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The Best Start in Life - Tonight ITV1

(34 Posts)
difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 19:46:04

Watching this open-mouthed. 11+ teacher charging £50 an hour and she has a waiting list of 200. Really surprised.

Programme is about tutoring young children, including 3 year olds to do Kumon Maths and English. Utter madness.

Hamishbear Fri 09-Nov-12 15:34:46

No, that's why I like the idea that things are apparently changing.

losingtrust Fri 09-Nov-12 15:38:19

Me too. I think it causes parents unnecessary panic and I remember this with my first.

twistywillow Sat 10-Nov-12 22:30:25

I came and found this website because it was mentioned in the Tonight program as the source for its poll results. I have no issue with that,at all, I think they are correct. I too want my children to do well, of course I do, but I also want them to be happy and grow up and enjoy life.

I do feel the program did not address the issue fully and focused on the wrong sort of parents. They were all middle class or higher with big houses cars, stay at mums who had nothing better to do each day with a high proportion of those being immigrant and asian, even though the program clearly stated that putting children through extra tuition was a very common practice in the far east and asia. And that has what do with UK education? The program failed to mention the reason its an issue here is because most of the families doing this are in fact from those regions and are immigrants or immigrant descendent. Ok I have no problem with that either, only with the implication and not the statement the program made. If they are going to cover a complex subject as education and top up tuition they need to do it properly and all aspects of life in the UK and not just cherry pick the families who actually do not represent normal families here. I mean does that mean poor people dont care about their childrens education as much as rich ones do?!

As I am not a researcher or program maker I can only comment on local area and local experiences.
My children until recently went to a very good primary school, the best in the area. We moved and so they changed schools. The difference is astonishing, but well, we knew it would be. In their old school academic genius's were held in high regard, they ignored special needs children or turned a blind eye to any issue that needed help. There was an attitude of oh we dont deal with that until next year. That followed a child through four academic years before the parents screamed loud enough and wrote to the education department when the boy was 9, suddenly the teacher became very interested at getting him tested for dyslexia and dyscalculia.
The school became one of the first academies in the area, suddenly everything is focused on big tv touch screens for reception classes and a sports stand.
My children loved their old school very much and were very happy there, my eldest is above average in the new school in everything whereas at the old one, was below. Clearly there is a disparity here. The government improvements mentioned in the program are not across the board and some schools are being left behind if they dont want to be academies. This is especially true of our new school, a small village primary affiliated to a church who doenst want to be an academy. Therefore funding has been cut and more is coming from PTAs instead.

The real issue though that the program failed to address is why so many middle class families are topping up tuition. Previously those families would have had their children in private education. Now they are saving money by putting their kids into good state schools (like our old one) and paying for tuition. Whilst I wouldnt normally have a problem with this I do know that our old school cherry picked the children it wanted and the ones they didnt ended up a different school.
We could have kept our children at this school after we moved, but personally I dont like the academy status the government is forcing out with sweeties attached, and secondly my children were being pushed, and pushed too hard to be able to read and write at 4 when clearly they werent ready for it. Unlike those oh so wonderful domestic goddesses on the program, I dont have infinate patience and when faced with 3 lots of homework to help with, plugging away night after night on the same thing when the child is tired and bored just to get the schools ofsted reports top of the tables and make the headteacher look like some sort of God worthy of an MBE doesnt inspire me and makes me question what the school is actually about.

difficultpickle Sat 10-Nov-12 22:34:14

twisty welcome. The poll was done through a different website - Netmums - which isn't the same as this one.

The programme compared different education systems so looking at how some people choose to extra tutor their dcs is completely relevant. The interviewer said these parents didn't think that UK system was good enough and those families demonstrated why (in their opinion).

blisterpack Sun 11-Nov-12 10:14:56

I think twistywillow, your point would have been better made without the stay at mums who had nothing better to do [sic] and those oh so wonderful domestic goddesses on the program digs.

ReallyTired Mon 12-Nov-12 13:28:34

I think that we have far too low expectations of our children. Countries like Finland do not put such a great emphasis on innate ablity ablity as the UK. I believe that seating children on ablity tables has an awful pychological affect on them. It can make the top table children arrogant and lazy and make the bottom table children demoviated and give up.

A big issue in Britain is low level distruption and children who need to be nagged to do anything resembling work. Children in the UK are held back by the country's mindset rather than the standard of teaching. We blame teachers rather than looking at British culture.

Singapore and Finland have very different education systems. It would be interesting to see what these two countries have in common. I suspect that both the Finns and Singaporians respect high academic achievment and believe that much is possible by sheer hard work. Even if the Finns have little homework, they work far harder in the classroom than the UK.

difficultpickle Mon 12-Nov-12 13:49:57

It would be interesting to know what the average class size is in Finland. It didn't look any smaller than UK size in the programme. I agree that we also sem to have lower standards than elsewhere and lower standards than when I was at school many years ago. I've always found it odd that exams are now, mostly, modular with the possibility of retaking umpteen times until you get the grade you need.

losingtrust Mon 12-Nov-12 15:45:33

Small class sizes are not necessarily better and research seems to be pointing to bigger classes as better.

ReallyTired Mon 12-Nov-12 15:59:18

I think that children in Finland have better self esteem. Behaviour is better and less time is wasted on dealing with low level distruption. More work gets done in lesson time in Finland than UK schools

Children in Singapore on average work a hell of a lot harder than UK kids

"Small class sizes are not necessarily better and research seems to be pointing to bigger classes as better."

Countries which pay their teachers well have high calibre teachers. Its better to have one high quality teacher teaching 30 children than two medicore teachers teaching 15 children each. It also worth looking at the impact of TAs taking children out of the classroom for one to one teaching.

I would like educational policy to be decided by research rather than tory/ labour whim.

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