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What's the difference between a "hothouse" and a school that pushes your child to meet their true natural ability?

(200 Posts)
HappyDads Thu 20-Dec-12 01:56:00

On Mumsnet, "hothouse" often seems to be used - by implication - as a slightly derogatory term for "damaging your child" by those not getting into said hothouse school (Westminister, St. Pauls, Eton, SPGS, Tiffins, Habs, Wycombe Abbey etc - whatever floats your boat actually).

Yet we all want our DCs to reach their maximum potential, and be stretched, yet without being damaged. Where is our dividing point?

Seriously I struggle to balance my own thinking with my DD at a school often described as both a "hothouse" and yet also called "balanced".

So what is a "hothouse" and is it more a term of jealousy vs your own DC's ability, or is it something more tangible you can describe?

TotallyBS Fri 21-Dec-12 13:16:35

seeker: Do you really need stats to tell you that your GP, hospital doctor or pharmacist is Indian?

Xenia Fri 21-Dec-12 13:35:30

The term hothouse tends to be used by parents whose children failed to get into the said school as their IQ is too low or didn't sit because never in a month of Sundays would they have passed.

seeker Fri 21-Dec-12 13:39:20

No, totally, I don't. (leaving aside minor quibbles about whether he is actually Indian, or from some other bitof the sub continent) but if I am discussing the effects of poverty and ethnicity on educational attainment, I do need statistics to tell me whether he is the child of two other doctors who grew up in a comfortable leafy suburb and went to independent school then Cambridge, or whether he is the first of his family ever to go to school, grew up in a flat with 7 other children, one subsistence wage and went to the local "notice to improve" comprehensive.

seeker Fri 21-Dec-12 13:43:20

"seeker - of course statistics are corrected for other variables. They wouldn't be statistics if they weren't!"

Not all statistic are! That's why the famous quotation "there are lies...." etc remains apposite.

JoanByers Fri 21-Dec-12 13:49:54

There are lots of statistics, not just from the UK, but from across the globe, that show, for instance, that there are huge difference between ethnic groups.

For instance in the UK Chinese children do the best in GCSEs, better than white children. In the US the average income of Asian Americans is higher than white Americans. Black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani children perform poorest in school exams in the UK.

At this point in the development of the UK achievement is not about poverty, either by parents or schools lacking resources, but endemic cultural problems among certain groups, i.e. lower income white children, black children (and even here there are substantial differences between African and Caribbean children, the former outperforming the latter), and so on.

Xenia Fri 21-Dec-12 13:51:02

The level of achievement at school is pretty well known - Chinese girls are top, then boys, then I think Indian etc then white girls and bottom is white boys. Afro Caribbean boys tend not to do well either.

I have done careers evenings at schools and Indian parents will take their children to 4 careers stalls only - medicine, law, accountancy, dentistry. That is not unwise. They are really interesting well paid professions and a good start even if you go into something else later. I am not sure what point we are making about race though. Immigrants of whatever colour work much harder usually because they are the ones who made the effort to move just as an English person moving to NZ probably works harder than English people at home - you are forging a new life.

If your parent value education then you tend to as a teenager.

orangeberries Fri 21-Dec-12 13:52:36

I am not Asian but I am an immigrant from a poor country, who lived in real poverty as a child and my opinion is that expectations are so different here in certain social groups.

We were expected to work hard, we were expected to help at home, help the extended family and do well at school, be respectful to our elders and parents and anyone older than us and make our families proud. The thing is there was no peer pressure to do anything else, as everyone had a similar expectations placed on them. There was none of this "I will pay you a pound" to do your homework or wash my car business. You just did what you were asked to do.

We would have been terrified to stray from those "codes" and bring disrespect to our family. I think that although at times it felt suffucating, this upbringing served us all incredibly well and I am happy to report that many of us achieved great things despite being poor and many of us having very low IQs!!!

JoanByers Fri 21-Dec-12 13:55:14

My Grandma is forever telling me that intelligence runs in her family.

She says that when she was at school the headmistress said 'You'd best not sit the scholarship exam, because your mother couldn't afford to send you'. And her brother apparently was very bright. So she left school at 13 for a life of labour.

She is decidedly working class, grew up in god knows where with 7 other children. Her children all went to grammar school, and university (Leeds, Oxford). Her grand children both went to Cambridge.

And now she is very pleased that the circle is complete, so to speak, that her great-grandchildren are at private schools, when she as a child couldn't afford to go to state school.

She won't hear a word spoken about deprivation or poverty, not in this country.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 13:56:58

At university, many years ago, I shared a flat with a Chinese girl - a law student. She had grade 8 piano and violin and had done loads of ballet, spoke French etc and had been to private school on a bursary (her single mother ran a take-away). She had definitely had lots of educational opportunities and was used to hard work and had lots of As at O and A level.

But she wasn't very "bright". I'm sure she had many more accreditations to her name than most of her contemporaries, but it didn't mean she was a bright spark.

orangeberries Fri 21-Dec-12 14:04:37

Exactly Bonsoir, you don't need to be very bright to have lots of qualifications and do well at school/university. You just need to work hard - only my opinion of course!!

JoanByers Fri 21-Dec-12 14:06:05

> The level of achievement at school is pretty well known - Chinese girls are top, then boys, then I think Indian etc then white girls and bottom is white boys. Afro Caribbean boys tend not to do well either.

You missed out Bangladeshi and Pakistani children.

Here is a table for KS3:

Overall 74% of children met the required standard. Among White British this was 75%. 83% of Indian. 66% of Pakistani, 69% of Bangladeshi. 82% of Chinese. Gypsy and traveller a pitiful 23%. 68% of Black children. FSMs just 43%.

The children meeting Level 7 were 17% of all Chinese children (including 21% of Chinese girls), but just 4%/5% of Bangladeshi/Pakistani children.

Gunznroses Fri 21-Dec-12 14:11:40

Its interesting how "black children" are all just lumped together by their skin colour, the fact that there are many different countries within this group is totally non important.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 14:14:55

You have to work hard, but, crucially, you need your sausage meat to be squeezed through the right casing IYSWIM. Put a child on a track to Grade 8 violin when they are 4, and they will get there with the right tuition and practice.

rabbitstew Fri 21-Dec-12 14:18:15

I think it is all down to expectation. A lot of people in the West after the 2nd World War expected that technology and a desire to avoid further conflicts would ultimately make their lives less stressful, easier and more pleasant, so that more consideration could be given to quality of life, there would be less need for naked aggression and competition between people and fewer people damaged by difficult lives of squalor and hard labour. Unfortunately, particularly with an ever expanding world population, we still don't have enough resources to go around ever to live up to this Utopia, we never seem to be happy with the level we have got to in any event, nobody ever really considered what people could actually do in a world where technology did most of the work and there is always something else being pushed on us that will supposedly make life easier or more exciting but which actually just increases the frenetic speed at which everything changes for change's sake, without any huge benefit to the majority of people who find the sand shifting under their feet.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 14:19:46

<shoots self>

rabbitstew Fri 21-Dec-12 14:24:59

Why does the shooting occur inside <>?

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 14:25:51

The brackets are for an action as opposed to an opinion (post).

rabbitstew Fri 21-Dec-12 14:28:08

Glad to see you didn't manage to kill yourself, then!... grin

Xenia Fri 21-Dec-12 14:30:53

On orange's post that is why I think it's great my children share/have shared classrooms with those kinds of children where everyone behaves at home, they children work very hard and education is seen as a route to success out of poverty.

So what is our conclusion? One person's hot housing at home is another one's normal encouragement. One parent's tiger parenting is another's abuse. That you can do so little you neglect a child and you never even bother to hear it read and at the other extreme you can produce a boring automaton able to pass exams but who hasn't had enough time to play. Most of us are somewhere between the two extremes.

CaseyShraeger Fri 21-Dec-12 15:29:53

TotallyBS, where did "totally illiterate" come into it? I was talking (as I thought you were in the post I referenced) about under- or over- performing relative to children of different socio-economic status, not total (or even functional) illiteracy. And I still don't see how Fred can be educationally advantaged relative to Bob without Bob's being educationally disadvantaged relative to Fred.

TotallyBS Fri 21-Dec-12 15:46:50

Xenia: I accept that many of the top jobs go to private school / Oxbridge types because of contacts and bias but you was responding to the post about how comp kids do better at university.

Xenia Fri 21-Dec-12 15:53:12

I am not sure they do anyway. I don't think if you took my three children's graduation years the state school pupils were the ones getting firsts. In fact children of state grammars apparently do better than those from comps. It might be comp children who have socialist left with teachers who despite good universities tend to encourage them not to go to good places because of class war issues so the very very few comp children who do apply are a very determined minority who do well in the exams which of course is not the same as doing well in life.

I don't think the thread was about private schools at all though was it? It was about this perjorative term hot housing which is used by parents who presumably think it's best never to read to children and leave them to their own devices and their pure genius will somehow develop.

I certainly think children who have two parents in very successful high paid jobs who adore their work are going to get a great work ethic and do better than two benefits claimants or housewife mothers at home who are giving a message that you live off the state or a man.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 21-Dec-12 18:13:54

I do not think there is such a thing as a "hothouse" school in the UK ;
there may be schools where the combination of parent and school becomes a hothouse for some pupils - which is where I would hope that any professional teachers (in state or private) would take steps to ensure that the child achieved to the best of their ability rather than collapsing under the pressure.

My views of "top" schools are rather tainted by having spent a year retaking my A levels at a London Crammer.
You name the top school, I'll name you the pupil who ended up needing to retake.
And as that crammer got amazing grades out of all of us (despite the partying and pub bans) there was clearly an issue with the schools not the individuals.

rabbitstew Fri 21-Dec-12 20:35:49

Xenia - maybe your insistence that any relationship should have both partners doing well paid, full time jobs so that neither can come up with the childish and spurious notion that one member of the couple is living off the other, rather than both relying on each other, is why you are a divorced woman.

rabbitstew Fri 21-Dec-12 20:52:28

I mean, there is nothing in the way you describe relationships between men and women that indicates any kind of reciprocality. You are just clones of each other, effectively taking on the same role as each other and both spurning anything you can pay someone else a pittance to do for you. And heaven forbid that your dh should ever prove himself to be a pathetic weakling who has to "live off you" for a while, or earn less than you, because, of course, you are what you earn.

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