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To feel children today have a much more positive experience of school

(53 Posts)
callherwillow Sun 22-May-16 21:20:47

I started school in 1986 and sarcasm and shouting was rife. Punishment involved humiliation - I remember boys in particular being stood in the corner and instructed to 'turn around and face the wall, we do not want to see your ugly face.'

However, more importantly really, I don't think I learned anything worth speaking of throughout primary and most of secondary school. It was all just work from textbooks, barely any English, an endless project on the Aztecs in Y5 and trips to the same local museum every year!

Do others have similar memories or was my school just really bad? smile

SnookieSnooks Sun 22-May-16 21:49:16

YANBU.... I think the quality improvement is down to Ofsted and the National Curriculum. I had some wonderful teachers in the 70s and 80s but also some diabolical ones, including one paedophile and another who should have gone to prison for child abuse. The bad ones today are nowhere near as disastrous as the bad ones of yesteryear, which I think is thanks to the greater amount of scrutiny schools and teachers are now subjected to.

ollieplimsoles Sun 22-May-16 21:57:03

I'm not so sure, I started school in 1995 and all the way through humiliation would be a big part of punishments, especially in high school (all girls school)

We still had to face the wall, a paedophile was head teacher at dh's primary, we were forced to do pe no matter how bad period pains were (I collapsed during cross country and had to be taken to a&e when they didn't listen to me, another girl climbed over the school fence to escape)

Exams were, and continue to be, hell for many children in primary and secondary school.
Now in some schools, lunch time staff have the power to police children's lunches and remove 'unhealthy' things like crisps or chocolate bars.

I think its still pretty bad tbh

megletthesecond Sun 22-May-16 22:02:07

Yanbu. My education was through the 80's and it seemed to be hit and miss at best.

My dc's education is more structured and I think they're getting the basics right.

IonaNE Sun 22-May-16 22:05:00

Yeah. That's why today's 16-year-olds would not even know where to start with the exam papers of 20 years ago.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Sun 22-May-16 22:15:29

I'm a teacher. Just last week we were saying how we wouldn't want to be children in education now.

My experience isnt the same as PP though so I'm not drawing the same comparisons.

I went to school in the 90s and had an absolutely fantastic time with lots of opportunities for fun learning across the whole curriculum. Our pupils now have too much pressure and definitly dont have broad enough experiences. Rubbish at grammar or spelling but great at art? Bad luck if you go to school now.

Just lately I went to a meeting about pupil wellbeing and mental health where we were told the biggest negative impact on a child's mental health at the moment is school. How fucking shit is that?

witsender Sun 22-May-16 22:16:24

Some do, some don't. Much like when I was growing up.

witsender Sun 22-May-16 22:17:11

I wouldn't want to be a schooled child now tbh. Hence home educating!

wanderings Sun 22-May-16 22:21:40

I mostly have really happy memories of primary school (started mid 80's), and learned a lot from it; we had lovely school trips, did lots of science and technology in the classroom. I did some volunteering in a primary school in my early twenties and noticed how things were more obviously structured than when I was at school, and lots more safeguarding (visitors with prominent badges).

But I do remember the main strategy for keeping order in my day was mild humiliation: a naughty kid being called a "horrid little boy" and made to stand on the table; children being told off in front of the whole school (on one occasion pupils being sweetly offered a pushchair to sit in for "behaving like babies", and not as a joke); those who had to miss their play being sat in view of everyone else going out to play. At junior school there was a lot of punishing the whole class, or the whole year group for the actions of a minority.

Buckinbronco Sun 22-May-16 22:22:47

I totally agree with you OP. My experience was similar to you- no one had a clue what to do with children who, it's clear now, had additional needs, which meant it got to the point we would just all look ahead blankly whilst Richard long threw chairs at the teachers until they wrestled him into the stationary cupboard and locked him in. It was never addressed, and they never acknowledged we might've been scared or upset by it. Unbelievable looking back

And yes, old textbooks, sometimes 15 years old. Some lessons consisted of copying them out into exercise books, or copying the notes the teacher wrote on the OHP. No sports, no science experiments. No interest in the middling Unengaged kids who were ignored. I don't recall being taught much grammar (and I am/ was a incredible reader, so it would've been my sort of thing) no one ever tried to find out what my interests were. We also had a very long, and pretty racist project on China.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sun 22-May-16 22:23:06

I think the situation nowadays put a ridiculous amount of pressure on very young kids. I got a decent education in a average state and most of the teachers were fair people trying their best. I think things are much worse now.

Buckinbronco Sun 22-May-16 22:24:12

I would've responded incredibly well to pressure. It would've represented some opportunity.

corythatwas Sun 22-May-16 22:31:12

Different people have different experiences. I was bullied by other children at my primary, but the staff were very kind and supportive.

Dd otoh was bullied by members of staff, but the children were kind. Ds who went to the same school a few years later had no negative experiences of staff (change of regime).

Dh has happy memories of school in the 60s and 70s, but his db, at a different school, does not.

Both my dc have had teachers who have either been found guilty of paedophile related offenses or been sacked for inappropriate conduct. I never encountered that during my time at school, but no doubt others did.

And fwiw my dd found one of the biggest negative impacts on her mental health was not being able to attend school and being stuck in the house with me.

callherwillow Mon 23-May-16 07:02:22

What was the source of that piece of information, Orange?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation flying around at the moment with regard to child mental health, or perhaps more accurately, information that has had its own interpretation put on it to make money.

Iona in some ways I agree with you that the curriculum until recently wasn't perhaps as challenging as the 1950s/60s.

However, certainly in the 80s/90s I'm not sure there was a curriculum, as such. I started primary school in 1986 and left in 1993. English was 'write a story' or 'read a book'; maths was working from a textbook. To be honest in Y6 especially we did little other than maths. It was all about working your way up to a particular textbook and so everyone raced through without processing or understanding the activities. Marking was virtually non existent.

It could well have been my schools (secondary wasn't much better) but for all its faults and failings nowadays there is at least some structure and accountability to everything.

Buckinbronco Mon 23-May-16 07:51:09

I remember the national ciriculum being introduced. It was about '90? People thought it was the worst thing ever, curtailing the freedom of teachers to teach you nothing

SirChenjin Mon 23-May-16 07:54:10

Definitely. I started school in the 70s - fear of teachers and humiliation of children by them was still fairly common. Children with AN were not well catered for - if at all.

treaclesoda Mon 23-May-16 07:57:11

I think some things are better and some are worse. Much like anything in life I suppose.

What has improved massively is how teachers treat children. I went to school in the 1980s when it was still fine and dandy for a teacher to beat you with a cane if they so desired hmm

notagiraffe Mon 23-May-16 08:05:25

There were some wonderful teachers at my primary. Most of what I learned was learned there. Secondary school was just a zoo. So riddled with paedophiles my DSis rang me up the other day to ask if she was imagining the quantity of pupil-teacher sexual relationships that went on because her DH didn't believe her. I barely went in most of the time, as I learned more sitting at home reading, hidden in my bedroom. No one noticed or cared. We had one or two brilliant teachers (Mrs Podmore - French - you were wonderful grin). One of the other better teachers was also a rampant paedophile who picked a new pupil every year to groom. She was considered cool.
If it was less stressful in those days it was because no one cared that much what happened. I got terrible GCSEs - really dreadful, considering I was one of the most academic pupils. Ended up at Oxford, very much despite the school not because of it. In those days you could have terrible GCSEs and good A levels and still get in to top unis. Not sure that's the case now. The onus is on the school to get the most from every pupil. There has to be a happy medium between sausage factory and neglect.

LunaLoveg00d Mon 23-May-16 08:05:36

I was at Primary school 1977-1984 and then secondary 1984-1990 in Scotland. Primary school was a good experience except for one year where the teacher thought she was in 1892 not 1982. Very Victorian, we all sat in straight lines and did maths all day because that's what she enjoyed and very little English, Art or "topic work". Wouldn't be allowed these days.

First couple of years of secondary was crap though, it was the trendy "let's treat everyone the same" era so teachers taught to the level of the least able child in the class, there was no streaming, we had to sit and twiddle our thumbs while half the class caught up. Then for hte rest of my time at secondary the teachers kept going on strike.... Quite how I managed to do well in my Highers and get into Uni i'm not sure....

gentlydownthestreamm Mon 23-May-16 08:06:34

I started primary in the late 80s, finished sixth form around 2000.

TBH I have mostly very fond memories of school and my lessons. In primary I remember doing tons of creative stuff, and having nice teachers. Secondary was mostly good except for issues with friendship groups and bullying, but I still liked the classes and teachers.

My main complaints are re:

History: learned random bits and pieces over the years, but no overview of the overall timeline of history and how all the bits and pieces fitted together. So it all felt very random and out of context.

French/MFL: learned loads of vocab (food, things in your pencil case etc) and fixed phrases but absolutely no grammar that as I recall beyond conjugating a few verbs in the present tense.

Geography: enjoyed learning about weather systems, topology etc. But much like history it lacked overall context and I left school not knowing where lots of countries were on the map or in relation to each other. Taught myself this while at uni!

Also GCSEs and A levelswere useless as everything was just teaching to exam, not encouraging independent thought. I was not prepared for uni, even thpugh I was a straight A student. Maybe this was my school though.

Devilishpyjamas Mon 23-May-16 08:08:25

I think the pressure on children now is horrendous. I do not like the tick box approach to education & believe Ofsted solves some problems but has given rise to many others.

I'm glad I went to school in the 70's & 80's.

birdsdestiny Mon 23-May-16 08:11:52

Yes I agree, looking back my education was not the best. As myself and my best friend were two of our
teacher's favourites, during lessons we were sent into the local village to do her shopping 😯
And yes to utterly inappropriate relationships between staff and pupils.
My DS have so many more opportunities than I had and most of that is connected with the arts and sport.

namechangeparents Mon 23-May-16 08:16:40

I think as with everything it depends on the school and the child. But on balance, yes. Particularly compared with our parents. My mother went to a strict Catholic school and was caned every day.

The rules on corporal punishment were changed either just before I started school or while I was at infant school. I didn't enjoy school that much, I don't think teachers did anything to stop bullying and were quite happy to join in on occasion. But I did have some great teachers as well who really knew their stuff. I disliked my bullying peers more than the teachers (with a couple of exceptions).

But now there is a great deal of pressure on kids because of SATs and league tables. We've got teachers leaving the profession which means you're more likely to get an inadequate teacher as a replacement. I suspect the challenges for each generation are somewhat different.

SpringHasNearlySprung Mon 23-May-16 08:23:08

I started school in1972 and finished High School in 1986. It makes me shiver to think back of how children with SEN were treated in my Primary school. One teacher we had constantly used the belt with one boy in particular. I remember returning after one summer break and two girls I used to play with weren't there. I kept asking our new teacher where they were and was taken aside and told "STOP asking and be quiet they've gone to a special school" and warned never to ask again as if it was some kind of dirty secret. My high school years were pretty structured and I did well at school probably as we lived miles from anywhere and the only way to get out of farm work was to say I was studying When I was in primary we were often sent to the local shop to buy cigarettes for our teacher. I remember the staff room door opening and smoke billowing out shock

Letseatgrandma Mon 23-May-16 08:29:59

I started infant school in 1980-I disagree.

My education was brilliant-lots of fun, lots of learning and no real pressure until GCSE/A level time and then that was self-imposed pressure, not coming from the school.

My kids go to brilliant schools but they are not nearly as happy as I was-it's all about tests, pressure, next steps, how to improve, why that wasn't good enough, attendance and more tests. They are genuinely not really very happy. I think it's sad.

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