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Ok so what are the pros and cons of 2-tier and 3-tier? We are probably moving to 2 tier

(22 Posts)
PerfectPrefect Thu 11-Jun-09 21:03:53


We have just had notification that a consultation period around improvement of secondary education in Leicestershire. The most likely outcome of this is that we will be moving from 3 tier to 2 tier.

What are the pro's and cons of each.

Personally I prefer the idea of 2 tier (I guess that is how I grew up). What worries me is the transition period. I also worry that (based on a previous thread on here) they may close some schools and make others bigger. I had assumed that they would use all the current school resources and just convert a middle school into a full secondary. And convert the high school into another secondary - each with smaller catchment areas. I like the idea of this as the year groups will be smaller. I don't like the idea of huge "academies" which I suspect will be one proposal.

So (other than what I have said) what are the pro's and cons. And how would you express what I have said in teh consultation documents?

PerfectPrefect Thu 11-Jun-09 21:05:03

<The middle and high schools which affect us directly are each nearly 1000 pupils anyway, fully equiped state of teh art sports facilities etc. so could presumably both survive as independant secondaries>

senua Thu 11-Jun-09 23:50:58

Like you, I went through a 2-tier system so it seems more natural. I know that the 3-tier system cuts across the Key Stages so the First/Middle and Middle/High have to waste invest a lot of time in making sure that they co-ordinate the syllabus.

I don't like the make-up of middle schools where you have cute, innocent little Y5 mixing with troublesome, teenagerish Y8.

Because the High schools have fewer years (Y9-Y13) they tend to have a larger number of classes per year, which I don't like. Smaller (but not too small) schools tend to do better. I think the Govt's "expanding successful schools" policy is crackpot!

Kids at High school have only one year (Y9) before they have to make judgements about GCSE choices - doesn't give them much time to settle in.

Can't help about the transition process. Are you due to have any new-build?

CherryChoc Thu 11-Jun-09 23:58:21

This sounds interesting - is the UK moving to a US-like system of education then? I don't know anything about it (don't have school age DCs) but would be interested if anyone could point me in the right direction to learn more.

CherryChoc Thu 11-Jun-09 23:59:02

(In the makeup of the different school groups & year groups I mean, not their whole education system)

southeastastra Fri 12-Jun-09 00:01:59

there's nothing you can do about it even if you're against

happywomble Fri 12-Jun-09 13:33:43

Does anyone know why some areas have them and some don't. I have never lived in an area with a three tier system.

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 13:40:36

Cherry coc

Schools are broken down into 4(5) Key Stages (KS) + foundation

Foundation = reception. Age 4/5
KS1 = Yr1 & Yr2
KS2 = Yr 3-6
KS3 = Yr7-9
KS4 = Yr10&11
(KS5 = Yr12 & 13) (A levels)

Foundatiion, KS1 and KS2 are usually taught at a primary school
KS3 & 4 (and sometimes KS5) are taught at a secondary school

That is a 2 tier system.

In some areas KS1 may be taught at an infant school and KS2 at a junior school - but where this happens they are (I think) usually pretty much on the same site.

A 3 tier system is where Foundation, Ks1 and KS2 is taught at primary (or infants/juniors)
KS3 is taught a middle school and KS4 is taught at a high school. There is a bit of variabilties between LEAs (and within) as to where teh boundaries between Primary/middle and high occur. In or case they stay at primary to Yr6, middle until Y9 and high until Yr13 (if they do A levels). Some schools do Yr6 at middle school and Yr9 at high school - which is where they split the KS levels.

I don't think it is goin=g more like the US system - although TBH I don't actually understand the Ammercian system.

What I am talking about here is our local schools changing from a system which isn't actually common in the UK to the one which is used more.

sacky Fri 12-Jun-09 13:41:03

Our area has just gone from 3tier to 2tier. I have taught in both systems.

IMO, 2tier is better. By 11yo most children are ready for specialist teaching (middle school teachers are overwhelmingly primary trained) and also need to be at the bottom of the heap or they get a bit cocky, IMO. Having a school end in the middle of a Key Stage is also a bit awkward/unnatural.

Cons of 2tier: 11yo are exposed to 16yo and may be intimidated etc by this, also by the large buildings. The change-over has been v problematic in our area, esp wrt buildings. We are promised a whole raft of new schools but in the meantime kids are being squished into buildings that are too small/lots of mobile classrooms etc. Teachers have been demoralised by having to re-apply for their own jobs. But I think in 3 years time, when the dust has settled, this will have been an excellent change for the pupils of the district.

happywomble Fri 12-Jun-09 13:44:26

Its interesting that in the private sector the prep schools still tend to go up to 13 rather than 11.

I wonder why it is considered good to have a change at 13 in the private sector but 11 in the state sector?

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 13:45:11

Cons of 2tier: 11yo are exposed to 16yo and may be intimidated etc by this, also by the large buildings

+ the buildings are large at middle school anyway (nearly 1000 pupil large!). They will start doing to some extra curricular activities there to aclimatise a bit.

. The change-over has been v problematic in our area, esp wrt buildings. We are promised a whole raft of new schools but in the meantime kids are being squished into buildings that are too small/lots of mobile classrooms etc. Teachers have been demoralised by having to re-apply for their own jobs. But I think in 3 years time, when the dust has settled, this will have been an excellent change for the pupils of the district.

Sacky - how long does it take to change? What are the logistics of the change? How long into change are you? How long ago was your consultation?

As I say it is the change that worries me and the prospects of having these super school academy things with 2500+ pupils I don't like.

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 13:45:58

Prep schols round here only go up to age 11.

sassy Fri 12-Jun-09 13:49:24

I think our consultation started about 3 years before the change happened. Most parents did not want to move to 2tier (I did) but are fine with it now it has happened. Just want to see the investment we were promised into the school environments. My dds' primary school was supposed to move into the old middle school buildings last summer hols; the build is just being completed now, a whole year later.

sassy Fri 12-Jun-09 13:49:54

this is sacky, with my real name BTW

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 13:54:50

Not sure about rebuilding.

Apparently they have (want) £80million from teh government to rebuild and refurbish.

TBH the catchment middle and high schools are both reportedly "state of the art" for sports and arts facilities so I can't see them starting again.

3yrs....will just as DTDs hit Yr7sad

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 13:55:30

Sorry - didn't actually notice it was 2 different names. Sassy/Sacky whats the difference grin

sassy Fri 12-Jun-09 14:04:59

I wouldn't worry too much about Y7 onward; I think it was the pupils at the top end of primary who have been most disadvantaged by the change. They were kept on for 2 years by teachers who had never taught older than Y4, and in buildings that just weren't big emough for them.

They have closed 4 primary schools in our district BTW, out of a total of about 25. 2 were viilage schools (semi-rural area), 2 were small schools, v close to bigger ones.

fruitshootsandheaves Fri 12-Jun-09 14:05:51

Our schools are in the process of removing the 3 tier system. dd2 who is currently in year 7 will still change at year 9 from middle school to upper school.
Ds2, however, is in year 3 and will be the first year to stay at his primary school till year 7.
This means major disruption with teachers leaving, primary schools having to extend and middle schools closing.
Despite reassurances that out children will be little affected this will not been the case.
So beware because I can see more areas phasing out middle schools.

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 14:14:51

They are not mentioning primaries. All of teh "priority schools" are middle/high schools which are either Yr7-9 or Yr10-11(13)

There are also some considerations for a couple "proper" secondary's which I assume would get funding for refurb.

The primaries feeding the "priority schools" all go to teh end of KS2 - so there would be no need to change them. our school is one of the larger village schools (and rapidly expanding) so I suspect it is safe...although who knows?

It is strange. When they announced this in May 2008 the announcement was that the middle/high school system across Leicestershire would be gone by [whatever date]. Now we have teh consultation docs apparently the middle/high school system is still an option hmm. I suspect this will scupper them getting the government investment though...

They also have 0-19 as an option!

i am worried that it will all be happening as DTDs start Yr7 - as this is when they will be moving to a middle school/seconday school. I just worry that they will get heavily caught up in the transition if they are in any part of the KS3/KS4 process during transition

CherryChoc Fri 12-Jun-09 18:24:54

Oh I see - sorry, I got confused. I think the American system is like the 3 tier system then, because they have elementary school (our primary school) from 4 or 5 to 10, I think, middle school from 10 to 14 and high school from 14 to 18. (or roughly, anyway)

I didn't even know there were middle schools in the UK, so I was getting confused grin I have only come across the 2-tier system.

PerfectPrefect Fri 12-Jun-09 18:35:45

I didn't think there were 3 tier either until I moved to Leicestershire. I didn't understand what a midlde or high school was.

qumquat Sun 21-Jun-09 20:23:30

I went through a 3 tier system (Northumberland) and loved it. My experience of teaching in both systems also bears this out. I think that the change from cute little Primary school to big scary Secondary can be absolutely terrifying and set little year 7s back a lot. The more gentle change from First to Middle to High School is much easier to cope with. Also, yr9s in 11-16 schools have generally become bored and dissaffected, whereas yr9s in High Schools are filled with the new experience and keen to learn, which I think helps motivate them trhough GCSEs. Yr 7s and 8s are just little kids really and I think they fit much better with yr5s and 6s than with 15/16 yr olds. Middle School also allow for a more integrated curriculum in year 7 and 8, again I feel 11 is far too young to be traipsing from classroom to classroom studying isolated subjects, although admittedly a lot of secondary schools are beginning to offer an integrated curriculum at yr 7 and 8, but it is the Middle School staff who actually have the experience of doing this, secondary school teachers often don't really understand integrated curriculum and it doesn't work very well. And finally, I think it's better for teachers, I love teaching teenagers but find yr7s and 8s a trial, whereas friends of mine love the little yr7s and 8s but struggle with the older kids, 3 tier systems enable teachers to play to their strengths and work with the kids they are most comfortable with.

But all my thoughts are just whistling in the wind because the Middle Schools are going anyway as they are too expensive, despite massive parental support (in my part of the world at least).

As an aside, I think it's interesting that the Public Schools also move children up at 13 rather than 11, it makes me wonder why the state school system plumped for 11 in the first place, rather than following the Public School model, may have to do some research into that! To me, 13 is a more natural age to move up.

Sorry for rant, getting off soap box now!

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