Is an A Grade Gcse from a State School a better than an A* from a private School(128 Posts)
In the wake of the reported fact that 32% of pupils from Independent Schools achieved at least 1 A* at Gcse and only 8% from State Schools and now doubt, a large amount of the A* Grade"s from State schools were from Grammar Schools. If someone from a bog standard Comprehensive achieved 2As at Gcse, is that a better achievement than 4A* from a highly selective Independent School
I know these types of discussions are bound to come back to Grammar schools rights/wrongs, or about family finances or parents previous Educational background. I just want to see if people agree that an A from a normal Comprehensive requires a far greater effort than an A* from an a highly selective Independent School.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
From a really troubled comp where they have huge difficulties in attracting decent staff, massive behaviour problems even in top sets, scarcely proper top sets because all the brightest or better behaved children are elsewhere, poor facilities, etc etc: yes.
From a leafy comp in the suburbs where they have hundreds of applications for each teaching post, huge levels of parental engagement, exactly the same type of kids as in your private or grammar school: absolutely not.
From a 'bog standard' comp with a range of abilities, backgrounds and a mix of some good and some not so great staff: still probably not.
Do all three of these types of school exist? Yes, and everything in between too.
the selectiveness will confuse things - what makes those schools selective is in part that those children would have got an A* anywhere. So it's not just the fact that they are at a particular school, but the fact that they made it through a selection process.
so you'd have to compare a child who would have been able to go to a selective school, but who is at a normal comprehensive, with those who are at the selective school, if you want to see if an A at the comprehensive requires more effort than the A* at the selective.
Can you link to that report OP? Is it really true that 68% of privately educated kids don't even manage 1 A* GCSE? If that is the case why aren't the parents clammering to get their fees back - that's an appalling statistic!
Yes, there is good teaching and well targetted exam technique practice at all schools.
Reasonable state schools get a reasonable number of A and A*.
There are however, 3 huge differences that make more A* likely at private school.
1) *Staff recruitment/retention, a leafy private school is an appealing place to work and you get fee reductions for your own DCs. Round here the private schools are in nice towns to live in or near.
2) Parents are going to be supportive of school and HW and well educated themselves. This tends to apply to state school top sets too, but certain subjects, especially MFL and perhaps Englit., have an easier time if parents went to private/grammar school and can help their DCs.
3) Private school teachers have way more time and energy for pushing the brightest the less time they spend on pastrol care/behaviour management and shoving DCs over the C-D boundry.
Also some private school DCs are tutored, or have other help. DF sent her DS to a French family for a week, to practice his French. I don't know any state school parents who do that sort of thing.
* In reality private schools can be horrible, advantage taking, unpleasent employers, I know two private school teachers who got really pissed off with the home work balance caused by all the sport etc. DFs childless female dept. head was vile, after she had her DS she moved to a state school and is a totally different and much nicer relaxed person
Titchy. The report about the statistic of 32% of private School pupils achieveing at least 1A* is on the BBC News website, under Education and Family. The report states that within the 32% who achieved that the average achievement was 2 A* at Gcse, it also states that only 8% of State Educated pupils achieved 1 A* but went on to say that the most well known Independent Schools, like North London Collegiate scored 97.94% at A or A*. This report shows that even highly sought after super selective Grammar Schools can not even get close to those statistics.
" I just want to see if people agree that an A from a normal Comprehensive requires a far greater effort than an A* from an a highly selective Independent School."
I can not agree with the above statement. Firstly, if the purpose of the exams is to gain a place further education then no distinguishes will be made, the A* will out.
I presume you assert the argument because you feel the student in a Comprehensive has experienced a longer and more challenging educational career? If so, I'd like to point out that sadly many kids suffer, negligence, lack of carers, isolation etc no matter what background.
One of benefits, in my opinion, would be the attitude of 'if you get knocked down, pick yourself up & get on.' Kids work hard to get great results ( A & A*) , irrespective of background, so I wouldn't wish to diminish their hard work.
In terms of effort, maybe. In terms of exam passing ability, no, the A* is better. In terms of actual education, hard to say.
Maybe things will change with the terminal exams and no more coursework, "controlled" assessments and endless resits giving less chance for independent schools to ensure their students get that high grade. Throw in after school tutoring and the A* is yours!
I feel that getting an A* in a comprehensive school is a much greater achievement than in a selective/independent school.
Many of the classes in comprehensive schools will have children who go on to get A*, C or F being taught together - a much more difficult job for the teacher who will not have time to concentrate on the "harder" topics required to get that A*/A.
The selective schools select more able pupils. Comprehensives don't. The end results reflect this.
I think most comprehensives teach in sets actually leosdad so likely that top set at being taught A* to A topics, set 2 B to C etc so not sure that argument holds, except for schools with a large cohort of under achievers where top set may comprise 25 B/C kids, and one kid capable of more - but this would be rare - most comps have enough in their top sets though.
not the ones around here (DH is a teacher) and DD's school only sets for maths and has done so for many years.
I read the bbc report as saying 32% of GCSE entries from independent schools were graded A*, which is rather different from saying 32% pupils gain a single A* or more. It also squares better with the average result from a private school being 2A* and 7As.
It's virtually impossible to say if an A from a 'normal' (whatever that is) comprehensive is better worse or the same as an A* from an independent - there are too many variables.
Yep, the report is 32% of all entries sat from private schools achieved an A*.
That tallies with ds's (independent) school which is non-selective (academically) with a genuine range of ability which this year achieved 48% A and A*.
I don't know what percentage of private schools are academically selective and what are not (though I know the meaning of 'selective' can mean any one of a number of things, from a vague test of suitability to highly selective, so it's probably not a useful statistic).
I have DCs at at school in the BBC bottom 20 (oh the pride, oh the honour!) and DD has now moved on to a 'good' mid range comp for 6th form. What we see is this:
- staff at the poor school have lower expectations of students than at the good school. At the poor school the students are left very much to sink or swim.
- good staff at the poor school tend to be junior and are fighting against a tidal wave of indifference from more senior (time served) staff and managers
- staff turnover at the poor school is ridiculous. There is no consistency. Substitute teachers may not be subject appropriate. There is no handover as staff move on at very short notice. For some students this meant a loss of examinable coursework. Staff at the good school have a far lower level of turnover and the the turnover is managed.
- facilities at the good school are far and away better than at the poor school.
Unless you have experienced it, it is very difficult to explain just how unutterably crap a poor school is.
DD left this school with 3A*s and the rest As. She would have done better at a better school I am sure. Are the grades 'worth' more? I dont think so as you cant do better than an A*.
The tragedy is that the student from the poor school is more likely to struggle at the next stage (we are seeing this with DD). There is far less preparation for the next stage from the poor school than from the good school.
Well I teach at a 'good' secondary in the 6th poorest council ward in the country, in my top set out of 4 100% got A or A* in either ENG LANG or LIT. Nobody got below B in either. There were 36 children in the group. My friend works at the local (girls) indie, her group achieved similar results. There were 17 in the class. Out of my class 19 got double A*. I think they are far less likely to struggle at the next stage, they already learn independently. Clever hard working children will achieve.
My reading of the piece is the same as oxfordcomma's and ontheallotment's which essentially means 1 in 3 GCSE's from independent schools are given an A* grade.
But I would also strongly agree with worrysigh I went to a
not particularly good comp, looking back now the issues were mainly with the low expectations of staff, massive staff turn over and old "established" teachers having all the pull. If you had a good teacher, which made a lesson enjoyable, they were often gone within a year. I was a student expected and able to achieve straight A's at GCSE which I got pretty close to but with no little help from the school however, A levels were a whole different ball game, there were huge gaps in my basic knowledge and I had no proper study/revision skills and I totally bombed (much to mine and the schools surprise).
Is an A from comp worth the same as A* from independant at GCSE - honestly, I don't think so as a dedicated student can do it with very little help, but IMO there is a huge difference at A level where I believe universities make allowances.
Gotta correct you on this point, Leosdad. I don't think indies allow resits or January exams. My childrens' certainly don't. They don't do them a year early and then resit which is the fudge that state schools have been using and which will be abolished with the end of coursework. They don't do any modular exams at all. Sadly, with the formulaic, tick-box nature of GCSEs, the teaching of exam technique is very important and an indie with small and well disciplined classes may have the advantage. Add to this mix, indies prefer the IGCSE which seems to have more reliable marking and a more stimulating content (IMHO) and you have another edge.
I think that the apparent endless resitting depended very much on the school.
My DC's school sat only maths early. There was some intent to get the A grade students to resit to achieve A* but this came to nothing. Some students did resit but only with the intent of moving fail grades up to pass grades.
Again this was an example of monumental incompetence by the school management. An inadequate teacher was allowed to remain in post despite numerous complaints (including from me). This teacher was tasked with getting the students who had failed maths up to a pass grade. She had a huge breakdown in class and was removed. None of the resit students passed.
JammieMummy, I feel your pain at the lack of preparedness for A levels. Were you able to recover from the this or did your life take a different course?
Just to correct the notion that state school sets,my current school only sets in KS4 in English, Maths & science; the rest of us have large classes with targets ranging from A* - F. Every school I have worked in does the same
Thank you worrysigh I picked myself up dusted myself off and
via a slight detour got myself to where I wanted to be, (I am in a relatively elite profession, which gets undeserved bad press as only being for those from indie schools and the "old boys network"). However I was absolutely determined to get there and was asked about my poor non exsistant A Levels constantly.
We are very fortunate in that we are able to send DD and DS to indie schools and that is exactly what we are doing (having looked at all local schools and decided they were the best for individual personalities of the children). People on can say what they like about children's achievements being "down to parental input" etc but if the school doesn't teach the material then what can you do! Small cavet our main consideration in choosing a school was not final results, but of course it played a part.
Lots of state schools are moving to IGCSE's because they are a lot simpler and easier. GCSE English Lit is far more challenging than the IGCSE equivalent. They used to be the province of the indies because they didn't count for league tables but now they do they seem to be the resort of schools who are desperate. I would imagine the indies will soon be running back to GCSE's. We are considering IGCSE English for our C/D borderline because it is simple and straightforward.
Funnily enough I noticed in the local paper's report on A Level results that the local indie did not get one pupil into medicine but spoke about them being wait-listed, the local Special Measures Academy got 4, including one boy who had offers from 4 unis. He got all A* at A Level.
I don't think indies are full of amazing teachers who are too good for the state sector but it is much easier to get good results with smaller classes which are all of a similar literacy/numeracy level.
horse you are naive if you think indies don't allow resits, they are just done 'quietly', as an examiner for the past 20 years I can assure you of that!
I thought that schools were moving away from the 'monitored' gcse as they were too open to outside interference. The igcse method is simpler as it relies solely on an end of course exam and is therefore a truer measure of a students knowledge?
I work in a bog standard comp - many of ours get A*.
Personally, I think if a child is capable of an A*, they will get it anywhere - at GCSE anyhow. You get more in private schools probably because of the intake of children.
I would imagine it is the C/D borderline children for whom the nature of the school has a bigger impact.
I think that you can say with confidence that at whatever school the A* students will have worked equally hard. The difference is that the student from a poor school is likely to have worked more independently than the student from a good school.
In our experience the poor school is eager to ensure that as many of the C/D students get the higher grade as possible. However the B & above students and E & below students are left to their own devices as not being 'worth' (to the school) the effort to improve their grades.
As with all these state / private discussions, there isn't a clear boundary between thw two types of school. Some comprehensives in leafy areas will have cohorts of similar or better calibre than some non-selective independents.
The question has to be about progress - how many children at each level of ability at the beginning of secondary make it to As and A*s for GCSEs [I know this is anyway a gross generalisation because e.g. levels for art, history etc aren't available for the end of primary, beginning of secondary).
So for example if a child comes in at level 3 for Maths at the beginning of Year 7, and gets a C, that represents 4 levels of progress - extremely good for a child who clearly struggled at primary.
If a child comes in at a level 5, then the same 4 levels of progress would take them up to an A - and as to reach a 5 they would have made very good progress in primary, 4 levels in secondary is unlikely to be such an ask.
So if school A takes in children with level 4s at the end of Year 6, and gets them to As or A*s, then they have done fantastically well as the children have made well over expected progress.
If school B takes in children with level 5s at the end of Year 6 and they get As and A*s, that, though very good progress, is not as exceptional.
To see what schools are really doing with the children in their care, you really do have to dig down to 'progress by individual child'.
Could you explain what you mean about stopping early entries when coursework finishes? I can't see that it will make any difference, if a pupil starts a two year GCSE course at the beginning of Year 10. My state-school-educated ds has just achieved three A*s in maths, geography and history at the end of Year 10. OK, it's a good school in an affluent rural small town, but as far as I know most of the pupils who took the exams early achieved A*s. The intention never was to resit, but provide opportunities for bright pupils to do enrichment courses such as additional maths or doing an additional AS.
The main judgement of OFSTED for a school is based on 2 levels of progress from KS2-KS4 so a school with low headline figures say 40% A*-C can be outstanding because pupils exceeded expected progress. It all depends on the levels the pupils come in with. A school recently went from Outstanding to Requires Improvement even thought the headline figure was 80%+, but far too few pupils made expected progress. If a pupil who comes in on a 5b gets a B they have underachieved and the VA will show that.
A lot depends on the subject. Latin GCSE is academically harder than Business Studies and/or economics and more likely to be sat by private school pupils. Physics is harder than RS. You can't compare apples and oranges.
I don't accept the theory that a bright child will always do well whichever school they go to. Bright children have been let down time and again by a rubbish education. Nobody can persuade me that children in Knowsley, for example, are not as bright as their higher achieving counterparts in leafy Home Counties LEAs
I think the idea that Latin is harder is erroneous, it does however have higher status. We offer Latin as an after school activity and none of the pupils got less than a B and that was with an hours tuition a week. The majority got A*/A as these pupils did in the rest of their exams.
teacherwith2kids where the school is a community school with little alternative you can also look at the community it serves and its' results should, on average, present that community. A school with an average community will produce average results.
Why then do execrable schools like my DCs' exist? This is a town school with no real alternatives for the vast majority of the town population. Yet, even before the latest debacle, this school has been in special measures not once but twice in the six years I have been associated with the school.
I agree with JustGiveMeFiveMinutes in that students at these poor schools are being profoundly let down by their schools.
It is a disgrace.
A school needs to be resonsable for pupils who have achieved poor grades, if a pupil only achieves E/F grades they should be not allowed to leave school, the school should encourage the pupil or pupil"s to drop non essential subjects so that a pupil can concentrate on achieveing a decent English/Maths grade,.If a student is only achieving E/F grades the level must be quite poor, the pupil should not be allowed today to leave school,until the pupil has reached a standard that is higher than E/F grade"s.
I noticed that some people have said that A* students achieve these grades regardless of which school they attend. The real difference in standards and teaching is in A levels ,where students from selective Private/Grammar schools have an advantage over schools from normal Comprehensive schools.
I tend to agree with Just five minutes that pupils from inner city areas like Knowsley are at a disadvantaged, they stand out from many pupils within there school,for that reason i believe an A* is a greater achievement from an inner city area than from a prosperous town or county.
I have taught a child who, aged 9 and after 5 years at school with continuous 1:1 help and a bevy of specialised teachers / experts advising, could recognise the first letter of their name.
Are you saying that such children should not be allowed to leave school until they achieve above an E at GCSE?
For some children, given their starting points, Es are amazing, extraordinary achievements in which a child has overcome massive hurdles. For others, they represent relative failure. You HAVE to look at progress.
Teacherwith2kids. As someone who only achieved a grade E in Gcse English in 1989, i can understand how an E can be a great achievement for certain pupils, who like myself may suffer from ADHD or DYSPRAXIA.These pupils with help from qualified SENCO"S/ and new teaching methods/genuine care help and time can surely improve on E grades. With the current and future expectations of pupil"s, a higher standard of English/Maths is required for employment.
My daughter achieved a C in Textiles, E grades in science and maths, and an F grade in English last year
Those grades represent huge success for her (especially the Textiles grade because it involved a lot of written work)- and she won't ever be able to achieve much more than that because she has a learning disability, problems caused by foetal alcohol exposure and emotional/behavioural and mental health difficulites. She couldn't even spell her own name aged 10 for goodness sake
GCSE's are supposed to assess nearly all children including those with learning disabilities, serious emotional/behavioural issues and lots of other issues
That's why E, F and G grades exists and why those grades will be the highest some children will be able to achieve - and good for them
Progress and school performance has to be measured against the childrens progress, not the results on their own
There would have been no point getting my DD2 to resit the next year. She would probably have become upset and frustrated and felt bad struggling to do the same thing again with a very negative effect on her behaviour. If her mental health and anxiety issues stabilise more in the future and she wanted to do something requiring C grades THEN going to adult classes and resitting would be a good idea and I would support that
Hmm. Due to the nature and extent of the special needs involved, I suspect that by the time this child reached 16, with sufficient input (and probably attendance at a Special school later in their school career), then the reading of a simple book designed for beginner readers - an early ORT book, for example - might be possible. More than an E at GCSE - I'm less certain.
Oh and my daughters grades represent the sustained and amazing efforts of the staff at her school (an EBD special school) as well as my efforts, therapy from CAMHS and even a national specialist centre, medication, involvement from social work and so on
I find it difficult to see what more could have been put in for her in terms of school
What worries me is that so many children have serious issues but remain in unsuitable schools with poor support. They will simply get all U's if they actually are still in school and attend the exams
Lilka, absolutely. And saying 'oh, but they must retake until they get 'good grades' ' negates all the brilliant work such specialist schools put in to enable young people to get the best qualifications that they possibly can.
"Maybe things will change with the terminal exams and no more coursework, "controlled" assessments and endless resits"
Don't most public schools sit IGCSEs these days?
Meaning they're already on terminal exams and limited resits. So if modules, coursework find resits mean higher grades, then it s the GCSE schools (ie predominantly state schools) which will see a results dip.
Sitting exams at the end of a long period of teaching is a better test of how long someone retains knowledge but not necessarily a test of whether they have understood the knowledge on the way there. OP - if you are talking about A levels, unis reduce their offers to some candidates so an AAB offer may be reduced to ABB for example. I think the quality of teaching and teacher expectation is absolutely critical. Also some independent schools are not particularly selective and not that good either. In my area the grammar schools out perform the independent schools. People do tend to take up the offer of a grammar school place and only go to the independents if their DC's do not get into the grammar schools. It is not true that lower results mean the child has worked just as hard because you can never really evaluate what might have been achieved elsewhere. However, poor teaching will always result in lower grades, sadly, but this is not just a state school problem, believe me. My DD was greatly let down by poor teaching in Art at GCSE in an independent school. This has been turned round by great teaching at A level. I do think many teachers at selective schools have higher expectations and a critical factor is the value added score for the school. If this is really low, ie no added value but negative, the grades the pupils achieve will be lower than a school that adds value, independent or state.
Sorry , just meant to add independent schools definitely do not all do iGCSE! Also iGCSE has a much bigger marks range for B grade so boosts results. However, for maths the syllabus appeared to be greater, including some things my husband did at A level, but if you are good at maths it is good prep for A level.
It doesn't matter which school it came from an A* is just that. An A is an A wherever you studied it, surely.
In some ways, of course, yes: it says that according to the GCSE marking criteria, you achived the same standard in that exam as another person who got the same grade.
But (and it's a big but) if in your class everyone was being taught all the ways to get an A or A*, everyone being at the same level, lots of coaching and exam tips and tricks - and if you yourself were a native English speaker, plenty of time and opportunity to study at home - then that is slightly different from being in a class where only you were working at that level, where most other students were being taught to cross the C/D borderline or lower, where you entered England as a refugee 3 years before, are inadequately housed and have nowhere at home to get out a book and are sharing a room with all 5 of your family.
Of course, the grade is the same. What the question is is whether that grade represents quite the same thing under different circumstances.
morethanpotatoprints the A* student from a selective independent will have had to achieve a higher mark than the A student from the poorest comp. The question is how much is the A* selective indie student assisted to get this grade compared to the A grade poorest comp student?
Isnt it easier to achieve the highest grade if the student is directed towards the appropriate work with suitable support?
It is far harder to achieve the higher grades if the teaching is aimed at getting the C&D grade students to achieve a pass.
like wot teach said but so much better!
Isn't that just because an A* is higher grade than an A, irrespective of the school, or am I being a bit dumb?
Sorry have just read your post teacher I get it now.
I am so glad I don't have to think about school systems anymore
Think dd will do IGCSE's when its time.
I agree with Worry that if the teaching gets brought down to the lowest common denominator within the classroom,the bright kids who if pushed might be A/B kids will suffer and likely end up with C/B grade"s.
Schools that are struggling with Ofsted reports will see a magic C grade as more important to them the helping a bright "not very bright" pupil achieve an A/B grades. It has been previously stated that a very bright pupil will in most circumstances achieve A* grades. This is true even if the pupil is educated, in a ordinary Comprehensive School.
I love the fact that private / selective school parents seem to assume that all SEN is variants of dyslexia and ADHD.
There are kids in comps who have significant neurological / genetic damage - many will be sifted out to special schools by year 7 but some will remain in main stream.
The whole concept of GCSEs is irrelevant for them - and schools should never, ever be penalised for finding other routes for them (even if that means that the %age with 5 GCSEs drops)
Too many kids in selective and private schools are helped and pushed and tutored through exams and then have doors open to them that they are not really capable of passing through.
Look at the fragrant bunch of politicians as a fine example of people who have risen WAY above the level of their own competence.
But posh schools told them they were entitled.
Tbh, I think many people, wherever they send their own children, have NO IDEA of the range and variety of SEN that may present itself in mainstream schools - nor the range of home lives from which pupils may come.
That is why it is progress from starting point, progress FOR THAT CHILD, that matters, not some overall score for 'the school'.
'horse you are naive if you think indies don't allow resits, they are just done 'quietly', as an examiner for the past 20 years I can assure you of that!'
Not at my son's school. Unimpressed with one of his grades, an A, he wanted to resit. We would have to do it privately, taking time out of AS level work at school. Of course we won't do it, but the school would have made it very hard for us to do so.
Talk and teacher couldn't agree more
Unless you have a really profound disability it's HARD to get a statement of SEN and therefore get into a special school if needed. Some children who would seriously be so much better off in a special school can't get the statements
When my DD2 was 8/first months of being 9 and in mainstream school, her maths skills did not go past counting 1,2,3,4,5 (she forgot the numbers after that) and she refused to hold pencils let alone knowing any of the alphabet or being able to write. Forget other subjects. She was highly anxious, panicky, dissociated frequently and could get very aggressive and confused, all due to PTSD. Very few social skills, no boundaries and some other serious emotional and behavioural issues. I had to FIGHT to get a statement based on emotional/behavioural needs (forget anything based on academic problems).
Dyslexia etc pale in comparison to the issues she had
And that was in 2004/2005. Everything I've heard suggests that since then getting statements has only become harder and harder
And that's only covering disabilities, MS schools have plenty of students who suffer a terrible home life, or have to do a lot of caring for family etc. Things that seriously do impact on how well people do at school
Lilka. I am very upset and disapointed to hear of your problems that you suffered in getting the Statement, that your DD needed to help her with her learning. However it is great to know that even though i have said in a previous post, that pupils should not leave school with E Grades in English/Maths that your Daughter has achieved success with her results.
I am sure that with the time and guidence that your DDs teachers gave, enabled your DD to feel that she is capable of achieveing to her potential. I cant understand why the "POWERS" that be, are making attaining statements a more complicated and drawn out procedure, this is not in the best intrests of the pupil. If Micheal Gove really wants to improve the Education of all and not just the most academically capable, he must acknowledge that these statements should be acqiured in the quickest and most efficient way so that the pupil gets the help needed as quickly as possible.
some fantastic posts on here from lilka, talkin and teacher wth 2 specificalluy.
I read on MN recently that "any child can reach at least a C in GCSE maths and english if they are just taught properly"
bollocks! what matters is the progress each individual child makes.
My DD has just achieved 9 A*'s and 3 A's in her GCSE's and goes to our local comp I don't quite get what OP is saying , she also wasn't only one to achieve highly there were quite a few in her year some actually gaining all A*'s
I agree with all the comments about SEN - I have interactions (in a very round about way) with a lot of families whose children have SEN, of varying degrees and they are rarely catered for in any setting, we are only a few steps ahead of where we were in victorian times.
To those who say that we should look at the value added of the individual states schools, this is not infalible. I left primary school with a reading age of 16 years over the 6 week summer break I apparent "lost" 5 years and was catergorised as having an average reading age of 11. Yet (lo and behold) a mere 6 months later my school claimed to have increased my reading age to that of a 16 year old!! My mother was furious with this at the time, but there was nothing she could do. I don't know how value added is worked out but I would be wary of it given our experiences of state schools wanting to look better than they are! This may very well happen in indie schools but just highlighting my experiences. I agree witht he poster above who said about a refugee child in a state school, unfortunately there are too many students to look into each ones individual circumstances
There are a lot of people claiming that their children go to standard comps and get A*/A. If that really was the norm then we would have no market for private schools and the education system wouldnt be in the mess its in! These marks are not the norm.
My DS has just had his GCSE results. He is a late Aug birthday and not particularly academically minded. However we thought by putting him in a fairly academic school it would raise his game. He managed to scrap a pass into the school and we are really really pleased with his results. Do I think £30k boarding fees are worth it. Looking back - YES! I really dont think he would have got what he got at a standard comp. His school aimed all their pupils for A and A*'s. They had small tutor groups for boys struggling and teachers were always available should we need them. That is what I am paying for. That and the small class sizes.
I went to a terrible sec modern with no expectations for their pupils. I wouldnt wish that sort of education on anyone.
I 100% agree with others that we should offer other options to kids that arent academically minded. Although some scoff at plumbing and hairdressing they are great skills. I go into London to get my hair cut and pay nearly £100 for a cut and blow dry. Hairdressing is a fantastic skill to have. Ditto for a plumber.
I have a friend who has a son who has dyslexia, she doesnt want him labelled so is trying to get him into my DS's school who not in a million years would claim to be good with SEN. Apparently all the teachers are trained in SEN and they have no special help. I would run a mile from a school like this.
There are a lot of people claiming that their children go to standard comps and get A*/A. If that really was the norm then we would have no market for private schools and the education system wouldnt be in the mess its in! These marks are not the norm
Sorry but you are utterly wrong - rows of A and A* grades are perfectly normal for top sets of comps.
Look up the results of any of the Hampshire comps to see what I mean. Or the results of the 6th form colleges like Peter Symonds.
Not around here they are not.... If the comps in the state education system are so wonderful why the demand for grammar schools and for people that can afford it the privates. Of course they are fab state schools, they are also the bog standard schools which often people cannot choose to opt out of. Why do 50% of places at top uni's get taken by the privates who are what 6-7% of the school population.
No grammars round here.
And any school near a grammar school is NOT A COMP (see threads passim ad nauseam)
50% of uni places to private school kids ? Basis statistics - do the maths yourself. I've posted it before (ad nauseam)
Hand cream even Oxbridge have more than half their entrants from state schools! Proportionally more private kids go to uni of course but private schools select out middle and lower ability, comps don't. Look at uni entrants from private vs top stream of comp - bet there'd be no difference.
Comps when they exist in a town with no grammar, no private schools, academies or other selective options are true comps.
They have all children, regardless of their ability or background.
Our comp is like this, it takes children whose parents are dual income Drs, high grade civil servants, scientists, children of farmers, hairdressers, unemployed, disabled people, children in care, children with severe ASD, learning difficulties.
It sends many children each year to Oxbridge and Russell group universities on competitive courses and has been looked at by government as it has such a high rate of such entries. I am convinced this is because it is a true comp and it works because the waters are not muddied by other types of schools.
DCs school this year got 56% of all GCSE grades were A*, A or B
They got 40% EBACC
I think thats pretty cool : especially when some of the kids only did btec and college courses
My DD's new school is truly comprehensive as they use a fair banding lottery system for admissions that is city wide, and they achieved an amazing 91% A*-C including maths and English. And 78% achieved the EB. This proves comprehensive education can really work, and this is in a city with loads of independent schools too.
Unless the state school had serious problems, then no, an A is not equivalent to an A* from private.
At least not as far as universities are concerned. Nor employers as far as I'm aware.
DC in private schools generally work hard for their A*s the same as everyone else.
There is a slight bias towards terminal exams, though it's accepted that this is not in a pupil's choice. And a slight bias towards iGCSEs because they usually have stiffer grade boundaries. But these are not huge issues and some universities wouldn't care a kipper!
Marmite. Is your area Brighton in which case if it is that is a fantastic achievement from a Comprehensive from a city even though it might be in a leafy part of the city.
Talkinpeace. The results from Marmite"s Comprehensive that although very good have still not won me over to comprehensive Schools just yet!
Beatback - it is Bristol not Brighton. Yes these were amazing results - the school used to be private, but these were the results of the first fully comprehensive intake who started 5 years ago.
That most be "Colston"s Girls School Then Marmite.
Yes (but not sure if I'm supposed to say)
Nothing to stop you naming a school.
The only reason I tend not to name my DCs school - even though several people know which one it is - is that then they are identifiable.
If you have really bright kids and funds, private and selective will naturally beckon
(if family circumstances had been different I'd have taken up my scholarship to St Pauls after all and I have looked into moving one of my DCs to selective fee paying ... but I prefer holidays)
for the rest of us, comps have got to be the best way to get the most out of the most children.
I wish my DCs' school produced results to be proud of. I wish my DCs were proud of their school.
Sad to say, they arent.
The school is a disgrace. In and out of special measures like it is caught on the door handle. Last year's debacle has been brushed off with feeble excuses from the Head.
There isnt an excuse, this isnt an inner city comp surrounded by grammars and bursary offering indies. It is a town school. There is no competition. And this is some of its problem I believe. As parents we have no alternative. 'A bit crap' was already an acceptable standard within the school. Then it got worse.
Those of you who have access to even reasonable schools, be grateful.
Those of you who have access to even reasonable schools
bear in mind that I have to cross a county boundary every day to get what I wanted.
But your point is interesting - Academy status ; ie the lack of external day to day oversight ; is going to make situations like yours worse - and its not as if parents can stamp across town to the "other" school.
Worry - and that sums it up.
Reading some of these posts you would think that if a school was a true comp then NO ONE should be looking anywhere else. They get A*'s and pupils to the top unversities. Of course there are good state schools but I am not willing to take the risk of putting my children into a state school that ends up being in special measures, no expectations for their pupils, teachers dont care etc.
Wasnt a survey done a while ago (correct me if I am wrong someone!) where over 50% of people said they would go private if they could afford it. Why would that be?
But in my London, selective, private school, half of the year group had to retake our A levels as the school was suffering a meltdown and never let on to the parents how bad things were .... they just kept cashing the cheques.
Private schools get better results because they select, not because they are inherently better.
Some private schools get frankly shocking results and are only tolerated because the state schools are even worse ...
Do you mean that
- You would use a good state school BUT you would worry about one in Special measures [Perfectly reasonable position, definitely a situation in which you would want to dig beneath the surface to find out what is going on]
- You would not use any state school, because you feel that it would be a risk that ANY school could plunge into special measures and the teachers suddenly not care? [Which seems an unreasonable position to take - my DS's leafy comp has about the same chance of falling into SM as I have of winning the lottery [I don't buy tickets], for example]
(Should point out that of the many private schools in my town, only 1 - and that an internationally known brand - comes near DS's comp for results. All the others do significantly worse)
Handcream I work in a very comprehensive school. We get average grades but the top band still get A and A*s and go to university. The last A Level crop saw 5 go to Oxbridge and a further 6 go to Russel Groups. At least 30 others have gone off to university this year, with about ten following next year. Four have apprenticeships, two are doing accountancy with a local firm that are sponsoring them through a degree, one has joined the RAF and of the remaining four - two have jobs and two have gone travelling.
At GCSE level 72% got the magic 5 A-C inc maths and English. They are going off to do a majority of courses including A Levels and BTECs. Of the 28% without the magic number most will be going to college to study a variety of more practical courses - they will train to be mechanics, plumbers, builders, electricians etc. as will some of those who got the 5 A-Cs. These kids are not failures - but are made to feel like it by targets and interfering governments.
Look at other countries, Finland etc. and see how they run their education systems. No exams, no targets, no pressure - but all children leave with good literacy levels. They also have no private schools.
I would never send my child to private school. I can afford to. I work really hard to inspire and enthuse pupils I teach, giving them opportunities to become the people they want to be.
In answer to your statement that if a school was a true comp no one would look elsewhere - in actual fact the reverse is true (as it is in Finland). If no one went to selective or private schools all schools would be true comps ...
Academy status ; ie the lack of external day to day oversight ; is going to make situations like yours worse
Well guess what has happened?
The school has now been academied.
The Head is seldom seen (hopefully he has locked himself in his office to write his CV).
It is only at 6th form stage that we are able to access other schools as catchment doesnt then apply.
Whereabouts (roughly speaking) is your school?
North West. None grammar area.
People will pay to send their children to private schools even if state GCSE results are just as good. They like the longer days, nicer surroundings, and having their children mix with others from (what they perceive to be) naice families.
purply I think the Finland is sovery different from the UK, that it makes a comparrison untenable.
Historically, Finland have not had the divergence in social strata that the UK has/had. Economically, the majority of the population fell within a (fairly) narrow band.
The population were also (until very recently) fairly homogenous, particularly in their views of family life/child rearing/schooling.
Not suprisingly their education system is a reflection of their society. This is all changing BTW, but that's perhaps for another thread.
The UK is simply not like this. We have always been far more individualistic.
jenai I think that's true.
I think there are a million individual reasons why each family chooses their particular private school.
Results sometimes appear on that list, but so too could anything and everything else.
As I say, we are a very indivdualistic nation, each with our own views and values. This has always been seen as one of our great strenghths. And we have a tradition of being very accepting of the views and values of others.
Not suprising then that there is no one educational system upon which we all agree!
yy, there are lots of reasons why people will still pay - I'm a bit guilty of reverse snobbery sometimes so probably sounded a bit sniffy
No, I didn't think you sounded sniffy.
TBH there are parents who use independent schools to simply avoid what they perceive as the great unwashed.
I'm sure there are parents who use faith schools, grammar schools or the nice school in the next county for exactly the same reason ...
Arf @ nice school in the next county. I wouldn't dream of it
as the county boundary is only 200 yards from my house, I viewed it as looking at schools within a certain radius :-)
that, and my catchment one is beyond hope
Just interested as I'm in the NW, and attended a comp there.
I agree Wordfactory that the Finland example, often cited, isn't necessarily a fair comparison. Having spent a little time in Finland, it seems to me that it is very different to the UK, not least that it's very much smaller. I think the UK faces very different challenges to be honest.
I only used Finland as an example of a nation that does not test until 18. I think in this country we are too obsessed with competitive grading that we do our children a great disservice. In previous generations children have not been a failure for not passing a particular exam. My dad is not a failure for leaving school at 14 and working on a farm, eventually dealing with farm transportation and giving me a good life. A child that does that today should not feel a failure - they should be given the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to survive.
I just feel that some people write children off, not wanting their own DCs to mix with them. As I said earlier - if education was not selective then all schools would be true comprehensives. Children would still succeed and some would still not meet a benchmark put in place to do what ...?
I thought in Finland that they could leave school at 15, younger than UK, even. And there is a school certificate they get at that age, although it may not be exam based.
I just want to see if people agree that an A from a normal Comprehensive requires a far greater effort than an A* from an a highly selective Independent School.
I don't agree with that.
My daughter went to a bog standard comprehensive, is an August baby (just to add that for those who say that they are under achievers) and got 6A*, 5A and a B in her GCSE exams. She has now been accepted at an exceptionally good college to do A Levels.
Her class size was an average of 30, yes she was in the top set, but she worked hard to get those grades and had good supportive teachers.
It is the pupil and the teacher who help achieve the grades not where they are schooled
The critical ingredients for outstanding exam results are s clever and hardworking child, good teaching and a supportive family. DC at private schools have a greater probability of having all three.
Lijkk They have a choice at 15 to follow an academic or vocational path. This is compulsory. If they follow academic they will have exams at 18 before university.
That is similar to us but there is no label of 'failure' given. I have mopped up so many tears of children on results day who think their life options are limited - which of course they aren't.
Bonsoir of course children at private school have more chance of this because the parents are essentially paying for a service. There are, however, many supportive parents of children of all levels. I am sure there are many unsupportive parents at private school who have paid for the education so that they can absolve any responsibility.
I'm sure there are some purple but many? Not convinced.
Most parents I know who pay, keep a fairly tight handle on what's happening at school. Bad results, poor effort, unacceptable attitude are all communicated home pretty sharpish!
Not that many woud hand over six grand a term and think 'ah fuck it.'
TBH I think most parents in either sector are probably supportive.
That said, some support is more useful than others in terms of exam results. Thos educated themselves are more likely to be able to provide said useful advice, whatever sector their DC attend.
Really word? I think you would be surprised. Good friend works in a Private School that costs considerably more than £6k and tells me many parents have the attitude that it is the school's responsibility to get the grades for DCs that they have paid for. Not necessarily "fuck it" but ....
If private schools did such a universally good job, Mander Portman and Collingham and their ilk would not have been raking it in on a significant scale for many, many years http://www.mpw.co.uk/LondonRetakeALevel.aspx
most of the people I met when I was retaking had managed to keep all bad news away from their parents
and of those I can still find on things like linkedin, the crammer time has been erased from their CVs
you name the public school (day, boarding, girls boys mixed) they were represented at the crammers
No one has said private schools are universally good, have they?
Every school will have some pupils who fail to achieve their grades.
However, exrapolating from that that they fail in their droves and their parents are unsupportive is just wishful thinking/fantasy.
The reality is that most private schools give a very detailed breakdown of grades on their website. So it is very easy to see how many/few pupils fail or achieve low grades.
Plus, the school bongo drums beat very loudly. At DS school everyone knows which boy got very poor AS grades and are wondering what will happen next.
As is the case in most State schools.
Everybody knows who they expect to see on the list on awards day, and who has the buggins turn awards
and the second the SATS results start to slip, so do the numbers (where parents have the choice)
It is probably true that since my day (when 18/45 had to retake) the information technology will stop such disasters
but from what I can gather at the good 6th forms (not just my local one) the kids from private and state are pretty evenly matched in attainment in even the most academic of courses
I don't think word will ever agree that some pupils from state schools are equally clever.
And our results are broken down on website and in local newspaper.
that sort of data you mean?
Winchester is hardly representative of the entire country is it?
I did not say it was. PSC is where my DCs willl do 6th form so I have its web page bookmarked. My point is that both state and private schools are open about their results (when they are good!)
Your DC are extremely lucky Talkinpeace I'm sure you realise that though.
I started a thread about this last year.
I hope the figures are better this year.
How do you mean?
I live in the arse end of Southampton and my local school is a dump. Luckily Hampshire schools are non selective and the 6th form options for this area are : Peter Symonds, Barton Peverill, Tauntons, Totton, Southampton City, Brockenhurst, Eastleigh College, Alton College - each one specialises so that all school kids get their choices.
I analysed your stats from last year - it had a lot to do with the fact that many of the kids in those LEAs went to school in other LEAs and the results were by school location, not home location.
Your DC are lucky to be attending a 6th Form with such excellent results! I thought that was obvious.
Kids from all 5 LEAs travel outside their 'home' LEA to be educated? I'm sorry but that isn't my experience.
the Liverpool data clearly showed by the numbers of students that kids were crossing boundaries.
THe numbers of kids taking KS2 exams compared with GCSE 5 years later and then A level 2 years after that - so I tracked the same cohort
round here, Hampshire and Southampton are the LEAs and yes, there is tons and tons of cross border traffic - as is the case all over the country
I don't know what that proves. Sefton for example has a couple of large fe colleges and 6 th forms attached to schools. Why en was their Oxbridge /RG intake so low? All the kids I know who attend these colleges live within the boundaries of their LEA
poor careers advice most likely
I agree. It's a disgrace.
I dont think it is simply bad careers advice. In my DCs' school there is an absence of careers advice. The incredibly high staff turnover means that there is no 'spare' for any of the pastoral aspects of education.
There was an initiative to encourage students to consider higher education but this went by the way side as the school slipped further into the mire. Even this initiative was only aimed at getting students into the local lower league higher education establishments.
purple I have made no comment whatsoever on the relative academic abilities of state schooled DC versus private schooled DC.
Since so many DC swap between the sectors during their academic career, that would rather difficult!
It is you however who has tried to portray private school parents as unsupportive (based on gossip from your Very Good Friend) and it is talking who is trying to portray private schools as failing.
There are many things to criticise about independent education, but here you are both scraping the barrell.
wordfactory - historically, English parents who sent their DC to private school did not take a close interest in their DCs' education. Private school, and a fortiori public school and boarding school parents, outsourced their DCs education.
These days there is a significant first time buyer market in private education. That and the fact that standards in child rearing have undergone huge upward pressure in recent years means that parents have become a lot more interested and curious about what goes on at school. But I think that there are more "outsourcing" parents around than you might think!
Bonsoir I think historically parents in general were hands off regarding education .
But yes, I take your point, that boarding parents were like that. That said, boarders are now a small proportion of private school parents, and among those many DC are flexi/weekly boarders.
The majority are day pupils whose parents see them and are involved with them to the smae extent as state schooled pupils.
To be honest, on another thread you'd see posters swearing that all private school parents are pushy and overly involved. Make a change at least .
My family is historically the sort of family that only used private education. In my generation and in my DCs' generation the range of type of school is much broader - international schools, overseas schools, grammar schools and even comprehensives. It is interesting to observe first time users of state education - inevitably, they grossly overestimate how much school will do and fall short of the involvement that many parents with a family history of state school use think of as normal!
Actually word, my very good friend is a head teacher at a private school. I also said 'many' parents are unsupportive, not all. Please do not misquote me.
Bonsoir It is interesting to observe first time users of state education - inevitably, they grossly overestimate how much school will do and fall short of the involvement that many parents with a family history of state school use think of as normal!
Something I see as a long term state school user is that parents need to be involved far more than I think was necessary in times past. DH and I are far more involved in our DCs education than were our parents. We feel that this is necessary as the school is struggling to do much more than cover the syllabus and even that is not always achieved.
Exam question practice, exam technique, development beyond the basics required for the GCSE all seem to have to come from parents not the school.
I think it is difficult to determine whether a pupil from a bog standard comp achieving 2A's has a better achievement than a pupil achieving 4A* from a highly selective independent school. This is because highly selective independents and grammar schools have their pick of the very brightest pupils.
Although the report states that 32% of pupils educated at independent schools achieve at least 1A* that figure is an average of all pupils attending independent schools. Pupils attending highly selective schools are expected and do achieve more than 1A*. If you look at the results of schools such as Westminster, SPGS, CLGS, Henrietta Barnett for example you will see that their pupils consistently achieve at least 6A* and often much higher. Therefore it is arguable that those same students would do well even if they attended a bog standard comp but you will never know.
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