Advanced search

GCSE League tables: why don't they separate out 'selective' from 'comps'?

(73 Posts)
Erebus Sun 27-Jan-13 12:44:41

Guess I have to at least acknowledge the separation of private from state in The Torygraph tables! That's reasonably new. Especially seeing as those dumb Torygraph writers just cannot understand why a selective, fee paying school produces better academic results when compared to a local takes-all-comers comp, saying 'the state schools should learn from the private schools...' what, like barring entry to their hallowed halls to the less clever, the potentially disruptive and the poor? Watch every school in the country 'improve' if they could select their intake!

Now I'd like to see a separation of selective from non-selective in order to compare academic results a little more fairly.

here if you're at all interested

TalkinPeace2 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:11:06

DS is very chuffed because he was set a piece of homework researching an aspect of current affairs that, because we listen to Radio 4 over breakfast, he actually knew more about than the teacher. So he scribbled down what he knew and is now on the X Box. :-)

Schools work with what they are given.
It is the motivation attitude and intelligence of the parents (primarily the mother statistically) that affect the learning potential of the child, no matter what the school.

Xenia Sat 02-Feb-13 15:53:52

Presumably non feminist sexist mothers are those who seem to invest more in a son than a daughter? I don't really see that but I don't tend to be around women like that anyway so it may well go on. However anyone to whom I speak whose son is going into something well paid and interesting and daughter into something low paid and "suitable for girls" (ie future housewives) I never let that go. I say why is it not your daughter who is wanting to go into X and your son into Y? They always always say it is by chance and yet you know it's virtually always because of the sexist way in which they have brought up the children - girls to be housewife brood mares for men of reasonable wealth and boys to support families. Thankfully one hopes very slowly that is dying out.

As for some children being keener to be like others it is just the personality of the child. All schools have different groups of different children and some children fit in no groups and some are popular with everyone and some are content and some not whether or not they are in whatever group.

On exposure to the things we love, I am sure most parents seek to ensure their children are exposed to enough potential hobbies and pleasures that at least one gives them huge pleasure for the rest of their life. It cannot always be the hobbies the parents might have chosen of course and perhaps you have done your work particularly well if it isn't as we borrow children and learn from them as much as seek to make them what we think they ought to be.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Feb-13 15:21:11

And you are right about the EBACC...

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Feb-13 15:19:43

Happy, can I recommend the use of paragraphs...

happygardening Sat 02-Feb-13 12:55:29

Erebus you seem to be missing the point. I'm not anti state ed. far from it or think every independent school is fantastic I've spent 13 years with DS's at a variety of independent schools and know that many are results obsessed hot houses. I also don't care whether its an indepdnent school or a state school as a nation we seem obsessed with league tables this appears ot be the main criteria as to how many judge who good a school is. It is a tragedy that morethan believes that she personally doesn't "think that any school makes them a more rounded person, satisfied and content." Whilst we continue to provide this an exam/results obsessed education to our children then our children are missing opportunities to learn things for the sake of learning them . Maybe I'm wrong but I just think that if you can identify Shakespeare from Pinter, Monet for jackson Pollock an albatross from a blue tit and a dandelion from a rose then life is just more interesting. A black cap in my garden during the snow bought me lots of pleasure becasue I've never seen one and we were all chuffed to see two bull finches last year in the garden and of course we all love the Kingfisher who we now see daily. A few years ago we lived in a county where orchids grow in the wild having never seen one outside of a pot on someone window sill before even my non gardening husband managed to be interested and my DSs's small at the time were also quite struck by its beauty. We recently went to a wonderful production of the Mikado we all came home laughing and singing the songs from it you cannot see it without feeling happy. So lain and 8Erebus* you can look down your noses at me tease me for my interests accuse me of excessive "mummmy love" and of trying to "mould that youngster into what they believe, as an experienced adult, to be 'perfection" although as my friends and enemies will cheerfully testify I am the slackest most non controlling parent in the universe in fact have been in the past criticised for my hands off approach IMO seeing hearing and experiencing so much makes us happier more rounded people. Morethan you say "I could never see my dd enthusiastic about calculus, medieval literature or the nucleus of an atom" but how do you know if she's never given the chance. Having recently fixed the CD player in my car I was playing Chopin waltzes DS1 state comp again no floppy hair not called Rupert and definitely not a classical music fan after about five minutes of listening to them rather than asking me to turn them off (as I expected) asked me what they were and sat listening to their joyful frivolity although of course often underpinned by often enormous sadness he was visibly moved. He's now much to our surprise started listening to more classical music. On the other hand a visit last year to the wonderful Sattchi gallery bored him stiff. I don't mind but at least he has been exposed to modern art I feel the same way about my husbands 18 the century organ music! Education at so many school is so narrow exacerbated significantly by league and as far as I understand Goves EBAC will make this worse. In 2010 just over 39 million prescriptions were issued for anti depressants (I'm not against them per say) the recession was given as one of the reason but is it surprising in this celebrity obsessed materialistic society than we know live in. In the words of the poet W Davies: "A poor life this is if we have no time to stand and stare" at art architecture birds flowers our wonderful English countryside or listen to music or read mediaeval lit. and even understand and be excited by the structure of an atom or marvel at calculus.

lainiekazan Fri 01-Feb-13 18:22:01

I know exactly what you mean, erebus. I see the types often in Waitrose. Mothers swanning around with their sons, acting in a rather flirtatious way - or at least trying to show their (to their minds) handsome sons off. It happens too often to be a rare thing. And dh has noticed it as well, so it's not just me being wildly jealous of mummies with floppy-haired Ruperts. (Got me own floppy-haired ds, thank you very much, although he is inclined to slope three paces behind me rather than bay confidently.)

JoanByers Thu 31-Jan-13 23:53:42

Boys are weird. At least a great many of them are.

If you had said that the 15-year-old son was frankly 'thick', then I could understand your point of view, but 'weird', as an insult?

Lots of men spot trains, collect stamps and all kinds of other 'weird' activities. It might be 'weird', but that's what they do and they should be happy doing that, rather than being encouraged to go out on a Saturday vomiting or whatever.

If these schools are places where these boys can go off to be 'weird' and happy, get a good degree and then make fortunes in the City or whatever, and in due course begat their own most likely 'weird' boys who can follow in their footsteps, then surely this is better than having go off to the sink comp to fail miserably at not being 'weird' and get bullied for the privilege. (Because fail they surely will.)

Being 'weird' is really only a problem if you make it one.

Erebus Thu 31-Jan-13 21:31:17

lainie Come on, can you tell the difference between Shakespeare and Pinter?.. grin

And as for 'floppy haired kids'! My friend, mentioned above, made her DSs cultivate that hair-do (and no, the odd mail-out home advising parents about H&S and long hair on their sons from that particular school wasn't going to curtail the 'cultural' expression of overly long hair on young teenagers and a purple uniform as they walked around its local townscape!- she herself 'saw' it eventually in a school photo where, as she now concedes, they looked ridiculous, and, actually being quite 'normal' boys, they openly express that 'mum thought it looked cool at the time' grin)

I genuinely think that happy is of the opinion that her own DS would sit slumped, of an evening, in front of TOWIE were it not for his superb education. TBF, were I paying that sort of cash, I'd probably be drawing nearer to that altar of faith, too. You'd need to! IMHO if her DS were at the local 'sink' comp, he'd suffer hellishly as being 'odd' and 'weird'. I am not condoning this, only musing that his 'interests' are very esoteric and not necessarily directly attributable to or related to his expensive education.

I am of the opinion that, when it comes down to it, there are several different 'camps' of thought regarding DC. Principally, there will always be those who regard their own DC as being a product of their loins and their only purpose in life, as parents, then becomes to mould that youngster into what they believe, as an experienced adult, to be 'perfection'; to become all they themselves believe they'd have been if only they'd been 'guided' correctly (my friend believes her genius was not developed as a result of this..); then there's those parents who want their DC to be independent beings, ploughing their own furrow in life, only lightly influenced by parental desire and expectation. Yes, being shown opportunity, being advised at ever turn but ultimately, having their own direction respected.

As an aside, and sorry to happy here because she reminded me of this but is not necessarily what this is about: a couple of years ago, I had three encounters that gave me pause for thought. All 3 happened within a very short space of time but all of them featured the same thing: for want of a better term, I'd say a mother hero-worshipping her teenaged son, over and above any other DC, especially DDs. One is a hospital consultant who gets all shiny eyed about her 15 year old son at one of the country's 'leading' academic private school (though I've met the boy and consider him, in the big picture, to be frankly 'weird'...) but I did 'dinner' out with the other 2, separately and all they could talk about, all evening, was how clever, off beat, amusing, & desperately good-looking these sons were. Bloody girls! All over them when we all know (tsk) 'he wants to do his higher maths A level revision. Barely seems to study at all, mind! Always straight As!' These mums were completely -well, star-struck by their late teenaged boys. It was rather fascinating. I deliberately asked about the younger DDs to be told, 'Well, Arabella is, well, Arabella, isn't she?! Lol!'. Glad we cleared that up.

I do get it. Culture after culture, millennia after millennia venerates its gilded youth, shining of limb, noble of mind; It is perhaps the 'classical ideal'.

But please don't be confusing 'mummy-love' with how amazing private schools are.

happygardening Thu 31-Jan-13 10:04:03

"Casting pearls before swine comes to mind."
If you want to take that very limited view on your DC's education that of course is your prerogative but I find it rather sad and if many parents think like this then it hardly surprising that most people spend their lives sitting in front inane TV programmes unable to identify Pinter from Shakespeare. As someone who returned to university late in life I agree it is possible that some have the time to do things in our 30's 40's and 50's but the reality is that most people don't we work the longest jours in Western Europe and have the shortest holiday, many people commute for long hours to their jobs and more and more of us are carers for our elderly population. It is only in our childhood that the vast majority are free to learn. I was bought up looking at architecture listening to classical music and what felt at the time trudging around endless art exhibitions I doubt I appreciated it at the time as I felt I had more interesting things to do but now all that I absorbed however reluctantly gives me enormous pleasure and this knowledge I have passed onto my children and I'm sure at times they too think its boring just like I did but I hope in the long term they too will get the same pleasure I did.
I'm sorry to disappoint you lainiekazan few floppy haired kids at my DS school they have strict rules about hair. Am I star struck? No where is perfect. I cant answer that but I do know that Im cynical with much of education both state and independent.

lainiekazan Thu 31-Jan-13 09:11:22

I know boys who have been to that very same school, happygardening, and they did not wax lyrical about calculus, I can tell you.

Frankly most teenagers wherever they go do not feel a frisson of excitement at the thought of a lecture in mediaeval literature. Casting pearls before swine comes to mind.

The thought of all this Renaissance Man (or woman) stuff appeals more to older people - parents. The actual pupils may have wonderful opportunities at some schools (or told they have them by desperate parents), but I doubt whether many of them are appreciating them.

You can still learn and enjoy when you are 30, 40, 50, whatever. In fact you enjoy it a lot more imo. The door is certainly not bolted because you didn't happen to go to a school with a lot of floppy-haired kids and have a mother who seems embarrassingly star struck about the place.

Erebus Thu 31-Jan-13 08:19:00

happy you are indeed fortunate to have found such a good 'fit' between your DC and his school.

I would be, like a good friend of mine, tearing my hair out if I was forking out that sort of cash and my DC just wasn't interested in all the 'fabulous' extra-curricular available to them. My friend can be a bit of a snob and often waxes on and on about how marvellous her DSs' £13k a year school is as it offers so many opportunities yet, in moments of introspection, laments that neither of her DSs partake willingly in any extra-curricular whatsoever, only that 'insisted' upon.

muminlondon Thu 31-Jan-13 07:48:53

Agree that the league tables in the newspapers are useless if they compare selective and comprehensive.. But interesting in the DfE ones (now that IGCSEs are included) to find out more data about the private schools that don't perform well - e.g. 90% entered for Ebacc subjects but less than 60% pass rate. Maybe that's also more an indication of intake than how good the teachers are. Private schools don't publish prior attainment so we can only speculate ...

JoanByers Thu 31-Jan-13 00:32:12

I think Sister Wendy started off with those paintings:

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 23:29:32

I know it’s not feasible but we as a society need to change our attitude to education stop looking at league tables and see the bigger picture, for a short period in a person life they are in a position to experience things that they are never going to have the time to experience once they enter the world of work it doesn’t matter if it’s a love of calculus, nuclear physics and Mediaeval literature or something more basic, the time to appreciate our beautiful countryside, be exposed to art through the ages from cave paintings to Grayson Perry, or how our food is produced these are the things that stay with us throughout our lives. Would it cost that much? Last year we went to see a film called Cave of Dreams about Le Chauvet and the extraordinary cave paintings we were so moved I almost cried none of us will ever forget it the best £10 we've ever spent this should be shown to all children this is our heritage as human being we all should see these simply breathtaking painting that were painted so many thousands of years ago and marvel. Children should experience art music dance opera beathtaking landscapes archtecture I could go on.
No one asks me now I'm middle aged how many GCSE’s I’ve got or even where I went to university. Perhaps if we indulged in a few less pointless unwinnable wars then our children could receive a more all-round education. Gove is odious the tragedy is that with his plans future generations will be even less exposed to these things than they are now.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:32:16

But where would the funds come from?
State schools have a budget per pupil of less than 1/4 of what you pay.
It is just not feasible.

On the other hand I am currently battling my DCs schools odious focus on Gove's Baccalaureate - and dropping all spare subjects from the GCSE options - including Latin and IT.
So much for Wishaw wanting schools to stretch able pupils, when Gove will ensure that they get no credit for it.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 22:08:36

The biggest tragedy I think is that so many schools are 9-3 30 or maybe 4 if you’re lucky. So many parents work or are juggling and through no fault of their own dont have the time to provide thier children with the myriad of opportunites that my DS enjoys. So much of what he it is is timetabled into his day. The NHS has finally woken up and is starting to offer a 24 hour service out patients appointments on weekends etc I think it’s time education especially in the state sector but the independent sector doesn’t always cover its self in glory either need to think about educating the whole person and providing opportunities that are not just about exams and results and those bloody league tables.

teacherwith2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 21:52:56


For me, the point is that there ARE amazing schools in the private sector. State schools cannot emulate them, and for those children that can access those schools and make best use of them, that is great.

HOWEVER, not all private schools are amazing.

I have no problem at all with this debate being carried on at a 'school by school' level (especially at a 'school for a particular child' level, as for example for some children it may be that superb sport, even if coupled with middling academics, is the priority), but at a sector level it is meaningless.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 21:45:53


I meant to add. I could never see my dd enthusiastic about calculus, medieval literature or the nucleus of an atom. It sounds like a really good school.
I'm not suggesting he isn't appreciative of his wonderful education, but please let him know how lucky he is.
I know I haven't always agreed with your posts before but I certainly can't argue with the fact you are doing the right thing for your ds and IF you experience inverted snobbery, ignore it.
There is no way my dd would fit into your ds school environment, she would be like a fish out of water.
I think if we all did what was best for our own dc without trying to be somebody we aren't schools would be better places. smile

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 21:35:15

I think your ds is very lucky to access all these things in one place and he should be as you pay for this privilege. I think my point was if your ds wasn't interested in half this stuff, didn't try well in his academic subjects and didn't have a good attitude to his education which lets face it comes from parents initially. He would not be doing well and your money would be wasted.

I agree that if children can't access this through school parents are expected to find their own solution. To be honest I don't find this unfair, and when I add up how much I am paying for extra curricular activities it is quite a substantial amount, maybe half a years school fees.

What I would consider to be unfair would be if a bright child from a poor background missed the opportunity to attend a Grammar school. I'm not saying this happens though as I don't have experience here.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 20:16:26

morethan The opportunities available at my DS's school would not be available if he was at home even if I lived in central London I would be unable to provide the huge variety on offer to him and as I'm rural I can’t even begin to provide what is offered at his school. These opportunities when combined with lessons which are stretching and challenging feed his brain and intellect his over whelming thirst for knowledge and make him satisfied and content whether they be concerts plays lectures clubs both sporting and non-sporting and make him more rounded. I listened the other day going into raptures over calculus (yawn), the “fascinating and exciting structure of the nucleus of an atom” (my eyes are glazing over) and in particular fusion and then the joy of reading Medieval literature (my husband was interested). He then attended a lecture, goes to a concert, a play, trains for his chosen non team sport three times a week and at the weekend has time for his other passion 20th century art. I accept that all children can do and have these things wherever they are educated and if their parents have the time and they are easily available but he’s lucky to have it all on one site and so readily available and most importantly in these results obsessed days’ time made in his timetable to pursue them. .

morethanpotatoprints Wed 30-Jan-13 15:38:45


I personally don't think that any school makes them a more rounded person, satisfied and content, well not in principle. I think a lot of this is found in the home and encouraged by parents. But I'm happy to be proved wrong or others opinions.
I know you can pay for results but I have witnessed people paying and not getting the results, which makes me believe results are really the responsibility of the dc.
I think the best thing we can do as parents is encourage independent learning from a young age. Especially if they are very bright or/and talented, as these dc quite often need additional stimulation.

TotallyBS Wed 30-Jan-13 12:10:34

happy - I am paying for the total package as opposed to just results.

DS had two offers. X was higher ranked but it was in a town location with sports grounds a long walk away. Y wasn't as highly ranked but it was in the middle of no where and so had massive grounds for sports.

We chose Y for the total package. So, no it's not just about results.

Having said that, I have a friend who is quite well off. He pays £30k pa for a school that ranks 300 plus which is below my local comp.

I am not in that league. If good academics aren't on offer then my DCs can become equally "well rounded individuals" at a good comp. I'm sure that DS won't be too damaged if his comp's cricket team doesn't tour Australia smile

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:19

Generally selectives listed in the tables are state schools (unless highlighted as IND).

Some state schools are part selective, part comprehensive.

Some state schools select on the basis of religion and catchment areas(this explains the high results achieved by schools in certain areas e,g Solihull).

Many independents are non selective.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 11:26:30

"At lot of parents are like me in that they are prepared to pay for academic excellence but if the academics are no better than the local comp then the nice pristine grounds isn't worth the fees."
So at the end of the day Totally your paying for results? I hope and in fact know that good independent schools are not just about results. I have no doubt that my DS could get the same results from our excellent local comp (or the one of the countries top performing grammar 40 miles up the road where he was offered a place) thats assuming he doesn't either die of boredom or reek havoc through boredom but what I cant get is all the other stuff that makes him 1. an more rounded person and 2. a more satisfied and content person which then spreads into his academic life.

TotallyBS Wed 30-Jan-13 11:13:58

If an indie wants £15k pa per child from me then I want to know how they stack up against other local and national schools.

At lot of parents are like me in that they are prepared to pay for academic excellence but if the academics are no better than the local comp then the nice pristine grounds isn't worth the fees.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: