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"an extraordinary renaissance is under way in state schools"

(19 Posts)
eyebrowse Fri 20-May-16 12:25:39

Fraser Nelson claims this in the daily telegraph - I have failed to notice this myself given the shortage of teachers, mess up of the curriculum including SATS blunders and new GCSEs not being ready. Can anyone explain what he means?

noblegiraffe Fri 20-May-16 14:02:49

No idea. Maybe a link to the article would help?

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 20-May-16 22:12:01

I've looked at the article. It doesn't help.

I guess "extraordinary" is probably a valid adjective for the DFE's current approach to state schools. But probably not for the reasons they would claim.

var123 Sat 21-May-16 09:51:02


BombadierFritz Sat 21-May-16 09:59:04

Along the lines of communist style propoganda?
A glorious revolution?
Let a hundred flowers bloom

prh47bridge Sat 21-May-16 10:14:04

As the article to which var123 links shows, Fraser Nelson bases his case in part on the fact that the best state schools are now outperforming independent schools at A-level - something that hasn't happened before. He is also a strong supporter of academies and points to evidence that he believes shows that academies are improving results.

For what it is worth, whilst there is evidence that academies improve results, I think Nelson has a tendency to overstate the evidence.

var123 Sat 21-May-16 10:56:46

Are the best state schools really outperforming the best private ones? Or does FN's statistics exclude iGCSEs?

prh47bridge Sat 21-May-16 11:47:24

His figures look at A-level points so include any equivalent qualifications. And on that measure yes, the best state schools outperform the best private schools. If you look at the top 50 schools in the country on this measure you will find that most of them are state schools.

This is, of course, only one measure, albeit a very important one if your child wants to go to university. Independent schools still outperform state schools at GCSE or equivalent.

Another measure Nelson likes to use is the Good Schools Guide. When it first came out in 1986 only 10 state schools were recommended. Today it recommends 319 state schools.

Backingvocals Sat 21-May-16 11:52:36

My experience of my children's school is that it is hugely better than the school I went to. I only know about primary but lots of my cohort have noticed that standards and expectations are just higher now.

disappoint15 Sat 21-May-16 12:13:47

I've decided to cut and paste a post I made a while ago in a thread about academies about the 'outperforming' and league tables.

"As soon as anything is put in a table schools start to game the system to move up that table. So if you have a table that ranks by average points per pupil, you make your pupils sit more exams - 4 A2s for instance rather than 3, 12 GCSEs rather than 10. This isn't useful to the pupils or necessary for university entrance, but it pushes the school up the tables. A more interesting ranking, for many parents, would be average points per exam entry - how well did the pupils do on average in each A2 they took? If you rank the 2014 table in this way, the results change dramatically. In 1st, 2nd and 3rd place you have three independent schools, St Paul's Girls' School, Wycombe Abbey School and St Paul's School, followed in 4th place by Westminster. The pupils at these schools take fewer exams each but get better results in them. More useful for the pupils and their university entrance, but not shown by the headline way that the table is ordered."

This doesn't diminish the achievement of the highly performing state schools, though most are also selective schools, as are the independent schools. It's fantastic that they are improving and good for everyone. But it's top line rhetoric to say they are outperforming top independent schools. On one measure, they are. But not on the measure of what is most useful for their pupils.

For example, I know a local school who made their pupils take two English GCSEs by different boards and then entered the highest result in their data. No use at all to the children who had to sit two exams but possibly mildly helpful to the crucial 5 A-Cs including Maths and English data that the school had to supply.

Scarydinosaurs Sat 21-May-16 13:00:44

This is about so much more than just exam results- private school students will go on to earn more money and better prepared for the working world. They're taught so much more than just 'how to pass exams' and have an entirely different learning environment in comparison to the majority of state schools.

I can only conclude from the data in that article, that private schools are experiencing strains due to the economic climate, and are losing quality teachers to rival professions and international schools abroad- just like state schools.

LumpySpacedPrincess Sat 21-May-16 15:17:29

More like slipping back into the dark ages where kids repeat facts and have zero critical thinking.

Muskey Sat 21-May-16 15:31:22

Not being goady here but I live in Hampshire. there are very few state schools that actually have their own sixth forms. Most dc go onto sixth form colleges which are imo extremely selective. Is this the reason they are out performing private schools?

Lemonsole Sat 21-May-16 17:49:41

Which sixth form colleges in Hants are selective? In practice, the entry grades tend to be the bare minimum needed to be able access the A level course content, and are lower than that demanded by schools. Peter Symonds in Winchester requires only five grade C GCSE passes, including Maths and English, to start AS courses. This is a lot lower than school sixth forms.

Muskey Sat 21-May-16 18:36:41

Farnborough sixth form college asks for a/bs in all subjects at GCSE (it also happens to be one of the best sixth forms in the country) Basingstoke 6th form the same. That sounds pretty selective to me hence my question.

Lemonsole Sat 21-May-16 18:45:56

Not QMC Basingstoke:

Some courses, eg Sciences, require A and some B (eg MFL) at GCSE because any lower than this makes it unlikely that the student would get an AS pass grade. Exceptions are always made for special cases.

Their overall entry bar is lower than schools, and yet they get better results overall. There isn't a catch - they're simply specialists in A level education.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 21-May-16 18:50:53

Not Farnborough either. Page 9 of their current prospectus tells you what courses you can do if you get mostly C/D/E for GCSEs, and says particular A level subjects might require a B at GCSE - which is the same at any 6th form. My daughter had an unconditional offer from them.

Lemonsole Sat 21-May-16 19:58:44

And, indeed, lower than most school sixth forms. Their top performers generally set the bar at around 6 As.

I always jump in on this issue, because there are a lot of misconceptions about 6th Form Colleges, when the reality is that the vast majority get better results than schools, on less money per student, while they are less selective and add more value.

They are one of the real success stories in state education.

Lemonsole Sat 21-May-16 19:59:27

... And it goes without saying that they do it without being academies, either.

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