There's a "culture of low expectation" in secondary schools. Do you agree?

(712 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 13:01:49

Hello. You may have seen/heard on the news today that Ofsted is warning that thousands of bright secondary-school-age children are being "systematically failed" at school.

And we'd like to know what you think about this.

Ofsted says there is a culture of low expectations in England's non-selective secondaries - meaning that, according to a new Ofsted report, more than a quarter (27%) of pupils who achieved the highest results in primary school fail to achieve at least a B grade in both their English and their Maths GCSE.

The most academically able, says Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, arrive "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" from primary school, but things start "to go wrong very early. They tread water. They mark time. They do stuff they've already done in primary school. They find work too easy and they are not being sufficiently challenged."

Do you think this is a fair reflection of life at secondary school? Do you think your child's secondary school has a low expectation of its pupils/your child? Does/did your child "tread water" in Year 7? Do you wish secondary schools did more to challenge their more academically able pupils?

Please do tell!

motherinferior Thu 13-Jun-13 13:04:17

Not at DD1's school there isn't. She seems to have been pulled up by her bootstraps in stuff like maths - which was never her strong point before - and is doing three languages (in a school that ostensibly specialises in maths and science) and remains enthused and energetic about education.

motherinferior Thu 13-Jun-13 13:05:22

Is entirely non-selective comp, btw, though is all girls so is not Dragged Down By Underachieving Blokes I suppose you could argue...

arcticwaffle Thu 13-Jun-13 13:07:42

Not at my dds' comp either. My yr8 and yr7 and their friends are absolutely bursting with enthusiasm and the school seems to be pushing them quite nicely. Lots of setting from yr 7, high expectations of the brightest kids. Lots of extra challenges and groups.

yr7 dd2 currently aims to get all A*s and read PPE at Oxford. Then she'll be the first Labour woman Prime Minister. Or perhaps a world dictator. I'm not too worried about her aspirations being too low.

hellsbells99 Thu 13-Jun-13 13:07:49

They are quoting that "62% of pupils (at non-selective secondary schools) who got Level 5 in their English Sats did not get an A* or A grade in this subject at GCSE in 2012" but then you have Gove complaining that far too many get an A or A* - the pupils cannot win!
My DCs are at a non-selective secondary - was a comp now an academy, and I think they are being constantly pushed to get the best results possible. My younger DD is taking GCSE maths this year (Year 10) as did my elder DD. They then spend year 11 doing a harder maths course in preparation for 'A' level.

LackaDAISYcal Thu 13-Jun-13 13:09:35

Not sure as DS is starting Y7 in September, but I will be watching this thread with interest, given the current thread in AIBU on the same subject!

i don't have dc, but from hearing about my teacher dp's targets i would say that in his school there definitely isn't a culture of low expectations

Lemonsole Thu 13-Jun-13 13:12:45

This stunning observation owes more to the huge weight placed on KS2 Sats, which few teachers regard as a reliable predictor because they are coached for relentlessly by primary schools, and are testing a tiny part of the pupil's overall curriculum.

On another level, when schools' reputations hang on the 5 A*-C measure, it's not rocket science that they channel more of their efforts into converting Ds to Cs than into Bs to As. That doesn't make it right; it's a logical consequence of making league tables a key measure of a school's worth.

It also reflects the reality that primaries find it a lot easier to counter the impact of a difficult home environment than secondaries, when adolescence and peer pressure kick in. Most children in Willshaw's report are described as being those from families more likely to be vulnerable.

Lemonsole Thu 13-Jun-13 13:14:29

This carefully timed announcement follows on nicely from "too many top grades" on Monday to "not enough top grades" on Thursday.

And the ongoing demonisation of teachers continues apace.

bigTillyMint Thu 13-Jun-13 13:19:52

Not for my DC at their inner-London comp either.

Infact, last night at Parent's Evening, DS was bemoaning the fact that most of his teachers want him to try harder even though he is doing OK -he definitely could put more effort in.

And like MI's DD, both of mine have improved greatly since arriving at their comp compared to their KS2 SATs. And they were level 5's there.

SuffolkNWhat Thu 13-Jun-13 13:22:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tethersend Thu 13-Jun-13 13:34:53

It's a rare thing on MN to open a thread and find that somebody has posted exactly the points you wanted to make... But Lemonsole has put it perfectly.

tethersend Thu 13-Jun-13 13:36:34

The only other point I wanted to make was that Michael Wilshaw is a massive, massive wanker.

Goldmandra Thu 13-Jun-13 13:45:16

I am sure this is about spin and also based on SATs results for which Primary pupils are specifically coached.

Having said that, my DD is expecting good GCSE results which will be greatly attributable to the fact that I have made an enormous fuss about teaching which wasn't up to scratch and insisted that she was moved to groups where the teacher was more competent. DD herself has worked hard to fill gaps left by her teachers and I, in common with many parents at this school, have paid for 1 to 1 tuition where the teaching was still wanting.

I have made myself a right royal PITA to get her the teaching she deserves - something many other parents can't or won't do. Their children will be let down by low expectations and poor teaching. I have no doubt of this.

The fault lies with the senior management team of the school who appear to have taken no steps to support teachers who were struggling or make improvements in response to complaints and the fact that the school is an academy which gives them far too much autonomy.

They moved DD to better teaching groups to shut me up and left other pupils floundering.

defineme Thu 13-Jun-13 13:48:52

Firstly, the KS2 tests are not a reliable indicator. Primary school children are very different to secondary school children.

I would say the culture of low expectation is not produced by the schools, but has its origins in the wider world and is very difficult for schools to counteract.

Our children need to be supported and inspired within their homes and given inspirational role models by the media. Children bring what they experience in the home and on the street into school with them.

How can they be overachieving on the one hand (too many A*s) and underachieving on the other?

Schools simply can't win.

tethersend Thu 13-Jun-13 13:52:35

I worked with one school which was telling its students that they should all be getting above the school's average results confused

happyyonisleepyyoni Thu 13-Jun-13 14:11:32

I can relate to this. My DS was top of the class at primary school and is now in Year 8 at a state comp, which has recently been downgraded from outstanding to good. At parents evening the teachers said he was doing fine, and seemed surprised when we asked what could he do to get on even better. He is bored and frustrated by repeating work he has already done in primary school, and other kids disrupting lessons.

Unfortunately we have left it too late for him to change school now and I am not sure what to do, see my other thread.

SuffolkNWhat Thu 13-Jun-13 14:35:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chosenone Thu 13-Jun-13 15:11:26

spot on lemonsole why they never factor in puberty and peer pressure is beyond me! It is simply cooler to do 'ok' and spend your time hanging out with mates, watching crap on Youtube and plodding along for some kids.

granita Thu 13-Jun-13 15:11:36

The brightest state schooled pupils are still not smashing through the invisible barriers to elite tertiary education. So Wayne with three A* from Wakefield, who does street athletics, is still going to be at a disadvantage to Hugo from the rowing club at Westminster. Hugo can ring up Oxford's rowing club and get advice on what to put in the application. (Look on the website for corroboration of this.) hmm

timidviper Thu 13-Jun-13 15:15:32

There is such a huge variation between the best state schools and the weakest that it is hard to generalise.

My children are older and have left school now so things might have changed but the expectations at the local independent school they went to were certainly higher than those at the local high school (graded as good by OFSTED)

Bonsoir Thu 13-Jun-13 15:19:48

Agree with Goldmandra. Her scenario is very common. Woe betide those DC who cannot plug the gaps the way she has.

Good for you, by the way. It isn't nice or easy to deal with that type of school management team.

ivykaty44 Thu 13-Jun-13 15:19:50

If it is the case that they find work to easy and are not being challenged - then why have the GCSE marks gone up and up and up since they were introduced in 1988?

I don't understand how pupils are not getting better marks when they are getting better marks

hardboiled Thu 13-Jun-13 15:22:34

Yes, to some degree. The answer is very simple but lots of people don't like it: proper streaming from day 1 in all subjects. The comps that do this in London are all successful schools who send the brightest to Oxbridge (Graveney, Fortismere...etc).

Justfornowitwilldo Thu 13-Jun-13 15:23:40

I agree that brighter DC are often let down by secondary schools. I don't think 'a culture of low expectation' is to blame. I think it's a focus on bloody targets. Schools are judged by the % of A* to C grades they get, so it makes sense that they focus more effort on the bottom of that group. If all politicians stayed out of education it would be a lot better.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 15:35:51

I agree. Proper streaming but with room for kids to move up and down.

So you can always learn at your pace with others doing same. Fast in some subjects, not in others etc.

And don't always give the best teachers to the highest sets.

turkeyboots Thu 13-Jun-13 15:39:54

It feels true round here. All the feeder primaries are good, on just about every measure. But the local secondary is v poor. Has the same level of disadvantaged kids as the primaries, but fails them epically. Less than 30% get a-c including maths and English.

And school stops at 16 so there are no role models of continued education. We'll be moving before secondary applications come round, unless there is a massive unexpected improvement.

anInspectorcalls Thu 13-Jun-13 15:57:05

My local rural comp is exactly as Wilshaw describes. There is a relentless push in the middle. Resources are poured into getting those D grades up to a C. I know this because I am a governor and have watched over the years. I have always made a point of asking what is being done to boost the A*s and the answer is always a washy idea that if standards go up overall then an increase in A*s is a natural consequence.
I tried my best to have some help in stretching DS1 in Maths but to no avail. I asked them to consider FSMQs, Maths challenges but no. He spent 5 years bored to death in Maths and completely unstimulated.
Fortunately things are different at his sixth form, a different school, and he is now racing along with a renewed love of his subject.

I don't agree.

I think in general (which is what that arse Wilshaw is talking about) there's a culture that anything less than stupendous results (all a*s in GCSEs and at least 4 a-levels, an Oxbridge first, etc, etc) is utterly worthless so we should just stop bothering. This won't help anyone.

Also, given that gove is determined to reduce the grades given in secondary exams, I'd say we should expect to see more kids getting Bs and Cs. It seems a bit silly to pretend that exams and exam results are politically neutral.

I'd really question the assumption that those who do best at primary school will necessarily do the best at later stages of education. It doesn't necessarily work that way at all.

Goldmandra Thu 13-Jun-13 16:04:17

Thank you Bonsoir.

I have been told by a secondary teacher that she has been instructed to focus on those who are working just below a C and have the potential to improve. Those who don't are to be allowed to fail and those who are securely in the higher grades are to be left to coast. She seems to think it is a very common approach.

This is horribly familiar to those whose children were coached intensively in English Maths and Science as they approached Y6 SATs and then saw it all dropped once the tests were over.

curlew Thu 13-Jun-13 16:04:49

I don't think I quite understand- is he saying that every child who gets a 5 in year 6 should get A*s in GCSE? Or every child who gets 3 level 5s?. But don't something like 2O% get 3 level 5s ? Surely he doesn't think 20% should get all As and A*s? Or am I being thick........?

Talkinpeace Thu 13-Jun-13 16:10:23

Gove and Wilshaw are both so busy talking anecdotal crap for which there is no empirical evidence ....

Every day I become more convinced that the Belgium "no government for 16 months" is the answer.

anInspectorcalls Thu 13-Jun-13 16:10:31

In the run up to GCSEs there is intense activity, coaching, intervention and minute examination of the the cohort of DCs who could get a C but are just below.
There is nothing for those who tick the box as secure C or above.
This is why the English fiasco had such impact last year.

Ilikethebreeze Thu 13-Jun-13 16:12:25

A comp school that is already outperformong those around it, or those in its county, is afraid or not allowed to do better becuase it is already outshining others.
Plus there is compacency in said school.

As regards marks getting higher. The pass marks and marks needed to get grades are altered nationally year on year as far as I know.

curlew Thu 13-Jun-13 16:13:32

So when the league tables talk about "expected progress" does that mean Cs for the high achieving cohort?

curlew Thu 13-Jun-13 16:15:52

"A comp school that is already outperformong those around it, or those in its county, is afraid or not allowed to do better becuase it is already outshining others."

Evidence? In my experience, schools complete like hell with each other- one round here actually handed out leaflets to prospective parents detailing the results of other schools in the area and boasting about how much better theirs were!

I think he's just doing the general 'oh, our schools are utterly shit, let's demoralise everyone a bit more but ignore the fact that it is government policy for ranking schools that causes most of the problems in the system, probably because the teachers would actually agree with that.

NotDead Thu 13-Jun-13 16:17:17

its the best preparation for real life you could have!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 16:19:45

No, I have not found this to be the case.

1310 Thu 13-Jun-13 16:23:32

I do not think this is a new problem. My son is now 33 but when he started school he did very well and loved learning. Unfortunately all those years ago I felt let down by the secondary system and paid a lot of money for extra tuition. He did get brilliant A level results but I think it was the peripetatic teaching and me making a nuisance of myself at the school. I was told not to be pushy and over expectant of my child. I have since heard that mothers of boys have the same gripe. My son is now doing very well in a job he absolutely loves. I certainly do believe there are good and bad teachers and many have such low expectations of their pupils. Why do we as a country put teachers on a pedestal without being realistic of their very varied abilities. It does not do our children any favours.

Ilikethebreeze Thu 13-Jun-13 16:30:01

curlew. To give you evidence I would have to take you into "my" school, and take you in time travel to a parents meeting about 3 or 4 years ago. You could then listen in to the parents evening and afterwards to private discussions with parents,with the Head and other teachers.
But it doesnt take brain of Britain to see how that is replicated around the country.
Each county is different.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 13-Jun-13 16:40:05

I feel like I have stepped into an alternate universe (slightly).

Have the days gone when the cool kids were the disruptive, rebellious ones with no interest in learning?

Do kids no longer refer to the more studious members of class as "nerds"?

If that is true, fantastic! However, I'm not sure that is the case. I think for some reason in the UK, school is still perceived by a fair percentage of kids as a bit of a waste of time. I don't know where this notion springs from or how you get rid of it, but I think that no matter how many great & inspiring teachers you have, how many changes & tweaks you make to the system, until you break down this long ingrained belief that school is "uncool", annoying and to be endured, then yes, a culture of underachievement for some pupils will remain in the UK.

motherinferior Thu 13-Jun-13 16:48:06

O^noooooooooooooo^, Bugsy, you have just opened the door wide to all the people who will now say this happens only in comps as opposed to selective and/or private schools where a culture of learning reigns supreme, leaving our kids to the feral jungle of comprehensives where any admission of literacy will lead to shame/GBH/social ostracism/rebellion, self-denial and self-harm/all of the above.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 16:49:38

That's the other thing I'd let teachers do: Give kids the choice to come to lessons and behave or piss off and let the others get on with it.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 13-Jun-13 16:50:30

grin not at all MI, I think there are as many kids with the same attitude at private school too! It is an attitude that has oozed through teens for years I think - but I don't really understand why.

Ilikethebreeze Thu 13-Jun-13 17:04:15

I have to say that Year 7 has always been about settling kids in and soret of gathering them together for Year 8, and seeing who knows what from the feeder schools hasnt it. Unless it has changed dramatically in the last few years.

As for school being uncool. It was ever thus I would have thought.
That age wants to rebel. School is about conforming.

The only thing I can think of to improve that is much much much better careers advise.
I didnt realise one of my DDs didnt know till late in the day of quite how good qualifications need to be in get into certain careers. When she found out, she was instantly a bit horrified. And says she would have tried harder a lot sooner- Instead of so much chatting with friends and lookiking out of the window. [As far as I knew, I thought she already had been trying her best, but apparently not].

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 17:08:55

I think that, understandably, schools see year 7 as in part for settling down.. Not like starting sixth form, or university, where the message is 'RIGHT, now for some hard work the likes of which you have never seen before'

Dd1 did spend a boring term in English reading Holes again. But both had much harder maths than they'd been used to. I think schools are very aware of who is clever and who might bring in the a*s... Not that they are any indicator, since they're so easy to get and so lacking in rigour.

Oh wait, that was Wednesday, wasn't it.

Anyway, I think the schools do know, and they do want the brightest to do well, but don't necessarily see year 7 as the time to get too intense about that.

NotDead Thu 13-Jun-13 17:10:46

Dog Whistle national advert for public schools!!!

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 17:16:54

It's not a case of low expectation.

It's acase of which expectation.

Schools are judged on how many pupils can get 5 GCSEs so obviously they target their resources there. Which is the right thing for the majority of children.

But it does mean the very bright are sometimes not well catered for. It's a numbers game, innit?

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 17:23:41

I have worked in over half a dozen local schools, where IME the brighter pupils are left to pretty much coast along...while all the main effort is focused on the lower ability pupils (of which there are far more), to drag them up to that Holy Grail C grade.

However, these schools are, in reality just secondary moderns, because we live in a grammar school area, so the very brightest top 20% are creamed off.

But, if I was a parent sending my DDs to one of these secondary moderns, then I would be very, very concerned. If my DDs failed the 11+, just by a fraction, then I suspect they'd would left in an academic wilderness...not quite clever enough to go to the grammar...but, too clever to warrant much attention, if any, from their teachers at the secondary modern.

They'd be guaranteed to get the C grades, and most likely quite easily scoop some As and Bs, too. But, they'd scoop them through their own natural ability/focus...and who knows what they might have achieved if given the same amount of teacher input/direction as the lower ability pupils?

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 17:30:02

"I feel like I have stepped into an alternate universe (slightly).

Have the days gone when the cool kids were the disruptive, rebellious ones with no interest in learning?

Do kids no longer refer to the more studious members of class as "nerds"?

Not in my experience Post - those values are still going strong in the local schools I have worked in.

Which is why we're sending our DDs to a girls' grammar.

We want them to have a single sex secondary education. We want them to attend a school where every pupil is of well above average intelligence (and not just a small percentange). We want them to attend a school where being clever is definitely regarded as being cool (and not geeky). And we want them to attend a school where there are virtually zero discipline/disruption/truancy issues.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Jun-13 17:30:21

wordfactory - yes, it's a classic case of wrong incentives. Schools need to be incentivised to get many A*s, not just 5 A*-Cs.

motherinferior Thu 13-Jun-13 17:32:05

Yes but by your own admission, LQ, that's not a genuine comprehensive.

A lot of us on this thread whose children do go to comprehensives have said that our Y7 experience has been rather good. Five of us, as opposed to three who have said it hasn't been. And we are the ones whose children attend these Academies Of Depravity.

motherinferior Thu 13-Jun-13 17:33:35

And we also have pretty bright kids in top sets, who've been identified for the kind of additional challenges that this report asserts don't happen.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 17:54:01

I agree with it.

I know puberty is partly to blame, but I also think there's something else - not sure what. Or is it just the primary schools give them ridiculously high levels? Certainly, my 'top performing' girl from primary will probably get a B in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Lit. That's despite attempts to get her to an A. Her target is an A*.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 17:55:57

Everyone is just going to answer based on their own experience.

Of course there are some great schools of all kinds with excellent teachers and wonderful pupils, but there are also a lot of not good ones. And I know a lot of teachers who openly say they are told to teach to the middle, no one pretends it isn't fairly standard.

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 18:05:51

Yes, I know mother. But, I have also spent time over the county border in schools which are genuine comprehensives, and I can't say I was all that much more impressed.

Obviously, in those comprehensives there were the top sets, which were comparable to the calibre of grammar school pupils. But, only the top sets.

The overall general attitude/behaviour of the pupils and the over all atmosphere couldn't compare with what I've experienced at our local grammars.

And, from a purely personal perspective both DH and I want our DDs educated at a school where all the pupils are of top-set calibre (if that makes sense), and where there just aren't really the disruptive/discipline issues.

BackforGood Thu 13-Jun-13 18:17:03

It's going to vary considerably, depending on the individual school, but I'd certainly say that's been my ds's experience.
Schools have so much pressure to get pupils to the 'magical C grade' at GCSE, that those they know will get them without effort are left to coast in many schools. Not all, but it certainly happens.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 18:33:44

I agree with LaQueen on this: They'd be guaranteed to get the C grades, and most likely quite easily scoop some As and Bs, too. But, they'd scoop them through their own natural ability/focus...and who knows what they might have achieved if given the same amount of teacher input/direction as the lower ability pupils?

You're right: the 11+ is a terrible system.

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 18:40:45

I have to agree Nit that if you just fall a tiny, tiny bit short of the pass grade, then it is really unfair.

But, being 100% selfish, and 100% honest I'm still really, really pleased that our DDs will have the opportunity to go to a grammar.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 18:41:44

The trouble with the top set argument, is that it's still a fairly wide spread of ability. You just don't get the critical mass at a comp except at the centre of the bell curve.

And when GCSEs come into play, not everyone in the top set takes the same subjects, so you can get even more mixed ability in some subjects.

A very bright kid can end up a srious outlier!

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 18:42:26

And I don't think you can blame a school for not throwing resources at that outlier!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 18:44:40

What sort of resources are you thinking of, though?

EvilTwins Thu 13-Jun-13 18:47:09

Schools are no longer allowed to focus just on the old 5 A*-C statistic. Schools are measured on the amount of progress students make. "Good" progress means 4 levels of progress between the end of KS2 and the end of KS4. So a child getting Level 5s in English, Maths & Science at KS2 would be expected to get A grades at KS4. A child who gets, say, 4 for English, 5 for Maths and 4 for Science should be getting a B for English, and A for Maths and and B for Sciences. In my school, the non-core subjects work from an amalgamated KS2 score - so the 4/5/4 student would have a non-core baseline of 4a with the expectation that they would achieve top grade B at the least in their GCSEs.

IME, the "chasing C grades" scenario is a bit outdated in most schools.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 18:48:20

Well Evil it is OFSTED who are in charge of ensuring that happens and it seems...they don't think it does!

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 18:51:03

I agree word the top set at a comprehensive, won't quite compare with the top set at a grammar.

At a comprehensive, the top set comprises of the best of a very mixed bag of abilities. In the top set you will have the A* pupils certainly...but, unless the comp sets to the nth degree, then you're going to also get the A/B pupils too.

At a grammar, the top set comprises of the best of the best IYSWIM? The top handful, of the already top 20%. The top sets will only have A* pupils, and in all likelihood they will all take Maths/English at least one year early.

Talkinpeace Thu 13-Jun-13 18:52:53

My answer is based upon my experience and that of DH who goes to over 100 schools a year - around half of them secondaries (private, grammar, special, comp, academy - you name it).

Wilshaw is talking garbage.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 18:53:41

I don't the the mere A pupils cause a problem though: I think they benefit more from the a* pupils than the a* pupils lose by sitting near them.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 18:54:15

Well nit how long is a pice of string?

It depends on the subject and what level the pupil is at, doesn't it.

Some students might only need access to more challenging books etc, some might need a different curriculum or individual teaching.

You just can't expect a school to provide it! You need enough kids at the same level to make it worthwhile.

Triumphoveradversity Thu 13-Jun-13 18:54:46

Ds is year seven in top sets for all subjects, he has found it easy. I know he is not stretched as much as he could be but that is what I kind of expected at his bog standard comp. DH does tutor him at home, not hot housing just a couple of hours a week.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 18:55:50

If they're going to need individual teaching, then I imagine they'll be 'outliers' anywhere!

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 18:57:31

Not if there are enough of you nit and there will be in a selective then become a class.

But if there's just you in a comp, then there's just you!

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 18:58:42

*Add message | Report | Message poster LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 17:23:41
I have worked in over half a dozen local schools, where IME the brighter pupils are left to pretty much coast along...while all the main effort is focused on the lower ability pupils (of which there are far more), to drag them up to that Holy Grail C grade. However, these schools are, in reality just secondary moderns, because we live in a grammar school area, so the very brightest top 20% are creamed off*

I teach in a school in a grammar school area, I don't think we would call ourselves a secondary modern because we are not in the centre of the grammar catchment so we do not loose as many students to the grammar. But the description above does not match my experiences of a comprehensive / secondary modern. We send students to Oxbridge every year and are highly ambitious for our students who often win national academic competitions. I have classes which are mostly made up of students with A* targets. Teachers are judged against every student's individual target , there is no special focus on the C/D borderline at the cost of other students.

I am not pretending everything is rosy, I do think there is an issue generally in society with dumbing down which will be reflected in schools. However I don't think this is as wide spread as some would have us believe. I also think that much of the data that comes from primary schools is useless and provides an unfair benchmark against which to judge their academic progress for the next five years.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:00

I think the subject content is on the whole boring, the teaching is boring and the pace is too slow. My dc are at a grammar in top sets etc etc and they are still bored in most lessons, not because they are super de duper de duper kids, but for the above reasons<throws caution to the winds> and because there is a finite syllabus beyond which the teaching does not venture. And yes, I know it probably should, but hey ho it doesn't.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:19

I think we must be thinking at cross purposes then, Word: I thought you just mean bright children who should get A* at GCSE, which is what I think the report was discussing.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:34

MeanT sorry!

LittleFrieda Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:42

The solution is to publish all state schools' complete exam results, not just silly highlights that incentivise distortion of the whole picture like %A*-C and %EBacc A*-C

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:57

But then I would radically change the entire education system.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:02:29

*poster LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 18:51:03
I agree word the top set at a comprehensive, won't quite compare with the top set at a grammar.At a comprehensive, the top set comprises of the best of a very mixed bag of abilities. In the top set you will have the A* pupils certainly...but, unless the comp sets to the nth degree, then you're going to also get the A/B pupils too.*

Again not my experience in a school which is somewhere between a secondary modern and a comprehensive. My top set GCSE classes are made up exclusively of students with A* and A grade targets. Mostly the former. I will be disappointed if any of them get a B grade and I am certainly not aiming for the grade.

I taught my set 2 class today, in there my targets are all A/ B targets and that is where they are performing.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 19:02:50

My dd was always a good all rounder at primary but really only blossomed at secondary: she got three 5bs at SATS which would mean her targets for GCSE would be Bs in English, maths and all three sciences. Nobody has predicted her Bs, though. But if they had, by this report's measure, that would be fine!

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:04:31

Thing is nit if you're the only one in your top set who realistically could get an A* then you're really not going to be well served in a class of 29 others who aren't at that level.

You'd need a class of your own. You aint gonna get it.

Wheras in a selective school, ther's likely to be a bunch of you. You can learn in a collegaite atmosphere and are far more likely to actually achieve that A*.

That said, someone on here once mentioned clustering to put the brightest toegther from several schools during certain lessons. That makes sense, particularly if the schools are close by.

In our nearest town there are three comps. They should share resources and pool their high ability kids, I think.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:05:22

*Add message | Report | Message poster Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 19:00:00
I think the subject content is on the whole boring, the teaching is boring and the pace is too slow. My dc are at a grammar in top sets etc etc and they are still bored in most lessons, not because they are super de duper de duper kids, but for the above reasons<throws caution to the winds> and because there is a finite syllabus beyond which the teaching does not venture. And yes, I know it probably should, but hey ho it doesn't.*

My DS is at a grammar and he gets bored and I know my other children would be bored to tears there. My second daughter and step son have attended or are attending the school at which I teach, which is not a grammar and they are on the whole far from bored.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:06:17

littlefrieda the devil is in the detail!!!!

Many schools do have their GCSE stats on their websites though. They make interesting reading. After all the self congratulatory bullshit about 75% getting can see that only one student got an A* in maths!

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 19:06:36

You are very fortunate aris.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:06:47

But word comps should have a class full of students with A* targets and definitely with A/A* targets .

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 19:06:58

I think it would be quite unlikely that only one child would be expected to get an a* in the top set.

Though dd is in a not-even- setted French class and still expected to get a*, which I've every confidence she will.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:07:27

I teach in a " bog standard comp" in fact because of the grammar it probably isn't even that!

LittleFrieda Thu 13-Jun-13 19:08:08

Why don't they do away with A*, A and B grades? grin

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 19:09:35

I mean fortunate the children aren't bored

EvilTwins Thu 13-Jun-13 19:09:57

Didn't this report only involve 41 schools? That's not very many.

The Levels of Progress thing is fairly new, I think. Progress has been the buzz word in school this year, whereas before it was A*-C.

Over 50% of my Yr 11s made 5 levels of progress, so I'm expecting a big pat on the back (optimistic)

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:10:34

Okay then one or three students. Or maybe one student who is working way beyond that.

These students need others like them to really thrive.

We should find ways to let them learn in a collegiate atmosphere with similar students! And also to access to appropriate resources.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 19:11:43

It does clarify things a bit to realise there are people who think that in a comprehensive top set, only one child might be expected to get an A* though!

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 19:11:58

mind you, aris, and this is not meant to be inflammatory, I bet the teachers at their school would say the same thing. No teacher is going to say, yeah, I'm boring as fuck and so are the lessons...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 19:12:07

Or three!

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Thu 13-Jun-13 19:12:52

I spent time this week dealing with three pupils who got L5 in their SATS. One has just moved two bus rides away so did not attend her exam last week. One has flatly refused to pick up a pen despite cajoling, threats, bribes, pleading - you name it, we tried it. One has just attempted suicide - thank God, unsuccessfully.

Guess what? None of them will make an A or A*.

I also have a girl who broke her fingers before her SAT and had a scribe. She got a L5a She is more like a 4c despite intensive work through Y7.

Gove, Wilshaw et al don't have a bloody clue.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:13:28

I am going to get pulverised for this! grin

I suspect a lot of teachers would struggle to get A*'s in the subjects they teach. You only have to look at a typical set of school reports prior to being proofread to see how low the basic standards of literacy are.

While I know there are many exceptions (I am one) a lot of teachers are very earnest, very hard working sorts of people who do not necessarily have brilliant academic knowledge. How many departments are solely staffed by teachers who are very highly educated with excellent degrees and A levels? 'Typical' A levels for the teachers I have interviewed are often Ds and Cs.

I am not 'teacher bashing' but feel that unlike medicine, which demands the cream of the A level crop, teaching does not always attract the best graduates. This is true of primary and secondary but most people with a degree should be able to stretch ten year olds. This is harder when they are fifteen.

Ideally, a rigorous system would keep our brightest engaged and challenged but it doesn't because to challenge a bright fifteen year old would also challenge a lot of teachers.

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 19:13:41

Aris I'm sure that is your experience...just as my experience is my experience.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:14:15

Well I was relaibly informed yesterday (here on MN) that 3% of pupils get an A* in English.

So in a school of 200 per year, we'd expect what? Six kids. Let's say one or two probably scrpaes in with a lot of graft. The middle are comfortable. The top two find it relatively unchallenging.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:14:33

I know that I bore some pupils . grin

As an outsider I look the work my son does and it looks very boring.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:16:50

And how many kids out of that 200 would arrive with a L5 in English?

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:17:42

Blackbird as someone who interviews teachers we would not look at someone who achieved Cs and Ds at A Level. We look for an A grade in their teaching subject or a linked subject at A Level and at least a 2:1 at degree.

Talkinpeace Thu 13-Jun-13 19:18:44

3.4% nationally

DCs school is 300 kids per year - that is 9 A* and the rest of the top two sets getting an A

you need to check your maths before being so dismissive about kids at non selective schools

LaQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 19:19:08

[admires black's bravery...but, admires it from behind the sofa...]

Surely, you're not implying black that comprehensives aren't overwhelmingly staffed by teachers with top A levels, who attended RG universities, and got Firsts... shock

[ducks back behind sofa for the rest of the eveving...puts hands over ears...]

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:19:27

Ah but Aris first you're talking about now.

Some of the older teachers won't be that qualified, will they?

And second, it depends where in the country you live. In some areas you struggle to recruit good teachers!

LittleFrieda Thu 13-Jun-13 19:19:52

We could then go back to the old days, when adults relaxed a bit while smoking fags, drinking gin and discussing Schopenhauer and why anyone would ever want to make their own Battenburg cake. And yer know, laughing a bit. Instead of endlessly fretting and obsessing over grades and house prices in catchment to the best schools. Ugh.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:20:26

Ideally we would as well Aris but the choice just isn't always there. I work in a lovely secondary school, 11-18, about a thousand on roll, nice rural location, good behaviour. We aren't particularly close to any major training providers, perhaps that's why we don't tend to get our pick? Not sure.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:20:39

If a teacher could not get an A* at their subject at A Level never mind GCSE they should not be teaching.

Apart from anything else, how on earth would you provide model answers and how would you mark work?

I am not saying that teachers are of the same academic calibre as doctors. Generally speaking I do not think they are, but an A* in their subject at GCSE and A Level - or an A if you are old like me and a 2:1 is the minimum you should expect.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:21:01

So talking you don't think there's a problem then?

All comprehensives serve their bright pupils well?

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:21:36

IME Laqueen that is exactly how comprehensive schools are staffed.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:22:44

I think that if schools struggle to attract top staff they should be able to pay more. I think perhaps paying teachers more may raise standards.

I did not go into teaching originally because of the pay.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:23:15

Aris I'm a governor of a school who don't get anyhting like those type of applicants [envious emoticon]

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:23:20

I'm joining you behind the sofa, la! grin

My subject is English. Children are taught similes, metaphors, alliteration and personification to death. Of Mice and Men is wheeled out regardless of the ability of the class, because the teacher feels safe and comfortable teaching it. Other literary techniques, critical analysis, longer, more challenging texts are often - not always - avoided.

These produce Cs but they do those who deserve more a huge disservice and I think that is a shame.

EvilTwins Thu 13-Jun-13 19:26:22

My A Levels were AAB (back in the olden days) and I got a 2:1 from Warwick. Can I have a pay rise please? grin

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 13-Jun-13 19:26:47

This describes my secondary school experience exactly.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 19:27:10

No evil but you can have a job at the school where I'm a governor grin

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:27:20

I teach history, we have a department of 5. Two of us have firsts and I think we all went to RG universities. One of us went to Oxbridge.

Within the Humanities faculty, which I know less well, I think there are about 6 of us with 1sts.

We have an Oxbridge team who coach our Oxbridge applicants, I think there is at least one representative from all of our faculties.

EvilTwins Thu 13-Jun-13 19:27:51

Cool. I'm on my way. <easiest interview EVER>

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:32:22

Evil, we're recruiting now! grin

Aris, that's great, but in my experience is not at all typical of a typical department in a secondary school. I have a First from a RG (hate how snobbish that makes me sound) but I am often surprised at how basic teachers' subject knowledge is. It isn't just that they often don't know some things but there is a reluctance to find out. Too often, 'stretch and challenge' means 'provide extra work' when in fact it should mean engaging with ideas, principles and concepts we wouldn't expect a 'typical' twelve or fourteen year old to understand, but it is not enough to just provide the concept. The teacher has to teach it - but in my experience many cannot.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:33:25

That is sad, we are close to some well regarded training providers, maybe that is why we manage to recruit them.

EliotNess Thu 13-Jun-13 19:34:56

If there's a culture of low expectancy, who the fuck is getting all these A*s they keep moaning about them?

Make your bloody mind up

EvilTwins Thu 13-Jun-13 19:35:34

What Eliot said.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:36:30

Yes, I do think that makes a difference.

We're also a department with little movement in it; I am the youngest and the newest member of staff and I'm not particularly young! grin

My colleagues are good teachers. They can teach students to get Cs, even Bs. But beyond that, they do struggle.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:38:17

They are not good teachers then.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:40:01

I think you're all missing the point. If pupils really want tolerance even a mediocre teacher can get them through school and gcses and a levels.

For some reason in this country swathes of teenagers don't want to learn - that is where the culture of under achievement problem lies!

PostBellumBugsy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:40:55

To learn, not tolerance - damn you auto correct!

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:41:00

I don't think it's as simple as that, Aris. They are competent, they plan, assess, deliver. They get results to a degree. But, they most definitely have a comfort zone and the higher end is absolutely not in it.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:12

Post, they can, as I was that teenager.

But why should they have to? smile What is the point of paying teachers' salaries if we say 'oh well, the children can do it themselves'?

There is a difference between someone not getting an A* in their subject at 18 and whether they'd get an A* at 25 after having done a degree in the subject...

PostBellumBugsy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:48:15

Don't know the answer to that one, but it still isn't addressing how we get kids in the UK to realise they are so lucky to get free education (at the point of delivery) and that school is not a waste of time.

blackbirdatglanmore Thu 13-Jun-13 19:50:20

I do see what you mean Arbitary, but I feel many teachers do not stretch and challenge higher ability pupils because they themselves would struggle to grasp the concepts they are trying to teach their students.

This isn't such a big problem at primary schools because most adults with a degree could stretch and challenge a ten year old. To do so for a fifteen year old - especially one disengaged with the curriculum anyway - is another matter.

I don't feel that the above is the sole problem outlined in the OP, but is, I feel, a part of it.

Talkinpeace Thu 13-Jun-13 19:52:29

There is a problem in some schools BUT this "story" is political posturing based on a very small data set - whose statistical validity has not been proven.
Therefore to extrapolate from a biased data set to all schools is inappropriate.

Maybe Ofsted needs to be brought under the wing of the National Office for Statistics and then it will get away with publishing less junk.

Having a degree in a subject does not make one a good teacher.
I have a Geography degree but I call myself an Accountant, not a Geographer.
And I'd be a rubbish teacher even though I'm very good at explaining to small groups.
I'm bright enough to understand that about myself.
Gove is not bright enough to understand his own limitations.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 19:55:30

Having a degree in a subject is not the only requirement in a good secondary teacher , but it it one of the requirements.

BackforGood Thu 13-Jun-13 19:56:15

But post, I'd say the vast majority of the population only do things - particularly things they find difficult, or even boring - if there is some kind of incentive there. How many of us would go to work without our pay at the end of the month ? Expecting Teens to be grateful they have a free education system is a bit far fetched, they need to be coaxed, rewarded, incentivised, encouraged, and challenged, just like the rest of society.
In my experience - and I repeat, I know this varies from school to school, and I also think more schools are now catching up with better tracking systems - but in my ds's school, they just weren't interested in stretching the capable coasters, because they had too much pressure to push the 'not quite Cs' into the golden band.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 20:14:42

But this is why the whole system is so mad.

Stick a bunch of 30 14 year olds in a room and tell them about moles (not the blind furry kind) for 40 minutes. Or the structure of a leaf. It's a wonder there isn't mass suicide.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 20:15:53

And you want them to be GRATEFUL??

teacherwith2kids Thu 13-Jun-13 20:17:18

Apologies if I am repeating what others have said upthread...

But if you reward, incentivise and severely punish schools on the basis of A* to C grades, consistently, over years, then schools - however they feel, morally, about it - will work to maximise A* to C grades. Disproportionately, the schools that struggle most to make that benchmark will focus most on it.

Schools far, far above the benchmark A* to C grades have the luxury - and in these days where failure to meet flor targets means sacked headteachers and forced academization, it is a luxury - of devoting some of each day's 24 hours per teacher to the stretching of the most able. Most MN-popular schools will have that luxury, many other schools do not.

You cannot simultaneously put extraordinary pressure on schools and teachers to do Task A (get a certain proportion of children to jump through Hoop 1) and expect them, by the way and unrewarded / unrecognised, to also do task B (ensure a certain proportion fo children jump through a different hoop, Hoop B). When the jobs and livelihoods, mental and physical health of teachers and heads depends on the A* to C percentage (and the Ofsted grades that are ever more tightly linked to these), then funnily enough, that's what they concentrate on. In some schools, where due to the luck of the cohort that pressure is felt less keenly, then there is sufficient time, enough effort, and enough resources to also ensure that the most able students get A*s.

People, in all walks of life, do their best to do what they are asked to do, what they are rewarded / punished for and what is valued in the environment they are in. No-one should be surprised that in a punitive environment where A* to C percentages are the be-all and end-all, the A/ A* percentage is not ocused on to the same degree. If it becomes something that is highly valued, then in those schools with resources available, it will be focused on. In those schools very near the floor level for A* to C, where there are quite simply no more moments to be wrung out of every day or hours out of every teacher, it may be focused on less - not due to the will of the teachers, just due to the physically and mentally impossible demands bein placed upon them.

On a personal note, DS's (very MN) non-selective is supurb at stretching pupils. But it has the luxury of a very able cohort.

BackforGood Thu 13-Jun-13 20:22:35

I absolutely agree with you teacherwith2kids. I do not in any way blame the teaching staff, but the whole politicising of the education system.

TenaciousOne Thu 13-Jun-13 20:31:00

Yes I do agree. The people I know who came out with the best GCSE results were best at regurgitating facts but didn't necessarily understand the content.

TenaciousOne Thu 13-Jun-13 20:33:14

Also it's not necessarily down to the teachers, but down to the targets given to the children.

wordfactory Thu 13-Jun-13 20:36:26

I cometely agree too. Teachers can only do so much.

teacherwith2kids Thu 13-Jun-13 20:39:40

(I also agree with an earlier post that the newer focus on progress should result - because of a different balance of what is expected / rewarded - on more focus on the top end.

However, it does seem to me that this was implemented as a policy with no 'downside' - the most able are now expected to make more progress but there is still severe punishment for those schools where not enough children get A* to C EVEN IF that represents absolutely astonishing progress for a very low ability cohort. So those schools with low ability cohorts have to put in superhuman efforts on the A* to C measure AND move their small number of high achievers on further than before...all in the same 24 hour day. The schools with over 50% low attainers still have to reach the magic benchmark of 40% 5 good A* to C GCSEs to avoid being branded 'failing'. The fact that is a much more difficult feat than for schools with a more balanced intake is ignored...)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 13-Jun-13 21:23:49

What you can expect them to do is to teach and expect to a* where appropriate, which is what they do.

stealthsquiggle Thu 13-Jun-13 21:31:10

teacherwith2kids has it in one. Compensation drives behaviour - as does fear. If government want to change teachers' focus and behaviour then they need to change the way those teachers are foaled and measured. No different to any other industry.

RainbowsFriend Thu 13-Jun-13 21:56:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 22:08:10

Yes, Rainbows. And that is why it is ALL SO MAD

Hullygully Thu 13-Jun-13 22:10:54

Schools, let us remember, were always meant to be holding pens so the adults could work, hence the long summer hols for harvest help etc etc

They are a hopelessly unrealistic creation now. Bizarre subjects taught by the fed-up to the hopelessly bored, great big strong humans who should be busy and working and doing, not sitting at a small desk "learning " something in which they have no interest...

oh well

PostBellumBugsy Thu 13-Jun-13 22:18:35

So how come teens in other countries don't see school as a massive PITA? There is something about our culture that under values education.

I accept that not everyone wants to learn about moles but there should be something that a young person wants to learn!

RainbowsFriend Thu 13-Jun-13 22:25:37

HullyGully - exactly

(And incidentally in response to posts earlier I have a 2:1 from a RG uni in my subject, and 3As and 1B in Maths, F Maths, Chem and Phys at A level. Plus a handful of S-levels, professional quals and NVQs in various stuff from my previous career)

Bugsy - the vast majority of pupils actually do enjoy at least some, if not most, of their subjects - however much they like to posture and say otherwise as teenagers do grin See them in a lesson and you will see they do love it (apart from moles, agreed on that one!). But you just need a few disaffected ones who "should" be getting A/A* as they got 5 at KS2 SAT hmm to produce the data they are quoting!

And that's nuts as well.

pickledsiblings Thu 13-Jun-13 22:26:45

"all the extra revision/booster/help/retake classes"

Why are these classes even necessary Rainbow? Is it because poor discipline gets in the way of efficient delivery of the curriculum first time round?

RainbowsFriend Thu 13-Jun-13 22:30:14

Absolutely not! It's to boost results and actually I find mostly to reassure (girls mainly) that actually, yes, they do know the stuff.

Mainly it's a change in culture - towards spoonfeeding. When we did exams we would go home and revise at home, yes? Not so much nowadays - a lot of pupils do all revision in school in guided revision sessions. Parents are informed of these sessions as well etc. It's becoming more and more expected. sad

pickledsiblings Thu 13-Jun-13 22:34:49

The chap who is spearheading this is drawing up a curriculum aligned to human rights, it's refreshing and at least an attempt to move away from the anachronous gumpf that we have at the moment.

Talkinpeace Thu 13-Jun-13 22:44:02

looks like a large tad irrelevant to me

lets stick to getting Gove to be emprical and statistically valid shall we

RainbowsFriend Thu 13-Jun-13 22:45:43

Actually I exaggerated a bit - one lunchtime a week is a club.

Also I'm not there all other lunchtimes as I'm part time, but when I am "in" my lunchtime always gets used for something. Often helping A level students who want more personal help - and then the run up to the Jan exams was revision, and the run up to GCSEs was revision and target groups etc.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 13-Jun-13 23:05:06

My 2 ds both achieved a level 5 in primary. One of them managed a B in something, the rest were all c's for both of them.
They both went to rubbish schools, weren't challenged and neither reached their full academic potential. Ds2 was particularly bright, and i feel he was failed more than ds2.

DD 9 doesn't go to school and unless she really wants to won't go to secondary. grin

pickledsiblings Thu 13-Jun-13 23:08:50

Talkinpeeace, my post was in response to Hullygully's Thu 13-Jun-13 22:10:54

Who died and made you moderator?

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 08:15:49

I think schools should teach literacy and numeracy to a level necessary to be a fully functioning member of society.

A chronological history of the world so we understand our past and can give proper thought to the future (and not a drab recitation of kings and queens, but movements and ideas and revolutions, to include political and religious and social areas).

Economic theories and the application of.

How finance works

How government works

How to function in the world: how to have a bank account/ use an airport etc etc etc

And alongside those that want to specialise academically do so, and those that want to take practical subjects do so.

But then you might get literate, politically engaged, financially aware voters and that would never do.

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 08:17:57

So in short thousands of children are being failed, but not for the stupid reasons Gove gives.

Even better, Gove's plans will probably fail more of them since he seems to pluck them from his arse on a whim rather than anything else.

pickledsiblings Fri 14-Jun-13 09:28:29

What about understanding how your body works, a healthy diet etc Hully? Your list is a bit light on science.

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 09:31:01

Yy those too

And computers

A history of scientific development and thought. String theory. V keen on string theory.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 09:39:56

Healthy diet and how your body works? Bloody hell, they do enough on that already, quite frankly: I'd like to see some PSHCE that's more focussed on calming the hell down and not giving your parents the catsbum mouth when they have a glass of wine, to be honest! grin

PostBellumBugsy Fri 14-Jun-13 09:40:20

but Hullly, surely the kids who don't give a toss - still won't give a toss.

We did some of that kind of stuff at the scary, hard as nails comp I had the pleasure of 5 character forming years at & the kids who did fuck all in all the other lessons, did fuck all in the "how to write a cheque" lesson, the "components of a basic meal" and "how to vote in an election" lesson too!

They didn't want to be there, didn't care about what exam results they got & couldn't wait to leave. That whole attitude pervaded up through the school, so it was a constant struggle for those of us who might have the vaguest interest in learning not to be seen as total outcasts. You almost had to stealth learn all the while feigning complete disinterest.

I know this still goes on today - this is the bloody problem - not the subject matter, not the teachers but the disinterest in any form of education.

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 09:52:38

Hmmm, the truly recalcitrant. Ok, they get taken away on their own to sit on an small island with absolutely nothing to do for long enough that they have a rethink. There is food to eat and books to read. I always planned to do that with my dc should they take to excessive drinking/drugs.

t875 Fri 14-Jun-13 10:24:34

Not in my dc school they are very heavy in Maths and tbh majority of the subjects!! Id say in our case high expectations!

I've been reading more about this and it's hilarious. Over 1/3 of children achieve a level 5 or above in maths in the Y6 SATs; nearly 1/2 do so in reading. These are the markers of the 'most able' according to Wilshaw. And these pupil should be getting As or A*s at GCSE (at least in English and maths). Failure to ensure that over 1/3 of children achieve this means the school is 'failing' them.

Yet over in Gove's world, there are far too many As and A*s at GCSE level and this is Not Acceptable. He's irate when less than 1/5 are currently getting As and A*s in English and maths (and only c.15% last year). By Gove's criteria, schools should be 'failing' at least 65% of these 'most able' children, ideally far more.

Wilshaw is also curiously quiet on the 41% of the 'most able' currently failed in the same way by selective grammar schools.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 14-Jun-13 10:43:54

Following on from Arbitrary's post, I'd like to propose another new subject:

"How to cut through spin & hyperbole and get to the facts and whatever you do, never believe a politician."

MoreBeta Fri 14-Jun-13 10:55:07

The culture of low expectation can also happen in private schools as does 'teaching to the middle'. Teachers are humans and are variable in quality and motivations and expectations.

Our DS1 is very bright and has a scholarship to a good private senior school but far too many of the teachers just let him coast along. He never comes home stimulated and excited about learning.

I have had enough of this after two years and will be intervening heavily from now on. He is just about to enter Year 9 and embark on his GCSE courses. This NOT just a comprehensive school issue.

The teaching profession on average IME does not deal well with bright children but of course the very good teachers do. It can be done.

Some parents are paying for extra private tuition where teachers are weak - which I flatly refuse to do as I am already paying.

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 11:10:46

Yes, I can see that. I'd be really cross at paying a hundred grand for the same old shit the rest of us get for free.

wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 11:12:10

Cross? I'd be livid!!!

Why on earth do you keep paying beta? Why not find a better school?

noddyholder Fri 14-Jun-13 11:12:33

God i hate this shit

noddyholder Fri 14-Jun-13 11:19:26

My ds went to the local comp I went to private. I cannot tell you how much better and more 'real' and relevant his education has been. The teachers have been amazing and the whole experience has left him and his friends with a positive view of education. My oldest friend has 4 kids all privately educated and I see no difference in them socially or educationally.

Miggsie Fri 14-Jun-13 11:19:47

I think it would help if schools were measured on"realising potential" rather than straight results.
DD arrived in primary school able to read and write and by the end of reception was at a level to pass Y2 SATS (they tested her then).
After that she was left to her own devices - the school effectively stopped putting anything in as she already had got to the outcome (able to pass Y2 SAT) that they are measured on.
As a result we pulled her out of that school and put her in another school whose aim is to get pupils interested, engaged, enthusiastic and doing stuff. The side output of their philosophy is pupils pass exams - but this is not the primary goal.
As a result, DD has leapt up in terms of self confidence, inventiveness, speaking skills, she is still very bright but now she is motivated to do things, learn things (not all exam related) and initiate things (putting on a play at assembly). These are the rimary focus of her school - not add ons that are at other schools that I visited.

I'm so glad I was able to put DD in a school that doesn't chase exam results - but that is what the targets are and "what gets measured gets done". Sadly, politicians seem to love targets especially ones that are easy to measure.
DD came home the other day saying "Teacher X said something REALLY interesting today mummy". If only that was a target!!!!

wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 11:27:12

Why are you trying to turn this into a state versus private debate noddy?

The OP is about issues in state schools. All beta has said, is that there are similar problems in his DS private school!

Talk about starting an argumnet in a cardboard box!!!

lljkk Fri 14-Jun-13 11:40:23

Plenty of kids in other cultures do see school as a massive PITA. confused. The drop out rates are plenty high elsewhere in OECD countries.

I can't recall a single truly inspirational teacher from my school days. Maybe one when I was 7. Probably none that were awful, either, they were all much the same & adequate.
Since we're answering from our experience... in my world, kids who excel are self-motivated. They find aspects of the work to extend themselves. Kids who don't do that may be bright but don't have the work ethic; that's life. I don't trust an education system that spoon-feeds. Movies get made about truly inspirational teachers, they aren't the norm and can't be by definition; I remember only one from university (6 yrs of Uni).

Lancelottie Fri 14-Jun-13 11:47:49

One of mine has a couple of truly inspirational teachers.

Sadly (or maybe not?) they aren't in English or Maths, where he'll probably get a C or b at best. But hey ho, he's likely to get FAB music and drama results and he can now play the ukelele, drums, guitar and gamelan which will stand him in good stead for a life of hippydom

PostBellumBugsy Fri 14-Jun-13 11:51:26

lljkk - yes, there are other OECD countries with high drop out rates, but we are still in the top 10, which means that there are plenty other cultures with much less of a problem than the UK.

Also, countries like Brazil & Mexico who are worse than us, probably have very different socio-economic reasons for those drop outs?

lljkk Fri 14-Jun-13 12:12:07

Generational changes, I like this graph. And yes it shows UK could do better. But is not horrendous either, imho.

noddyholder Fri 14-Jun-13 12:14:05

I am not trying to turn it into anything Argument in a cardboard box? Sod off. I am just singing the praises of our local school and recognising that.

wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 12:19:12

It's a saying I picked up from my Nana.

He's so bloody awkward that one, he could start an argument in a cardboard box.

I think it sums you up perfectly noddy grin.

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 13:10:31

I agree lljkk

noddyholder Fri 14-Jun-13 13:13:30

Ok well I don't appreciate a character critique from someone I don't even know hmm. Would you like me to sum you up?

LaQueen Fri 14-Jun-13 13:30:40

Joking aside Hully I do like the sound of your curriculum.

I think we should evolve towards the German educational system, where the primary education is solid, but then at 14 (I think) the children have the option of hard core academic schools (like our grammars), or technical schools for those who want a vocational career.

I do think there is a very large swathe of pupils for whom formal/academically based education, past the age of 14 is really a waste of everyone's time.

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 13:33:39

my curriculum is not a joke at all, it's what I will do when I take over from this sorry shower in charge at the mo.

siluria Fri 14-Jun-13 13:39:15

My DH is a secondary school teacher - has worked in both comprehensive and selective schools (AFAIK, this was about non-selective secondaries).

I think there is a practical tendency to focus on the middle - schools and teachers are in big trouble if they don't meet their A*-C targets, which in practice means it's more important to focus on the many kids who might get a D but could get a C or a B than those who will get a B even if you don't focus on them. I don't think any teacher worth their salt would do this all the time, but there's also an argument that getting a C instead of a D will make a much bigger difference to a child's life/prospects than an A* instead of an A, for instance.

So yes, in large comprehensive schools I think there is some truth in the notion that the brighter kids don't always get stretched as much as they might.

On the other hand, this government wants the teaching of more facts and less development of the skills required to interpret, analyse and understand factual information. It really shows in the Ofsted guy's comments. If I was teaching this 'fact' (that loads of kids don't get As or A*s who got level 5s in their primary SATS) to a bunch of GCSE students I'd ask them the following questions:

1. How reliable are the level 5s given out in primary schools? (There are plenty of pressures on primary school teachers to inflate grades, and it is regularly discovered in Year 7 that the new intake don't reliably match the levels they have been assigned).

2. Are there other pressures on children outside of school that might account for some of this? (i.e., is it that teachers have a 'culture of low expectations', or is there something that happens to teenagers/other pressures/other factors which might contribute to this apparent dip in performance?)

3. Is the suggested progression of a level a year an accurate reflection of teenagers' physiological and intellectual needs? How reliable is the system and how does it compare to other systems?

4. Why was yesterday's headline a complaint that too many children are getting As and A*s, and today's a complain that not enough are getting As and A*s, and if teachers are slacking off then why hasn't OFSTED, whose job it is to monitor this, done anything about it before this seemingly huge problem has manifested itself?

5. What is the political context of all this? (Answer: Gove - look back through his recent statements and you'll see a pretty damning pattern.)

6. What reason would teachers have not to expect the best from their students? Why would this be a nationwide problem, as the report suggests?

In short, while I think there is a small measure of truth in all this, I am also tempted to say 'nice try Tories. Come back when you have the reasoning ability of an A* GCSE student and don't try to trick us with bare 'facts' which don't mean anything once you actually start thinking about them. And while you're at it, you might want to stop proving how uninformed, under-researched, under-reasoned spouting of 'facts' (your chosen educational policy, it seems) leads to totally idiotic decision-making ... Must try harder!

LaQueen Fri 14-Jun-13 13:47:18

In that case, I await your coup with bated breath grin

LaQueen Fri 14-Jun-13 13:50:10

"On the other hand, this government wants the teaching of more facts and less development of the skills required to interpret, analyse and understand factual information."

I would think the gold standard to aspire to here, would be for children to learn more in the way of the facts and also the ability to analyse and interpret them intelligently.

SuffolkNWhat Fri 14-Jun-13 13:52:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pickledsiblings Fri 14-Jun-13 14:00:58

Suffolk, I went to look around a middle school in Suffolk in November and the kids were doing mock SATS! That's hot housing in the extreme - they were off timetable shock.

MoreBeta Fri 14-Jun-13 14:06:20

Hullygully/wordfactory - to be fair the school is doing very well with DS2 who is just on the edge of the top 25th percentile attainment level in the national scale. For him, teaching to the average is great - because he is average in that school. The facilities are great too.

Also to be fair, DS1 is achieving at a high level but nowhere near his potential. It is not stretching DS1 and I have made the mistake of allowing the situation to drift and allowing 'teachers to teach'. Yes they teach. Yes they work hard but they teach to give the least able and average pupils a good education. They put much less effort into the most able students because no one is asking them to and no one is monitoring it and frankly because no one would reward them if they did.

The reality is that the school is just too comfortable in its position as the best of the two private schools in town and much better than the majority of state schools in our area which in some cases are utterly dire if based on their published results. The Catholic secondary schools we are not eligible for are quite good as is the local Catholic Primary school.

I think the low expectations come from the top. The government constantly messing things around, talking everyone down, pumping out their low beliefs about everyone.

I think this is most blatant in the redefining of literacy (you'd think it was like being able to read & write at adulthood, but the UK defines it as having 5+ years of schooling. If we're going to raise standards and expectations, we need a government and media that thinks we can read and write and ensuring it.

siluria Fri 14-Jun-13 14:10:58

Ha ha laqueen - I didn't say my own proposals wouldn't be equally stupid! (They probably would grin)

Agree with you about the gold standard. Quite often, though, Gove says that things are not being taught in schools which actually are. There's a huge amount of detailed fact-learning in GCSE history, which is the one I know the most about. I'm not saying there's not room for improvement, but saying, for instance, that the new history GCSE will be at least 40% British history implies that it isn't already. It is! I heard Gove slagging off primary teaching on Radio 4 at the beginning of this government, saying that primary school children don't learn basic three-dimensional shapes. 1) he actually got his shapes wrong during the discussion, much to the mirth of everybody around him; and 2) those shapes have never, ever been taken off the curriculum. So while I agree that there's room for discussion about factual learning and it's more than possible that things have swung too far one way (I don't know, but I am sure this is at least possibly true), half the time the government says kids aren't learning x, y and z when they are. It's too much politicking and not enough evidence for my liking.

Constant headlines about the laziness/stupidity/ineffectual nature of teachers are not going to help improve the education system. I'm not saying there aren't problems, and I'm not saying that all teachers are great. But ill-informed attack is what I object to - anybody can see that if there are problems, they are bound to be more complex than simply being down to the inherent laziness of an entire profession and will require more creative/complex solutions.

I don't have them, though ... grin

SuffolkNWhat Fri 14-Jun-13 14:12:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaQueen Fri 14-Jun-13 14:19:30

More that would really annoy me, in your situation.

I fully understand you don't want to pay for extra tuition for your DS1, when you're already paying. But, have you considered using an under graduate? They should be much cheaper than a professional tutor.

DH and his BF sometimes did a bit of maths tutoring for O level/A Level students, when they were at university - often just for the price of a few pints.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 14-Jun-13 14:45:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I'm very pleased with the education my DD is receiving in her (supposedly) non-selective faith secondary. I think it compares very favourably with the education I received a generation ago (obviously ! - in the 70s) at my grammar school.
I'm particularly impressed that she has a much clearer sense of what the specific targets and criteria are for different levels and grades, and an accurate idea of where she is in relation to these.
I think things were a lot fussier in this regard in the 70's !
I think these things are crucial in developing personal responsibility for one's own learning, and just to knowing what is needed to take the next steps forward in our understanding and mastery of a subject.

I'm also more generally impressed with the schools high expectations particularly of their brightest students (stealth boast - like it ?winkblush). For example in English Literature she is being introduced to concepts and terms that I never came across even by the end of my O level studies, whereas DD is in Y9 and has yet to really start her GCSE studies in earnest - yet is aready au fait with "iambic pentameter" and such-like smile

MoreBeta Fri 14-Jun-13 15:15:16

LaQueen - it hasnt quite got to the stage of 'needing' outside tutoring yet. Me and DW can cover most subjects quite well up to GCSE but what is enraging is that two teachers who retired from the 'other' private school in town immediately flipped to a nice little earner of private tutoring pupils at my DSs school. It really is beyond the pale and my DSs school should be ashamed of themselves.

Another parent told me about it a few days ago as she is using one of these tutors and in some state of desperation.

I know it is not just me who feels this way but the general feeling I get is that the teachers at DSs school as a body are themselves coasting along in a nice school doing quite well with the cohort of pupils they have that are in general nice well behaved children with supportive parents who dont question them too much because they dont know how to or dont have the confidence to or simply dont feel they have a choice.

I want to see drive and ambition to get pupils to the very peak of performace that they are capable of and not teachers sitting back on their laurels. As I say, this is almost a 'cultural issue' among a wide group of teachers and - not a private vs comprehensive thing.

Scrazy Fri 14-Jun-13 15:20:32

I agree that bright pupils are being let down. My DD left her non selective fully comprehensive secondary school last year.

None of the 6th form pupils achieved all top grades at A level. The school just didn't manage to teach them to that standard. There were whispers of private tuition and fortunately universities were lenient and the few that applied got into their courses at RG universities, even if they missed their offers.

I don't recall anyone applying let alone getting into Vet,Med,Dentistry. Mine did but via a foundation year.

Congrats to your DD Scrazy thanks

LaQueen Fri 14-Jun-13 16:18:26

Beta Sadly, your situation doesn't surprise me. I have a colleague, who originally trained as a teacher, with the sole intention of only going to work in private schools (which she did for a number of years).

She didn't want to teach in grammar schools (pupils too academic/clever). She didn't want to teach in comprehensives (didn't want to deal with discipline/truancy/disruption issues).

No. She just wanted a naice cushy job, teaching in a naice private school, which she did. Quite easily done here, as all the really clever kids go to the free grammars, so the naice but not bright kids, with the naice parents go to the local private schools.

Scrazy Fri 14-Jun-13 16:30:57

Thanks Juggling, she was grateful to have the opportunity.

MoreBeta Fri 14-Jun-13 16:39:17

LaQueen - I didnt want to say it but you have hit the nail very squarely on the head there. I think as lot of the teachers at DS school are exactly like that.

AmberSocks Fri 14-Jun-13 17:44:38

doesnt suprise me,no one does that well out of state schools really.

hmm That's just nonsense. I know loads of people who've done incredibly well in state school.

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 17:53:51

Half of all the students at Oxbridge went to State schools.
DCs comp got four kids to Oxbridge last year and around 40 to Russell Group
Tens of thousands of kids go on from state schools to top jobs and universities
they just tend to have the sense (or lack of arrogance) to stay out of politics

wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 19:24:17

To be fair though talkin the majority of state schooled students at Obbridge attended selective state schools.

The numbers from comps is not that high. Particularly given how many kids attend them!

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 19:29:26


wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 19:42:32

Go on the university websites. The stats are there. I can't link from here, sorry.

If my memory serves (and don't hold me to it) 25 ish percent of recent Oxbridge undergraduates came from state comprehensives. That's not representative of the numbers of DC in comprehensive sixth form.

wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 19:45:24

The state selectives, particularly the super selectives punch above their weight statistically.

As do a handful of notable non selective state schools.

That's why there is a widening access programme!

siluria Fri 14-Jun-13 19:49:15

1. accuracy of the KS2 results is under dispute.

2. There may be other reasons that kids stop performing at 11/12/13 than the 'low expectations' their teachers place on them (this seems pretty likely to me - teachers are far from being the only influence on children, especially at that particular age)

3. There are huge variables between schools, so it is unfair and unreflective to say that this is some sort of widespread cultural issue among teachers. Citing one teacher you know who is a bit lazy, or wanted a cushy job, is not evidence of a profession in crisis.

4. Most of the time the government/media are concerned that pupils are over-performing (and ignore the impact of something a previous poster just noted: much greater encouragement of self-reflection among students, their knowledge of what levels they are on and of how to progress to the next level, which previous generations of schooling did not provide). Now all of a sudden they're under-performing? What gives?

5. The government actually publishes statistics on top-performing non-selective secondary schools in terms of their Oxbridge/Russell Group attendance figures. Why isn't there any constructive debate around what these schools are doing so well, instead of denigrating schools in general?

6. During his term, Michael Gove has overseen curriculum changes which actually actively tell lies to the public about the current curriculum (see my post above) and which fly in the face of all research on the subject, almost all professional opinion from teaching bodies, and around fifty years of academic research in such subjects; he has accused teachers of laziness and irresponsibility if they strike; he has said that teachers need to work longer hours and take less holiday (which is a fair enough debate - but it should be about what children need, not about what teachers should or shouldn't be forced to do); he has instigated a race-to-the-bottom in effectively bribing schools to go for academy status; he makes policies without consultation or debate and then is forced to backtrack when glaringly-obvious problems with them arise. The list goes on. Genuine engagement with teachers to improve things, and a recognition that there are thousands of brilliant teachers out there who do want to improve things and keep improving, instead of headline-grabbing and ill-informed rudeness, would give our children the best chance of success. But that doesn't seem to happen.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 14-Jun-13 19:52:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Naebother Fri 14-Jun-13 20:01:26

<<<joins the applause>>>

Brilliantly expressed siluria

I went to a state comp and turned down an offer from cambridge to go elsewhere instead.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 20:07:57

Selectives punch above their weight... I wonder whether that could be anything to do with..... The selecting? hmm

sarahtigh Fri 14-Jun-13 20:08:11

this is not new it happened to me when I sent to secondary from really good state primary; secondary was also considered good not outstanding but one of the better ones in area

I did absolutely nothing new in maths in first 2 years at secondary despite being in top set, in primary pi had been 3.14 when i got to secondary I found out this was too hard and pi was actually just 3 hmm I got an A at o level but just think i would have been better prepared for a level if I had not spent 2 years relearning maths and science that i could do already

I know a teacher that has been categorically told that getting D grades to C grades is more important than A's some of course will get A's anyway but some could go from c to b or b to a but that is not pushed

FobblyWoof Fri 14-Jun-13 20:20:27

I only have my experience of secondary school to go by (left 10 years ago now) so I don't have a lot to offer the conversation but what I would say is my school certainly didn't celebrate academic achievement.

We got some certificates at our GCSE presentation evening, three months after we'd left school but other than that there was nothing, yet sporting achievements were always noted. I get why sports are encouraged but it left a bitter taste in the mouth!

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 20:36:54

I asked earlier down the thread, but either it was missed or I missed the answer-surely a C wouldn't be "expected progress" for a child getting 5snin year 6? Surely not...

So all these anecdotal teachers who are focussing all their attention on getting kids to get Cs - they will fail an OFsTED if they don't, get the level 5s higher grades than that. Or am I missing something?

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 20:42:24

its a league table anomaly : see my other "sack Gove thread"
the only thing that counts is A-C : so schools are (financially) pressured to up that ratio
at the expense of good learning for those way below that level
and extended learning for those above

if that "cliff" was removed, teaching would immediately free up and therefore improve (I can go into great detail why, but think business)

but Gove would lose his "stick" that he hits schools with

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 20:45:26

Really? Even though the league tables specify low, middle and high attainers and whether they make expected progress?

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 20:49:08

the league tables do not : the detailed ofsted pages do but they are not easily searchable

hence my idea on my "sack gove" thread to make league tables be weighted average of top middle and bottom

it'll never happen though as the grammar / private brigade would have kittens rather than realise they might have wasted their time and money.

Mumzy Fri 14-Jun-13 21:13:36

We live in inner city deprived area when I went to visit secondary schools with ds1 every single one of them were very keen to let us know that they had a dedicated teacher for D/C borderline pupils and introduced us to some of them. There was no dedicated teacher for borderline B/A/A* pupils I really felt for the very able dcs who went to those schools as their parents would probably be in the position to help hem achieve their potential and the schools didn't care as long they achieved as least a C so yes we saw low expectations in secondaries in our area.

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 21:17:27

rather than just be unhappy with what there is ...
make suggestions
but they have to be nil cost .....

HabbaDabbaDoo Fri 14-Jun-13 21:25:12

Granita - If Wayne from Wakefield wanted advice about his Oxbridge application then he can always Google it. You probably find that the collective wisdom of the Internet trumps that phone call to a rowing buddy.

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 21:27:50

But if you put DFES league tables 2012 into google, then enter a school name, a page comes up and half way down it says whether low, middle and high attainers made expected progress. That's pretty "easily searchable" in my book. And a school would not get a good OFSTED if each of those groups weren't making at least expected progress.

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 21:31:42

can you compare though - with neighbouring schools, especially where they are within 2 miles of the LEA boundary : or are academies

Ofsted has bugger all to do with exam results by the way : their current criteria are far more esoteric and unattainable and unmeasurable

HabbaDabbaDoo Fri 14-Jun-13 21:34:57

My DCs left Year 6 on KS L5. They are at selectives now. They got a few years to go before GCSEs but their recent end of year exams consisted of GCSE level questions and they each got a 50/50 spread of As and A*s.

Two DCs aren't exactly a scientific sample but IMO if a child is L5 at the start of his secondary school life then if she/he lands in the right school they have the potential to get at As.

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 21:37:11

Well, obviously if I know the names of the schools I can compare. I don't think HT's actually a "compare" function, but it's not that difficult to do!

And I do question you saying that OFSTED isn't about exam results- isn't one of the criticisms that it's too much about exam results. And thy look very closely at "expected progress" I suspect that a lot of this concentrating on getting Cs stuff is urban myth. A school which was satisfied with getting year 7 level 5s to a C at GCSE would struggle to get "good"

I so agree with this from Lemon sole

"This stunning observation owes more to the huge weight placed on KS2 Sats, which few teachers regard as a reliable predictor because they are coached for relentlessly by primary schools, and are testing a tiny part of the pupil's overall curriculum.

On another level, when schools' reputations hang on the 5 A*-C measure, it's not rocket science that they channel more of their efforts into converting Ds to Cs than into Bs to As. That doesn't make it right; it's a logical consequence of making league tables a key measure of a school's worth.

It also reflects the reality that primaries find it a lot easier to counter the impact of a difficult home environment than secondaries, when adolescence and peer pressure kick in. Most children in Willshaw's report are described as being those from families more likely to be vulnerable."

Mumzy Fri 14-Jun-13 21:46:37

Also meant to add low expectations and non pushing of able dcs in comps has fuelled the popularity of grammar schools and the accompanying mad tutoring to get dcs into them. In grammars hopefully dcs will be pushed to get A*/A rather than just settle for a C/B. I'm glad Michael Wilshaw has started this discussion its been so obvious for years.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 14-Jun-13 21:51:07

"If a teacher could not get an A* at their subject at A Level never mind GCSE they should not be teaching."

Thats quite funny considering that some posters on here are for putting failed bankers and ex-military in schools.

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 22:01:11

I suspect that a lot of this concentrating on getting Cs stuff is urban myth
not in comps - where 1/3 will not get grade C : but the financial difference to the school between 37% D and below asa against 32 % C and below is SO HUGE that teachers are mega mega pressured into that boundary, rather than the c/b or even B/A
hence my point on my Gove thread about sliding scales not cliffs

babadabadoo Fri 14-Jun-13 22:09:03

I can only talk from my own personal experience as my children are not of school age. My secondary school was absolutely appalling, although I didnt know it at the time. Years later I realised that there was a fundamental change when I started at the 'big school.' All the local primary schools were pooled together so you instantly made new friends with kids from wider areas. Teachers no longer knew everyone's name, nor cared. And, no longer was it cool to enthusiastically put your hand up in class and say,'Yes, Sir I went to church on Sunday.' Why? because nobody bothered to ask anymore. Even though it was still a catholic school I was attending.

I think what was missing was that sense of care and warmth that primary schools are so good at providing. I also recall being brilliant at spelling and just loving getting good marks etc. The enthusiasm wanes for sure in secondary because one is also blatantly exposed to the 'class idiots.' Which of course at the time are quite funny, but invariably are also the ones who left school with literally no education to speak of.

It was years later that I started thinking about my educational experience because I went to University and felt I was surrounded by people who 'seemed' like they had had such a wide exposure prior to Uni life. I didn't necessarily think they were brighter than me but they just had a certain something that I felt I severely lacked. I guess 'exposure' and 'overall confidence' is probably what I am trying to say but invariably it was much more than this.

There are a number of teachers that I remember well. One guy who was our P.E. teacher. I recall him quite vividly because he would talk to all the girls' chests. Naturally, he was called 'Mr XXX the Perv.' Another, who was a bit of a snob and you just knew he felt he was surrounded by working class brats who would come to nothing. I remember him trying to get a bunch of class clowns to sit and concentrate and I cant recall his exact words but he was basically saying you will end up on the scrap heap if you continue like this. Of course they didnt listen.

Then to top it all I got an E for my Art A'level. No being big headed but my work was impressive and I worked harder than anyone at that subject. The reason? Unbeknown to us we hadn't submitted the correct criteria for the exam board. Enough said.

I think in low income areas and in particular very low performing areas teachers do have low expectations. I simply cannot remember anyone ever talking to me about going to university. And this was early 1990's. I am not surprised at all! Its been going on for years.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 22:10:59

Yes, comps were pretty dire in the early 90s, in my experience.

And yes, a child who left year 6 with level 5s would be expected to get a or a* at GCSE.

Talkinpeace Fri 14-Jun-13 22:29:13

baba tosn
you have both fallen cataclysmically into Goves trap.
your recollections of what went on at your secondary are worse than irrelevant to what kids are doing today

I base my evidence on two teenage kids today
and a husband who works in schols day in day out year in year out
and * DATA*

you and Gove should all read a LOT more before commenting

beatback Fri 14-Jun-13 22:36:27

What about the early and middle 1980"s then, i left a comp without any academic qualifications Steaming Nit, and that is why i am so passionate about Grammar Schools and relived that both my niece and nephew have benefited from Grammar Schools.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 22:37:38

No, Talking, I know my experience is irrelevant to today: I say so quite a lot in fact! In 1989-96 my comprehensive was dire, it was allowed to do nothing, it let me down, it was frankly rubbish.

It does not get away with that now, and I have been astounded and impressed at how different schools are now. I loathe it when people make points about What Schools Are Like based on their own schools, and that was actually the point I was trying quietly to make!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 22:38:41

Early and middle eighties? I think they're the past too aren't they? The past Gove is trying to bring back.

Arisbottle Fri 14-Jun-13 22:39:33

I am a bog standard teacher ( actually am senior management but in terms of teaching ability I am your average teacher ) in your bog standard comprehensive ( probably a secondary modern / comprehensive ) and so much of this does not ring true to me.

I am not judged on my A*to C rate but how many pupils match their target. So I have to make sure the A* students meet their targets and the C garde students, so I cannot neglect any students to focus on my C/D borderline.

There is not a pressure to get students through the C grade borderline because there are so many more options for them if they get a C rather than a D. But the greatest pressure is to get individual students to meet their target grade.

I am a state school educated adult who went to Oxbridge and every year students from my secondary modern/comprehensive go to Oxbridge.

I have children in a grammar and in the comp/ secondary modern in which I teach. They get stretched to the same degree, although the secondary modern/ comp gives the more freedom and independence.

babadabadoo Fri 14-Jun-13 22:40:00

LOL @ Talkinpeace - thanks for the 'advice' but I think I will happily comment at my will on mumsnet

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 22:44:30

Talkin, I hope you saw my post!

beatback Fri 14-Jun-13 22:47:21


curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 22:51:37

Arisbottle- so can you confirm that OFSTED would not be happy if your school was aiming to get kids who were level 5 on entry to C at GCSE?

Arisbottle Fri 14-Jun-13 22:55:05

No Ofsted would not be happy, I have just got home from the pub so have just have a few so don't take wat I say as gospel . But our children finishing key stage three at a level 5 would be targeting for a grade C, certainly not gaining a level 5 at the end of key stage 2. They would be aiming for about a grade B, maybe A.

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 22:59:41

So all this stuff about aiming to get Cs for everyone and Cs being the goldstandard is the rubbish it appears to be?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 14-Jun-13 23:02:09

Yeah, it's bollocks!

Arisbottle Fri 14-Jun-13 23:04:38

As I said I am under pressure to get every student to my target grade, regardless of that target.

I run extra classes just for C/D borderline s but I also run A* classes and groups to help students get that B grade - which in my school is much more of an issue than the C/D borderline.

I think some people are just keen to see teachers as mediocre people who focus in middle of the road targets to the cost of cep everyone else. Not sure why.

Arisbottle Fri 14-Jun-13 23:05:18

To their target not my, although it can feel like my target grin

Whatwouldyousay Fri 14-Jun-13 23:18:11

As Arisbottle says, my DS' school (London Comp) made it clear from the start that they would be stretched within their ability. No one was going to be allowed to slack but they also acknowledge that not all kids have strong academic ability and that there are other options for them.

My DS went to a high-achieving primary and was middle of the road. At Secondary he is shining and it's done wonders for his confidence and inspires him to work harder.

curlew Fri 14-Jun-13 23:24:32

So, just to be clear, it's not true that all a school has to do to jump successfully through the OfSTED hoops is to get as many GCSEs Cs as possible?

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 05:33:57

No it is true at all

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 05:34:13

Sorry no it is not true at all.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 06:28:41

My dd went to a top 100 cofe school for two years. The results are very good although declining. After two years we moved her because of low expectations around the cohort that entered on open places and whose behaviour was poor and disruptive and about whom the school would not deal. The teaching staff were on the whole delightful, professional and hard working but somewhere in there there was an ugly culture and dd was not thriving. There were also pockets of poor teaching that were denied and not managed. For example in Year 8 in maths dd achieved brilliantly but only because we picked up the problem and had the £35 per week to pay for a private tutor. What of the children in the state system whose parents can't do that and are switched off one of the most important subjects for life.

We are articulate parents who did our best to work with the school; if we were beaten then I do think there is a huge problem out there that is not being dealt with.

Our dc went to a state primary. About one third of the primary went to the independent sector after Y6 (earlier for the boys generally), half went to the local state schools and the remainder to local selectives. It would be an interesting exercise to meet up with them all at 30 to see what happened to them all.

zamantha Sat 15-Jun-13 06:30:35

wine and grin to Boneybackjefferson. Just love it!

I'm sure many on here will also be castigating social workers while spending their bank bonus.

zamantha Sat 15-Jun-13 06:38:22

The social issues of our country are evident in schools and it takes years of dedication to break down a generational problem of low aspirations in a family. Culturally, we have never really sold education to ordinary workforce - is changing slowly. Hence, many middle class families opt out of comps.

We had to use a comp for our DS with a history of SEN. Fab school, great ofsteds, very highly regarded. problem is always the behaviour of a few which is sad. He did well except in GCSe where there was disruption. A level seems much better where they can send away the naughties!! Sad. So many resources are needed to tackle poor social skills and low aspirations in pupils. Possibly we do the less academic a disservice with our curriculum.

Growlithe Sat 15-Jun-13 07:14:50

Put out a report based on dodgy statistics criticising whatever they are targeting. Then flog it off to one of their mates under the radar.

It's becoming this government's MO.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 07:20:38

I agree with Hully up thread. Also I believe as a society we have lost cognizance of "well educated" and there is a huge difference between being well educated rather than well qualified. I would go for the former and that I believe is what we are paying for at our DC's independent schools - something more of the "all round" and teaching to their personal potential.

I went from private primary to state grammar (amazingly). In the early 70s there was no pressure whatsoever I just passed the 11+. Even at grammar school only the brightest were expected to get 9 O'Levels and go to university. I left at 16 and did a secretarial course and an OND. Started a degree but left after a couple of terms - then went to finishing school shock. I was never ever regarded as university material - am 53 now and have professional quals and an MBA. But, I was well educated and I was expected to have the skills to earn my own living and I was numerate and literate.

When I started work the well educated bit and the ability to hold a conversation, show interest and smile served me well. It is so sad that the value of a rounded, functional education has been lost at the expense of a points driven grading system which results in pieces of paper being awarded in too many cases to the unemployable.

zamantha Sat 15-Jun-13 07:46:18

Good comments married in white again.

bryte Sat 15-Jun-13 07:47:31

The concentrating on Cs is not an urban myth where I live. I have a friend who is a TA at a secondary school, employed specifically to work in classes with borderline D/C grade children. The best school in our area has a similar focus. If you want your child to be stretched beyond average, you have to hassle the school. But I live in a county whose schools are close to bottom on the national overall league tables. It seems logical to me that you would direct your work towards the criteria that you are measured on, and if league tables are compiled on the basis of pupils achieving at least a C at GCSE, then that's what schools will be devoting their energies towards.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 08:01:10

Just because they have employed a TA to work with C/D borderliners it does not mean everyone else gets ignored.

zamantha Sat 15-Jun-13 08:31:47

Schools try to meet all criteria but it is true if C's are the measure then they are the emphasis for survival - literally for some of these Heads.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 08:50:45

But we have been told by people who should know that Cs are not the measure of success.....

It occurs to me as well that for a not particularly academic young person going out into the workplace or hoping to go to college getting at least a couple of Cs would be absolutely vital- hard enough with them but practically impossible without. So it seems entirely reasonable that a school should channel resources into these kids- it might benefit the school for them to get Cs, but it's absolutely bloody crucial for the kids concerned. The difference in some cases between training, or a job or a life on the dole.

I presume that there are a few paths in life where having Bs instead of As might make a difference to you- but the number of doors closed if you've got Ds instead of Cs is overwhelming. Schools do not always act out of total self interest.......

Mumzy Sat 15-Jun-13 08:55:34

Bryte the C\D border Teachers/TAs are seem especially prevalent in schools in poor areas so if you are an able child in those schools you will most likely not get extra the help ,which a child in a mc comp, grammar or indie would, to help you meet your potential.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 09:05:11

Maybe the children on the D/C border need the extra help?

Just a thought.........

Mumzy Sat 15-Jun-13 09:16:40

Looking at the bigger picture all countries need an educated elite who can compete for the top influential positions , provide innovation, create jobs for others and pay a lot of tax. In the UK the top 1% of earners contribute 25% of all taxes and 53% of the population take more than they contribute in taxes. If the top jobs are taken by non Brits we will not benefit from their taxes in he long term.

CecilyP Sat 15-Jun-13 09:34:11

I agree curlew that the really able children should not need so much extra help - just attending the normal lessons and putting in the right amount of effort should be enough. Some of those C/D borderlines could well be very much on the D side of the border and could need considerable support to push them to the C side of the boundary. (Not sure if all this pushing is right though as results may not reflect children's true abilities)

Molecule Sat 15-Jun-13 09:41:54

Having produced children encompassing all the levels I am quite delighted that the C/D's are concentrated on and given extra help. Dd2 falls into this and the school has worked really hard with her this year, and it will hopefully mean she will be able to do the college course she wants to rather than one that will take her despite poor grades. However if the school had enthused and helped her earlier on they may not have been in this position now.

Dd2 (at a different comp) is very much A/A* material, and is stretched but we don't know if it will be enough or whether for A levels she should go to a very selective independent; that will be the subject of a whole new thread. One day she came home from school absolutely furious - they had been asked what job they were aspiring to and when she said barrister, the teacher asked if she wanted to work in Costa or Starbucks.

Ds (year 7) is at the same school as dd3 and is already having lots of extra help (both he and dd2 are dyslexic) so hopefully we will not end up in the same position as we have with dd2.

One problem I have noticed with my less academic children is the poverty of anything they can achieve in. Dd2 is very good at sewing so has taken textiles, but there is very little sewing involved and an awful lot of written work, which of course doesn't suit her, and exactly the same in food tech - at thirteen she could produce a three course meal for 12 (with 2 choices for each course), but this is completely irrelevant to the examining bodies. There must be a vast number of children feeling totally demoralised by the current education system.

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 09:52:57

"when she said barrister, the teacher asked if she wanted to work in Costa or Starbucks"

'twas just an attempt at humour, no?

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:02:45

""when she said barrister, the teacher asked if she wanted to work in Costa or Starbucks"

'twas just an attempt at humour, no?"

Bloody hell, somebody didn't post this as a serious remark, did they??????

Molecule Sat 15-Jun-13 10:05:08

I asked that pickled, and she was adamant he was serious. She is always quite shocked at the poverty of ambition amongst her friends, even one who is as bright as she is doesn't think university is for her.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:08:00

"Some of those C/D borderlines could well be very much on the D side of the border and could need considerable support to push them to the C side of the boundary. (Not sure if all this pushing is right though as results may not reflect children's true abilities)"

In this case, I think hat sometimes the pushing is vital- I have a neighbour who has set her heart on, and has been accepted for, a course in harness making. She needs 4 Cs- and it will be a real achievement for her when (fingers crossed) she gets them. Her school is going all out to help her- and in my opinion it is a much better use of the teacher's time (assuming such choices have to be made) than applying similar resources to get another child from A to A*.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:08:53

My children don't always get dry teacher humour either......

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 10:17:46

Two generations ago nobody would have needed 4 C's for a vocational career. Nurses only needed 3 passes when I did O'Levels. Youg people without paper qualifications were still well educated. My gradparents did not have a single qualification (my granny didn't even go to school after the age of about 12 I think) but they had perfect grammar, granny in particular was like a human calculator and they were at ease conversing with anyone. The entire system is bonkers. At 11 or 12 both my DC could write more articulately than my boss who had three masters degrees!!

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:21:29

"Two generations ago nobody would have needed 4 C's for a vocational career"

Well, they do now, and schools have to operate in the now.

I do wonder about all these "everybody's great grandparents were perfectly educated even though they left school at 14" claims. Is there actually any evidence to support this? What about all the adult illiteracy-!documents signed with shaky crosses and so on?

CecilyP Sat 15-Jun-13 10:24:21

I am sure it was a attempt at humour, though that might be lost on a teenager who has grown up thinking that it is perfectly normal to call someone who sells coffee, 'a barrista'. Perhaps you have to be of a certain age to find that play on words amusing.

In this case, I think hat sometimes the pushing is vital- I have a neighbour who has set her heart on, and has been accepted for, a course in harness making. She needs 4 Cs- and it will be a real achievement for her when (fingers crossed) she gets them. Her school is going all out to help her- and in my opinion it is a much better use of the teacher's time (assuming such choices have to be made) than applying similar resources to get another child from A to A*.

I can only agree with you there. I know some very selective 6th forms ask for an A at GCSE to do some A levels, but, as far as I know, none ask for an A*. And there are always other 6th forms who are less demanding in terms of prior achievement.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 10:35:08

But the point is that 4 Cks are useless if upon reaching the workplace or adult life in general the employee is functionally illiterate and innumerate in spite of having a GCSE certificate. If a C can be reached without instilling the ability to construct a grammatically correct sentence or convert a decimal or a fraction to percentage and understand the process of doing so what exactly is the use of the qualification. What is the point of tipping from a D to a C so the person can enrol onto a higher course they will find too difficult or will again have to be extra coached to pass. It inflates expectation and does not leave the young person equipped to follow a career path successfully once they are employed and judged on their actual capability.

CecilyP Sat 15-Jun-13 10:36:21

I do wonder about all these "everybody's great grandparents were perfectly educated even though they left school at 14" claims. Is there actually any evidence to support this? What about all the adult illiteracy-!documents signed with shaky crosses and so on?

Depends how far you go back but when the school leaving age was 14, and previously 13, children of the full ability range left school at that age. So some people's parents, grandparents, and great grandparents would have been doing very well when they had to leave school and would have been very happy to have continued in education if they had had the opportunity. They would have continued reading and writing and practicing what they had already learned and, through reading, would have educated themselves. Other school leavers of the same age would have learned very little and been only too happy to have left school at the earliest opportunity. I think my PiL represented both ends of this spectrum.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:40:53

Well, I'm not sure that somebody with a C in GCSE would be "functionally illiterate", would they?

And, using my neighbour as an example, what would you suggest? She has the place on the course, there is plenty of work for people who complete the course- and she needs 4 Cs. She is smart, but not even remotely academically clever. She will only get the 4 Cs with lots of help and encouragement. Are you saying the school should not be providing the support?

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:43:07

Yes, Cecily- probably the same sort of %ages as now. 14 year olds have all sorts of levels of literacy - I suspect not much has changed. The past is often a rosy tinted place.

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 10:45:01

curlew, I'm not sure I understand the point you are making in your Sat 15-Jun-13 10:02:45 post

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 10:49:53

Just that is sounded like either an attempt at humour on the teacher's part that a serious minded teenager didn't get, or a teacher bashing urban myth. I'm pretty sure I've heard it before actually

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 10:52:16

married - I recently questioned someone's opinion and I got told that she had three postgrad degrees so I can shut the feck up! So when you said that your boss has three masters degrees, was that just to make a point or does he really have 3 master degrees?

I'm asking because I have a Msc in Finance and I have never met anyone that isn't in academia who has two masters let alone three. I find that it's a bit like having 20 GCSEs ie a bit pointless after the expected amount.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 10:56:17

I made a 'joke' about people speaking Latin in Latin America to a co-worker. A frend later told me that x was telling people how stupid I was. I suspect that the teacher telling the barrista joke had the same humour challenged audience.

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 11:02:01

Still don't get what you mean by 'Bloody hell, somebody didn't post this as a serious remark, did they??????'

dashoflime Sat 15-Jun-13 11:10:12

I think there certainly was at my school (a while ago now to be fair). I was in top set for everything except French and I distinctly remember the very different atmosphere in those French classes.

We were just not expected to be able to learn everything.

It was a bit of an eye opener really and helped me understand that outside of the 1/4 of pupils placed in the top set, the majority of the school population was experiencing a pretty poor level of education.

There was extremely low expectations for most pupils at my school, I would say.

JRY44 Sat 15-Jun-13 11:14:35

A few things strike me reading this. Firstly schools have been judged on progress from KS2 for about four years now, so whilst important to get Cs it is also important for pupils to achieve their potential grades. Here lies the second problem, the grades are not linear, so a pupil with a level 4A at primary will not necessarily be a 4A at secondary, this leads to parents thinking their child has dropped. Changing A, B, C grades to 8,7,6 will lead to further confusion.

At the secondary schools I know there are extra classes for boosters at all grades - I spent two days of half term holidays doing C/B boosters and there were C/D A/A* etc. running as well. I don't know many high schools in the north west where pupils are not set or streamed (at least in core subjects).

A lot of people seem to base their opinions on their own schooling or what they have read (which is always sensationalised worst case scenario). When I left school there were pupils with low literacy skills, who went on to do OK for themselves. For some pupils today literacy is still a struggle, no matter how much intervention is put in place. What needs to be produced is a system where education can suit each and everyone person from the academic to the none - pupils are feeling they are failing as they do not reach the magical C grade and it is this we should be looking at.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 11:23:31

"Still don't get what you mean by 'Bloody hell, somebody didn't post this as a serious remark, did they??????'"

I meant "bloody hell, nobody actually thought that a teacher really didn't know the difference between somebody who makes coffees and a lawyer, did they?"

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 11:28:37

it's not about the teacher not knowing the difference curlew

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 11:33:23

Please tell me you don't think the teacher was being serious? You aren't using this as an example of "low aspirations" are you?

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 11:38:33

I am fairly certain that it was a joke but as that is inconsistent with Molecule's Dd being 'furious' and was posted as an example of low aspirations I thought it worth 'mentioning'.

Do you have a problem with that rationale curlew?

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 11:40:02

I mean the point generally curlew - I would wish your neighbours child the very best but that doesn't mean the system is effective. The child's aptitude and enthusiasm should be taken into account.

I read the barrister comment differently to be honest and in a way that links back to my argument about education v quals. Did the girl make herself clear? Did she say barrister or barista or just a poorly enunciated version of one or the other. I can well imagine my DH closing an interview pretty sharply with a prospective pupil who talked about barristahs and what his or her objectives were for the fewchah.

I hope the teacher's point was taken on board - it may have needed to be. Young people need to be aware that life successes are about more than paper qualifications.

And yes three masters - addicted I think and thought it gave her the right to progress professionally.

There may be typographical errors above btw - on phone (and in the bath)

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 11:43:02

"I am fairly certain that it was a joke but as that is inconsistent with Molecule's Dd being 'furious' and was posted as an example of low aspirations I thought it worth 'mentioning'.

Do you have a problem with that rationale curlew?"

I do actually. Because I find it impossible to believe that it was anything but a joke, and as the owner of a serious minded teenager myself, I can see mine not getting it and being "furious" about this too. And there are so many urban myths and "I have been reliably informeds" about how rubbish teachers it seems a shame to add another one.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 11:44:18

"can well imagine my DH closing an interview pretty sharply with a prospective pupil who talked about barristahs and what his or her objectives were for the fewchah."

Let's hope he's not involved in recruitment, then hmm

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 11:50:59

Scenario 1: Molecule's Dd says 'barrister', teacher hears 'barrister' and goes on to make joke <Dd doesn't get joke or gets it but thinks it's inappropriate>

Scenario 2: Molecule's Dd says 'barrister', teacher hears 'barrista' and goes on to ask relevant question <Dd can't believe teacher actually thinks she wants to work in a coffee house>

Scenario 3: Molecule's Dd says 'barrister', teacher hears 'barrister' and goes on to ask random question about working in a coffee house <Dd thinks teacher thinks she's only fit to work in a coffee house>

As only scenarios 2 & 3 are likely to lead to Dd being 'furious', it seemed pertinent to me to raise the possibility that a joke may have been missed, hence my comment - 'twas just an attempt at humour, no?'

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 11:51:57

curlew I rest my case grin - even ROFL.

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 11:54:45

I'm lost now curlew, are you saying that the teacher shouldn't have made the joke???

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 12:08:35

Er, I think we're agreeing, pckledsiblings, aren't we? <deeply baffled emoticon>

Molecule Sat 15-Jun-13 12:10:57

Dd is at a friend's so I can't ask, but think dd took it to be pickled's scenario 2. It might be an urban myth curlew, but dd certainly told me this is what happened, and I didn't in anyway mean it as a teaching bashing tale. Dd, up to that point didn't even know what a barrista was, so at least she improved her vocabulary that day.

In retrospect it probably was a joke, dd doesn't have much of a sense of humour, especially when it involves herself, and as up to that point in the discussion the other children had wanted to be plumbers, builders, nursery workers etc, it did kind of fit in.

CecilyP Sat 15-Jun-13 12:19:59

If she had never heard of a 'barrista' then the play on words would have been totally lost on her, so no wonder she was cross/wondering why the teacher made such an odd remark.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 12:22:25

It's up the with "what do you say to an English Graduate?", molecule. Presumably the teacher assumed your dd would have heard it before?

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 12:26:22

The coment "BARRISTA" is a totally ofensive and pathetic coment, it is demeaning kids who will be lucky to even get a job at "STARBUCKS". Is the joke saying its the end of the world if you end up in a coffee shop. They are very many people working in cofee shops who have been let down by education.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 12:30:08

Also very bright people with first class honours degrees. Not that people who have not got a C in English G.C.S.E are functionally illliterate either.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 12:31:54

Lighten up, beatback........!

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 12:35:24

It reminds me of something I say to the DC from time to time:

DC: "I'm thirsty"
Me: "I'm Friday, pleased to meet you"

I absolutely categorically mean 'nothing' by it, it's just funny grin. Same probably goes for the teacher making the BARRISTA comment.

edam Sat 15-Jun-13 12:37:16

ds is at a very strong primary where they really do stretch the children and make excellent use of data to spot where children aren't achieving as they should be/are able to. While making sure the kids have lots of fun and interesting stuff to do as well - it's not a Gadgrindian 'thou shall not enjoy education' drilling approach of the kind Gove appears to favour.

I gather from friends whose children have gone up to the nearest secondary - which is very well regarded and gets good grades - that there is a LOT of repetition in the first year. I don't know whether that is because ds's primary teaches beyond what other schools do, or because the secondary isn't as switched on, or what it's like beyond the first year of secondary. But it's a tad worrying as that's where ds will probably go as well.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 12:37:53

Or, in the version favoured by my father-two people on a train-

"Is this Wembley?"
"No, it's Thursday"
"So am I, let's go for a drink"

I have no idea what this thread is about any more- does this happen often?

pickledsiblings Sat 15-Jun-13 12:46:51

'ds is at a very strong primary where they really do stretch the children and make excellent use of data to spot where children aren't achieving as they should be/are able to. While making sure the kids have lots of fun and interesting stuff to do as well'

My DS is too edam and I'm a Gov at the school. He's not achieving his potential despite being level4/5 in year 4 - mainly because there is very little dialogue between him and his teacher imho. Also she is not as 'knowledgable' (although she will obviously have much more 'life' experience) as he is about certain aspects of science and instead of helping him to broaden his ideas she attempts to reign him in. That said, she is the least effective teacher at this school.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 15-Jun-13 13:04:01

posts like those form dashoflime should come with a date stamp.
How long ago did this happen?
In what context was thsi said?

teaching today is a different from what it was 2 yrs ago, its a lot different from five years ago and a world away from what it was 30 years ago.

Statements that start with "when I was at school" are in the fanatsy land as those of gove.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 13:28:32

Haven't had time to read all of thread, but i completely agree with the Ofsted report..

DS2 and his Primary school worked really hard to get him from being well below average in all subjects (he's Dyspraxic which was spotted in the Reception year) to above average upon entering Secondary school..

In years 7 and 8 he stayed in the top set for English and Maths but received no help to maintain that standard from the head SENCO when he started to struggle, we lost count of how many teachers came and went, in most cases we didn't even know their names.. He was then zoomed down from top to the bottom sets in everything in year 9, following no discussion with me. He was bored beyond belief and said it was a joke, saying he was just doing lessons he did years ago.
Following many irate phone calls i got him moved up a set in English and Maths, his latest English teacher has told me she's shocked and confused by the high standard of his work and comprehension given the schools previous decision.
However, now in Year 10, he is in sets where the best he can hope to achieve with his given exam papers is a C grade.
School failure is putting it lightly IMO.. He's treading water at 15, we are just waiting to get him into Further Ed next year so that he can repeat everything, and get the grades he's capable of..

What a complete waste of time! Luckily he's not the only boy the school has buggered up and failed, otherwise his confidence would've been in shreds by now.

Yep, OFSTED are spot on.

musicalfamily Sat 15-Jun-13 13:34:25

To be honest my experience of primary isn't that much better. My DD1 is L4 (Y3) across the board and the teacher has said categorically that they will not stretch her or teach her L5 stuff until at least Y5. So she has at least another full academic year where she will be able to stretch herself or at home but will not be taught anything else new. This is because they are mainly focussed on getting everyone to L4 and L5 by end of Y6.

They don't even bother with L6 in Y6, so there is no incentive to stretch my DD or any other child like her. I am curious how they get away with it from an Ofsted point of view, but they do. I suppose they can always say that my DD "plateaued" for a year or two. I am sure this is not the only school in the country where this is happening.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 13:40:13

I am sorry to hear that jellycat. Did you think of moving him in year 9? Did you put your reservations in writing to the head copied to the governors noting your concerns about lack of senco support and asking for details of the evidence on which the decision was made and an action plan detailing the steps that would be taken to get back on track re his potential. Schools get away with it because parents don't kick up enough fuss in my opinion.

forehead Sat 15-Jun-13 13:52:03

The problem with the KS2 exams is that children are coached for months in order to pass the exam. The children are then given artificially inflated grades which do not reflect their true ability. The teachers in secondary school are then expected to ensure that a child who achieves level 5 at the end of KS2 gets a grade A at GCSE.
The problem is with the examination system and the pressure on primary school teachers to get as many level 5's as possible.
Children who attend grammar schools, faith schools and independent schools tend to do better, because their parents are interested in their education and therefore will do their utmost to ensure that their children do well. The teaching in these schools is not superior , but there is definitely an expectation that the children can achieve grade A's.
IMHO, parental input/interest is key to whether a child achieves academically.

forehead Sat 15-Jun-13 14:01:34

Too many parents are relying on the schools to ensure that their children are stretched.
My taught my son (Summer born) how to read when he was in year 1, as
i realized that if i relied on the school , there was a possibility that he would leave Primary school unable to read or write. I also ensure that my children learned their tables, read regularly etc.
Parents have to start taking responsibility for the education of their children.

LeBFG Sat 15-Jun-13 14:05:41

There's this thing about 'low expectations'. I went back to teach in the comp I was educated in. The teachers said at the time I was a pupil, the biggest demand on a teacher was to control the class i.e. keep them from throwing chairs around the room. Expectations were nothing to do with achievement. 10 years later the expectation was 'we know have to get stuff into their brains'. Panic stations!!

Same kids, different expectations. With all this target-based culture, I want to ask: Do the kids benefit? Are they happier? Are they more successful?

Not sure where I'm going with this. I suppose I just think it a bit naive to throw the buck at the teachers and demand to know why Didums is not achieving, when there's a whole lot going on in Didum's life outside the classroom.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 14:11:11

there is also a strong feeling amongst some parents of "my child is cleverer than X- it 's not fair that X gets extra help- my child should get it"

Forgetting that the reason X is getting extra help may well be precisely because he is less clever, so therefore needs more help....

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 14:21:56

LeBFG - the problem is that teachers are expected to teach and children are expected to learn when 10-20% of many classes are disengaged and disruptive. The other 80-90% would achieve much more if the government funded and supported the establishment of more prus and more specialist units so that teachers could focus on teaching. That is the biggest problem and that is why we removed dd from the state sector. The perpetual slide to the lowest common denominator that helps nobody - least of all the most vulnerable.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 14:36:12

married Oh yes, i spent virtually all of yr 9 writing to everyone, including the LEA who wanted updates, watched closely and gave me support but did nothing, and going to meetings (it took 7 weeks to meet with the head as she kept cancelling appts. and on one occasion didn't even turn up) i even initiated the help of the biggest independent body (SNAP) here in Wales that mediates between schools and parents of SEN pupils who backed me all the way (and attended meetings with me) even the previous Head SENCO was appalled by it all.. plans were eventually put in place, agreements made and written down, but never ever carried out..

It takes up to 5 days for calls to be returned and thats 'if' the secretary remembers to pass messages on!
After all the months of hard work nothing changed, i had to make a decision to give up as it was all taking over my life (i'm a single parent)..
Thats after an agreement was made with the Head, that the Head SENCO (a prison warden in her past job, and also head of discipline at the school, with no experience of SN) was never to contact me again (this followed an incident where i had evidence of her blatantly lying to me and was told i by a solicitor friend that i could've taken her to court, and her simply taking DS2 out of French because he needed help which she couldn't provide as there were no TAs allocated for that subject) and a member of staff was appointed as a go between.

I'm deadly serious about my DCs education, DS1 was at the same school under a different head with very good experienced teachers (who have now resigned or been laid off in favour of newly qualified cheaper teachers) and went on to gain a First class honours degree, so i didn't mess about with DS2.

I looked into our local college who would've taken him on at 14, but the range of subjects on offer are tiny (rural Wales).. So i decided to keep him at school to complete his Music and Engineering GCSEs which he loves, and go back to redo the core subjects later.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 14:41:52

P.S married He was on School Action Plus, i never received any written copy despite asking, and then he was taken off it without informing me in Yr 8 when the new SENCO took over and he was still in the top sets, it was never put in place again.. hmm

LeBFG Sat 15-Jun-13 14:46:45

My mentor used to say high expectations would eliminate distruptive behaviour marriedinwhiteagain hmm grin.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 14:59:04

I think also with so many pupils to teach at secondary level (and certainly as is true at my DSs school, there's a fast turnover of teachers).. its understandable that teachers 'forget' which pupil has what 'need'.
I've had to remind the Physics teacher 3 times now that DS2 is Dyspraxic and thats why his mind wonders, i've advised him to simply re-engage him back in by calling his name. The staff simply dont remember, we've even had to write it on the staff white board!
At Primary level its much easier to really work with individuals and keep them engaged.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 15:45:49

What happens to kids with 5 E"s at G.C.S.E,the reason i say this is because they are being forced to stay in education to 18 which schools are going to allow these kids in to there 6th form. Are these the kids in the bottom 20% who pull down the other kids and because they are so challenging though Behaviour and Academic Ability take 70% of time dealing with them, and should not these kids be in seperate schools away from the mainstream 50%, you can work out what type of school the top 30% should go to.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 16:41:47

They can do work place training, they don't have to stay in school, they have to stay in education.

lljkk Sat 15-Jun-13 16:43:07

Vocational courses, NVQs, other training courses, revision 5-GCSEs in a year courses at 6th form colleges, apprenticeships, even.

I dislike the idea that they are "pulling down" others though. It's not that simple.

Personally don't see how raising exam standards will lead to higher achievement. confused. it just looks like a better excuse for the academically weakest to give up early. Does anyone talk about what would best engage the lowest achievers in education to keep trying and still do their best? I don't think solution is raising the bar even further above what they are already struggling to obtain.

JRY44 Sat 15-Jun-13 16:48:08

As an English teacher the reason we revisit primary work is that many pupils can identify a word or technique, they can even understand what they are for but in many cases they cannot use the technique. This is down to solid teaching to the test, when given more freedom if expression at secondary school a lot of pupils struggle, so we revisit and research the skills.

You would be amazed how many different level Level 4 and 5 s come through ours doors, depending on which primary. This also needs to be factored in as a pupil may have a 5C at primary due to a lot of help but is in no way ever going to get an A or B.

middleagedspread Sat 15-Jun-13 17:02:23

My DSs are at a non selective Comp. I'm astounded at the level of commitment the teachers offer, to one who is very 'middle of the road' & the other a bit above.
Whilst the students & staff are busting a gut to get through GCSEs it must be very disheartening to hear Gove banging on about exams not being hard enough.

lljkk Sat 15-Jun-13 17:07:53

I remember lots of spiral teaching when I went thru school & even in university (spiral = revisiting old material but moving on from it too). There are lots of reasons why I could see this being good practice.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 17:09:00

There should be as many kids in apprenticeships as there are at university.

Employers have got away for too long with paying crap wages that are topped up with tax credits
and not being willing to train employees - wanting that done by the taxpayer at colleges.

teacherwith2kids Sat 15-Jun-13 17:21:17

"So, just to be clear, it's not true that all a school has to do to jump successfully through the OfSTED hoops is to get as many GCSEs Cs as possible?"

Picking up this point from upthread...

It depends on the school. There are two things here:
- League tables, conventionally, still have a default 'sort' mode that ranks schools by their '5 good GCSEs including English and Maths' percentage. The 'floor target' set for all schools by the Government is also based on this percentage. Even though more detail is available for those who choose to search for it, the most publicly-available 'ranking' system (and the most publicly reported 'name and shame' measure) is based on this percentage. Wider public perception is often driven by league table position, rather than by Ofsted grade [so in my town, for several years, the 2 best-regarded comps had Ofsted Outstanding, and Oftsed Satisfactory grades. The one every MC parent sought to avoid at all costs due to its league table position had a solid Ofsted Good]

- For those schools that have a higher-ability intake, the '5 good GCSEs including English and Maths' %, based on A* to C is not enough to get a high Ofsted grade if many of the intake could do better than getting Cs. These are the 'MN-friendly' schools where there is enough teacher time and effort to also concentrate on A/A* boundaries. However, for schools that have a lower-ability intake (and there are some for whom the % of low achievers on intake is so high that the Government's 'absolute floor standard' of 40% reaching 5 A* to C incl Eng and Maths represents supurb progress) then, as the flexibility is only 1 way (intake does not excuse schools from that 40% figure), huge effort is put into the D/C borderline and less is left over for the very few higher achievers.

So the GCSE grade Cs are necessary - and more critically necessary the lower-achieving the cohort is on entry - but not sufficient for a good Ofstd grade BUT they are still absolutely necessary for a good league table position drive public perception.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 17:42:17

TALKIN PEACE. You say Business pay very poor wages,apart from the big muti nationals like "STARBUCKS GOOGLE" most S.M.E"S and family business are fighting just to stay in Business, in many family owned small and medium sized firms i know, the Directors are not taking SALARYS so that they can either keep going or not make any"REDUNDANCIES". The vast majority of family business in the U.K are not making any money and are running huge "OVERDRAFTS" that banks can call in at any time. So the only companies that have the financial means for the new Y.T.S scheme are the major corporations. Small Business up to 100 employees are just trying to keep the wolf from their doors.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 17:49:29

I know. I'm an accountant for several of them.

And for small businesses the apprenticeship scheme is an absolutely excellent way to get trainees who are at college part time and working for you part time : with no ERS NI bill and subsidised training - and they are on limited term contracts so you can either keep them on or let them go with no costs.
Look into it : you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 17:51:15

its also excellent for kids as they get to "try out" employers and skills without having to make a huge commitment.

several of my clients are taking on grounds and technical staff that way
filling posts that would otherwise have been left empty as the costs of hiring and firing are too much for small employers.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 17:51:54

We have arranged apprenticeships with lots of local smaller firms for the reasons given above .

Elquota Sat 15-Jun-13 17:59:19

Yes, I completely agree that many state comprehensives fail the brightest students. They're more interested in the middle achievers than those at either the higher or lower ends of the spectrum. Many comps aren't streaming for different subjects but pile everyone into mixed ability classes, which IMO should be disallowed.

I'd support the reintroduction of grammar schools in all areas, and I also support special schools for those with severe learning difficulties. One size doesn't fit all.

It's wrong that the most academically able can only attend a school focused towards their needs if they can afford private school. We need the brightest from all backgrounds to be given a rigorous academic education, not just those with money. This directly impacts on who ends up in the most powerful positions in our society and where they've come from.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 18:02:21

How many comps have you actually been to?
Because your description does not fit ANY of the county ones round here.

And as the parent of a summer baby who was a bit of a late developer I'm awfully glad that he was not tested at the end of year 6 and barred from ever reaching the top academic sets - as he has been able to at his comp.

Elquota Sat 15-Jun-13 18:17:41

Talkinpeace I've been in several as a teacher as well as attending one myself. Clearly I don't live in your county. How about you, how many have you been to?

No-one is saying a changed system would be perfect, but the current system is worse IMHO. Comps have had decades to sort themselves out, but many haven't. While there will be a small minority on the borderline who don't pass the 11+ but develop later, is that really a good reason to deny the opportunity to so many?

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 18:26:01

Talkin - Your standard response to any poster that disagrees with you seem to be to tell them that they are talking crap because your DH's job gives you a greater insight into whatever. Nice to see that you are open to other people's experiences and opinions grin

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 18:26:07

Do you know, I've just remembered something.

Our borough opened a brand new cofe comp about 8 or 9 years ago. It was and has been touted as a flagship school.

We looked at it for dd. One MFL was offered and the science department on the open day could not confirm that triple science was offered. Millions were invested in it. At the open daye we witnessed a member of staff yelling at a child (like shite) and a pupil making ruden bigoted and racist remarks about a member of staff.

It is revered as fab and I believe ofsted rated it outstanding. Pupils about whom parents complained subsequently sexually assaulted a fellow pupil on the premises and set another on fire. This year the inquest of a pupil who committed suicide because of reported bullying has been all over the local papers.

We didn't apply; but many parents have no choice but they big. Up the school because of they have no choice.

This is one of the best state schools in our borough; we removed dd from one that has an amazing reputation in a similar borough.

Low expectattions - certainly. Comprehensive education - no it equates to secondary modern; good enough - not for our children; utter disgrace yesj part of an excuse based cultue in education - yes. Ofsted outstanding - hahaha - but it is!!

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 18:37:18

Elquota. Would you say a ratio of 30% Grammar School 50% High School 20% Remedial/Special School then would be appropiate then. Would 30% give kids on the borderline now a better chance and would you believe in year admissions say in year 9 from the High School.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 18:45:38

I am utterly against state funded selective education : you want selection on grounds of "intelligence", faith, sex or anything else, go pay for it.

At events with my children and DH and through my own work, most of the ones round here. Including the local academy that I chose not to send my kids to.
I fully agree that there are some truly dire comps, but there are also many, many excellent ones.
Bringing in Grammar schools is not the answer

Mitchdafish Sat 15-Jun-13 18:54:05

DS is Year 7, previously at Steiner, his state secondary is very pushy indeed, all about targets, all the time. Boys from local vvpushy primary are switched off from learning and cynical, mess about a lot as far as I can tell, I think they have been overworked at primary.

lljkk Sat 15-Jun-13 19:00:33

Complete sidetrack, but how has your son found the transition, Mitchdafish, from Steiner to mainstream, I mean.

racmun Sat 15-Jun-13 19:01:57

Genuine question do comps put the kids into sets these days? Or does it depend on the school?

I went to a comp and we were split for maths, English and Science but that was it i was in the top set and those lessons were fine.. It was beyond a joke in some of the lessons- generally (not always) under achieving children are disputive and often seem as being 'cool'. Certainly at my school it was not cool to be clever. Also the teachers were so busy trying to get the naughty children to behave that the more able kids were not pushed at all!!

I kind of agree that if your in a big comp with its fair share of difficult teenagers, then the children that just behave and get on with it can easily over looked and not pushed to achieve their best so in that respect there is a culture of underachievement. Much depends on the school.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 19:05:07

Thornden do not. Its never seemed to harm their results.
Almost every other one I've ever heard about does - because it makes teaching saner.
A few stream but computerised setting software makes sets a sensible option.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 19:09:10

Talkin - that was a bit of a non sequitur hmm

I was just pointing out that you are usually quite dismissive of other people's experiences with schools that they are familiar with. Yes we know that your DH visits "100s" of schools but that doesn't invalidate what they have to say about their school.

I don't see what my views on private education has to do with the above observation.

Talkinpeace Sat 15-Jun-13 19:14:14

I went to private school. I have nothing against private schools. I am not, and will never be, one of the people who thinks private schools should be abolished.

What I am against is taxpayer funds being used in selective faith schools and selective education schools.
When prep schools in Kent brag about getting 100% of their kids through the 11 plus, you know that grammar schools are not getting the brightest kids, just those with the most sharp elbowed parents.

I also firmly believe that a lot of the "culture of low expectation" in state schools is because idiots like Gove crap on teachers from a great height day in day out, move the goalposts on what they are teaching (introduction of the Ebacc being the prime example) and then bang on about league tables which have the artificial cliff of the grade C/D boundary.

EvilTwins Sat 15-Jun-13 19:14:16

The problem with threads like this one is that inevitably ends up an exchange of anecdotes.

The fact is that OFSTED and Gove cannot have it both ways - if too many students are achieving A/A* grades, then how can they assert that they suffer from the low expectations of their schools and teachers?

It's mind boggling.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 19:15:52

It's interesting that people seem to think that bright children will only achieve their potential if they are "pushed" to.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 19:21:25

Talkinpeace - I went from a kent private school to grammar in 1971. It isn't a new thing and many families had spit provision for their children. Rather than reviewing entry to the grammars from private sector though how about the local primaries raise their game.

We moved to the area in 1967 when I was 7 and the good primaries were full so I was sent to a rivate school in broadstairs. Our local primary at that time had never got a child through the 11+ It still has a poor reputation.

We sent our DS to a top performig, best in borough local primary and moved him at 8 because his GandT needs were not being met. DD stayed until Y6 and went to a high performing state school. We moved her at the end of Y8 because the school was drifting (a school with 8/9 chasing evey place).

The state sector needs to significantly raise its game before the independent sector is lambasted.

BackforGood Sat 15-Jun-13 19:22:58

No Curlew Some children need support to get motivated. Some don't. I see it as the country's job to do what we can to help all children achieve their potential. That doesn't mean all achieve top grades, but then, nor does it mean not 'pushing' the more capable but less motivated because we know they will "do alright". There are also a lot of highly motivated children who will never get high grades, but, we should still ensure they achieve what they can.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 19:23:21

Eviltwins I guess they could say that the standard for A/A* is too low.

I was discussing this with some Year 11 students in school on Friday who quite frankly know much more than I ever did at their age and can analyse and evaluate ideas with much more complexity than I ever did at school. I am no genius but I went to a top university and achieved a 1st. As these boys have clearly been stretched more than I ever was I don't see how they have been dumbed down - and this is in a comp/ secondary modern.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 15-Jun-13 19:29:02

No-one has mentioned the high ability kids that mess about, refuse to learn, and disrupt the learning of others.

But then I suppose that id because those posters that have those children believe that it is the teachers fault for not being entertaining enough

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 19:30:28

Everyone knows on MN that all of our children are bright and perfectly behaved, it is only those pesky kids in secondary moderns who have TVs in their room who misbehave.

BoffinMum Sat 15-Jun-13 19:42:15

Let's talk some home truths.

1. Most schools are too big, so kids get away with playing teachers and parents off in a way they wouldn't have done 50 years ago.
2. Some parents fail to discipline their children properly, and this group of kids causes havoc in some classrooms, disrupting learning for the others. There is a limit to how far teachers can change this alone, as out of the 128 hours in a week only 30 are spent at school, for 38 weeks a year.
3.There aren't enough properly qualified Maths and Science teachers to go around, so many kids have to make do with people standing in and giving it a go. Not great for progress, and not in the national interest.
4. So much time is spent on high stakes tests that high quality practical and empirical work goes out the window a lot of a time, which is the very stuff that most kids need to be doing to make the most progress. Especially bright kids.
5. Exam boards are too big, ungainly and profit driven to be trusted to do a good job properly any more.
6. Internationally, teacher assessment of pupils works for most countries. Our externally moderated exam system is anomalous globally, expensive, and pretty ineffective.
7. Despite all this we still have one of the best education systems in the world, statistically speaking, which amazes me really given how little we spend on some pupils, and the diversity of our population.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 19:45:21

Arisbottle - that would be an insightful observation but for the fact that most MNetters don't live in SM areas.

Mumzy Sat 15-Jun-13 19:55:12

How I'd improve comps:Everyone attends the same school, have proper streaming for academic subjects. Smaller classes (20 pupils) for lower ability. Technical subjects to be taught ,such as catering, plumbing, car mechanics, construction, hairdressing ( there will always be demand for good hairdressers), as well as academic ones.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 19:55:42

Change SM for bottom sets or council estates. The thinking is the same.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 15-Jun-13 19:56:25


LOL. smile

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 19:57:03

It is interesting that an unfeasably high percentage of mumsnetters have their children in grammar schools but I struggle to think of any mumsnetters beyond myself and one other who have their children in a secondary modern.

Mumzy Sat 15-Jun-13 19:57:10

Agree with BM smaller schools maximum 1000 pupils including the sixth form

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 15-Jun-13 20:01:11

"have proper streaming for academic subjects"

Why do you believe that this will stop this happening?
I have seen many top sets disrupted by high ability pupils.

Why is there such a belief that high ability children are angels?

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:07:13

I teach across the year groups classes between sets 1 and 5.

My best behaved class is set 5 year 10. The classes with require me to use my behaviour management skills the most are set 3 year 10 and set 2 year 9.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 20:41:47

Arisbottle - that's like saying that there is unfeasibly number of well off people in a forum talking about buying overseas property.

Children with pushy supportive mums are more likely to be at GS. Those mums are more likely to be in a forum discussing education.

Children with laid back parents are more likely to be at SMs. Those mums are hardly going to be spending their free time discussing education.


curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 20:44:33

"Children with laid back parents are more likely to be at SMs. Those mums are hardly going to be spending their free time discussing education."


BoffinMum Sat 15-Jun-13 20:45:21

Not exactly. Wayne with 3 A*s from Wakefield can contact the special Oxbridge provided liaison person allocated to his school and get more focused help than Hugo gets from the random person he rings at the boat club. He might choose to attend one of the special visit days when people from Wakefield in general go to visit certain colleges and courses, and he might get buddied up with a couple of students who can talk to him over a sandwich and a coke while he's there. Or his contact person might visit his school to give a targeted talk.

Hugo will however have the edge over Sally, whose non graduate parents worked their butts off in order that she might attend a very minor independent school in the sticks. She will leave with practically no useful contacts at all, and won't benefit from outreach aimed at state schools either.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:45:23

My children are at a comp/ secondary modern . I teach and am always on education threads here.

BoffinMum Sat 15-Jun-13 20:47:08

I've got two in a comp at the moment, btw. Eldest went private (boarding).

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 20:49:18

But you are a teacher.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 20:50:54

... with a strange catchment. I mean you have comps and SM/GSs in your catchment?

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:51:58

So I am quite likely to be supportive of education and unlikely to be overly laid back, and yet most of my children are not at the grammar.

Although to be honest by MN standards I am positively horizontal so maybe I do prove your point.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:53:50

We are on the edge of a grammar school area, so some children go the grammar but not all who could. So we are a comprehensive by name but we do lose some children to the grammar - interestingly rarely the brightest. But I guess if there was no grammar we would be even more comprehensive,

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 20:54:32

Hugo might also have a god parent who's vice chancellor at his first choice; another on the board of trustees at his second and a father who's remembered and takes pupils from his third wink. But that would be the case whatever type of school Hugo went to. It also helps if Hugo is terrifically bright. My very own xanthe isn't and will have none of those choices because entry is on merit.

DH went from the local comp and from the local comp moved onto those connections. Admittedly upward social mobility is harder than it was 35 years ago and that is wrong.

They aren't called hugo and xanthe btw but you get the message.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:59:26

My stepson is a Wayne, he has had an Oxbridge offer despite the fact that his parents come from council estates, we are probably the most common people on the road and he did not go the grammar .

My second son, lets called him Kyle, is on his way to getting top A level results at the grammar and would I imagine have his pick of universities. I will admit that he goes sailing, as does DSS and fencing so he does mix with a few posh types , but they have not given him a golden ticket .

Daughter two, lets call her Waynetta about to sit GCSEs , again not at the grammar. Again she knows posh types from horsey events but no golden ticket

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 21:00:22

Ok, 'rarely the brightest' go into the grammar. In other words, GSs aren't siphoning off the brightest thus leaving a bunch of low achievers to populatr the SMs . So what's your problem with selectives then?

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 21:01:16

And your point is ?

Bonsoir Sat 15-Jun-13 21:04:05

"Internationally, teacher assessment of pupils works for most countries. Our externally moderated exam system is anomalous globally, expensive, and pretty ineffective."

Hmm. I live in a country (France) where teacher assessment is extremely important (more so than it appears to most outsiders) and I disagree that it works. On the contrary, it creates all sorts of codes, networks and secret dealings - and hence unfairness.

Bonsoir Sat 15-Jun-13 21:08:14

marriedinwhite - "Hugo might also have a god parent who's vice chancellor at his first choice; another on the board of trustees at his second and a father who's remembered and takes pupils from his third."

Yes. In fact, my nephew is called Hugo and the close friends that his parents and aunts and uncles have currently working at Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, HEC and Essec alone are in the dozens. Not sure that they know anyone at a a boat club, however grin

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 21:08:34

We live on the edge of the grammar system, it is very different in the centre of the grammar catchment. Failing secondary moderns left right and centre, it is also a very socially divided place.

The grammars are also packed with children who went to prep schools, my son has never bought a friend home who comes from a good working class background like us. The free school dinner rate shows that grammars around here are about saving the middle classes from paying school fees rather than providing bright poor kids with a leg up. I might have more time for them if that was the case.

Even on the edge of the grammar school catchment my youngest daughter was bullied because she was not tutored and did not apply for the grammar.

I also see first hand that children of all abilities can be educated in the same building and it works, so why the need for segregation? If a bog standard teacher like me in a bog standard school like mine can manage it, I see no need for grammars .

This is a point that may only be the case in our area, but our local grammar schools are also know for providing a very dull, chalk and talk overly spoonfed form if education. I don't want that for my children.

I have also seen my own son being left to struggle in those subjects he is not as strong in, because he is not going to earn the grammar yet another A*, so they literally do not seem to care. He has attended revision sessions at my school because his own grammar were not interested in him.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 21:08:49

As some wise poster said upthread, threads like this inevitably turn into the battle of anecdotes. Everyone has a friend, sibling, DP who was brought up in a sink estate and non selective and went onto academic and professional greatness. Makes you wonder why others keep going on about the top uni places and jobs going to kids from selectives eh?

And why do these people always have several postgrad degrees. The only people I know that have two are uni academics. If you have three post grad degrees then aren't you a bit over qualified for a secondary school teacher?

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 21:11:20

Can I just say that I have not gone on to any kind of greatness? As i said bog standard teacher in bog standard school. Where have I said that I have several post grad degrees. I watch toomuch crap on TV and spend too much time on here to manage that.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 21:19:16

Arisbottle. What do you say to your set 5 y10 to keep their sprits up. I presume these would be D/E kids what careers do your advise them to take up. Do you tell them it will be difficult for them or do you try to be positive with them.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 21:24:14

Most of my set five students will go off to do apprenticeships and I say to them that as well as the fact that my subject is interesting this is their chance to show commitment and hard work , skills employers look for. There are a few in there who will get grade Cs and that will make a huge difference to their future post sixteen options and I make sure they know that.

Mainly I am just nice to them , students generally work hard if you are nice to them.

EvilTwins Sat 15-Jun-13 21:34:04

I teach in a grammar area. My school is not, in my view, a secondary modern. There are 5 grammars in a huge area and really, a very small proportion of children get in. The only co-ed grammar of the lot is hugely competitive and friends with DCs at independent preps and primaries happily admit that they will try for this school before continuing with private schooling.

I don't believe that the children I teach suffer from low expectations in school. Over half of my yr 11s have made at least 5 levels of progress in my subject. BUT very few of our 6th formers take up the university places they are offered. We encourage them to apply, they get offers, then get cold feet and don't go. The low expectations are coming from home, in these cases, not school. The "university is not for the likes of us" attitude. It makes me sad.

pointythings Sat 15-Jun-13 21:35:01

DD1's school streams - each year group has 8 classes, they are grouped by ability. DD is in the top one, which is a mix of L5 and L6 children. The most disruptive child in her class is off the scale bright in maths, hitting high L7s regularly. He is also a complete pain in the arse who hides other people's stuff, throws their pencils and pens on the floor, kicks them in the back when sitting behind them, pulls hair - you get the idea. There are several other children in the class who are also very bright but disruptive, high ability =|= good behaviour.

I have to say they do have high expectations of their top groups though, but then their intake is one of stark divides between very MC and very deprived.

BoffinMum is right in everything she says about the way school should be. In addition I am very unlikely to believe anything Gove and Wilshaw say, just because they are Gove and Wilshaw - evidence-free operators who use dodgy surveys to back up a point but ignore experts trained in education (these including teachers). I am also very unconvinced that Gove has anything but his future career at heart, plus of course handing the entire state education sector over to the private sector by stealth. A survey using a small sample of state schools is not evidence, and using SATs as the benchmark for failure is downright stupid as children are coached stupid for them.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 21:37:16

Do you feel more attached to them than to say kids in set1 or 2 because for the most part they are doing their best . When you say apprenticeships do you mean work placement on Further Education College Courses or full time Apprenticeships. Do you found it difficult to get business to take 16 yr olds on.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 21:44:08

We have businesses phoning us to offer us placements, the school has a good reputation locally, particularly for turning out well behaved and hard working young people , so we are often their first port of call.

My set 5 is quite small, about 12 students so it is easy to get attached to them that maybe you don't with set one. But students in set one work very hard too.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 21:47:42

Eviltwins. It is very sad that your kids only see the negative and not the positive within University Education. they probably focus on the cost ra ther than what it can do for them not just in Education but in terms of delveoping them as people,are they aware that the way, paying back the fees work although expensive it should not be prohibitive.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 21:50:18

rather and developing typos SORRY.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 21:50:38

Arisbottle I agree, most of DS2s friends are lower set or have problems at school, they've all been dismissed by the school as 'no marks', but they've all stayed here many times and they're really lovely decent kids.

I applaud you for taking time to encourage yours, our school can't be arsed, its heartbreaking.

Crikey, this is not at all what ds (now in Year 9) has experienced.

He attended a good primary school, but was left to coast in middle sets when he was capable of more.

He then went to our local, huge, state comp. At this school children are continually assessed during Year 7 and then at the end of Year 7 he was streamed into set 1s and 2s (where 1 is top and 6 is bottom)

He is now coming to the end of Year 9 and so far has found his secondary school interesting and challenging, is really enjoying it and doing well.

EvilTwins Sat 15-Jun-13 21:54:46

It's very sad. I blame the media (cliche) but honestly, it pisses me off. The excitement in their faces when they get offers from the universities they want to go to is great. Then something happens, and they decide they can't go. One boy is predicted A grades in his A Levels, wants ultimately to join the police force, has a place at university to study Forensic Science. Is going to work in Argos. Another, fantastic student- House Captain, fabulous with mentoring younger students, plays football to county level. Has offers from universities to study Business Management. Has accepted a job at junior level in a local insurance company. I could go on...

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 22:11:51

It has to be family pressure that talks them out of going to University. If family members keep saying "I NEVER WENT TO UNIVERSITY AND IT DID ME NO HARM" or "HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LIVE WITHOUT A FULL TIME JOB" "DO YOU THINK YOU WILL WALK STRAIGHT IN TO A JOB". These are just a few things they probably hear from friends and family a like.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 22:16:58

and fear of enormous debt beatback

pointythings Sat 15-Jun-13 22:28:48

I think the high fees are a deterrent. For my part, I don't trust this government, or any future government, not to 1) raise fees further, or 2) change the repayment terms. In fact this has already been mooted - one of the things this government said when raising fees was 'but we'll also raise the earnings threshold for repayment'. Now they're talking about bringing it back down again. Is it any wonder young people don't want to take the risk?

I'm going to encourage my DDs to study abroad - there are many very well regarded universities in countries where fees are much lower and where the courses are taught in English.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 15-Jun-13 22:32:51

I didn't go to university - as I have said upthread I wasn't regarded as university material. I desperately want our dC to go though and they have been told they should go from birth.

beatback Sat 15-Jun-13 22:33:11

Jellkat. Yes it is a big debt but affordable. The way kids have got to think of at as a Insurance Policy that they will only start paying for when they can. Or a extra form of N.I, if they can forget the actual amount owed and think is it worth £15-£20 a week maximum pay back . They could see a reason to go.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 22:37:23

Arisbottle - I was referring to people in 'threads like this' as opposed to you specifically.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 22:40:13

Sorry, I was confused , maybe because I don't have several postgraduate qualifications.

I am not sure there is such a thing as over qualified for teaching though , although there are other professions which tend to be better qualified.

Arisbottle Sat 15-Jun-13 22:42:12

To answer your point we bank on about it because I know that most people from my background don't get to go to university, especially not a top one. I have had two work twice as hard as as most of the people around me to get to the same place.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sat 15-Jun-13 22:58:41

Apologies if it sounded as if I was mocking people who overcame economic and social adversity. I was simply trying to make the point that we all have such anecdotes but this doesnt invalidate the comments of those who would criticize non selectives.

Jellykat Sat 15-Jun-13 22:59:30

beatback i know, luckily DS1 completed uni the year before fees were raised, although we were shocked to discover interest started on his loans from the month he started the course.
We ignore it, but i can imagine most people would be put off by so much debt.

The other problem is once completed, paid internships are impossible to find, so unless the family can financially support post grad for a while, you're buggered in that direction too.

curlew Sat 15-Jun-13 23:05:01

Eviltwins-of course the change their minds- as soon as the realisation of the amount of debt they will end up with sinks in....

amazingmumof6 Sun 16-Jun-13 05:43:42

marking space

Xenia Sun 16-Jun-13 08:26:21

We chose paid selective schools as I earn enough to pay fees.
Apparently state schools do SATs (most private schools do not and none of my children did them) and chilren are coached above their level so the SATs results may not be the best indicator so not surprising some of those coached at primary beyond an inch of their life so not do that well in GCSEs. It is a bit like coaching a child to get into a selective school at 11. If you coach (we didn't) then you might get in despite not really being able to keep up with the standard.

On university debt es they are talking about reducing the income level down to I think £18k form £23k earnings before you start to repay it. They change the rules all the time. I paid the fees of my children and that of course nowadays is a risk because if they never earn over those levels they would not have had to pay any back but I am still glad that I did and it shows why it is worth women having high paid careers rather than just following their dream to paint stones or whatever might float their boat. If you pick a sensible career as a woman you can ensure your children graduate debt free.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 16-Jun-13 08:33:35

In a episode of The Big Bang Theory the gang noticed that Harold would take any conversation and steer it towards the fact that he had been up in space.

Well, I'm getting the same feeling about Xenia and how women should aim at earning loads. For the time being I am deeming it to be 'funny'.

SprinkleLiberally Sun 16-Jun-13 08:38:36

So most people on the thread tend to disagree with the report. I think most schools do try to stretch all pupils these days. I do think that low level disruption makes this hard sometimes though, and there can be apathy amongst many pupils, even though good qualifications have never been more important.

EvilTwins Sun 16-Jun-13 09:12:58

It will be interesting to see how reports like this one change when national curriculum levels are dropped. At least, at the moment, secondary schools have some kind if measure, albeit sometimes unreliable, of a child's previous attainment. If a child comes to my school with L2 in KS2 (unusual but not unheard of) then their GCSE targets are Ds. Once the NC levels are gone, will it be assumed that all are capable of "top" grades, or will secondary schools have to waste time on baseline testing in Yr 7?

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 16-Jun-13 09:18:38

Sprinkle - The fact that not all secondary schools have low aspirations does not by default mean that most schools try to stretch their children.

The MNetters posting to this thread aren't necessarily a representative sample of the population. I mean, if you was an apathetic teacher then would you be spending your free time on a forum discussing education issues? Of course you wouldn't. So the anecdotes from the teachers about how their charges are challenged and motivated should not be taken as typical of secondary schools.

It's a bit like having a forum about second holiday homes and concluding that most of MNetters are rich based on that forum.

SprinkleLiberally Sun 16-Jun-13 09:21:49

I suppose I am saying that compared to maybe 30 years ago, schools are more accountable for the progress of each and every pupil. As a result, more schools attempt to challenge pupils.

EvilTwins Sun 16-Jun-13 10:59:04

Habba - I find that quite insulting. The vast majority if my colleagues are committed to doing their absolute best for our students and those who don't pull their weight are being dealt with by SLT. I don't imagine they all waste their time on MN, though... To conclude that the teachers on these threads are not typical of secondary school teachers is quite an assertion!

JuliaScurr Sun 16-Jun-13 11:01:09

you know this thing about mixed ability v streaming?
if they get Level 5 in mixed ability primary class Y6, how comes mixed ability Y7+ stops them getting top grades?

Arisbottle Sun 16-Jun-13 11:01:51

I suspect my colleagues work harder than me, most teachers on MN work harder than me. In fact if I posted less on here I would get more done. So perhaps MN is the home of lazy procrastinating teachers. ( that is aimed at me, not anyone else)

Talkinpeace Sun 16-Jun-13 11:10:49

Mumzy wrote
How I'd improve comps:Everyone attends the same school, have proper streaming for academic subjects. Smaller classes (20 pupils) for lower ability. Technical subjects to be taught ,such as catering, plumbing, car mechanics, construction, hairdressing ( there will always be demand for good hairdressers), as well as academic ones.

Whoops. Comps already do all that .....

And why the bias against big schools?
Eton has 1300 pupils and it does not seem to cause a problem.

In a big school -over 1500 - there are economies of scale : pastoral support, facilities, numbers of specialised teachers
AND when the children are split into sets the ability bands within each set are narrower so children get taught at a rate appropriate for them.

pickledsiblings Sun 16-Jun-13 12:18:38

Talkinpeace, your DH may well see over a 100 comps a year but I'm sure he doesn't get to spend much time in them. It took me 6 weeks of full-time working at our local 'highly regarded' comp to see what it was really like - needless to say, none of my children will be going there.

On one occasion when the whole of Y11 were assembled just prior to an exam there was a palpable 'tension' in the air with all the big male teachers drafted in like bouncers, 'afraid' to say anything to the equally big Y11's who were knocking back their 2 litre bottles of coke. I'm not sure what this says about the school and the state of education today BUT it definitely says something.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Jun-13 12:35:58

"How I'd improve comps:Everyone attends the same school, have proper streaming for academic subjects. Smaller classes (20 pupils) for lower ability. Technical subjects to be taught ,such as catering, plumbing, car mechanics, construction, hairdressing ( there will always be demand for good hairdressers), as well as academic ones."

What about those that don't want to do catering, plumbing, car mechanics, construction, hairdressing?

Arisbottle Sun 16-Jun-13 12:47:29

If they didn't want to study those subjects they would not choose them. IME when a child chooses a vocational subject it is precisely because it is something they want to do.

Talkinpeace Sun 16-Jun-13 12:49:13

interestingly because he goes to so many schools - and because he's not an inspector they are not putting on a 'front' for him - he sees things like that a LOT.
He was at a school that had just been praised in the national press and it took him literally minutes to realise it was a disaster waiting to happen : the odure interacted with the ventilation device only a few weeks later.
There is an 'energy' in schools ..... Inspectors are unlikely to ever see it because of who they are.

beatback Sun 16-Jun-13 13:25:57

Catering has to be the worst industry in the world, ok if you are a student needing money to see you though. If you are not the next jamie oliver it has to be the worst career ever. Has anyone seen the report in the Sunday Times this morning about poor white kids with the worst achievement. P.S "NEVER ADVISE ANY KID IN TO CATERING"

LeBFG Sun 16-Jun-13 14:24:28

You've clearly never worked in an abattoir...or in farming beatback. I think people can be awfully judgemental when it comes to 'applied' careers - you know, ones where you have to use your hands. I've never understood this. These implicit and explicit messages given to children about applied professions lead to pupils disregarding what could actually be very appropriate career choices for some.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Jun-13 15:13:48


I would say that most choose a vocational subject because they want to but some do not.

In mumzy's senario I suspect that non academic pupils will be forced to take vocational subjects.

pickledsiblings Sun 16-Jun-13 15:56:31

talkinpeace, saying that schools have an 'energy' is a kind way of putting it. I am not a delicate flower by any means and I have felt frightened by that energy a number of times. It is like something is simmering just under the surface about to erupt. The Head of the school that I am talking about is supposed to be 'inspirational' and he really knows how to talk the talk but there is such huge resentment for him at the school by pupils other than those in the top sets.

This school is in Suffolk which is struggling by comparison with other counties. It has its fair share of dedicated excellent teachers and any number of fabulous extra curricular things going on. What it doesn't have is a rigorous system for dealing with poor discipline.

Talkinpeace Sun 16-Jun-13 16:51:42

Ah but some have a really good energy
there is one that DH has been to a few times in the midlands and he just loves it - the buzz in the corridors of happy engaged kids is phenomenal

but yes, I wish Ofsted stopped worrying about the shape of hedges and REALLY got their teeth into bullying, class control, teacher CPD and mentoring as THAT would help the weaker schools get stronger

beatback Sun 16-Jun-13 18:22:15

Lebfg. My background is Catering,and all my family and extended family are either in Catering or nursing so i am quite aware about vocational careers. If you want to work Christmas Day Boxing Day New Years Eve for below average pay even if management then catering is for you if you do not want to then stay away from Catering.

Talkinpeace Sun 16-Jun-13 18:26:35

lebfg / beatback
One of my clients digs holes. That is his skill. He can barely read or write but he loves digging - in the rain, in sewage, he does not care.
And because he's good - working around pipes and weird stuff
he makes best part of £30k a year
digging holes
he has not got a single paper qualification except his driving licence

He's making his kids be good enough at maths and reading that they have more options ....

I was so saddened and shocked when I was teaching year 4 children and was chatting to one of the 9 year-old girls in the class. She was talking about what she wanted to do after leaving school and how her sister worked in a travel agent's and got good deals on holidays. I said something like "You never know, when you are older you might decide you'd like to go to university." (She was a bright child). She looked at me absolutely horrified and said "I'm not going there miss; that's for them posh people!"

beatback Sun 16-Jun-13 18:58:22

Talkinpeace. I would never denigrate someone digging holes or building roads because some of my friends familys made "MILLIONS OF POUNDS" building roads or sewage works though they made sure their kids went to good Schools and Universities. Coming over from Ireland in the 60s they built up fantastic business,and some of them are now among some of the "RICHEST" people in the country. My best friend who im not going to name is one of the best "BUSINESS WOMAN" in the north west 15 years ago she was living in a caravan now she gives lectures and talks all over the country and is always winning awards her bussiness is based on using your hands her business turns over 10 million a year and employs 100 people which is a fantastic achievement from a caravan in 15 years so i would never denigrate anyone using their hands for labour.

lljkk Sun 16-Jun-13 19:05:15

After I got a PhD I had a job that involved a huge amount of lugging heavy equipment, driving and digging (physical geography).

blameitontheboogies Sun 16-Jun-13 21:06:02

It's true in our family.. Our elder two dc were well taught at primary level and then revised that same work in yr 7 while everyone else from the other feeder schools caught up and generally expectations re handwriting, homework ( the odd poster or similar ) and work in general were very very low. The teachers were always pleased with them , as they were more worried about the lower achieving dc in the school. Meanwhile dc became very bored and were quite happy to see themselves at the same level as their friends.. Ie did not by this point even want to stand out as clever.

Went to state sixth form college and excelled there in the end , but not after a few resist of GCSE and AS .

blameitontheboogies Sun 16-Jun-13 21:07:16

Sorry, not until after a fair few resits of GCSE and AS that should read

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 16-Jun-13 22:33:01

EvilTwins - there are several active threads about teachers failing someones DC, one of a teacher bullying a DC, one asking advice on how to complain about the HM etc etc so please can the moral outrage.

Your colleagues are not the whole education system. All you are able to say is that all the teachers you know are committed to the job. If all teachers were similarly committed then why are so many reports scathing about education standards in this country? There is a limit to how much blame you can lay at the feet of Gove and his friends.

EvilTwins Sun 16-Jun-13 22:55:43

Obviously there are good and bad teachers just like there are good and bad employees in every job. I find it galling, though that stories of bad teachers are accepted (by you, Habba whilst stories of good teachers are pooh-poohed as not representative. You have popped up on a few education threads recently and seem to be determined to stir up trouble. I don't get it. What's your problem?

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 16-Jun-13 23:00:22

I don't agree with you therefore I am trying to stir up trouble????????/

EvilTwins Sun 16-Jun-13 23:06:10

I just find your contributions to threads like this a but pointless. You don't seem to have much knowledge, understanding or experience of the education system and you rarely make a reasoned argument. Why bother? This thread is a discussion about a specific issue. You haven't really contributed and, yes, your comments smack of deliberately trying to stir. Your only point seems to be to claim that committed teachers who don't allow clever children to under-achieve are not typical. However, the only evidence you offer is that there are other threads on MN about DC having a poor time at school. It's not the most convicting argument.

EvilTwins Sun 16-Jun-13 23:06:38


HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 16-Jun-13 23:28:27

The OP is quoting Ofsted as saying that there is a culture of low expectations in UK non selectives. Whenever there is a thread about sink schools parents posts about problems with their teachers. There are currently various active threads about bad teachers.

I support those views and that makes me someone who is trying to stir up trouble on this thread??? I find it seriously worrying that someone as aggressive as you is actually a teacher.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 07:29:40

Do you? Ah well, I can live with that.

warwick1 Mon 17-Jun-13 09:46:43

This is a discussion site habba and certainly is open to all to give their views, it isn't a teachers only site. Your opinions are as relevant as any one else's. Most will agree that bullies have no place in education or on this site.

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 09:55:13

Who the heck put you in charge eviltwins?

Telling people that they offer nothing to the debate! You make yourself ridiculous.

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 17-Jun-13 15:42:36

Thanks peeps.

I'm still struggling to understand how agreeing with an official report on a thread started by MNHQ is me stirring things up but hey ho, sticks and stones....

But back to the OP....

Mumzy Mon 17-Jun-13 16:40:13

This is the end result of comps failing able students: leading universities being asked to make offers to state school pupils with lower grades who potentially could have achieved better results had they had more input from their schools.
So now the universities have to put on the remedial teaching and potentially damage their academic standing in the international league tables by having to accept lower calibre students.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 17:39:22

Oh dear. The point I was trying to make is that Habba has turned up on the thread, said that the comments of those who disagree with the report are not representative of state schools, given not evidence, trashed other people's views as anecdotal, then used the fact that there are other threads on MN about DCs having a poor time at school as hard evidence that there are crap schools and teachers out there. Yes, she's entitled to an opinion, but hell, so am I.

It would be nice to take part in a discussion with people who evidence/ experience to back up their views, and don't resort to predictable "gosh, I find it hard to believe you're a teacher..." tactics. It's an overused trump card that's not available to anyone else.

Habba first appeared on this thread to say that the committed teachers who were comment

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 17:40:28

Hit send too soon... The committed teachers who were commenting on the thread were hardly representative. I pointed out that this is somewhat insulting. Which it is.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 17:41:28

And yet mumzy, two separate reports published today say that stare school children do better at university than their independently educated peers.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 17:54:47

Can't link as am on phone, but it was in the Observer.

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 17:56:07

Evil all Habba did was point out that MN is not representative of the nation. I think we all know that to be true don't we?

And I think she's right. A thread like this of course will attract committed teachers in the state sector. No one's going to be arsed to come on and declare themselves a bit rubbish are they?

And yet common sense dictates there are rubbish teachers!

Yet by saying that she attracted your ire. You said she had no business being on the thread. You tried to shut down debate.

It was this that caused her questioning your capabilities as a teacher!

Yoy are entitled to your opinion. No one has said otherwise. Certainly not Habba. The only person telling anyone they have nothing to contribute is you!

pointythings Mon 17-Jun-13 17:58:57

The fact that there are threads on MN complaining about teachers isn't necessarily a proportional reflection of the general awfulness of teachers. People are more likely to speak out when they are unhappy than when they are content or particularly pleased. For every 'Oh my DC's teacher is so awful' thread there are likely to be multiple 'my DC is very happy with their teacher' threads existing in potentia but not materialising on MN, because people just don't tend to go on a forum like this to tell the world everything is just fine.

Think about it - how many times have you gone on MN to say you've had great customer service somewhere? The complainers tend to be far quicker to speak out, so what you see on MN is unlikely to be a fair representation of people's opinions of their teachers.

pointythings Mon 17-Jun-13 18:00:45

And yes, of course there are poor teachers and schools around. There always have been. In the past these have not been tackled because there were low-skilled jobs for people to go to. Now that is no longer the case, and so these schools are held to account, which is good.

I have my doubts as to whether Gove and Wilshaw are the people to do it, though.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:02:40

There is no link between MN and teachers. Habba has no idea whether the views expressed here are typical or not. I don't believe there is much point joining a debate without evidence or experience with which to justify your opinions. This isn't a WWYD or an AIBU, it's asking for reasoned opinions about something pretty important. Maybe that's just the teacher in me though. wink

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 18:05:15

As for the Observer, I think earler this year they reported that 88% of state schooled grads achieved a 2:1 or better. Wheras 85% of independently schooled grads did.

That said, the Observer also went on to point out that this academic superiority didn't translate in the job market where 74% of independently educated grads went on to either professional/high status positions compared to 58% of state schooled grads.

The starting salaries were not comparable either, with a 3k difference between the sectors.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:08:20

The Observer didn't create the report, they just reported it. There were two separate reports, both from universities.

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 18:10:12

Who said the Observer created the report?

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:11:57

Sorry- my misunderstanding. This is new data though, not based on the report from earlier in the year.

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 18:13:11

I think most of the problems with teachers lie in the fact that they are being asked to do too damn much!

The teachers that I come across as a governor, are being asked to meet unrealistic targets in a school already struggling with huge social issues.

Plus there is the issue of it being very difficult to get rid of crap teachers, an issue that their colleagues find every bit as galling as the governors, parents and pupils!

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 18:14:08

The report earlier in the year was from Bristol University.

That said, I'm sure the current data will be similar.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:21:43

The new ones are Cardiff & Oxford Brookes. It doesn't go into the specifics if graduate employment and salary, but yes, I imagine you are right, and this possibly ties back in with the OP- did the previous report site anything as reasons for the later success of independently educated students?

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 18:28:56

The report cited soft skills, networking etc...but what also sprung to my mind was the rise of the unpaid internship!

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:33:51

I wondered if it might be that sort of thing- more likely that an independently educated graduate would have the contacts or the financial cushion to be able to explore those avenues.

Talkinpeace Mon 17-Jun-13 18:36:22

I'd be interested to know how they define private school and state school kids.
Round here, because the 6th form colleges are rather good, lots and lots of kids go to private till 16 and then to state for A's - a few go the other way

but all of those reports miss the big point that because private schools are by definition selective, higher proportions of their kids will make it to A levels and beyond than state school kids

Xenia Mon 17-Jun-13 18:36:33

I suppose it proves you are right to pay school fees if you can afford it as the university results are about the same (and 50% of those at the best universities come from the 8% of children at fee paying schools) and even later the privately educated earn more for a huge range of reasons.

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 18:55:06

Though xenia it may be that the best thing one can do for one's DC is to be rich!

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 19:06:22

I think that if you are privately educated your family is almost certain to have a higher than average income. Your children will probably have a very high standard of living and will want to maintain that lifestyle into their own adulthood. Therefore they are likely to choose a high paying career .

My own children are state educated and although I am a teacher they are unlikely to choose teaching as a career because they have been raised with a lifestyle that a teaching career alone could never afford . They will choose high paid careers, not because of the education sector they come from but because of the lifestyle they want and already have.

However if your children are state educated, it is more likely that you have a lower income and therefore your children may be satisfied with less financially . This reflects on their home life , not their education.

Many teachers are also not particularly money motivated, they probably could earn more doing something different . I know I am a controversial figure in school for reminding students of the importance of looking at how much a job pays when choosing a career. Many of my colleagues stress vocations, making a difference , job satisfaction etc. Therefore if money is not a big thing in school or at home , again certain students are less likely to pick high paying careers, I suspect this is more of an issue in state schools again .

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 19:21:13

So Aris, do you think that state school students are less likely to be motivated by money and therefore less likely to consider university? Or that they are less likely to have an understanding of money?

I grew up in a house with two teachers, both of whom had grown up in houses without much spare cash. As a consequence, both my parents were careful with money, and I didn't really get a sense of ever being "short" of cash. I now teach and earn about 3 times less than DH, who grew up in a house with a father who was very motivated by money (off the point, but I remember being mortified when my parents met the in-laws and FIL asked my DF about how much he earned).

My students are put off university by the thought of debt, but can't see the long-term financial gains, despite the programmes put in place in school and the information given to them at student finance talks. Do you think that independently educated students are less worried about such things? Or that money has never been an issue at home so they are not used to taking it into consideration?

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 17-Jun-13 19:24:42

Evil - if you was a PhD in Education or a member of an education policy think tank or the author of some definitive book on the subject then I can understand your shut the feck up about something I clearly know more about than you put downs. But correct me if I am wrong but you teach drama at a comp/SM. That hardly raises you to the the level of She Who Cannot be Challenged. And why do you get to slag off people several levels above your pay grade and me a mere parent can't challenge your comments?

As for my so-called trouble stirring remarks, if you was some lazy apathetic teacher then you most likely wouldn't be hanging out on a forum about education. So of course all the teachers that post here will be the committed types and of course their views may not representative of all teachers.

So all that you can say is that of the teachers that you know, all are committed professionals.

I mentioned the negative threads about teachers only to make the point that it is naive of you to adopt the attitude that bad teachers are few and far inbetween.

And since when did teachers become a revered profession. We ate allowed to discus and criticize priests, cops, soldiers, doctors but OMG did Habba just criticize teachers? Shock! Horror!.

pointythings Mon 17-Jun-13 19:26:07

wordfactory you are so right about teachers being asked to do too many things.

arisbottle I totally agree with you re private schools - and let's not forget that apart from having a pool of parents who are clearly committed to their child's education (and so will push/support them in the home), offering small classes, extra activities and so on, these schools are also able to 'manage out' children who will drag down their scores. They can set their own rules about who they accept for A-levels and don't have the same restrictions placed on them in terms of dealing with disruptive pupils that the state sector has.

Lastly, I think there are more important things than money. just as arisbottle has said. I'd like my DDs to have jobs they enjoy, which pay them a wage that leave them materially comfortable, but I also want them to have a life. There's a balance to be struck, and each of us has to find what that balance is for us.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 19:27:38

How do you know I don't have a PhD?

Slagging me off because I teach drama in a comp isn't very kind, is it?

Especially given your poor grasp of grammar.

<<gives as good as she gets and runs off to put the kids to bed>>

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 19:29:32

And Habba, really? I can't slag off Michael Gove because he earns more than me? gringrin

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 19:36:02

evil I think DC who have wealthy parents (which will include most who pay for private school) don't think long and hard about the cost.

Either their parents will pay, or they will take a loan feeling fairly confident of paying it off.

Or, more usually, a mixture of the two.

Why do they choose the courses they do and then the careers they do? I suspect there willbe all manner of reasons, but I'm certain one of them is simply that it seems emminently doable. Their parents do them. Their friends' parents do them. They know these people aren't super human...ergo why shouldn't they be able to do them?

Their schools also support them in considering these sorts of careers. The teachers know what they're about, what will be needed etc pupils receive the right advice.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 19:36:44

I think that if you come from a lower to middle income family your idea of a comfortable life tends to be different than if you come from a family that earns in excess of, say 150k a year . That number was picked randomly but I was thinking that two senior leaders in a school could earn 100k between them and I am thinking of families who earn far in excess of what most education professionals could .

I suspect most of us pick a career wanting to be financially comfortable . That idea of comfort is usually similar to what we have at home or a bit better, unless we grew up in dire poverty.

So if you come from a family that spent 50k a year on school fees you will factor that into your job search and will look for a job that gives you 50k spare income to spend in fees.

If course it does not always work that way, sometimes being very poor makes you want to be very rich . DH and I are very much driven by a fear of poverty and so we both chose high earning careers first time round.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 19:37:14

Evil I am thinking more of final career options rather than university .

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 19:38:39

Aris I can't speak for other families but I know that I am very open with my DC about what things cost and what jobs pay.

So my DC know that if they want to replicate their current lifestyle, or something akin to it, they will need a well paying job!

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 19:41:18

I am much more open with my DCs about money than my parents were with me. I think confidence with dealing with personal finances is very important.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 19:43:32

I think most parents are quite open about salaries , as far as our knowledge will allow. However I don't think teachers are as open about salaries and I don't think they always acknowledge the importance of a salary, perhaps because that is not the prime motivator for them.

I once said that I would like to get paid as much as possible for doing as little as possible and some members of staff didn't speak to me for a long time.

In a similar manner I get shouted down if I say I went into teaching for the holidays and pension . Vocations are all well and good but they don't pay the bills.

wonderingagain Mon 17-Jun-13 19:44:02

I object strongly to the term 'bright' being used to describe some academically advantaged children. It implies that some children are born genetically more intelligent and recent research has shown that this is extremely rare, that it is a child's upbringing and schooling that determines their academic outcome.

Parents need to understand that at some stage in their lives, their children will coast and have to accept it. If their child is ahead of the others that's great, but it doesn't mean anything terrible will happen if they have a break.

It's about time those children without academic help from home (what term do we use to describe them, the Stupid children?) get decent help in the form of homework clubs and smaller class sizes.

Inequality and segregation are rife in our system, let's deal with that first.

Using the term bright is divisive and

wordfactory Mon 17-Jun-13 19:44:35

It is evil.

I think I'm also honest about the downsides of careers that pay a lot too. That may might require long hours etc (although to be fair lots of badly paid jobs require that these days)...

Same with the creative industries. I try to point out that the rewards can be high both in terms of hard cash and dream fulfillment...but there is little stability and not everyone can thrive on that.

You can only state the facts and then leave it up to them.

wonderingagain Mon 17-Jun-13 19:45:25

* delete last line

Bonsoir Mon 17-Jun-13 21:21:59

wonderingagain - there are huge genetic differences in intelligence among the privileged population at my DD's school. Why would that not be true across the population as a whole?

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 17-Jun-13 21:27:24

Evil - me pointing out that you are a drama teacher is me slagging you off???

I was simply making the point that you are quite an arrogant person in the way you dismiss other people's opinions, not just mine, and in the way you decide who should be allowed to contribute to this thread. I just expected the person at the other end of all this arrogance to someone other than a secondary school drama teacher.

As for the grammar flame, that is so feeble. If you can't refute the other person's argument then flame her grammar instead eh?

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 17-Jun-13 21:30:00

No need to jump in MNHQ.I'm done smile

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 21:37:44

"Evil - if you was a PhD in Education or a member of an education policy think tank or the author of some definitive book on the subject then I can understand your shut the feck up about something I clearly know more about than you put downs. But correct me if I am wrong but you teach drama at a comp/SM."

" I just expected the person at the other end of all this arrogance to someone other than a secondary school drama teacher."

It's quite clear, Habba, that you have low opinions of secondary school drama teachers. Given that you know very little about me, including my level of education and publishing history, I don't think you're in a position to criticise me. For all you know, I may well have a PhD, and may have published a number of books on the lowly subject of secondary school drama.

I am quite able to come up with counter-arguments to yours, by the way - for a start, I don't believe that Gove and Wilshaw deserve automatic respect simply because they are higher up the financial pecking order than me. You, apparently do:
"And why do you get to slag off people several levels above your pay grade"
I prefer to look at their constant ill-considered announcements, which, in a number of cases, are contradictory, then use my own knowledge, understanding and experience of the education system as both a teacher and a parent to formulate and justify my opinions. If that's "arrogant" then so be it.

beatback Mon 17-Jun-13 22:13:06

Why does it always come down to someone"s "GRAMMAR OR SPELLING" on these threads. It is just bullying people who have not been as fourtunate as somepeople who have benefitted from good Educations, it seams the first thing the "PROFESSIONALS" use is someone"s poor spelling or grammar to demean them i have suffered from this on previous posts it is just bullying and pathetic.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 22:21:18

But insulting someone based on their career is ok is it? The "excuse me but last time I checked you were just a drama teacher and therefore not worthy of note" attitude is, what? Acceptable? Not bullying?

warwick1 Mon 17-Jun-13 22:27:17

I am sorry you feel as if you have to leave the thread*habba*, the bullies have won yet again it seems. I am disappointed that MNHQ doesn't appear to be able to deal with them

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 22:30:53

I would hardly say that hubba has been bullied , he/she has clearly revelled in the "debate "

Talkinpeace Mon 17-Jun-13 22:35:32

More to the point
the self selecting cohort of posters on these threads can never ever be deemed representative of either parents, teachers or in my case accountants!

Therefore we will never reach true conclusions, just chew the fat a bit more and hopefully learn a little.

beatback Mon 17-Jun-13 22:39:32

I am sure that if Evil/Arisbottle had been teaching me 26 years ago i would not have left Education without any paper Qualifactions. I can see that both of you are succesful and commited teachers to your pupils. I just wish you would not be looking for ways to attack as a way of defending your own postions.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 22:40:22

Where have I attacked anyone?

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 22:42:56

Surely the point is that we shouldn't need to defend ourselves? Hardly an education thread goes by without at least one poster throwing "if that's what you think / how you react, then I can't believe you're allowed to teach" into the ring.

beatback Mon 17-Jun-13 22:45:08

I was talking in General not individually.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 22:47:45

Beatback you named the two of us. grin

I am not interested in defending myself on here. Experience tells me that if you think teachers are mediocre, lazy , overpaid and out of touch any bleating from me will not change your mind .

beatback Mon 17-Jun-13 22:52:00

NO i said i could see that you were 2 succesful teachers who were commited to their pupils and my experience of Education would have had a different outcome if i had the luck to be taught by either of you.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 22:54:08

You then said I wish YOU would stop looking to attack.

I don't really care but it is what you said

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 22:54:25

smile Thanks Beatback.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 22:55:08

But thanks for the compliment . grin

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 22:55:43

<conveniently ignoring the fact that I agree with Aris, but then I did defend by attack...>

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 22:56:30

I really am not that great of a teacher , as I said a bog standard teacher in a bog standard school. Most of my colleagues are hard working and guide students to success .

beatback Mon 17-Jun-13 22:57:52

I am sorry it"s my lack of clarity. I have no problems with Teachers though i was a bit of the "CLASS CLOWN" at School.

beatback Mon 17-Jun-13 23:05:28

ARIS. You really should not keep denigrating yourself, just listening to your opinion"s show you really care for your students and the fact you came out of high flying career to put something back is laudable.

Arisbottle Mon 17-Jun-13 23:08:24

I am not really denigrating myself , I do a good job as do most of my colleagues . To be fair I left a high flying position mainly to have more time with my family. Being able to put something back is a nice bonus though.

wonderingagain Mon 17-Jun-13 23:51:04

Bonsoir, this study indicates that genes account for only 2-3 percent of heritable intelligence.

Ir's a no-brainer


Jinlon Tue 18-Jun-13 01:16:30

Moved to London from Cheshire and my daughter who was at a Grammar School got her 4th choice High School. The London academy school was exactly as described in the article by Ofsted. Her motivation and grades dropped dramatically. Teachers and pupils had such low expectations.Must have been bad if the 15 year old year 11's understood this themselves and were frustrated. I pulled my daughter out and home tutored her for the last 4 months before GCSEs because the school was so poor.You would think the teachers would be happy to have bright motivated pupils but it seems the teachers seem as downtrodden as the pupils. Such a shame that the system is letting so many children down.

Bonsoir Tue 18-Jun-13 07:36:29

That article does not make the claim you say.

wordfactory Tue 18-Jun-13 08:15:07

Trying to shut down argument through derogatory comments on spelling and grammar is low.

There are posterson MN with LDs. There are posters for who English is not their first langauge. There are posters who had a very poor education. There are posters with low IQ.

All are welcome! All have somehting to give to a debate!

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 18-Jun-13 08:16:00

Warwick1 - Still here smile I didn't want to derail this thread with personal stuff but since in my absence Evil is still dishing out the personal stuff....

Evil - You are so determined to be the victim. I wasn't denigrating your position as a drama teacher . I was merely pointing out that it is supremely arrogant of you to be so dismissive of people's opinions on education policy.

I have spent twenty years in the system, as a pupil, 6th Former, undergrad and post grad. Today I have two DCs who have gone thru primary and then selective secondary. I know that I am not a drama teacher but I like to think that I have something to contribute to a thread about education.

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 18-Jun-13 10:03:40

I just had a chance to catch up with what you posted Evil.

I did not say that your opinion was not worthy of note because you are just a drama teacher. I was making the point that my opinion is just as valid as yours given that you aren't some education think tank academic for example.

As for being tired of people regularly chucking in the comment that they are shock that someone like you is a teacher, perhaps its time to heed the words as opposed to seeing it as ignorant peope intent on teacher bashing

warwick1 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:09:12

Pleased you have continued on this thread habba. I have followed the discussion with interest, it has been in the main informative and constructive so it's always a shame that, as on so many threads, some posters attempt to shut down alternative arguments by accusing other posters of being determined to stir up trouble and or asking whats your problem. Trying to embarrass posters by pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes is beyond the pale, particularly as most are obviously typos or auto spelling mistakes

Most teachers that I know, as most teachers on this site, accept that there are problems in education that need solving, that there are some poor quality teachers, because they work with them, and that there are many poor schools because they work in them. Parents and students are equally aware. As with all professions, teachers are not above criticism and shouldn't expect to be.

Most listen to counter arguments politely and reply equally politely.

Most do not take the general comments made by posters, personally.

Many believe that Gove and DFE haven't got it all wrong, although it is a brave person who posts such an opinion on MN as I have seen on other threads.

All should be able to express views on MN without being subjected to personal attacks. Maybe then those with alternative views would feel less intimidated and be able to contribute freely and honestly.

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 18-Jun-13 11:29:46

Thanks Warwick. I have backed out of a number of education threads recently, not because I felt bullied or intimidated, but because it quickly became evident that it was an anti-Gove or anti selectives bitching session and non-believers were not welcome.

Bit pointless having a debate where accusations of being a Gove apologist is chucked at anyone who doesn't think that the man is a 100% 'incompetent twat', followed by the comment that one should leave the arguments (and the thread) to those who are qualified to debate the issues.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke, all that is necessary for posters like Evil to trumph is that posters like us do nothing. So, to the barricades grin

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 18-Jun-13 11:56:52

But getting back to the OP...

There are obviously schools where expectations are low but there also schools where the expectations are average rather than low. IMO this is equally a problem.

At our selective the expectation is that you will get A*s and you will go onto Oxbridge and from there a highly successful career. Obviously some will go on to become 'average' but the driving expectation is that you will aim high.

I am not going to claim that they are representative of their profession but many teachers here on MN make it clear that the above puts too much pressure on kids and that kids should be made to feel that getting a manual job is just as worthy as getting a well paid office job for example. And that getting a GCSE 'D' in Maths/English is something that they should be happy with.

Various studies have shown that there is a disproportionate number of selective kids taking up coveted uni places and jobs. You have to wonder how much of that is down to bias on the part of unis and employers, and how much is down to parents and teachers telling kids that it's ok to be average.

pickledsiblings Tue 18-Jun-13 12:44:58

Habba, to be fair, coming on to threads and referring to a certain poster as HRH (another education thread, not this one) is pretty antagonistic and not likely to win you any friends. So whilst others are busy leaping to your defense, I feel that you are being a bit disingenuous in coming over all virtuous.

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 18-Jun-13 14:05:25

What have I got to say about this OP got to do with what I said in another OP? Feel free to give me grief in the other thread.

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 18-Jun-13 14:13:11

As for me being "all virtuous" where do I go - oh woe is little ole me, getting bullied by nasty posters"?

As for me bring antagonistic, maybe, but at the risk of sounding juvenile, Evil started it grin

EvilTwins Tue 18-Jun-13 16:34:42


EvilTwins Tue 18-Jun-13 17:20:13

To answer your points though, Habba

You say that teachers are saying
"that kids should be made to feel that getting a manual job is just as worthy as getting a well paid office job for example. And that getting a GCSE 'D' in Maths/English is something that they should be happy with."

Well, if one of my students comes to my school with a Level 2 in KS2 Maths/English (and yes, it does happen) and wants to be a builder, then comes out with GCSE grade Ds and gets a job on a building site, then yes, that is something they should be happy with. They have still made exceptional progress whilst at secondary school.

"Various studies have shown that there is a disproportionate number of selective kids taking up coveted uni places and jobs"
This is certainly true, but as this thread has covered, there is far more to it than low expectations at school. In the 6th form at my school, the student who is likely to get the highest grades (As across the board) hasn't even applied - simply not interested, despite the efforts of teachers. His parents don't think it's a good idea (believe me - I spoke to them) because of financial concerns and the fact that it's "not for people like us". He has a job for next year - in Argos.