and 13 may also apply.

Please note that we do not offer sports or arts scholarships, though such abilities feature strongly in all our selection processes along with all-round personality and suitability for membership of a boarding community.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 19:12:07

Also, if reasoning papers are so highly relied upon in the 11+, why do people think that tutoring will give their child an advantage? if an advantage can be gained from tutoring then surely the system is not adequate in it's aims!?!

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 19:16:02

pugs you've clearly grilled your DH to within an inch of his life on his passage to Cambridge (poor bloke) and his social life (or lack of) whilst there and the social dexterity of all his uni colleagues and friends. So tell me, what stopped him getting an interview on merit?

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 19:17:34

pugs NVR is highly coachable for. VR less so, but the tutored still gain an advantage.

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 19:24:29

yellow, are you pro the current 11+ or anti?

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 19:37:05

YELLOWTIP - of course I know a lot about DH's uni days, I knew him before & during that time is that allowed?

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 16-Feb-13 19:37:08

Grovel how can you ask someone about 'the current 11+ when there are different variations sat in each county (and for each school, sometimes)?

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 19:44:46

Yes, allowed. So why not an interview on merit?

And which private schools have particular success with which colleges these days pugs? (out of interest).

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 19:50:58

grovel as Russians says, there is no one 11+. I'm strongly in favour of grammar education at its best but don't think anyone anywhere would say that any school currently has devised a test which is perfectly fit for purpose, given the advent of tutoring.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:05:27

Ok, would it read better to say that when Oxbridge was found to be an option the school suggested a particular college as one that several others had gone to from that school. Therefore giving the school more confidence in preparing him for the entrance procedure YELLOWTIP? Surely you are not so naive as to think schools suggest students apply randomly to various institutions that the school were unfamiliar with surely?

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:10:40

I may be completely out of date here, but I thought there was only one 11+ wherever you lived! blush Might that be the answer? One test available for anyone to take wherever they live, then let parents choose schools according to their result. A completely level playing field! You might even get private schools to conform so that they can find the best candidates for their bursaries or scholarships grin

teacherwith2kids Sat 16-Feb-13 20:15:08

"Surely you are not so naive as to think schools suggest students apply randomly to various institutions that the school were unfamiliar with surely? "

Well, it's what I did - from an (at that time) highly academic girls' school with a good record of Oxbridge entrance. I went through the prospectus, decided on my priorities (small, mixed, lots of NatScis), selected a college on that basis, applied, was interviewed and got in.

The school knew enough about 'the Cambridge admissions process' (at that point, 4th term exam and interviews), to prepare me adequately. They knew that there was no way that any 'personal connection' would get me in ahead of someone who deserved it more, so there was no point in pointing me towards a college where any such personal connection existed.

The only slight tussle I had was over singe sex vs mixed, coming from a girls' school - but that was rapidly resolved.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 16-Feb-13 20:16:53

No, there isn't one 11+ test, pugs. Some schools are VR only or NVR only or VR and NVR or English and Maths, or VR, NVR and English etc.

Some organise their own; some work together to provide an area-wide test etc etc.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 16-Feb-13 20:21:30

PUGS I suspect that Yellow has a better grasp of the Oxford admissions process than you.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:21:44

The only advantage TEACHER, was that the school had some knowledge of the application procedure. No back door entrance!

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 20:22:30

Pugs - My friend has been heavily tutoring her DC since the summer (her DC is currently in Yr 5) for 11+ entry to my DC's school. He is scoring on average 80% in his mocks which appears to be his peak. Unfortunately 90% is considered to be the safe mark. So my friend is thinking of going for Plan B ie a less selective indie.

My point? You can take a child, familiarise him with the format and get him to practice working under exam conditions BUT you can't tutor him to pass the actual 11+ itself. I mean, if you look at 5 words and you can't see the odd.one out then no amount of tutoring is going to get you to see the odd one out.

People will tell you that a not so bright child can be tutored to pass the 11+. They have to believe that because otherwise they can't make the argument that GS/indie places go to the children of well off parents because they can afford tutors.

Bottom line. I spent a few weeks familiarising my DCs with the format. They spent the next 6 months practicing on pass papers. I could have tutored them for another 6 months and it wouldn't have made a difference to their score. In fact it could have had the reverse effort since they were showing signs of being over cooked.

If a parent want to hire an expensive tutor.to tutor their DC for years then that is up to them but I wouldn't hold up their DCs as examples of kids that have an advantage.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 16-Feb-13 20:22:42

Sorry, pressed enter too soon - I was going to go on and say that my experience of the Cambridge admissions process was to apply to the college I fancied. My school did not tell me where to apply. That would have been ridiculous.

teacherwith2kids Sat 16-Feb-13 20:22:54

The application procedure is exactly the samefor all colleges, though - how could knowing about 1 college make any difference whatever??

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:27

Yes, I really am that naïve. Can't imagine my DC being that led either. Come on pugs, move with the times!

pugs hate to say it, but you do sound woefully naïve yourself on the 11+ front. Though tbf you do say you aren't in the zone.

In my area the indies are poor relations to the grammar. Most of the grammar kids would get a scholarship from the indies no problem.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:25:12

Maybe we should add a musicianship & sporting skills test to our ideal 11+ too so that the sporty or musical ones could go to schools that would meet their needs smile

teacherwith2kids Sat 16-Feb-13 20:25:29

And for all the other universities I applied to, I um...read the prospectus, visited them (by mself, by train) and applied according to the instructions. Got offers from all of them, so can't have gone too wrong...

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:16

TotallyBS - you spent 6 months preparing your kids for the 11+???? shock I had heard of hot housing, but that is ridiculous! My DD got an academic scholarship with absolutely no practice for her entrance test. I can only imagine the stress levels on these tutored kids - how is it fair on anyone?

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:24

No we shouldn't. Why should we pugs? It's about academic ability first and foremost and as soon as you add in extra things such as sport and music you water it down. Often musical and sporting talent will follow academic ability but it would be absurd to insist. All rounders are fine in their place.

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 20:35:53

For goodness sake pugs you said your DD's school is fairly mediocre. You can't compare all schools with all other schools. A scholarship to one of my local indies might mean a fail to Westminster or SPGS.

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 20:37:12

pugs - the selectives that I am familiar with do have a music route. You still need to meet the minimum academic standard though. Some (all?) Indies also have sports route. We have some county class kids that are only average in terms of academics.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:38:56

YELLOWTIP - I am dreaming of my perfect education system of course! There would be grammars, specialist music or sport schools, maybe specialist schools for 'hands on' types who enjoy that kind of thing. & it wouldn't just be the grammars who would be able to pick & choose pupils either dreams . Pupils would all get offers & then choose from those that wanted them .....

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:42:22

YELLOWTIP - I never said DD's school was average! It's actually top 30 in the league tables.

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 20:42:41

Well Utopia is a wonderful thing unless you're a gritty realist.

It would be great if you could stop shouting my name. Just saying.

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 20:44:46

I thought you said it wasn't that selective pugs. Tbf, top 30, it probably is. You also said all kids at your DDs' primary would almost certainly get in so....

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:45:14

Sorry - just can't get my stupid phone to do bold! No offence meant!!! blush

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 20:46:12

Pugs - Prepping for 6 months would be stressful for your DC. And he is an academic scholar at his school???

If the academic scholar is that delicate then I would hate to imagine what the quality of the intake is like.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:47:17

Prep not primary! Any kids not expected to pass are either not entered into the prep at all or leave well before the entrance exam.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 20:51:21

So only the tough, highly tutored should take the test then? hmm 'Highly intelligent must not apply without extensive tutoring'...

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 21:04:11

Pugs - assuming that post was directed at me, I don't understand what you are saying. It seems a bit of a non sequitur

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 21:06:57

Gives up - obviously nobody wants to join me in my dream for the perfect education system so I shall go dream elsewhere.....

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 21:12:30

... and break open another bottle of wine perhaps? smile

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 21:19:27

pugs how much experience do you have of 11+ tests for grammars and indies? You do seem to generalise from the particular in other areas, so I was just wondering. Without meaning to be rude, obviously.

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 22:22:07

These threads have been really instructive to me. I realise how much I don't know and am reminded how deeply personal our children's education is to all of us. We tend to justify our choices (if we are lucky enough to have them) because we can't bear to think that we've got it wrong. Those with no choice are either happy (because the state can be great) or profoundly "wronged" because the state, in their case, does not provide what their children need. pugs, you are right to want Utopia and to ask questions. We'll never get there but we'll only get closer by questioning.

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 22:25:10

And the problem with "questioning" is that we create uncertainty for those charged with educating (teaching) our young.

Yellowtip Sat 16-Feb-13 22:32:34

Tbf 'questioning' in the sense you mean it grovel is of most use if the questioner is reasonably informed in the first place. Without a base level of information it's just a waste of everybody's time.

Perriwinkle Sat 16-Feb-13 22:36:13

Pugsandseals said:

I don't know what to think about the grammar system anymore! It helped DH hugely & he eventually got an Oxbridge place due to the connections of his grammar school. It means he (& I of course) have been lifted out of poverty & gave him opportunities he would otherwise never have had.

When the opportunity afforded to your DS is only afforded to other children depending on which county they live in, how can you think the grammar school system is anything other than iniquitous?

TotallyBS Sat 16-Feb-13 22:41:48

I agree Peri. We should afford children in other counties the opportunity to go to a grammar school?

Oh blush That wasn't your point was it?

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 22:43:56

Well, Yellowtip, how do we (parents/ the electorate/ children) learn except by questioning? We've all got our personal, out-of-date experiences of our own education which tend to give us prejudices. They need to be challenged.

pugsandseals Sat 16-Feb-13 23:23:30

So easy to just let the politicians get on with bashing out these things for us. I agree grovel, we must know our ideals to be able to help the politicians make the right compromises on our behalf.

Never have I said I have any of the right answers, just that I would wish to explore all the options!

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 01:38:54

I choked a little, reading through the GSG (a couple of years old) earlier, to read this:

"Punctuality and attendance have been major issues but are now coming under control.... In the 2008-09 year, attendance improved to 92% from 87% when the head arrived. Head re-introduced uniform as part of his self-esteem-raising mission - raised middle class eyebrows and heckles" "Head claims few problems with drugs, alcohol etc., though lighting up as you leave is routine"

"We were disturbed on our tour to see and hear a number of classes which could most charitably be described as chatty and in which little work was evident, and a few more which could only be described as disorderly. Head's policy of 'non-shouting' not implemented by all and school's dependence on supply teachers may explain some of what we witnessed. Pupils ... admit to a level of classroom disruption which would make all but the most forebearing of potential parents have qualms."

I choked a little more reading this: "Pupils and Parents: From liberal, moneyed Hampstead to recent refugees in temporary housing"

Bearing in mind that 'moneyed' in Hampstead would certainly be plural millions, I struggled to see why people with the free choice would have chosen this.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 08:20:00

Filly - Some people simply walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Others, like these 'moneyed' parents, stand by their principles and refuse to go private or relocate to a better catchment.

Although I don't agree that one should sacrifice our DCs education on the altar of principles, I do respect the fact that they don't just go on about how schools can be improved only if moneyed parents stay and help fight to improve standards.

They walk the talk which is worthy of respect unlike those champagne socialist who say one thing then put their DCs into GS or relocate to a better catchment.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 08:24:47

Oops. 'Others, like' shouldn't be there. Anyway the point is that some parents walk the talk and stay because they believe in trying to improve things rather than taking the easy option and relocating or going private.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 08:30:39

"I choked a little, reading through the GSG (a couple of years old) earlier, to read this:"

What's the GSG?

<worries that this is one of this questions where the answer is so obvious I'll be embarrassed for days for not knowing the answer>

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 08:33:09

Good schools guide ?

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 08:39:39

Ah, yes, it was one of those questions............!

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 08:48:32

It seems logical that you can be against the Grammar system in principle but if that is the only option and the secondary schools in the area are not offering equal opportunities then you would prefer your dc to attend the grammar.

My father used to create 11+ papers and I can assure you that you can be tutored to do well in them. There are numerous "tricks" to be taught which enable you to spot what type of question it is and lead you to the answer. My siblings and I always scored ridiculously high scores when faced with these papers in school but sadly they had been warned to discount them!

TwistedReach Sun 17-Feb-13 09:03:00

Well, I think I may know the school that is being referred to - it can only be one of a few- and similarly condemning comments have been made about ds's school. However I could give you a completely different account. As a parent you have to be confident enough to believe that your child can manage and do well. You have to remember that children and teenagers are exactly that and not just scary other beings, however they are portrayed in the press or middle class private school parent set. DS is doing very well- is predicted gcse grades that you would expect from Westminster but I'm delighted that they can add to the record of his local school instead. I don't agree that choosing a school is simply a personal decision- i think it is very much, or should be also a social one.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 09:08:36

Filly putty- perhaps because different people see different things in a school?

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 09:19:58

Millais - I agree that there are 'tricks' but the point I am making is that they aren't secret tricks known only to expensive tutors who will only reveal them to well off parents.

And it's skills that come from repetition rather than tricks. After doing a few practice papers my DS was able to recognise which type of question he was looking at almost instantly. It made him faster but if he couldn't do the questions in the first place then all the tricks in the world wouldn't make a difference.

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 09:34:15

Yes I agree children of clued up parents can do the practice papers and don't need expensive tuition. However, these "tricks" could be seen as "secret" to parents who have no experience of them- EAL parents or any other group who for whatever reason haven't had this type of education. In my area the number of EAL pupils tutored for the highly selctive grammars is ridiculous and they start at 6 or 7. I know of pupils doing 2 hours a night in years 5 and 6.
I think it is generally accepted that you can add approx 10 points by tuition which may well be enough to get into the schools.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 09:59:27

I still maintain that it is wrong to tutor or prep for the 11+ or any entrance test. Surely there must be some way of changing the exam so that tutoring does not give an unfair advantage? I believe the top streams or grammar schools should be saved for those with the most potential not those with the most practice!

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 09:59:32

And the children of non "clued up " parents?

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:14:34

Pugs - unless someone invents a machine that connects up to your brain and measures your 'intelligence' then the current system is as good as it gets.

Having said that, some schools don't release past papers. But that merely benefits those parents who can afford a tutor that is familiar with that school's exam.

So, one can either endlessly discuss the utopian dream or one can make the best out of the situation.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:17:12

Surely it is possible to do both BS!

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:19:46

seeker - I'm sure that you agree that being 'clued up' is no guarantee that a child will past.

I sometimes wish that posters who thinks that tutoring is unnecessary should go head-to-head with those who think tutoring gives an advantage to well off and or clued up parents.

That way us anyone-can-tutor-their-kids parents can take a break from defending our viewpoint.

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 10:20:17

That is just the point. My DH went to a Grammar- his parents were perfect examples of "non-clued up" people. He went to school, sat a test and came home. A few months later he was offered a place, they bought the uniform and sent him there. Today that is not likely to happen as the children of non clued up parents are now at a disadvantage. I do not know how you'd stop the tutoring or make it a totally level playing field- perhaps all 5 year olds could be tested to look for natural ability? smile

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:22:43

Yes you can. If you want to spend your Sunday morning discussing a utopian ideal then don't let.me stop you.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:23:38

.. that was directed at pugs.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:09

I believe that the CEM test being tralled in various places now is less tutorable - or alternatively the structure and format of the papers should change so regularly as to become unpredictable.... though that has obvious disadvantages because it makes the schools less confident in the results as they have no year to year comparisons.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:27


Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 10:25:33

But the" anyone can tutor their kids " parents are ignoring the children who come from homes where the parents can't tutor. I know one family where there are 6 children, one child is seriously gifted. The parents are barely literate- how should they tutor their child? Yes it is an extreme example but is it fair that they can't afford a tutor and don't know how to home prep?

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 10:27:34

"seeker - I'm sure that you agree that being 'clued up' is no guarantee that a child will past."

Absolutely. But not being "clued up" is pretty much a guarantee that you child will fail.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:28:08

My grandad learned to read at 13. His daughter - my mum - went to grammar school and then to Oxford, because at that point all children took the 11+. However, that was a different society, as there was a genuine need for the 'skilled manual workers' the original secondary moderns were set up to produce. Today's society needs a different type of education system.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:28:33

There must be some way of testing potential without parents being able to prep for the exam!?!
I am no academic expert, but I know that when a music teacher is faced (as often happens in state schools) with many more children wanting to learn music than instruments are available the teacher can present a musical aptitude test to find the most musically gifted. Surely after all these years searching, schools could find a suitably similar academic test? Even knowing preferred learning styles would help surely!

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 10:31:42

Or even-shock horror- put the kids in the same school and "find out by doing" which are suited to the top sets and which aren't? As happens in most of the country anyway?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:34:31

Especially, seeker, as such a system allows every child to be grouped BY SUBJECT so that rather than a crude 'clever / not clever' divide, the gifted mathematician who struggles in e.g. English can be grouped appropriately for each subject....

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:34:40

Millais - it all started with the first clued up caveman that realised that rock beats fist. Ever since the spoils have gone to the clued up. Rather cynical of me I know but that isn't going to change anytime soon.

But just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it's bad.

Anyway, I live north of London. Unfortunately I'm not in catchment but most of the state selectives are heavily working class Asians.

It kind of punctures the argument that the.system is biased against WC people who may not have English as their first language.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:34:47

Teacher - so we need to work backwards then. Find what skills are going to be needed in the workplace of the future & set up the correct amount of specialist skills schools to train them then. I agree Secondary Moderns are outdated & do not prepare children for work, but with what to replace?

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 10:36:30

I'd agree that if parents have a reasonable standard of education and are literate in English, then they can probably tutor their own children. But that of course excludes many, and that is why the grammar schools are so popular with many parents.

I am am a supporter of educating children of similar abilities together, but really don't understand why people insist on having them in separate schools. The huge advantage that comps give is that DC who are good at one subject but not so good at another, can always be in the right place for them.

I live in a fully comprehensive area (no grammars at all). Admission to secondary is on catchment areas and the areas all include poorer and wealthier areas (so very little housing selection). If you looked at the top sets in each comp, I'm pretty certain that they are getting similar results to a grammar, and they certainly get into good universities. So why anyone wants to divide kids into pass and fail at 11 (or even 5) is beyond me.

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 10:37:02

pugs Yes there is, I have been involved in making use of VR and NVR tests in recruitment that are extensively developed and constantly revised by Occupational Psychologists to ensure they are reliable predictors of ability and prevent them becoming predictable. For whatever reason schools have not invested in that sort of expertise although I gather some now are looking at how they can change their entrance tests in response to complaints from Heads that some of the overly coached children go on to struggle (there was a thread on this recently) DDs' selective indie actually do monitor the accuracy of the VR used in the entrance tests compared with subsequent performance in the tests they use to monitor attainment compared with ability and have developed them on a similar iterative basis. However they also have Maths, English and General Knowledge papers that contain a lot of questions designed to further test reasoning and identify potential rather than tutoring, so they have further evidence on which to base their judgements. Possible with 400 applicants but not the 1700 who apply to local Grammars.

VR and NVR tests properly developed and used should with a maximum of 10 practise test accurately predict which percentile you perform at consistently. That is the whole point of the score, not that you got 95% right but that you have the VR capability that enables you to score better than 95% of the population and that should stay consistent. I use the 95th percentile because that is the percentile most students in elite universities will score above.

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 10:40:10

Total given that many Asians are second or third generation and for the middle classes English can be a first language in India, your notion that Asian=EFL is extremely patronising.

grovel Sun 17-Feb-13 10:45:14

The entrance test for Eton (taken at 10.5) is all on computer. There are no "past papers". Certainly our prep head didn't think he could prepare his boys for it.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 10:45:20

Pugs - my dc got merit in his music theory but distinction for his actual playing. A friend's DD did the reverse. Who is more deserving of a place based on musical aptitude?

My DS? One can argue that he has a more expensive instrument or more tuition. But maybe the other kid is just good at passing written exams.

Even with something as natural as music, there is no fair measure of ability. Not unless you spend a day on each candidate and throw a battery of tests at them.

Whether it is academics or music, such a approach is clearly not practical.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:46:58

That is all very interesting Copthall! Nice to see that some schools are putting in the effort smile

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 10:47:04

creamteas That is the irony in this area, that 1700 apply to the Grammars and sustain a huge tutoring industry when the pupils in top sets in local comps actually do just as well as those in the Grammar Schools despite the fact they are supposedly admitting pupils who are in the top 3% of the population for VR and NVR.

The problem though is that through mismanagement we have in the same leafy borough with very similar socially affluent catchments failing comps (now being improved but only in two cases through adopting the experimental methods of their swedish sponsors) alongside the outstanding comps, that is the source of the parental desperation that leads to tutoring, people moving away and stretching themselves to pay for private education so the borough has one of the highest levels of pupils in private education in the country.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 10:54:30

I don't agree BS. I have no idea which of your candidates would do best in my musical test, as my test would be based on aptitude for a particular instrument & based on a combination of aural, rhythmic & fine motor skills appropriate to that aim. I would be testing core musical talent that cannot be taught. That would be the whole point of it & to compare with grade exam results is unfair & not appropriate as these are exams that need preparing for.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 10:59:38

Fine motor is an interesting one in that mix - where would it put my (musically able) son, who at 5 had exceptionally poor fine motor skills (e.g. his very high ability in writing was only really discovered once they allowed him to write on sheets photocopies up 4 - 10x original size, or on rolls of wallpaper!)

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 11:02:48

creamtea - please point to where I said that ALL Asians are fresh off the plane. Jeeze.

I was merely making the point that many of these Asian parents are WC bus drivers, supermarket check out staff and yet their DCs are at selectives so it kind of punches a hole in the argument that the WC gets screwed by the system.

Slightly off topic but a report mentioned in the London Evening Standard a few years ago went on about how poor Asian children are getting better results than poor white kids.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:12:09

The biggest problem we had with our local comprehensive system was the continuous assessment & baseline assessment. DD's friend scored highly in her 5+ baseline assessment, largely due to her starting school as soon as she was 3 as she is a September baby. Was assessed as g&t then & has gone on to receive all the associated benefits of being stretched ever since (now 11). On the other hand DD spent from 3 to 4 & a half in a different type of nursery provision (not school), was an August baby that started school at Easter when nearly 5. Had the test just as few weeks later & was assessed at a lower level & not given the same opportunities has her friend.
By the time the year 2 SATS came along, we were pretty much told by the school that because she wasn't g&t (decided age 5) she would not be allowed to even try the higher level work or exam & that the 5+ exam had pretty much decided what her GCSE grades would be.
Needless to say, she got very bored in year 1&2 & we looked down the private route which is where she has just been offered an academic scholarship.
Surely the comprehensive system which predicts GCSE grades at age 5 is therefore failing a large number of younger kids in year & is very unfair!!! This is why I am very interested in the 11+ at least giving another opportunity to 'reset fate'.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:17:47

Pugsandseals- your experience does seem to be uniquely challenging. I have never ever heard of anyone being told their child's predicted GCSE performance in year 2. Your child's school must really have been a law unto itself!

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:19:54

Teacher - he would probably have failed this time but been asked to audition again in a years time. With the greatest of respect, fine motor skills are a very important part of playing an instrument & he may well have struggled to keep up with the class at that young age. This is why I am one of a few teachers who do not just take a one form entry age 7 - so that I can take the best candidates from all year groups!

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 11:20:34

How bizarre - I have never heard a primary being described as 'comprehensive', nor Foundation Stage assessments being used in the way you suggest to design and limit progress through KS1 and 2, and I also know that no mention of GCSE grades has EVER been made and DS is now in Year 7.

DS's secondary comprehensive uses 'entry point' (ie Year 6 SATs) data as an initial indication, but has predicted his Year 9 attainment based on continuous assessment of his current in-school Year 7 performance.

I am sure that his Year 9 prediction, then his GCSE predictions, will be 'flexed' as he progresses exactly as has happened so far.

I have to say, either your state primary was VERY unusual, or you have misunderstood....

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 11:21:50

A lot of posters ask why we don't want our kids to be educated at a comp. If I had a great comp to send my kids to I would but I haven't so I won't.

A lot of selective parents don't object to sending their DCs to a comp. They just object to sending them to the ones that are available to them.

So when you go one about snobby parents that don't want their kids to be educated alongside lesser ability kids, you are focusing your debate (and contempt) on a small number of parents.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:22:24

But Seeker, that is what a lot of comprehensive systems do! It apparently makes it easier to predict value add scores & is better for the 16+ league tables!!!

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 11:22:26

DS took up the clarinet aged 8. He's Grade 4 standard at 11, with all but the last 1.5 terms having 20-30 minute small group lessons from a peripatetic teacher at (state primary) school ... so his early poor motor skills were no indication of ability...

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 11:24:01

Pugs - how many primary schools do you have experience of? In the upwards of 7 I have direct (teacher or parent) experience of, plus the many more I know of through having friends who are either teachers or chiuldren there, I have NEVER experienced what you describe....

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 11:24:56

Total social class is not just about occupation, and ethnicity and class have a complex relationship. So many of the Asian parents in occupations such as bus-driving might well be middle-class.

I won't bore you with all the details, but you are welcome to come to my lectures on the subject ;)

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:25:11

Pugsandseals- I really am struggling to understand you. Are you saying that secondary schools base their GCSE predictions on KS1 SATs results? Have I got that right?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 11:25:11

I do genuinely think that either you have a unique primary school (you do not have experience of a comprehensive secondary, I believe?) or you misunderstood.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 11:25:47

Seeker, I think she said on EYFS assessments, actually.....

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:27:46

Teacher - you will never get it in writing, only off the record.
I have to say that it is normal in our local schools to only give the higher level sats papers to select pupils. I am very uncomfortable with that because of reasons stated before. At least everybody gets the same opportunities in the 11+

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:30:18

correct Teacher

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:31:46

So what is it you get off the record?

Oh, you are right, schools only give level 6 papers in year 6 to pupils who have shown themselves to be there or thereabouts. Which seems to me to be entirely sensible- why set a child up to fail?

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:32:08

In our purely comprehensive system, where your lower school decides which middle & upper you go to YES.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:33:11

Ok.lost you again. Could you explain how your system works again? I am deeply baffled.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:33:40

Are you in the UK?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 17-Feb-13 11:38:21

Off the record sounds off the wall to me! I can't help wondering whether you got the wrong end of the stick somewhere, pugs.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:39:24

& the EYFS assessment also dictated which table you were on all through years 1&2 & therefore what work you were given. Table 2 would never even be allowed to try what table 1 were doing in class, so it becomes a prophecy.
Just to say this is my personal experience of my very insular state comprehensive system where I live. I obviously cannot comment on other areas of the country as I have no experience. But hopefully it goes some way towards explaining why we left thee state system. Surely it should be impossible for a child who was not allowed to take the higher level sats papers at 7+ to get an academic scholarship at 11!

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:41:00

Yes UK

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:45:32

But...but...but.. Why would a school do that? I honestly think you must have misunderstood. Are you saying that children not on the top table weren't allowed to take the level 3 SATs paper? And that somehow only getting a 2A made a difference to what GCSEs a child could take?

All I can say is that the school concerned must have completely misunderstood the system, and I'm amazed it got past OFSTED.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:48:54

Ofsted outstanding school apparently hmm

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:54:48

No. I'm sorry,npugsandseals, but you are wrong. That is not how it works. You have misunderstood.

And I do think you ought to be careful what you post about state education if you genuinely think that children's GCSE choices are dictated by EFYS scores. Because they aren't.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 11:59:27

It's to keep the cohort graphs looking smooth. If one year group in a small school has a higher number of level 3's than the year above & below the graph shows a hump & the council come down on the school like a ton of bricks about the perceived dip the following year. Schools are reliant on the council for their budget so want a nice smooth graph line to show they are very slowly & steadily improving. That years cohort will need to stay 'in it's place' until they leave school at 16.
This is what I am talking about with our comprehensive system! Our children get predicted levels at age 5 which they are expected to achieve at 16. If they don't the council complain, if some peak too early they are held back so that the upper school can claim better value-add scores & climb up the league tables further therefore getting more money.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 12:00:55

Seeker - no GCSE scores are not predicted at 5+ in a grammar system because there is no cohort that can be traced all the way through the system.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 12:04:37

Pugs - are you SURE? Who have you discussed this with??? Where on earth did you get the information from???

(I mean, I suppose it might happen, as an abberation, in one school somewhere. But is so far from being 'what normally happens' as to come across as totally bizarre to anyone who has a wider knowledge of how the state school system works.....)

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 12:04:43

I am going to continue to say that you are wrong until you actually give me some evidence.

TotallyBS Sun 17-Feb-13 12:11:07

creamtea - I don't want to out myself but trust me when I say that I don't need to attend your no doubt insightful lectures to learn about the Asian Experience in the UK. But don't let that stop you from telling me how I am being patronising etc etc grin

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 12:31:09

Pugs- your child isn't there anymore, and if I remember correctly, you have moved away. Why don"t you tell us what school you are talking about?

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 12:47:43

"Total given that many Asians are second or third generation and for the middle classes English can be a first language in India, your notion that Asian=EFL is extremely patronising."

Hmm, the stats are published you know.

For example:

Woodford County High School 69% EFL www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=102852

86% EBACC, 74% A*,A.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 12:49:09

Evidence? Right.
DD didn't achieve what I expected at EYFS assessment & put on table 2.
DD was bored stupid in year 1&2.
DD had no tutoring at age 7 & took her sats & private school entrance tests within weeks of each other.
Private school head expressed his pleasure about her entrance test result & put her in top set for everything. Accepted into school.I have meeting with old head, express my surprise at the stark difference between the entrance test results which he had seen & the sats.
He told me that it was out of the question that dd would be given a go on the higher papers based on her EYFS assessment & that based on that she could never be more than a B/C borderline GCSE candidate & it was beyond his control to give her any better opportunities.
He then went on about how the upper school would be sad to lose her as it would muck up the stats & were we sure it was worth all that money on private school fees just to be given the chance of a grade or 2 better in her final results.
You will never get a head to admit it on paper, but his word is the best I have.

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 12:50:32

Pug are you referring to the EYFS scores and the prediction where the child should end up at each stage if they continue on the same trajectory ignoring any value added?

So a child who leaves EYFS with an average score would be predicted an average 2a at KS1 and a 4a at KS2 etc

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 12:50:43

Seeker - we moved away from the grammar area before DD started school. So I am talking about my local school now so could not mention name unfortunately!

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 12:53:03

Millais - you obviously understand the system, yes. & in 3 tied, the progression has to be very carefully guided so the funding still comes in. If a child progresses too quickly at lower, middle school gets criticized etc.

webwiz Sun 17-Feb-13 13:03:04

Well Pugs the old head is the talking the biggest load of bollocks I've ever heard.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 13:07:18

Webwiz - you understand how he swayed our decision to leave then grin

I just can't that an initial assessment taken when a September born is a whole 5th older than an August should be able to set the fate of them both for their whole education. Completely unfair in my opinion & my biggest gripe with the state system! No opportunities.

Millais Sun 17-Feb-13 13:07:59

Yes I do understand the system but am afraid you have misunderstood. A school which does not add Value Added will never be seen as outstanding. Our job is to change the trajectory so that a child who achieves an average score will need to score higher at the next stage.

It would be a misguided person (Head?) who said that as pupil B was achieving a low score at EYFS we should only ever expect below average from them. I certainly wouldn't leave my child in their care and I can't understand how their school would pass the new OFSTED.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 13:08:12

That should read 'the whole state system in our area' before I am flamed!!!!

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 13:19:52

Agree with Millais - only schools where children's progress EXCEEDS the expected rate can become good or outstanding under the new framework. Any school that attempts to 'manage' results to keep them in line will become 'Requires improvement' or below, because achieving in-line results is considered not to be goiod enough by Ofsted.

I have worked in 2 different 'multiple tier' systems (first / middle / high and infant / junior). In both, I have never experienced anything other than a striving for every child to achieve the maximum progress possible within each individual school ... and I agree that this presents an ENORMOUS challenge for middle / junior schools, especially as there is such political motivation to ensure results e.g. at the end of infants are as far above the 'expected line' as possible ... but achieving above-expected progress is the name of the game wherever I have worked, not just 'for Ofsted' but 'for the children'.

IF a child's porogress was limited by EYFS assessments, I would consider it to be a bad thing. Since it isn't, except in a single example relating to a single child in a single school reported on MN, I will not bother too much about it and will get on with maximising the progress of every child in my class....

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 13:21:39

(And what is all this about fixed table groups??? Who is sitting at what table changes every lesson in my classes, depending on what we are doing and on the progress made by each individual child in the previous lesson... which again is absolutely normal practice)

creamteas Sun 17-Feb-13 13:32:08

Filly if your post was aimed at me, I have absolutely no idea what it is supposed to be saying as there is no data on ethnicity on the DofE site.

Are you assuming that the majority of EFL children are Asian? Where I live the majority are Polish grin

webwiz Sun 17-Feb-13 13:32:45

Well if my DCs had gone to a school with such a ridiculous headteacher I would have moved them too but its nothing to do with it being a state school or funding.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 13:39:11

Teacher - it is great to know that this cannot happen anymore under current rules, but given the school in question managed to keep it's Ofsted outstanding (received under the previous head more than 5 years ago) without a more recent inspection, I have no idea if it still goes on.
Even if it doesn't, that doesn't stop my disappointment that dd was failed by this system!

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 13:44:59


DS was failed by his first state primary - and excelled at his second. I am sure that, had I moved DS to private after the first school, I, like you, might have ascribed some of the differences between the schoiols as state vs private.

However as I visited pretty much all the state and private options before moving him, it became very, very clear that it was an 'individual school' issue rather than a 'sector' issue - and as I said he has thrived in the state sector ever since....

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 17-Feb-13 14:12:42

Pugs - what instrument do you teach? Do you realise that for a dyspraxia person, fine motor skills when performed in the course of playing their instrument are a completely different kettle of fish to fine motor skills performed in most other contexts?

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:23:50

"I just can't that an initial assessment taken when a September born is a whole 5th older than an August should be able to set the fate of them both for their whole education. Completely unfair in my opinion & my biggest gripe with the state system! No opportunities."

It can't. As I said, you have misunderstood. What you state could not possibly have happened the way you say in a "outstanding" school, either under the old or the new framework.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 14:31:15

Absolutely agree with seeker (and as I understand that your DD left the school after a couple of years, it seems very likely that your misunderstanding would have been cleared up had she stayed in the system longer)

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 14:32:38

I realise that your statements are no longer important to you, as you have moved your daughter, but I am bothering to refute them because if left to stand as 'statements about state education' then they present a wholly false picture to another MN reader, who might be worried by them.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 14:35:20

Russians - of course I use instruments in my initial audition assessments! & motor skills tests are appropriate to the instrument not just picked out of thin air!

As I have said before, even if we had moved dd to a different lower school she still had 0% chance of getting into anything other than our consigned middle & upper. Nobody in our village has ever managed to get in anywhere else, so it was private or stay there.

Seeker - how could dd have possibly jumped from table 2 & average sats straight to top set everything at a top 30 private school & then on to an academic scholarship? It shouldn't be possible & wouldn't have happened if she had been allowed to take the higher level papers! I wish I had your faith in the system I really do!!!

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:38:48

It's not that I have faith in the system. And I am perfectly prepared to believe that they primary school your dd attended was crap.

But if it did happen the way you say, then the school was not following "the system". And the Head must have been sleeping with the OFSTED inspector if the school was rated outstanding while doing this.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 14:39:08

I tend to agree with seeker that you most likely misunderstood what the HT was saying to you pugs. Also, how badly was your DD failed if she did so well aged 7 in the private school test (depends on the quality of the latter school I suppose, or whether it's under-subscribed).

I'm so glad I never gave more than a passing glance at levels for my older DC. I've only really been aware of them for DD4. It's much more relaxing that way.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 14:41:30

Nor have I ever cared much about tables. Just how career stultifying is Table 2?

webwiz Sun 17-Feb-13 14:43:38

What seeker said (and yellowtip) - crap primary school not "state system"

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 14:44:40

The boredom & associated behaviour was what really worried me! & obvious lack of confidence

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:46:37

Well, obviously it was a crap primary school. But I hope you can accept that your dd was failed by the school, not the system. Because what you describe is not "the system"

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 14:46:56

"Are you assuming that the majority of EFL children are Asian? Where I live the majority are Polish "

Not at grammar school they are not.

Here's a document from a Chelmsford grammar


Chelmsford is largely white and British, and the school introduced a priority area to preserve this, rather than admit increasing numbers of Asians from outer London.

Ethnic stats for the school:

White British: 338
Asian: 130
Black: 23
White Eastern European and White Other: 4
(Others 65)

Essex is 96.8% White.

Most EFL children at grammar schools are South Asian.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 14:48:30

Pugs, you have misunderstood the nature of the KS1 tests. The levels reported are TEACHER ASSESSMENT LEVELS, from a whole range of work across the year. Children do also take 'a test', but if there is a discrepancy between the two levels, then the teacher assessment result is the one that is reported.

So it would make no difference which test your child took. If the teacher assessed her, on her everyday work, as a level 2, then she would be reported as a level 2, regardless of what test she happened to sit on one day during the year.

You can argue that the teacher mis-assessed her during the year, but to suggest that 'had she been able to access the higher level test she would have done better' is misleading at best - had her teacher assessment been a level 2, a level 2 she would have remained.

Teacher assessment levels are tied to what a child can actually do, over a period of time. DS was assessed as level 3 in maths in Year 1, for example, without ever sitting a test.

It is indeed an interesting question why her daily performance in class was so out of line with her performance in a different school - but it will NOT be due to some conspiracy related to tests and levels, just perhaps that she did not perform well day to day in that environment for some reason.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 14:51:05

Loss of confidence may be all the answer that you need - your child had little confidence in that environment (in the same way, my DS became a selective mute in an uncongenial environment) an therefore her daily performance in class did not reflect her possible ability. A function of that school and that teacher, but definitely not a function of 'the state sector' or 'not being given the right test'.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 14:53:16

In addition pugs it's sometimes good to take some of what's said by HTs at private schools with a pinch of salt. Sometimes a little cynicism is good. This particular school may be great and any scholarship to it a fabulous accolade but many schools out there are in dire need of custom.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 14:54:52

As I said before, I am very glad systems have been put into place to stop this from happening in the future. I think it would be foolish to believe that there are not other children of dd's age who have been similarly overlooked by the system as well though. When I meet teenagers that have been in trouble at school I think it would be irresponsible to flatly refuse that any of them have been failed by the system & are just bored!

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 14:56:25

Pugs - how od is your DD? The arrangements I describe have been in place for some time....

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 14:56:40

old - sorry

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:57:02

Ok- you're not prepared to admit even a little bit that you might have been wrong. I do so hope other people read whqt people who know what they are talking about are saying. But I worry that they won't- scare stories are so much more interesting than facts.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 17-Feb-13 15:00:15

Pugs - you clearly don't get it. What a relief you don't teach my kids.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 15:00:22

pugs is this your eldest DC?

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:02:48


pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:05:01

Russians - what don't I get?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:05:07

(For example, all KS1 'SATS' levels have been teacher assessments, not based on tests, since 2005, so unless your DD is currently in Year 11 or above, the test paper she took had no bearing on her KS1 results.)

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:06:07

Sorry, X-posts - as she is currently in Year 6, the paper she took in Year 2 had absolutely no bearing on her KS1 SATs results, as those will have been based on teacher assessment.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:07:09

Her EYFS profile will similarly have been based on continuous observation.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:07:56

In which case I hope it is not based on teacher assessment anymore.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 15:10:11

Blimey pugs! I'm glad I don't teach your DC. I don't think I could cope with Parents' Meetings smile

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:13:11

To get back to my original point, state systems (excluding grammar systems) lack the competitive atmosphere to allow kids like my dd to thrive - IN MY OPINION. All this continuous assessment & different tables being given different work (in dd's old school anyway) means that kids like dd don't even bother trying in class because there is no reward. All the certificates given in assembly for good behaviour (because x managed not to have a fight this week) or attendance just make some kids switch off to learning.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:14:01

Well, since you don't want it to be based on tests (because it might be the wrong level of test... even though the test is matched to how the child performs in class) and you don't want it based on what your child does in class (which is what teacher assessment is based on), would you prefer not to know how your child is doing???

I am genuinely sorry that your DD's first school had a poor head and wasn't great for her, and thus she didn't perform well in class, but to condemn an entire system rather than be prepared simply to say 'my DD had a poor experience in one school once' is irrational....

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:15:01

Time to give up, I think. To anyone reading this, please don't worry. Pugsandseals has completely misunderstood the system- if whqt she says happened actually happened at her school, it is the only school in the country it happened in. Nowhere else are GCSE predictions made on EFYS, KSI SATs or anything else that happens in primary school. KS2 SATs might have an impact on Year 7 sets, but even then, secondary schools generally test and reset after the fist year. And any school which did follow pug's ideas would fail it's OFSTED. And would have done under the old framework as well.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:15:21

Again, I am sorry that YOUR DD'S SCHOOL did not have those things.

However, to condemn an entire system based on one school is not the position of a rational person....

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:16:55

(As is the wish to change from tests to teacher assessment if the results you don't like are produced by tests, or the other way if they were based on teacher assessments. Bizarre, and irrational, as i say)

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:19:04

As I said before Seeker, this school has never had an inspection under it's current head. The outstanding it currently has is from the time of the old head (don't get how that works but still)

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:20:13

One last time, pugs. Are you prepared to accept that your/ the head's interpretation of the system was wrong?

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:20:47

Teacher - I am only suggesting that the system does not work to the advantage of all in it. There are some losers. Is that not a fair assumption?

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:22:17

Seeker - I thought it was obvious that I did not agree with the way the school was working. And how can I say a system is perfect when my main experience of it is poor?

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:22:40

But the system as you describe is not they system as it is. Or was.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:23:16

The think is, Pugs, based on your complete misunderstanding of how KS1 SATs work, of how EYFS profiles work, and of how secondary / high schools predict GCSE levels, I'm not entirely convinced that you understood the system in operation at your DD's earlier school - and therefore am not going to spend any more of my Sunday explaining how bad it might have been or how Ofsted might have seen it had it (by any remote chance) actually operated as you have supposed.

That does not stop me being sorry that your DD did not thrive there. The school where DS did not thrive, btw, crashed from 'Good with outstanding features' to 'Special measures' within a singe 3 year Ofsted cycle...

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:23:48

You don't have to say the system is perfect. It would be good if you accepted that what you have described is not the system.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 15:25:18

Surely getting up to the Merchant Bankers Table 1 would have been a reward to strive for? Emancipation and shedding the shackles of Also Rans Table 2?

DD4 (also Y6) has never got more than one of these certificates pugs (except the mandatory 'settling in beautifully' one). She knows the purpose of them in her school is to boost the lower achievers and she's pretty mellow about that. She's furiously competitive despite that sort of stuff and always seems to try. I wouldn't say the school has failed her despite there having been very little outward encouragement. Parents and peer group and all sorts of other factors have to go into the mix too. That probably includes parental attitudes to the school. I guess she may have picked up on the fact that you were at odds with the school, so it could have rubbed off. My policy throughout my DCs schooling has always been to avoid confrontation and never to pester the schools.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:26:22

I can only comment on personal experiences, the same as anybody else here.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:26:58

One more time, Pugs - the school that your daughter was in did not suit her, and she did not thrive there as well as you might like, and it appears at the moment that her current school suits her better.

None of that has anything to do with 'a system' or 'a sector', just 2 individual schools.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:29:22

My children have always known that every child in their school gets 1 certificate. If you get more than 1 during your time there it is, as my daughter put it 'because if you find it harder to behave or harder to do your work, sometimes you need more encouragement'....

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:29:52

So because your dd survived the general lack of encouragement & constantly rewarding the poor achievers that means any child can? That would be one sweeping generalisation!

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:30:47

That was for yellow tip btw

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:31:11

Even when everybody says you've misunderstood?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:31:32

No - but she is bright enough to know that there is 'a system', to articulate it, and to understand why the grown-ups around her use it in the way that they do. And as she also says 'well, I get lots of house points and ticks and nice comments on my work, and that's my reward'.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 15:32:48

pugs I'm off now too but you do appear to be a great generalizer from limited personal experience, which is the problem. And some people here (teacher for example) have very broad knowledge of the system. I think seeker may have previously mentioned that she was a primary governor too?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:32:59

You do seem to .... generalise... from your personal experience a little widely, though... the posters who have challenged you on here have experience of significantly more schools from different perspectives.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:34:57

Seeker - I can assure you that I can find lots of local people who would agree with me about how our local system works. Some have kids who have joined dd at her new school. Why should I believe that me & lots of other local parents are all wrong about our local system?

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 15:37:45

pugs DD4 and I have mentioned these weekly certificates early on and I explained how they worked and said don't worry; that if she started to get them then she should worry. It was a vague joke but it nipped any problem in the bud. What was your approach: to confront the teacher? To show her how gutted you were? There are things you can do. And in fact I quite like the idea of the lower achievers getting a boost. I reckon they need it more than the kids like DD4.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:39:57

But there can't be a "local" system! Mind you, I'm pleased you are not longer saying this applies nationally

Go on, at least tell us where you're talking about.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:42:18

Yellowtip - dd has a very strong mind & once she has decided who gets the rewards & why there is little I can do to change that!
I would appreciate if assumptions were not made about me. I was certainly never one of the parents always on the teachers back. Maybe that was the problem, I didn't fight hard enough!

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 15:45:00

I can see where she got her stubborn streak from!

Admitting when you are wrong is a very strong minded thing to do, you know.....

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:45:27

Ok - a 3 tier system with a completely comprehensive outlook (as you would like Seeker). There are only a few left in the country so I am sure you could find out if you put your mind to it! I would appreciate it if you didn't shout about it on here though as I, like you prefer to use mumsnet in an anonymous way. Thanks.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:47:59

Just out of interest, how many of us are here talking about education because we can't talk about it in real life because of professionalism etc.?

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:48:33

Pugs, nobody is saying that you local school sounds good.

If others locally are also saying that it wasn't great, that sounds entirely reasonable.

To extend your conculsion it in any way beyond a poor local school (within a single tier of a 3 tier system), though, to indicate any type of 'systemic' failure is to extrapolate WAY beyond your data

webwiz Sun 17-Feb-13 15:49:22

I don't ever say anything in here that I wouldn't say in real life.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 15:52:23

Pugs, your anonymity is probably safe, as there are more 3 tier areas than you might expect:


Ditto to webwiz on what I say here vs real life.

grovel Sun 17-Feb-13 15:53:15

Blimey! The OP was so trite - and now look!

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 15:56:35

Wow - there's that many? I thought we were pretty much the last ones standing!

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 16:02:27

Apologies to anybody that thought I was talking about the state system as a whole. I've only ever been talking about my experiences of that state system (grammar system for me & dh, 3 tier comprehensive for dd). I do make comparisons between the 2 like anybody would. And yes I thought the comprehensive system all used baseline assessment at 5 to predict gcse grades because it is such a well known fact locally! The only experience I have of 2 tier comprehensive is as a visitor to many schools over the years, not all of them positive experiences.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 16:21:37

My interest has always been about how to find & then stop kids from falling through the gaps in the state sector. Private schools generally manage to help every child be successful in a way the state can sometimes fail!

I don't have all the answers but I do like to ask the questions. What failed dd might help the school/system/whatever improve the situation for someone else in the future

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 16:41:23

Pugs, I would therefore concentrate on finding and understanding where the real gaps are in the system - rather than constructing a story based on misunderstandings and a single example - if you genuinely want to make a difference.

Understanding assessment processes, measurement of level and progress, and what Ofsted looks for in a school, plus school funding and the different types of differentiation, might be a starting point. Oh, plus how predictions and progress tracking is used in good schools.

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 16:43:43

is = are in last sentence, sorry.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 16:53:53

"Apologies to anybody that thought I was talking about the state system as a whole. " we'll I though that because you have said it vociferously in the past.

And just because something is "we'll known locally" doesn't mean it's right. The "system" does not use assessment at 5 to predict GCSE grades. It just doesn't. Not in your area. Not anywhere.

webwiz Sun 17-Feb-13 16:54:20

My interest in education tends to focus on understanding what on earth Michael Gove has been saying and getting DS to concentrate in his GCSE year. I don't personally have any experience of gaps in the state system as its working/has worked fine for me, DH and the DCs.

I was just tempted in by the idea of what you do at 5 having any bearing on later schooling. I think DS cried a lot at 5.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 17-Feb-13 17:01:10

The OP was horrible and the thread has gone much the same way, I'd say. From sweeping inaccurate generalisation to sweeping inaccurate generalisation with a soupcon of insulting those with SEN issues along the way.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 17:06:28

Even if the governors agree with me Seeker? Off the record of course! Why can you not believe that education for some revolves around the gamble of which cohort you happen to be in & how successful or not previous year groups have been? As I have said before, there is a lot to be said for being open minded to other ideas. & who is to say it doesn't work perfectly well for most?

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 17:08:15

Russian, I never meant any offence to anyone. Certainly not SEN students! Pray how???

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 17:14:09

"Why can you not believe that education for some revolves around the gamble of which cohort you happen to be in & how successful or not previous year groups have been"

Because that's not how it works! You are saying things which are just not true.

webwiz Sun 17-Feb-13 17:45:05

Sounds like gossipy nonsense to me but quite inventive. Imagine getting three separate schools to do all that tracking and making sure absolutely nobody overachieves. Nothing like a bit of conspiracy theory to liven up a Sunday afternoon.

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 18:09:22

Pugs Don't assume all rewards will flow to the most deserving in the indies either. Bit galling when the disruptive child who has stolen your DDs equipment and then orchestrated a sending to Coventry of her by the cool gang when someone else reported it, gets the year prize for Endeavour, as opposed to expelled. But then it was a very sad and angry DC and the school is probably the only source of competent parenting and confidence building, and the indies also take their pastoral responsibilities seriously. Actually the message I gave to DD was to understand, not envy or be angry.........

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 18:17:38

Presumably your experience means you condemn all private education, copthall?

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 18:27:57

You just keep those blinkers firmly on Seeker. Safer that way!

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 18:35:19

Obviously seeker wink

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 18:46:32

Pugs- if anyone is wearing blinkers, it's you! You refuse to believe that your experience is not universal. Or even ordinary. Or even how the system is supposed to work. You won't tell us where this happened, or even contemplate the suggestion that you might be wrong.

Of course state schools can be crap. Any school can be crap. But a state school that is operating within the rules just can't be crap in the particular way you are outlining. It just can't

teacherwith2kids Sun 17-Feb-13 18:48:33

I was also realising that Pugs takes everything absolutely literally [pugs, note - I think Copthall and seeker were being facetious in their last couple of posts] - might be where some of the misunderstandings lie.....

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 17-Feb-13 19:02:17

Pugs. In the last couple of days you have been wrong about the characteristics of the top 5% of intelligence (as measured by conventional tests). You have been wrong about the Oxbridge admission processes. You have been wrong about the suitability of some forms of ore-assessment for dyspraxic children. You have been wrong about the way in which baseline assessments at 4 years old influence a child's future academic path. You will admit to none of this.

I don't think it is seeker wearing blinkers.

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 19:13:44

Oh piffle to governors speaking 'off the record'. They shouldn't speak off the record at all, not if they've any proper sense of duty.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 19:52:20

& Russians accuses me of sweeping generalisations? hmm
As far as I can see, all the things you accuse me of being 100% certain of have been things I have mentioned as being my experiences, possible tendencies or possibilities I have been willing to explore.
If nobody ever questions any of their experiences nobody can ever learn from them! I would still like to know how general musical assessment (my way) would disadvantage a dyspraxic child. You accuse so much, but I've yet to hear your experiences!

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 17-Feb-13 20:07:50

Pugs you need to check the dictionary. You cannot defend the generalisations you made as being 'your own experiences'. You seem to get the wrong end of the stick a lot of the time. If you can't understand that testing fine motor skills (before any instrumental lessons have ever been given) will disadvantage dysoraxic children, even musically gifted dyspraxic children then you shouldn't be evaluating children in an educational setting.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 20:43:01

Rolls eyes

Yellowtip Sun 17-Feb-13 21:20:24

What on earth is that supposed to mean?

pugs there may be sound reasons why you didn't pass the 11+.

pugsandseals Sun 17-Feb-13 21:34:38

That Russian seems desperate to believe that I would do a musical aptitude test purely by testing fine motor skills when I specifically said it was one of a number fun tests I would use!

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 23:20:05

Are you now retreating from your complete misunderstanding of how state education works? A gracious person would acknowledge your mistake so you don't mislead other people.

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 05:45:39

I think Pugsandseals may have a bit of a point if she is driving at cognitive bias playing a part in identifying which child can go so far. I will attempt to describe below:

It is true that the NC system essentially divides the cohort up into high, middle and low attainers/ability groups - although a good school will expect all groups to make as much progress as possible it is true to say that the high ability group will be expected to get higher academic results than the low ability group.

Our school is extremely large and 'all through' from nursery to sixth form. It is extremely well regarded with outstanding teaching and outstanding Ofsted reports in both Infant, Junior and Senior departments. I can't think of a parent who wouldn't recommend our school for many good reasons. In our school the high, middle and low ability children are essentially identified by the end of KS1 - if not before. CATS/PIPS type tests and SATS, both tests and ongoing teacher assessments are used to identify the high, middle and low ability. By the end of KSI impressions have generally been formed of the children some are 'quick' and some are 'slow' some are obliging and some are more challenging etc. We would all make these judgements as it is only human to do so. All the interactions are reduced to a manageable number of characteristics. Impressions are so formed and once a child is seen as bright that judgement is not usually rescinded - especially when you have the data to back up your judgement.

At the end of KS1 predictions are made for the end of KS2. Our school believe in setting for Maths by ability. One of mine was barely 6 when they were set for Maths. Because they were a 2a at the end of KS1 they were placed in a set with other children who were also working at a level 2a. The expectations and trajectory for them was not the same as those working at 3c or 3b etc at this time. There were 8 sets and each set worked at a slightly different pace from top to bottom.

I went to a talk about the maths setting and was told that those who were predicted a low level 4 at the end of KS2 might expect to use different calculation methods etc. So judgements and expectations were alive and kicking. By the end of Y3 my child was working at a level 3b - those in the 3 maths sets above were working at a faster pace with higher expectations and I imagine the highest ability group were then around a 4b or even higher by the end of Y3.

In Y4 my child was working at a 3a in the first term and I was told that they were predicted a 5c by the end of Y6 if all was well and good - very good for a child that was a 2a at the end of KS1. I was also told that they believed strongly in setting by ability again and that as most were expected to be a 4b by the end of Year 6 I should be delighted by that level of progress.

I asked the question why not a level 6 at the end of Y6 if ability had developed and warranted it? No reply was given. It's clear my child wasn't marked out as level 6 material.

Does any of the above matter? The jury is out for me. I think some can be penalised by the system but it's those at the margins. They do move children between sets but from what I can tell you have to be truly exceptional to warrant a move as it's tricky to do so administratively and as they rarely move children down (perhaps as CATS tests etc show they have the requisite ability to stay in a higher set?) there isn't always the space.

You can see that those who started at 3c on entry to KS2 in a system like this may have been advantaged? They would definitely be in set 1 or 2 and working with high expectations in mind. KS2 results influence GCSE results and so on and so forth. Those that were clued up in our school got on the Kumon bandwagon our used tutoring to get children up to a 3c where they were at the margins. Still not sure where I sit with it all? If intellect is fixed then I expect they are all pretty much where they should be and you can't have a system that works for everyone perfectly? Surely expectations and predictions are made in every school?

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 05:47:25

Just to add I mean that one of mine was barely 7 (not 6) when set for Maths on entering Y3.

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 05:49:19

Again above meant KS2 results influence GCSE predictions not results.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 07:42:14

But Gill, that sort of rigidity is what pugs says she left the state system to avoid! Now here you are describing it in a private setting. I cannot imagine circumstances where it is a good idea to set such young children so rigidly.particularly with a subject like maths, which comes later to some children than others.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 07:44:15

And I agree about perception and living up/down to expectations. Once you have been labelled clever or not clever, it's very hard to unlabel yourself. That's why rigid setting is such a bad idea.

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 07:51:45

Is Gill's school state or independent? Ofstead which she mentions don't inspect independent schools.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 07:56:11

I assumed it must be private- I don't think there are any state nursery to GCSE schools are there? But the OFSTED thing puzzled me too. I thought she must have meant the Independent school inspector people. Because I don't think OFSTED would take kindly to the rigidity she describes. Or the self fulfilling prophecies that are being created.

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 08:02:24

Our nearest big town is a seperate LA from the rest of the county. Apparently no school has a 6 th form and at least one school goes from reception to yr 11. I was also talking to head of a very large primary 850 pupils and he too is hoping to take merge with a local comp.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:06:37

Could you say what town? Understand if you'd rather not.

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 08:07:41

They've got around the rigidity of the setting by allowing those who are quick on the uptake to go into other (higher) sets if they grasp a particular concept well etc. But essentially the children are set by ability. Does this not happen in other settings? I imagine that data at the end of KS1 is used to make predictions for KS2 and children are set by ability whether this is formally in maths sets or more informally at table settings in mixed ability classes? Current literature relating to schools is saturated with encouragement for teachers to attribute levels of ability to their students and teach them accordingly too.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:10:22

I understood you to say that it was very unusual for a child to move sets? Glad you're back- could you say whether you're talking about state or private? I didn't think there were any nursery-GCSE state schools.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 08:10:38

My DC were set from year 3.
But it was very flexible, in that you could be in set 1 for French and set 4 for maths.
It was also constantly reassessed, with plenty of movement.

It worked very well, but required a lot of effort on the shcool's part.

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 08:14:21

The idea seeker is that children can move up and down - if performance warrants it - through the sets. At the end of each academic year the whole year group is rejigged sets wise too - although things will never change that much. If you believe intellect is pretty much fixed and examinable by NFER type tests then no one is expecting too many surprises. I think as the year group is larger than average it may be the best way of ordering things although not perfect (but which system is?).

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:21:22

State or private?

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 08:21:40

It's a British international school - essentially a state school with the teachers universally from the state sector previously and most children (where they've been to school previously) originally from UK state schools.

Children do move sets but movements are quite rare, they believe that you can set by ability and by and large they can gauge it accurately. I think a child has to be extraordinary to get moved up personally - every top table within each set has able children upon it that will be taken as far as they can. If a child is at the margins though they will miss out on more difficult work and a faster pace (and slightly different trajectory). Teachers say though with maths consolidation is key and it's not a race.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:26:29

If the children are regularly reassessed and moved up and down as appropriate, and if, as you say, even the outliers in each set are adequately provided for, I 'm not sure how you think that equates to pugs' claim that in her child's school, the children were set at 5, and this assessment impacted in what GcSES they took.nit seems completely different to me. Unless I am missing something?

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 08:35:28

Just curious really what is the difference between setting and streaming? I've PMd you seeker.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:41:26

Streaming means putting a child in the same classes for everything, based often on an assessment in one subject. So a child who was very good at maths, for example, might be put in the "top" stream for everything, even though they were less good at French. And vice versa- you could end up in the lower stream for everything because your maths was shaky. Not considered a good idea, for obvious reasons but it still happens. Setting is by individual subject - so you can be set I for French and set 7 for maths.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 08:42:35

Streaming is when the brighter DC are separated together for all subjects. Then the middle tier and so on.

Setting is seperated out by subject. So you can be in top set for English and second set for french and so on.

Setting accepts that many DC have higher ability in some subjects than in others.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 08:43:32

T'was streaming in my day and utterly rubbish.

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 08:46:11

Don't agree with all Pugs was saying at all but at least in our school:

EYFS scores inform informal setting in KS1

KS1 SATS and continuous assessment decisions inform setting in KS2

Those predicted a low level 4 in KS2 SATS are expected to use different methods from others (we know who these are - generally - at the end of KS1)

The cohort is seen as HA, MA and LA (as it is generally elsewhere)?

There's a chance outliers in various sets may not reach potential (hopefully this is only a small chance)

There can be ceilings on the ability of the 'outliers' to access more advanced curriculum

KS2 scores help inform GCSE predictions

Progress is tracked from EYFS and doing well early on - through KS1 - mean academic expectations will generally be high level 3s at KS1 'need' to be level 5s at KS2 for adequate progress to have been made etc.

Not to say that things don't change and there won't be movements through ability groups etc.

Just wondering if this is what Pugs was driving at when she said - I think - something like 'it was all set in stone from EYFS'? It's not but perhaps some of the above may be what she was really driving at?

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 08:56:05

Ah t'was streaming in my day too. So many comps don't set?

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 09:01:07

It's a mixed bag happy.

Some set very flexibly. Some still stream. Some teach in mixed ability classes.

It's up to the school which system they choose.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 09:06:52

In my experience, most comprehensives do set. At ds's school, they stream very broadly, then set within the stream. It is a school with a sort of rocket shaped ability profile- a pointy top with a very few high ability children in it, then more or less equal numbers of middle and low ability. They are assessed and rejigged every 6 months. However, it is quite flexible- you can be in the top stream for one subject even if you are in the middle stream for everything else. Very complicated, and I'm not completely convinced yet. But at least they are trying to be flexible- it's the set in stone- ness that I don't like.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 09:12:03

What experience is that then seeker ?

My understabnding is that there are no comps in Kent.

A quick trip through MN will confirm that there is no evidence that most comps set. In my nearest town there are three comps. One sets. One streams. One teaches mixed ability. The UK comprehensive system in microcosm. Which comp you get, depends entirely on where you live and if you believe in God.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 09:14:14

Interestlingly, our nearest grammar does set.
It only takes DC who are bright, yet still feels setting is beneficial. As does my DC's selective independent.

Quite why our local comp (with a braod range of ability) thinks it doesn't need to, is utterly beyond me.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 09:15:01

The experience of my family and friends, and reading the education press and reading mumsnet. As I said in my experience.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 09:48:58

Whilst I am not hugely in favour of top down directives, I do think setting should be one of the things state schools are given no choice about.

In 1997 Tony Blair made a pledge that setting would be de rigour, but in 2010 a third of all pupils were still being streamed.

Time for government to grasp this nettle IMVHO.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 09:53:18

I don't think there are any educationalists who thinks streaming is a good idea. However, there is evidence that mixed ability works. Frankly, I can't see how- but there it is.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 09:57:25

I know. Everyone decries streaming, so why schools think they're a good idea is beyond me!!!

Mixed ability is an odd one. I've seen it said, that it works well...but that seems to be against all common sense.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 18-Feb-13 10:05:06

I'm working with a group of students doing placements in schools ATM (fucking employability modules, don't ask...). Anyway, the combinations of setting and streaming they are telling me about are very interesting: one girl went to a school where they had the fairly common ''half year' arrangement with parallel sets 1-3 or 4 - but then the top 30 children in the year were in a class of their own, in which they stayed for each subject. So a top stream, and everyone else set!

grovel Mon 18-Feb-13 10:09:39

From the NUT website:

"Creating more prescription for schools contradicts the Conservative’s avowed aim of giving schools more freedom. Deceptively simple proposals such as imposing setting and streaming and a one size fits all approach to teaching reading may appear attractive to the Conservative Party central office but they have little connection with good practice and what works in schools."

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 10:17:31

Glad not to be completely outed on here!
My argument stands. If you are streamed early in year 1 by table, put on table 2 because you were a youngest in year & had less than a third of the education of the eldest child at EYFS assessment, you are given different work to table 1 & will struggle hugely to convince any teacher that table 1 is where you should be! By ks1 says, you are not allowed to take the top papers so your results are middle, so your prediction for ks2 is still at the lower level. Between years 3&6 it becomes even harder to prove you are top table material because there is even more work you have missed out on by not being top table. And so the progression continues.
In our case, dd had got the hump & decided she would never reach table 1 by the end of year 1. By the end of year 2 she was so grumpy & uptight we just knew we had to get her out of there.
I don't think her new head gave her any special treatment. She just did incredibly well in her entrance tests & has been assessed properly. She is now setted for maths, all else is in mixed ability classes. She knows she has as much chance as anybody of getting the top marks & relishes it!
All of our local lower schools stream by table so we had no choice but to look private. & the new school is a very good fit for her. That doesn't stop me from wishing our local state system was different & feeling sorry for those who are like dd but can't stretch to the private fees though! & dh has since become a governor at the local lower school to try to help the kids there if he can.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 10:21:25

That sounds a bit like ds's school, TOSN. The ability range is so skewed that they have to have sets within streams- which seems to make it possible for the outliers in each stream to be catered for.

GlobalGill Mon 18-Feb-13 10:24:26

Pugs isn't the setting for maths even more potentially flawed in terms of reaching potential? Or are the sets very flexible? Personally I'd have thought the table system is more transparent in a way?

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 10:27:02

Once again, pugs, what you are describing is not how the system works. Your school was obviously some sort of abberation- the only school, for example, using KS1 test papers, not teacher assessment.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 10:41:48

But it is how our local 3 tier system of 16 schools! I am not saying it is bad for all, just that dd did badly in it.
Setting for Maths potentially even worse I agree - however (not being nasty) this is not something that affects us as dd is top set. Current school at least sets by just one subject rather than streaming & doesn't set Maths at all until year 3 which at least gives the 'younger in year kids' a chance to catch up first.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 10:43:18

So yours is the only school in the country still using KS1 tests rather than teacher assessment?

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 10:47:25

Remember Seeker, this whole discussion was meant to be about our dream school system where all could do their very best. For dd, the biggest difference in the new school is confidence, although it has still taken nearly 4 years to develop after her horrible experience at school 1. She cried with joy when she got her scholarship offer last week because 'this means I'm really not one of the thick kids anymore' & 'I never knew I could be that good'. Now to hope that she can continue to improve her confidence in her own ability at 'the big school' next year!

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 10:49:10

I have no idea about other schools in the country Seeker. I can only voice my experiences!
To be fair, dd is now year 6 so who knows how ks1 is assessed now

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 10:49:41

That's fantastic, and I am delighted. But I am concerned about the misinformation about the state system you are perpetuating, and how worrying it might be to someone who's looking for information.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 10:50:40

So you have, at least, stopped saying that your experience extrapolates to all state schools. Which is something, I suppose.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 18-Feb-13 11:02:25

You do realise that this 'younger in year' stuff is just completely rubbish? Some youngest in year kids struggle. Some are top of the whole year. It has nothing to do with when they were born - I know you adore making generalisations but like the rest of them, this one is particularly unhelpful.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 11:07:51

Russians - I would agree with you IF all had the same access to education! However, A September baby will have a whole year in reception class, an August baby just one term. They are assessed in our local school in that term for table streaming the following year (year 1). How is this fair & equal?

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 11:10:05

grovel I agree that it's counterintuitive for the Tories to intervene in education policy and insist all schools set...but I'm suprised the Blair governemnt didn't.

I uess they hoped all schools would swap to setting of their own accord. And whilst the numbers of pupils etted in English and Maths did indeed rise, the numbers of those setted for science and MFL remained very static.

In fact,only 50% of all pupils are setted in MFL. so classes must contain some pupils who are very proficient indeed, with a good grasp of all grammar, and those with simply no flair for languages at all (I'm looking at you, DH).

Yellowtip Mon 18-Feb-13 11:24:10

'this means I'm really not one of the thick kids anymore'. What?

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 11:24:34

Seeker - maybe it's because in my head, I am comparing the grammar system me & dh grew up with, with the fully comprehensive system we now live in? I think most people moving out of one system & into another would make direct comparisons & also initially presume that they are both fair examples of their system! Just the same as you had no idea there were state comprehensive 'all through' schools (ages 3-18). We can only go on what we know & actually, do you really know if & when the comprehensive system streams or sets & from what age? I am presuming your experiences are 100% of grammar system, so it is probably quite likely that you know little (by comparison) about a fully comprehensive system & how schools use it.
Just saying, we are all capable of making what seem like very sensible assumptions wink

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 11:29:05

Yellowtip - not meant in an offensive way I am sure. Just that even though her teachers have given her high marks, put her in special extension clubs & praised her work highly, her lack of confidence meant that she could never believe that it was her that they were talking about & that she really is clever/academic! She did follow up by saying, ' I don't understand, they can't really mean me can they?'

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 11:36:18

" Just the same as you had no idea there were state comprehensive 'all through' schools (ages 3-18)."

I'm still not convinced there are!

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 18-Feb-13 11:38:44

Pugs in some LEAs all kids start in September. Not where I live, actually, my DCs all started in January (and when I was a kid, I started school in May). My youngest in year DD2 has never not been on the top table. Since you seem happy to confuse one instance of personal experience with verified data about the entire population, I shall do the same - the late August born are obviously the most advanced in any school year.

Your daughter is unique. As is mine. As is everyone's. You just can't extrapolate from one child to the whole population. Incidentally - most kids these days start school having had several years of nursery (or perhaps being at home with a SAHM who has time to do educational stuff with them). How can you say an August born hasn't had the same access to education? It depends on the parents. Not on the month of birth.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 11:48:59

Russians - not even you can possibly ignore the fact that in year 1, the September born will have had a fifth more life experience than the August born. Already being 5 when the August born is only 4. That would have to be some great school system that could accommodate both equally! & if you're asking my opinion about when it is best to start school, in the September of reception year many youngest in year will still be afternoon napping & will find it impossible to concentrate for a whole day at school!
No way is either entry date a good one. For many a nursery is the more appropriate setting for much longer than it is possible.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 11:51:53

I thought there was research to show that there was no significant difference in outcomes for Summer borns?

Where are these 3-18 state schools please? My googling has been unsuccessful.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 11:51:56

Seeker - I can't get it to link, but one I know of is Caroline Chisholm. Find it on Wiki!

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 11:56:23

Seeker Im trying to remember the name of the school which is definitely reception through to yr 11 although separate heads for primary and senior and they are next to each other but divided by fencing. They share the same name and children automatically move onto to the senior school. As I get older and more decrepit I jus cant remember names!!! And the other primary I mentioned that's the heads plans, But its a one stop sop primary (community centre) theres a GP surgery, dentist, job centre, education centre for parents, the council hold surgeries there to address housing concerns etc. all in one building his "vision" is to extend this to senior schooling as well.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 12:01:34

Some might call ours an all-through system, as the lower school sets you into the pyramid governed by a head who has a say over how everybody in the middle & lower schools are educated!

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 12:01:54

I've tried to google the school but cant find it which is frustrating because it was only a few months ago that a parent at work was telling me about the school.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 12:05:20

Well, every day's a school day!

Off out now- I'll read about it properly when I get home.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 12:32:18

For some the state system is fab, maybe a comp that streams, for others it is a grammar school, for others it is a private system.

Just because YOU have a great school doesnt mean that it is the same in the whole country, its not. We are in a grammar area. I might have considered using them if I thought that they would pass and more importantly that they had the time to go through past papers, some tutoring (yes I am one of those!) but we chose the private system. The days ae long and they attend school on Saturday with matches in the afternoon so there is just Sunday.

So, good for everyone who is happy with the state system but dont presume that its all the same everywhere.....

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 18-Feb-13 13:40:44

PUgs As I said, I am the mother of a youngest in year child. So I know exactly what I'm talking about.

Yellowtip Mon 18-Feb-13 13:54:33

I second Russians as another mother of a youngest in year child.

NewFerry Mon 18-Feb-13 14:14:39

Seeker - try Swindon Academy. It calls itself an all through school though based on 2 sites.
Don't know anything about it, except I had a feeling that it (or something like it) existed in Swindon LEA

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 14:29:00

There is a degree of logic in pugs view on late birthdays especially for reception yr 1 and when my DS was at primary age many parents often talked about this. Every child is different as our requirements and expectations of education as parents. I don't see any problems with children going to different schools whether they be super super selectives independents or Steiner schools as long as all can access to good free education if they want too. By the way I too have a summer born DS who the last time he was in state ed was not only top of his year but top of the next years as well!!

Copthallresident Mon 18-Feb-13 15:21:27

Yes Yellowtip Russians Happygardening Mother of youngest, and oldest in years, youngest in year has always been the higher achiever, and my eldest in year actually redid Year 3 after an International move. The youngest in year was undoubtedly physically immature in Reception, completely past her sell by date when I picked her up, but she just hoovered up the opportunity to do more academic work, and was always ahead in primary. She is dyslexic as well but found her own strategies around it, she holds her pen very strangely still but Reception teacher saw no point in fixing what was not broken in terms of end result.

Are we nearly a significant minority?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 18-Feb-13 15:26:29

To be clear - I'm not saying youngest in year kids can't have problems. I'm saying that it's not inevitable, that there is too much MN orthodoxy about this and it seems to be a self fulfilling prophecy for some poor people, and that actually, the stage a child is at in his or her education is much more down to the child than to the month in the year in which she or he was born. Bright kids do learny stuff in nursery. And it's often a better environment (the nursery my kids all attended was a far better EYFS environment than their reception class in school. And, indeed, for two of them, better than year 1 proved to be as well (in terms of actually teaching them anything at all ).

Copthallresident Mon 18-Feb-13 15:33:50

happygardening That is my issue, around here some have access to outstanding state comps, and some have access only to improving comprehensives that have been taken over by Swedish sponsors who use educational methods still unproven in this country. It seems crazy that your academic child will go to the top set of a very oversubscribed outstanding conventional comprehensive if you come from one road and if you live in the next your state option is a school where there are no classrooms, just open spaces with artificial turf benches, teachers facilitate individualised learning plans which involve sitting in front of computer screens for hours on end, and come sixth form there are only 10 A levels on offer, only 6 of which are academic. The methods may work, that remains to be seen, but if you have an academic child who thrives in a traditional classroom you aren't being given a choice. So oit is scarcely surprising so many go the grammar /private On top of that we have a Council that decides the next priority for expenditure is a new exclusive Catholic School, to further their aims of creating choice and diversity hmm

BooksandaCuppa Mon 18-Feb-13 15:35:15

There are a couple of all through (3-18) schools in my county too - though I believe they get larger in yr 7 (take from other feeder primaries). They're fairly recent, though, an outcome of 'academisation' so not sure if relevant to the discussion at hand.

I personally find the concept of children's educational fate being sealed at 5 to be more likely to be something being done by parents than teachers. Hot foot it over to g & t where there are numerous examples of parents hand-wringing over the possibility that their bright four year old isn't being challenged enough becautd they taught them to read at home. The implication of this is always that other children couldn't possibly be allowed to catch up or, heaven forbid, overtake their children as that would automatically mean school is failing them, etc.

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 16:56:32

Russian - similar experience of nurseries here. DD was happy, confident & learnt lots at a wonderful nursery she attended part-time. The difficulty came for her when she had her EYFS assessment within 2 weeks of joining school reception class in a mixed EYFS setting of 50 kids in one room & I was told any progress she had made at 'the other' nursery could not be used to inform teachers of where she had got to! How confident would anybody be taking that kind of assessment in a class of 50 within 2 weeks of leaving a nice, familiar nursery setting with just 10 other kids?
At the time it felt strange that they didn't want her report from her previous setting. I never knew it would consign her to table 2 streaming for the next 2 years or more & had hoped there would be some continuous assessment in that time, but it doesn't look like there was is this particular school.
Very sad we have had to go private, but very happy DD is now settled and happy like she was in the 1st nursery setting. Doesn't stop the fees being bloody hard work to pay though!!!

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 17:20:05

Copthall Im all for addressing under performing state schools and even paying more tax to do it if need be although I still wouldn't move my DS as I'm happy and believe in what I'm paying for. But I don't see bashing those who choose to pay or chose grammar schools Steiner schools or even home ed.not saying you are just a general comment) will make a scrap of difference.

Copthallresident Mon 18-Feb-13 17:59:58

No I am not bashing either, even if there were the equality of opportunity to get places at good local state comprehensive schools, I would not dismantle schools with long traditions of providing a good education, and meeting the needs of DCs. I do have sympathy for parents in places like Kent where selection is so pervasive that a bad day at 11 can erode opportunity but at the same time I have personal reason to know that Grammar Schools can provide opportunity, and I think it is the fairness of selection processes that are broken and need fixing rather than the schools themselves (though going on some of the uni applications I have seen some Grammar Schools may well provide less opportunity and intellectual stimulation than some comprehensives, and perhaps have become stale and complacent)

However I do believe that if there were equality of opportunity there would be a much smaller private sector. In fact we can even quantify that in our borough, if the number of Year 6s going on to state schools equalled the average of the top 10 most affluent boroughs in London then the Council would need to open two new 5 form entry secondary schools. That is a lot of people being deterred into private education by a LAs inability to respond to the needs of all it's pupils, who almost certainly would have stayed in the state sector.

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 18:20:30

"However I do believe that if there were equality of opportunity there would be a much smaller private sector."
I agree Copthall those cheerfully stumping up £34 000 PA will continue to do so what ever happens because they want and believe in for the want of a better word the whole package that's provided for that kind of money. But many MC parents struggling to pay fees would I'm sure happily return to the state sector if they believed in and felt that their DC's were getting an outstanding all round education.

grovel Mon 18-Feb-13 18:34:25

I'm broadly with you, happy, but I think that quite a lot of what the £34k schools provide is wasted on young people! A state school child is not missing out by not having a 15th century chapel, cloisters, Fives Courts or pitches marked out for Winchester football (or the Wall Game).

pugsandseals Mon 18-Feb-13 18:50:09

Cotphall - our indie head has often wondered out loud where on earth the local council would put all the students if the school were to close. It's certainly something to think about & makes you wonder how many middle class families use private as a necessity!

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 21:08:10

grin @grovel.

Do you want to tell she-who-can't-be-named that her child is not missing out by not having Christmas carol service at a posh church attended by local dignitaries?

But that's different, I hear you say. Of course it is grovel. It always is.

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 21:55:15

But a state school child might like the opportunity to attend 30+ concerts a term or play in 15 + different musical groups (75+% of the school learn at least one instrument) orchestras, to ensembles big band jazz, percussion I could go on or sing in 5-6 different choirs or have a part in or see 5-6 plays a term. Or have 20+ sports to chose from because he hates football and the opportunity to practice/play/compete in his chosen sports 5-6 times a week. But its not all about sport the non sporty have the time everyday to pursue their areas of interest obviously the usual ones. maths magic and debating but for the less conventional they might like to belong to the Medieval Manuscript society, or try bell ringing, book binding, fly fishing in one of the most sought after fly fishing rivers in the UK or astronomy in the schools own observatory or look at Montys actual maps that he planned the D day landings on. Lets not forget independent schools are free of goverment restraints and can truely set their own curriculum, the time to study daily things just for the sake of it; English history classical civilisation politics economics free from exams so that both pupils and teachers can take something where they want. Finally as any parent at the enourmously successful St Paul's boys will agree its definitely not about 15 th century building lovely as they are if you have them it's about there being a myriad of opportunities and no limit on what you can achieve.
I looked long and hard at what the best of best state schools offer and IMO for us they fall along way short of what the best of the best boarding schools offer.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 22:06:08

You know, BS, one of these days you are actually going to read my infamous carol concert post. Then you will, if you actually have the ability , understand what I was saying. And then you'll stop citing it at wholly inappropriate moments, and trashing perfectly interesting discussions.

I can dream, I suppose.

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:18:01

Does everything have to be about you seeker? I was talking about someone else.

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:21:18

As for trashing perfectly interesting discussions, you call the world versus pugs discussions interesting?

Copthallresident Mon 18-Feb-13 22:30:10

for your child happygardening and for your family. Neither DD or DH and I would have entertained Boarding, not least because DHs experience in one of our famous public schools was actually pretty horrific and left him far short of a good education, both academically and emotionally, in spite of the sixteenth century cloisters. He actually once answered the Trivial Pursuits question "In which Shakespeare play did Puck appear" with Macbeth, something I think the NC would actually have addressed, and sadly a chance to discover the joy of drama history and literature etc have completely been lost to him, though not a passion for Rugby............

As you know I do visit some modern Boarding Schools and whilst I see the advantages even the most normal seem cloistered and other worldly to me. DD even found one of the London day schools too, as she put it, "up itself"

happygardening Mon 18-Feb-13 22:47:52

I'm not turning this into a pro anti boarding debate I was responding to Grovels point that a state ed child is not missing out on anything in comparison to his counterpart at a £34 000 pa school.

Copthallresident Mon 18-Feb-13 23:53:39

And my point was not anti boarding, just that it isn't that the state educated child will miss out on nothing compared to his counterpart at a £34 000 pa school, but that he will be missing out on bad as well as good, it depends to some extent on the child and family. I think that our decision to go private was a bit like the current Chinese evaluation of Mao, 70% good, 30% bad and probably subject to further revision with hindsight. Not that if Gove has his way the DCs going to non academy state schools will ever learn about that angry

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 07:44:15

We can all provide anecdotal evidence of happy stretched children participating in a broad range of activities and unhappy children who feel that they've been ignored left on the bottom table to rot or who are traumatised by their school experience. These children will come from both sectors. What matters is that we as parents and our individual children are happy with our choices. As far as I can see there are many out there who are not happy with state ed for a variety of reasons and who feel that they have absoltely no choice but to pay for education and even worse those who have no choice but to send their DC to what can be at best described as a mediocre school.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 07:52:21

The trouble here is that I think (I realise that it is only my experience, based on real life and reading stuff on here) is that a) many people decide they are unhappy with state education based on either their own experience at school or on misinformation and b) many people have one negative experience of state schools and extrapolate that experience to all state schools. This is an odd one. People have a bad experience of a private school blame the school and move to another private school. If they have a bad experience in a state school, they blame the whole sector and move to private.

I'm not saying this applies to everyone, of course. But I think it's quite common.

Oh, and if I was paying £34,000 a year for education, I would sure as hell expect it to be something pretty special and streets ahead of what is provided by the tax payer!

wordfactory Tue 19-Feb-13 08:36:38

The thing is though seeker if you have a bad experience in private, you can cast your net around and see what else is on offer.

Wheras, if you have a bad experience in state, it's not that simple. You can't just pick and choose an alternative. The alternative school might be full, might be out of catchment, might require you to find God...Your choice might be limited to the point of being illusory.

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 08:38:15

I always amazed by how parents are heavily influenced by gossip especially about state schools. Many many years ago I remember a mother at our local 1 oclock club telling me that we lived in absolutely the the worst LA for education in England. "How do you know?" says I. "Oh this mum I met a toddler group told me she'd looked it up ". Well the reality was that we weren't living in the worst LA in the UK we were living in the 5th worst. Parents are also always keen to tell others about their awful experiences and of course there's likely to be more stories about state ed simply becasue more state schools exist.
I think its human nature to assume that if they pay its bound to be better and perhaps question less whats going on. Most independent schools are seriously good at the "soft cell" approach parents see gleaming facilities small classes rows of well behaved children clad in ridiculous pristine uniform They listen to heads talk about waiting lists and being two years ahead of their peers in the state sector I once looked at a local prep I thought the place was hideous 3 yr olds sitting behind desks but at the end of the tour parents virtually came to blows when the head started waiving around registration forms. A couple I met a few years later "Did you send ... to St Elsewhere?" "Yes I did it's a very good school with amazing results but ... was absolutely miserable it just didn't suit her she needs a less academic environment." She would have been better saying "its a ghastly exam factory with an enormously high drop out rate" and would the same parent been so generous if she'd removed .... from her local state primary? Just because you pay doesn't guarantee it will work for your DC.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 08:42:49

I suppose I'm thinking of my area where there are a number of very different state primary schools and where it's usually possible to move, and I know a couple of people who have tried one, not liked it and decided the whole actor wasn't for them. And, again, a friend who's child was bullied unmercifully in a prep school, and they moved him to another prep- the subtext being "think how much worse it would be in a state school"

wordfactory Tue 19-Feb-13 08:43:32

The thing is though, most DC enter private school at 11.
So the parents have already had a pretty good taster of state education.

Plus there are all those parents with DC in both sectors.

Plus, those of us who have DC in private all the way generally have oodles of family and friends who have DC in state schools.

I'd in=magine the number of parents with no real information/experience are diminishingly small.

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 09:08:59

May be its the people we mix with blush but lots we know have never set foot in a state school. I was talking to a father the other month he like me lives very near to a nice rural MC town (very close to where I grew up) but chooses to send his DC's to a frankly mediocre at best independent. He spent 20 minutes moaning about the fees. "Have you ever looked at St Blogs in Smalltownsbury?" "No I haven't I sometimes think i should I hear quite good things about it!"

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 09:13:24

Us too, happygardening.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 09:21:39

happy - shame on that woman for thinking that your LA was the worst on the UK. I mean, it was only the fifth worst LA in the UK so how small minded of her to think that your local schools were crap.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 09:31:14

What wierd reasoning? A few years ago we were in a 4 star Orlando hotel. It was peak season so the only available rooms were either facing a building site, next to noisy laundry room or facing the noisy (in the day time) pool.

By your logic we should have concluded that 4 star hotels were over rated and gone for a 3 star.

I know that you don't like to shine the light onto yourself but if your DD was bullied you would try to switch to another GS. You certainly wouldnt think to go for your DS"s Sec Mod.

What do you continue to expect things from others that you don't expect from yourself?

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 09:32:22

... that was aimed st seeker.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 09:34:18

Really? I'd never have guessed.

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 09:35:19

Totally the schools were crap I'm not denying it and the stats backed this up but she was adamant that it was the worst LA because thats what she'd been told by someone else. May be this was not a good example but I hear incorrect statements about both sectors all the time. A friend taught at a local boys independent day school often discussed on MN "we have the best results A level results in the in the UK" she would frequently say. They're good but not the best! Another friend was telling me how wonderful the results were at her DS's state school we beat St X (well known independent) this year no they didn't not according to government league tables. One badly behaved out of control child doesn't mean all are. A friend was delighting in telling me a story about a local school where a teachers was attacked (15 yrs ago) at work the next day I met a charming boy from the same school he description of it was far removed from my friends description of out of control yobs running around corridors disrupting every lesson.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 10:11:20

seeker - that does not surprise me since you obviously see yourself in a different way.

You know, one day you might surprise me and go - hmm BS is right. If the position was ever reversed I would do exactly what I'm criticizing other parents for doing.

What do you think seeker? Do you think that day will ever come?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 19-Feb-13 10:13:10

I think you have some sort of issues you need to address with yourself, BS. Youre coming across as increasingly unhinged, to be honest.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 10:26:13

If I respected your opinion on issues or people then that would hurt, Nit. But since I don't .....

The fact remains. If seeker's DD was being bullied at her GS I can't see her moving her DD to a Sec Mod. So why is she criticizing parents for doing what she would do if it was her DD.

In the same way, why is she criticizing parents for deserting SM for GSs when that is what she herself is doing?

If you think that it is unhinged of me to point out the double standards of a poster then that marks you as a person whose opinion isn't worthy of serious consideration.

BeckAndCall Tue 19-Feb-13 10:27:47

As with TOSN I too am getting sick of the repeated personal attacks on seeker by totally. And i said that afee days ago too and in the fridt thread.

Seeker and happy were having a perfectly resonaabe sensible discussion there whichi've been sitting here following and then, bam!, in comes totally with another accusation twisted from something seeker hasn't actually said.

BeckAndCall Tue 19-Feb-13 10:29:29

" a few". And "first". Sorry for iPad typing.....

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 10:37:11

"Beck" grin Are you for real?

BeckAndCall Tue 19-Feb-13 10:46:05

In what, sense, totally? But the answer is yes, I mean what I say. I was following the conversation and then you changed the direction to take it persaonl again.

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 10:46:13

Totally I have to say Im beginning to agree with TOSN and others you know I'd let the seeker bashing thing go you beginning to look like a cross between Ronaldo/Peternas and a few others; not a good look. As I said to my ageing father the other day who was complaining vociferously about my ageing mother despite being separated for 25 years "dad its time to move on".

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 19-Feb-13 11:04:52

Quite. When it gets to the point that you're imagining a scenario where a child you don't know is bullied, and imagining what someone's response to that would be, and then getting angry about what you've imagined.... I think you must know at some level that you lost the plot a while back.

You're being boring, you're being obsessive, you don't seem to actually understand anything, you try to derail every single thread into you imagining things you think someone else thinks or has said, and it is frankly very tiresome for everyone else.

pugsandseals Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:24

& on the back of all that nastiness, I've decided I need a month away from mumsnet! I haven't yet decided if I will come back, but the route some take to make their point has become obsessive & downright offensive.
To those of you that enjoy a good discussion, I wish all the best. To those who continually seek to derail threads, I have nothing more to say! sad Mumsnet is not what it once was.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 11:16:24

whatever ladies.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 11:35:34

Now, where were we?

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 11:52:20

Beck - seeker outlined a scenario where a parent is so prejudiced against the state system that she, faced with bullying, will move her DC to the same type of school.

I pointed out to seeker that she would probably do the same so why the criticism?

And that is me trying to derail the thread?? Hence my are you for real question.

Incidentally the last few days have been spent with pugs making some rather weird observations and getting hammered for it. The good ship HMS Interesting Discussion hit the rocks days ago.

As for me being 'angry' with the views being posted here, get over yourselves. Some of you ladies think that you moving to a more expensive catchment is not you buying a better education. Some think that you sending your DCs to a predominantly white MC comp is you providing your DCs with a more diversified education.

You aren't exactly showing yourselves to be people with serious and considered opinions. So excuse me for not attaching too much importance to your opinion of me.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 11:57:44

Where were you? Talking out of your .... but let's not go there grin

With pugs leaving, this thread is going to be the same recycled stuff so bye ladies. No doubt seeker will find me on another thread and accuse me of running away from her biting and witty repost.

maisiejoe123 Tue 19-Feb-13 12:20:37

I have an idea.

Why dont you do what you think is best for your DC based on your personal circumstances whether that be using private, using grammar (but having to stay where you are location wise for personal reasons) or whether you would like co-ed, single sex, schools that choose by ability etc.

I wont force my views on you and you will do the same.

There are good and not so good in everything but we try and make the best decisions we can.

Some on here think the only view is THEIR view. And very cross they get too if you dont come around to their way of thinking.

I am very happy with private education and the choice I have made. I have experience of the state system myself. I have friends and relatives in the state system - of course I do. My DM is a retired teacher from the state primary with 40 yrs experience of teaching.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 12:46:01

Now this is really really weird- and I don't know why I am posting again. But are you saying that I shouldn't even discuss education- even theoretically-because of the views I hold? That happygardening and others and I can't have what I thought was a perfectly civil discussion about different sorts of schools in the country without it being me "forcing my views" on people who aren't even taking part in the conversation? Really?

diabolo Tue 19-Feb-13 15:20:57

I've read both of these threads and contributed a little to the start of the first one.

Reading the early pages of this thread and pugs comments on projected outcomes at GCSE being based on KS1 or Early Years data - I think she might have been referring to Fisher Family Trust data. I don't know if this if just local to my area or nationally, but certainly it is a tool based on demographics and early results to predict what a child should score at KS2, KS3 and GCSE.

My sister who is a COG at a terrible inner-city school was distraught to see this FFT data about her sons, and that based on their relatively poor performance at KS1, the fact she is a single parent and non-university educated and lives in a C/D area - they were predicted to get D's at GCSE.

Happily for her, they have both achieved 10 A-C GCSE's, one has 3 A Levels and a 2:1 degree and the other is on-target for 3 A grade A Levels this summer.

Was it this FFT data that pugs was referring to? Because it actually does exist and if a school does better than predicted, it can affect what the LEA expect from them the following year - hence some background talk among parents about keeping children down.

diabolo Tue 19-Feb-13 15:23:09

Sorry - it's Fischer


seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 17:51:08

I think all schools used FFT data, but in my experience as a school governor, it's used to predict where there is likely to be more need for intervention, and the minimum that can be expected of a child- it should be a baseline, not a cap, if you see what I mean.
The fact remains that while obviously, not all poor children do badly at school, poverty remains the single most reliable indicator of academic under achievement. And identifying early the children who are statistically most likely to underachieve is the first step in doing something about it. Being poor doesn't necessarily mean being disadvantaged, but it often does. As does low academic achievement in the parents, poor housing and so on. There are always people, like your sister, who tick a lot of boxes but not the underachievement box. But I think it generally, if used properly is a force for good, rather than not.

diabolo Tue 19-Feb-13 17:58:29

Is FFT data used to work out Value Added scores in school league tables?

If not, what is that VA score based on?

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 18:06:17

Value added is based on SATs scores- 100 is "expected progress" and points are added or taken away depending in how well children do.

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