Advanced search

Do you think there is really zero excuse for poor achievement in British state schools

(43 Posts)
ReallyTired Fri 22-Feb-13 10:47:44

London schools are doing better than the rest of the country.

Do you think its the mindset of immigrants who want a better lifestyle or is it high quality teaching. Its surprising that a poor child in Newham does stastically better than a child from a financially average family in the rest of the country.

Do you think the sucesss at Little Ilford can be duplicated in the rest of the country. Are working class white children capable of similar achievement? Are schools responsible for low expectations.

I live in an area where my children's school is about 75% white working class. I believe that the problem of under achievement in white working class children is lack of expectations rather than lack of basic intelligence.

slipshodsibyl Sat 23-Feb-13 14:48:47

Another clue is in the quotefrom Michael Wilshaw where he says "the 'London Challenge' bypassed the local authorities"

lalalonglegs Sat 23-Feb-13 15:00:32

I suppose the question is why has this happened now (or in the past ten years)? London has always had diverse opportunities and plenty of wealthy and successful role models for people to emulate; what have been the factors that have dragged its schools from among the worst to achieving significantly above average?

I do wonder if a very small factor is that London private schools have become so horrifically expensive (15k at least at secondary level plus extras), that many people who might have traditionally expected to send their children down the private route - solicitors, accountants, doctors, journos etc - are now moving to state meaning the intake in many of the inner city areas is more mixed and aspirational?

muminlondon Sat 23-Feb-13 15:32:31

The London challenge has been running since 2003 - it's taken that long for children to go through primary and secondary school and do GCSEs but the results were showing through a couple of years ago.

Lots of interesting stuff about it in an Ofsted report from 2010:

'30% of London’s local authority controlled secondary schools were judged to be outstanding, reflecting the positive impact of London Challenge. This compares with 17.5% for the rest of England. Of the 34 academies in London that have been inspected, eight have been judged to be outstanding (24%), with 22% of all inspected academies (84) judged outstanding.'

muminlondon Sat 23-Feb-13 15:53:49

Primary schools were included from 2008 when the London Challenge was expanded into the City Challenge. That's why GCSE results keep improving although the scheme has finished.

cory Sat 23-Feb-13 17:14:17

I grew up in a small market town (in Sweden) and the low level of aspiration was very noticeable.

But then the only work experience on offer was a choice between the local supermarket, portering in the mental hospital and helping out at your own school.

Because I was naturally academic I believed my only choice in life was to become a Sixth Form teacher. My parents were Sixth Form teachers and unless you were into science or medicine I believed teaching was the only thing you could do with an education. Nobody knew about anything else because the kind of adult who did know wouldn't live there. I wasn't overexcited by the thought.

I remember my eureka moment. I was 14, walking home from the shops thinking about a book on medieval history I had got hold of on holiday and suddenly it occurred to me that Somebody Wrote That Book. And then I stopped dead in the middle of the road and said to myself If Somebody Does That Kind of Job Then You Can. And the enormous relief of realising I didn't have to be a Sixth Form teacher in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

When my time for careers advice came, I stepped into the careers advice office and told the man that I intended to be a medieval historian. He wished me good luck, said he had no idea how you would set about that, but that he hoped it would work out for me. And it has. But not without difficulty.

I envy my dd who grows up surrounded by so many different examples, so many different possibilities.

NotGoodNotBad Sat 23-Feb-13 17:37:49

That's a lovely story Cory. Wonder what would have happened to you without your eureka moment?!

Tasmania Sat 23-Feb-13 18:43:13


I think London's demographic has changed a lot over the last decade. Ever-increasing house prices have driven a lot of white WC families out of the inner city, for example, and areas that were no-go areas before are now slowly being gentrified.

And while it was always a cosmopolitan place before, I don't think as many people came to London for purely professional reasons - people who may only stay a few years and move on. Some of these people (often from Europe) would not even have thought about private schooling in this country - because in their countries a private school may have been rare. I've met quite a few mums in that category who were a little shock at how things work in Britain.

But again, other people also mentioned that there are a lot more immigrants coming from countries where education is valued highly (and the parents may have been MC in the country they left, but do WC jobs here). Having parents being on the same side as teachers helps a lot - and IMHO a lot of white WC parents don't value it highly enough (because maybe they see no point in it all)...

aroomofherown Tue 05-Mar-13 19:09:36

But don't schools in London now have Challenge Partners which aims to support school improvement? Schools pay £7 per student head to join and can then participate in being reviewed, the leader being a HMI.

I've been following the No Excuses agenda for a while now and whilst I completely agree that high expectations, both of the student and the teaching, I do think it will burn teachers out quite quickly. It comes from the KIPP schools in the US. I also think that it can be used as a bit of a stick - "all students must be 100% every moment" is a bit unrealistic for anyone.

muminlondon Tue 05-Mar-13 23:59:06

Where did you get the £7 per head? Just wondering how many children could have benefited from the £1 billion overspent on converting schools into academies. 142,857. Oh, look - 167,000 pupils in failing schools mainly in deprived areas according to the Telegraph.

The London Challenge worked. So why has this money been wasted on academy conversion for already outstanding schools - essentially bureaucracy, insurance, legal fees - and not extending the school improvement programme to other areas? Or is the government prepared to pay any price to prepare the way for privatisation and academy chain takeover?

mam29 Wed 06-Mar-13 08:17:12

Only just seen this thread but watched the news night piece with interest the school in london looked fab although guess we only saw the best bits dont think any schools perfect.

Im not sure rest of country on level playing field

Here transport really expensive school bus can cost £60+a month.
city transport first bus not great, pricey we dont have tube
we dont have as many attractions we lucky in fact we have few museums and galleries.

we are university city
have highest proportion of private schools outside london as historically bristol la schools worst in country.

we have no grammers and most try and get into one of 5acedemies 2used to be private or 2faith secondries we have no grammers.

My suburb mostly white middleclass affluent area has awful comp which most try and avoid 43%pass rate a-c 5gcses.
I have no idea wht its so bad grounds seem nice, just had new smarter uniform, met coiple teachers there they seem nice but would never consider place for their own kids.

I grew up in small rural market town south wales.
only 1 comp
few job opportunities.
most middle class kids went to uni and moved away.
But the ones who dident get qualifications stayed in the town had kids young. Theres hardly any fulltime jobs most are min wage low skilled part time service jobs retail, pubs. or public sector schools/hospital not sure what happen if districts hospital is downgraded,hardly any industry.

My mam had low aspirarations and dident expect much from me.
The words ideas above my station, dont be silly that cant happen.
A good job there is different to good job here think she worries about her grand kids being brought up in city but think so much better for them always places to go little or no cost.

Im not sure about secondrys yet as majority primarys in my la ok im not inner city where some complain high amount of english as 2nd languages and racial comflicts beteen groups make schools jobs very hard.

Its fair to say though that theres some truth in the predomainatly white deprived areas here school results truly are the lowest and that could be to do with lack of racial groups and aspirarations that go with it.

Saying that economy how it is have no idea when time comes how to advise my kids on what to do.

My eldest being 7 hopefully things improve by then and raising school leaving age to 18 might make a difference.

The other school they looked at was rochdale northern and guess similar to wales whats point few opportunities for me i as was self drive as wanted to get out.

sometimes rural and leafy does not always mean fantastic results,

Theres 1 city academy that as no go zone thats improving but not sure mines streetwise enough for that and husband would consider me bonkers.

fourseasonsinaday Wed 06-Mar-13 11:37:20

I agree with LaBelle about the relationship between schools and parents. Where I come from there is a good structure of communication between schools and parents. In general parents respect the homework set by the teachers. Once my 7 years old niece told my brother her teacher told all the children to learn all their timestable in a week. At first my brother didn’t think it could be done. Surprisingly my niece managed to learn all her timestable within just three days. So yes it can be done and obvious the school knows it. So back in this country I tried it with my dc. Also my 8 yr old dc managed to learn all the timestable in just four days.

I wonder how well it will go down with the parents in this country if a teacher told her pupils to learn all their timestable in week.

mam29 Wed 06-Mar-13 11:54:54

The problem is the uk is just so fragemented we can standardise state education to same standard where ever anyone lives in uk.

Theres so many other factors.

Wales is devolved education with lots welsh med school in predominatly english speaking countrry and they do less well than england.

Scotlands completly different -so hard to compare.

north /south divide in england determines how high salary is , housing costs, job opportunities.

Am i right in thinking most immmigrants move for work so pick larger cities such as london.So larger cities will have ethnic mix with many coming from less affluent countries and see education as a way up.

Im not sure if lots of uk working-midleclasses now see less to aim for as everythings o expensive higher education costs for example are a worry.

Back in hometown if people choose to stay they wont get well paid enough job to buy a house there as living and housing disproprtionate with wages.

We also have to remember brits work very long hours my husband works 50+a week some parents just not as involved as they would like to be i guess so schools have big responsability.

I support school and teacher if I think they right but last school was failing so told them so before I moved her.I amazed at diffrent results same local schools in same la get as we all within 5miles yet diffrences are huge funding for schools is very specific.

fourseasonsinaday Wed 06-Mar-13 14:09:39

Many countries in the world people work very long hours too and have very little state benefit. One of my brothers not in the UK he works Mon to Sat 8am-6pm standard hours. My another brother self-employ works 7 days all the times have odd days off occasionally. I don’t know whether it is the way the media reflect the education situation in the UK. Whenever children are not meeting standard of some sort. There is some kind of blame culture between schools and parents. Imo bring up children should be equal partnership between schools and parents. Good structure of communication and respect with each other got to be one of the starting points.

aroomofherown Thu 07-Mar-13 06:39:27

I got the £7 from my SLT as we are part of the Challenge Partners.

catinhat Thu 07-Mar-13 13:53:58

Savouir Faire - the primary school you're looking at; they are very good results.

Ignore the anxious, white middleclasses and go with what you think best.

London is interesting; I would agree about Londoners having confidence. When I was at university it was the Londoners who stood out.

It's seeing all those jobs, and all those opportunities; it has to be!

muminlondon Sun 10-Mar-13 12:49:18

Another report which puts London success down to the London Challenge. It has improved morale of both teachers and pupils making London schools attractive:

But in 2006 it was the worst performing area so immigrant populations and funding alone were not the cause. Now, however:

'Chris Cook of the Financial Times has shown that children who move out of London on average achieve less than would have been expected from their background characteristics and prior attainment, while those who move into London achieve better than would have been predicted.'

Xenia Sun 10-Mar-13 15:20:50

Teach First - plenty of private school educated graduates with 2./1s from Russell Groups, want to work in London where all their friends and future job prospects are not in Hull. Led to children in inner London schools getting about 2 grades more than from the same backgrounds in say Hull - E in hull is C in these London schools.

There is however still a difference between inner London comps and St Paul's Westminster, North London Collegiate and all the many good London selective private schools and indeed those schools usually beat even selective state schools in the SE.

You could almost argue move to Devon to look at cows as an adult to please yourself but damage your child in the process - no jobs, bad schools.

muminlondon Sun 10-Mar-13 17:40:37

Yes, London is the richest city in the UK and has the biggest divide between rich and poor. Wealth buys privilege that creates an attainment gap from infancy and the means to buy out of one sector and into another. Which makes the improvement of inner city London comps since 2003 all the more impressive. Inner city comps are now outperforming outer London borough comps in 'leafy' areas.

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: