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To say primary dc are more clever now

(60 Posts)
BrandNewAndImproved Sat 07-Nov-15 00:18:34

My dc absolutely amaze me with the math they know, grammar they use and general knowledge.

I can't remember knowing any of this and I was considered bright at primary. End sats results were two 4s and a 5. The schools were aiming for 4s when I was in year 6 but my dd (not a stealth boast) was level 4 in most things and a 5 in English in year 4.

Or maybe the schools are ten times better then what they were.

Maybe all the testing and inspections has made schools be better instead of coasting.

manicinsomniac Sat 07-Nov-15 00:22:34

Not more clever, I don't think. Just pushed to know more at an earlier age. Which isn't necessarily a good thing.

usual Sat 07-Nov-15 00:25:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReallyTired Sat 07-Nov-15 00:29:33

Not clever - different.

Excessive anxiety has robbed many children of the opportunity to develop independence. Children have less opportunities for creativeness, play and sport.

WorraLiberty Sat 07-Nov-15 00:29:31

I think people in general are more knowledgeable now due to having the internet at our fingertips.

When I was a kid, if I wanted to know the answer to something instantly, I would either have to rely on a very outdated encyclopaedia, or trust my parent's answer (difficult due to the amount of old wives tales my mum believed in).

SATS results are no indication though, of a child's potential.

Shebangsthedrumsshedoes Sat 07-Nov-15 00:29:38


Children cannot be more intelligent now. It is possible that they are better educated but I would disagree.

Caprinihahahaha Sat 07-Nov-15 00:29:57

I doubt it.

Salmotrutta Sat 07-Nov-15 00:30:59


I disagree OP.

I teach Secondary and I remember what I (and my cohort) knew coming up from primary school; current pupils are nowhere near that.

Pipestheghost Sat 07-Nov-15 00:34:55

I disagree, all kids are learning is how to do well in tests. They don't have any depth to their learning and creative or critical thinking is actively discouraged.

iago Sat 07-Nov-15 00:37:57

Brandnew, When you sat your SATs, two 4s and a 5 would have indicated a bright pupil, just as in my day (60s) A level results of an A and a couple of Bs would open doors for a good university place.
Grade inflation (in all key stages) has made schools appear much better over the years.
When I taught in secondary school, we dreaded the artificially elevated level 4 pupils who seemed to go backwards after a term with us.
New GCSE standards will 'prove' that secondary schools are doing an appalling job and must become academies.
I remember when the National Strategy was rolled out, English secondary teachers were lectured about how much better primary teachers were. A few years later it was reported how crap primary teachers were.
After 35 years I couldn't take any more of the rubbish and retired.

DisappointedOne Sat 07-Nov-15 00:42:03

And it doesn't translate later on either. 40 years ago an 18 year old with an A level in English, music etc would be expected to have a pretty wide knowledge of classical works. That no longer happens and degree courses have had to be rewritten to address that in year 1. There's no breadth to the knowledge anymore, and in the case of maths, basic understanding of number is weak, and in English, grammar and spelling are now "optional". It's a travesty.

angelcake20 Sat 07-Nov-15 00:43:25

They're taught so much more than I was. As I could already read, I spent pretty much the whole of my time at infant school playing and in the juniors we largely did maths and topic work. Nobody mentioned science or grammar until secondary, let alone anything resembling geography or RS, and our written work was just stories and poems. However both my sewing and music were far better than my DCs'. I'm also a very different parent, which I think is typical. I was never encouraged in any of my interests, or even in my parents', and my (highly educated) parents never talked to us about anything. Whereas we encourage our DCs in any area they have shown an interest in, try to educate them about art, music, history etc and talk to them about current affairs etc.

Pipbin Sat 07-Nov-15 00:44:21

Not more clever, I don't think. Just pushed to know more at an earlier age. Which isn't necessarily a good thing

Exactly this.
They have been robbed of their imagination and individuality by the push of testing.

They know all the technicalities of writing but none of the soul.

CrohnicallyAspie Sat 07-Nov-15 07:54:54

I'm amazed that you can even remember your SATs results! It wasn't such a big deal back then, we just sat them and that was it. No practice or angst over 'this is what I need to do to be a level 4'.

PS schools don't 'do' levels any more so it's a moot point.

chrome100 Sat 07-Nov-15 08:01:20

I remember doing naff all work in primary school (80s and 90s). We had 35 kids in our class and just did workbooks which were dull. I remember finishing my maths book and just not telling the teacher because I didn't want to do another.

Secondary, however, was very rigorous. It's unpopular, but I do think exams have been dumbed down. I see what the curriculum is and the expectations are and they are both beneath what was expected of me in the late 90s.

Even when I was doing my A Levels, we did past papers to practice on, and they were far harder than ours. So dumbing down had already begun.

In short, far more is expected of our young children than in past years, but far less of older ones.

Ricardian Sat 07-Nov-15 08:08:46

Children cannot be more intelligent now.

Why not? The various possible explanations for the Flynn effect wouldn't exclude it.

MsColouring Sat 07-Nov-15 08:09:38

'I disagree, all kids are learning is how to do well in tests. They don't have any depth to their learning and creative or critical thinking is actively discouraged.'

Yes. Children are taught to do well in tests - unfortunately this is what schools are judged by. Not sure why you think creativity and critical thinking are discouraged.

Ricardian Sat 07-Nov-15 08:09:53

just as in my day (60s) A level results of an A and a couple of Bs would open doors for a good university place.

You could get into good universities with BCC in the 1980s. I doubt it was harder in the sixties. Given norm referencing, ABB would be relatively unusual.

TheWoodenSpoonOfMischief Sat 07-Nov-15 08:12:00

I think they know more too. I'm amazed at some of the stuff my yr6 child knows. His mental arithmetic is so good. Algebra and probability? I didn't learn that til secondary.

I agree with pipbin though. They don't use creativity enough. My ds wants more free writing. He loves to write stories but even their writing has to meet targets so they're always thinking about how to use imaginative descriptions or include a subordinate clause instead of just going with a flow and a stream of imagination.
I also think they aren't encouraged to be independent enough. I remember at school when my teacher would say 'we re doing a topic on Africa. You can choose any country in Africa. Go to the library, find out about it and do a poster to share with the class'
A similar thing was done with Space. You would just pick out something that really interested you.

Now everything seems prescriptive, target driven and stifling creativity and independence.

lenorface Sat 07-Nov-15 08:14:40

i was reading that they may be academically more able but lack the basics, like how to handle emotions and other physical abilities. i thought the article was quite sad really will try to remember where i read it!

RaspberryOverload Sat 07-Nov-15 08:25:28

From the experience of my own DCs and their friends, I wouldn't say they are more able.

Just that they are being taught to the tests, and that when they get to secondary the first year is largely spent at the same level as they actually learn stuff at the level they supposedly achieved in the SATs.

In many respects children are better educated, but doesn't equate to being more intelligent.

For example, my maternal grandad was a very intelligent person, but was poorly educated (this was during the 1900s/early 1910s). He was even forced to take a year off school "to give his brain a rest" (as he was told) as of course working class boys couldn't possibly be good enough for university... hmm

He ended up as a carpenter.

ArmchairTraveller Sat 07-Nov-15 08:43:44

Not more intelligent, what they are being taught has changed.
So yes, the majority of primary children know more maths, have better literacy skills and understand the use of IT far more than the children I taught in the early 80s.
What have many lost?
Fine motor skills, resillience in learning, failing and having another attempt, independent conflict resolution, general knowledge that is retained rather than googling every time, learning stamina.
And yes, creativity and imagination that means they want to learn more. The breadth has gone in many areas.

insan1tyscartching Sat 07-Nov-15 08:49:33

I think they know more of what's needed to pass a test but they don't know the sort of general knowledge that we were taught. I read many more books for enjoyment aided and abetted by the school. There were topics that sparked interest and pushed us to explore further and we were encouraged to push as far as we were able I think more than aiming for the average. I think we were encouraged more to be independent learners than they are nowadays. So wouldn't say that children know more these days more that they know well in specific areas rather than having a broad based knowledge.

redgoldandgreen Sat 07-Nov-15 09:13:17

Knowledge doesn't equal intelligence. Unfortunately I think they have been coached for tests, lost time to play and be a child as a result and the curriculum has become narrower.

Do you really think that knowing more facts = cleverer?

BrandNewAndImproved Sat 07-Nov-15 09:14:48

I would argue the creativity point.

Only one school in a million but my dcs school has an art teacher. They are always doing an art project that ties in with their topic that term and their art is amazing. My dd made an awesome air balloon last year for their around the world topic and as well as that they do different sort of art like photography and using the lighting to achieve different effects.

I really don't think the dc are being pushed for exams without any learning. Their school does loads of extras like photography, many sports, language clubs, astronomy, extra art club, drama, book club.

I remember being bored all the time in primary. I used to watch the clock going slower and slower everyday. My dc actually have fun in school.

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