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private vs state research

(62 Posts)
pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 10:04:11

Does anyone know if there has been any research into teaching methods etc. used in prep schools vs state primary schools?

I have what I think is an interesting idea for some research. Does anyone know how and to whom I could put my idea forward?

It would be focussing on the Y2 classroom in the two different types of schools and would involved teachers swapping between the settings for a brief period.

Stupid idea?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

AuntieStella Mon 03-Feb-14 10:08:29

Try the Sutton Trust?

Here's a link to the research part of its website.

averyyoungkitten Mon 03-Feb-14 10:18:18

I dont know ifsuch research has been done before but I dont think that is a barrier to doing ita gain.Its usually called replication isnt it?

However, I do thinkthere are problems with making comparisons that you need to be careful of. often the children in the different schools will be very very different and so teaching techniques will also have to be different.

In my experience there is liittle then to compare.

I have worked in both independent and state schools at secondary level. There was nothing that could prepare me in any way for the kind of children I teach now when working in a state school. They are just completely different kids (seriously).

pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 10:30:33

AuntieStella, thanks for the Sutton Trust link. I had thought of them although I see that they don't fund individuals and they also mentioned that they reject lots of requests. Still, I haven't ruled them out.

kitten, I have a fair amount of experience in the two sectors and like you have worked in both at secondary level. I agree that making comparisons wouldn't be straightforward, I would hope to be able to highlight examples of 'best practice' (hate that term but ykwim) in both sectors for mutual benefit. <idealist>

endlesstidying Mon 03-Feb-14 10:54:30

Sounds like wife swap. Perhaps channel 4 would be interested. Seriously though I agree that the background of the children and the resources available probably do impact massively on teaching methods. You lay well find theres a lot of similarity between an outstanding school in a very well off area and a middle of the road private school. Thus while your study would be interesting I think youd need to think your methodolgy through carefully if you're going to get any conclusive results as there are so maby types of school in both sector s. Its nit as simple as state v private

endlesstidying Mon 03-Feb-14 10:55:28

Ps sorry fpr awful typing on phome with wriggly 18 month old trying to help

AuntieStella Mon 03-Feb-14 11:03:22


pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 11:11:45

endless, you are right and I would think the methodology through very carefully.

I have been conducting my own research (of sorts) with my own DC and there are definite differences in output from DC that I think is primarily related to the sector that they are taught in. I would look at things like parental involvement/support as well as preschool background.

pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 11:12:18

Will have a look at NFER Stella, thanks.

pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 11:35:02

Amongst other things, I wonder whether the more successful prep schools adopt more/less of the state school methodologies/pedagogies.

Is there something to be learnt by state school teachers about the prep school rigour around seemingly inane things like handwriting?

Would love to hear any ideas or experiences?

josephinebornapart Mon 03-Feb-14 12:59:15

I've taught in both sectors too.
I don't think much of what you want to find out is quantifiable.
You'd need to consider parental expectations, parental involvement, selection ( for private schools), ability of the children, and not just teaching methods.

Why would you want to do this research- what would you hope it would show? That smaller classes, more motivated parents and higher expectations produce higher levels of attainment? We already know that.

Jaisalmer Mon 03-Feb-14 13:03:02

Kitten in what ways are the children so very different?

josephinebornapart Mon 03-Feb-14 13:09:28

I didn't find the children so different. Their parents had more dosh, they'd travelled more and had posh hols, were given more pocket money and had experienced a bit more of the world in terms of where they'd been, but there was very little difference in their behaviour - teens are teens in my experience!

pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 13:30:44

josephine, I would hope that it would show that there are things that the state sector could learn from the private sector (focussing particularly on Y2 DC) and vice versa that could improve the outcomes for all DC.

josephinebornapart Mon 03-Feb-14 13:49:11

I thought you'd say that- Mr Gove is already onto it.
But what exactly?

The way teachers are trained is exactly the same whether they end up in a state or private school.

I didn't do anything differently between the sectors. I taught secondary English for years, then specialised in special needs.

Yes, there is more emphasis on handwriting- but what else can you say about that?

I'm sorry but your idea sounds a bit 'waffly- to me and I don't think you will find any evidence.

pickledsiblings Mon 03-Feb-14 14:12:47

I know what the state school has to offer the private, what's harder to distill is what private has to offer state. That's why I though of having teachers exchange settings. I'm not sure if that's been done before at this age (Y2).

Thinking about it, perhaps the EEF would fund it if I can get some teachers on side. Not really sure how to go about that...

Lioninthesun Mon 03-Feb-14 14:25:37

I'd be interested to see some research into children who have no parental help with homework - boarders for example and children who attend after school sessions to do homework if parents are working and can't collect.

I think this actually could be interesting to see if the children learnt more on their own (having to re read text book or find another source of info) and retained the knowledge better or whether talking it through with someone (parent) meant the knowledge was retained better.

As someone who had no help with homework for 10 years I do sometimes find my memory for the homework is better and therefore subjects I did at school have stuck more than some of the day girls I still know, who possibly had more help from siblings or parents.

Re your OP though, we had a lovely History teacher who had been part of that school in London that did a huge U turn mid 90's. She was amazing and said we were by far more receptive that her old kids. She was un-shockable and knew loads of tactics to regain control and interest in her topic not hard after we had spent a whole term previously doing feudal farming systems hmm
Even in our indie school she was one of the best teachers. Pretty sure some of the other teachers couldn't have hacked a state school, having been to one for 6th Form.

averyyoungkitten Mon 03-Feb-14 14:35:07

Clearly others will not agree because they have chimed in and said so but for Jaisalmer,my experience is that the children in my independent school are far more compliant. They are esay to discipline ( although they do little to transgress in the first place).

That is sharp contrast to the state schools where I worked. Even the nicest kids in the state schools I worked in were far more outspoken and wayward in their behaviour.

Add to that the low level disruption caused by more challenging children as well , behaviour management was critical. In my current school actual teaching is important.

Beyond that, I work in a non selective independent so its not an ability issue. It is purely a values and compliance one.

josephinebornapart Mon 03-Feb-14 14:38:55

Lion- boarders do have help with homework- it's called @prep_ and I used to supervise it twice a week until 9pm sad

Obviously younger children don't work that late.

OP do you have a PhD or similar? Are you qualified to carry out research? Not being funny, but this kind of thing is done by people in education depts of universities, who have the contacts and funding already.

I don't think you are thinking this through very carefully- a snapshot of a school day or even a week is not going to show you the differences - only the difference between School A and School B- which is a tiny sample.

I think you have to start with a theory that you try to prove through research- and I don't know what your theory is!

NaffOrf Mon 03-Feb-14 14:42:06

this kind of thing is done by people in education depts of universities,

Exactly. OP, why don't you contact your nearest University Education Dept and speak to someone there?

Lioninthesun Mon 03-Feb-14 14:44:48

Well, we had a teacher walking around checking we were all quiet, but no one teacher was able to help with the range of subjects we had even if they were around. We used to have a 6th former sitting at the front of the room to keep us in check, not a teacher. I don't recall ever having help in all of my 10 years, even at Juniors!

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 03-Feb-14 14:45:52

My ds2 has just moved from yr1 in state to tr2 in public school
The difference is huge. The expectations are so much higher where he is now. The work he is doing is still taught in a gentle way but they are inventive and gave funds available to do things.
They are learning about space so they hired a planetarium for the day. They have had someone come in who worked for NASA etc. it is about firing the eagerness to learn.

I know that the teachers in his old school were totally brilliant. Full of imagination and ideas but the extra fluff round the edges sparks the imagination a bit more.

He reads every day with a teaching assistant and is pushed about cursive writing it is now lovely. His old school didn't have time or bandwidth to do those things.

mary21 Mon 03-Feb-14 14:46:38

A couple of teachers from my DS,s old primary who had a bad reputation as poor teachers moved on to prep schools and did well in them and considered good teachers by parents. Smaller classes, supportive parents. Less diversity among the children clearly helped them teach. Someone else we know taught secondary but couldn't,t cope. Moved to private prep and loved it.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 03-Feb-14 14:48:10

Josephine in all the years I was at boarding school there was no help with homework. (Aged 7-18)

mary21 Mon 03-Feb-14 15:11:03

Boarded too
No help with homework but found allocated time to do it in made me do it!

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