Teachers and recent pupils: how representative is Educating Yorkshire?(70 Posts)
Genuinely just that really.
I fully admit that I have led a privileged and sheltered life, and my education was at private school throughout. I have also been watching Harrow (on Sky 1) and although I went to a
much crapper very minor private school, and it was nearly 20 years ago (shit!), I still recognise huge chunks of that programme from my own education.
So for those in education (or recent leavers) how representative EY is of comprehensive education as a whole, as it was fundamentally different to my own education. I realise that it is very hard to generalise, and schools will vary enormously, but how much of your current or recent school do you recognise?
I have one and half DC at pre-school age, and no relatives/close friends with secondary age children, so I am genuinely curious.
(apologies if this thread has been done already but I couldn't find it on a search)
I went to a secondary modern 25 years ago, and it was very much like EY, so I'm pretty sure there are a lot of schools like this out there today - I then went to an independent school, and it was very different. It was quite dull that the teachers were there to teach, and the pupils to learn. I quite enjoyed the antics of the other pupils.
(Having said that I happily send my DS to a comprehensive)
I went to a private school and then a selective grammar for 6th form and I admit I have been at some of EY although the teachers seemed to be far nicer and have more passion than most of mine ever did.
DD tells me that its quite normal though and she attends a good/outstanding non selective academy where results are ok and above average for the city. She wasn't surprised at any of the goings on in Thornhill.
I have 2 dcs currently at a comprehensive school in Yorkshire and have asked them the same question. They say that school has almost no similarity to theirs in any way except some of the inter pupil banter. That said, nor do they have such a close relationship with their teachers.
That school is in a deprived area, previously doing badly (the one people tried to avoid their dcs going to), and the focus has been on certain 'interesting' pupils. I guess the experience of 90% of the other dcs and teachers who attend the school has no relation to what we see on screen either.
I teach in a large, v mixed, semi-rural comp. I'd say EY resonates with me more for the quality of the teaching staff and the relationships with students than for the behaviour of students - poor in EY, esp in corridors etc. Our kids' behaviour can be tricky but is not as poor as we saw - swearing at staff = immediate isolation for e.g. Our Head is nothing like as hands-on (or effective??) as Mr Mitchell (though I suspect he is less involved with pupils in RL than it appeared).
Remember that it is a TV show and is thus edited to be interesting - kids sitting nicely, working quietly doesn't make good TV!
On other threads on Mumsnet about EY, people have asked their children who were at comprehensives to watch it and say how similar it is. The children said that they would never be allowed to behave like that and were quite shocked by the behaviour. I haven't seen the Harrow programme, but is it a no holds barred, warts and all sort of documentary like EY, where the programme makers have been allowed free access to show all the most shocking bits for entertainment? I do think any school could be edited to look bad in such a programme, but I suspect private schools wouldn't allow the negative bits to be shown.
I taught in two secondaries. One was nothing like it at all. The other - well, the behaviour, etc was very similar tbh. It went into SM on all counts - main difference seemed to be that on EY the head/management were supporting of staff and pupils, unlike where I worked. I left teaching about 11 years ago or so now and would never return to secondary teaching ever!
Educating Yorkshire doesn't even represent thornhill, never mind comps in general
It's a tv show which gives a brief snapshot of a very small number of pupils
It would be boring if it showed well behaved children sitting nicely in class learning stuff
Dd played thornhill at netball the other week and the girls that played were excellent ambassadors for the school
Dd says the behaviour in her school is fairly similar in some classes. Mainly in her form group and lessons like art, music, re where they're not in sets. In the more academic subjects dd is in top sets and she says everyone behaves.
I know in some of her lessons kids have sworn at teachers, refused to leave the class when told to, fist fights, etc. one of her classmates filmed a lesson on their mobile phone and it was like a riot, they'd posted it on YouTube. Everyone was running about screaming.
We used to have one of dd's friends live with us and she's one of the "naughty" kids at school. Thinks nothing of telling teachers to fuck off, walks out of school and the staff can't stop her.
My DD is in year 7 at our local academy, bearing in mind she has only been there six weeks she has witnessed the form teacher being told to "Fuck Off" and another pupil disrupting the lesson and then refusing to leave.
Pretty realistic I'd say, as a teacher in a large comp in a bit of a backwater.
Teacher at average northern comp. Many kids like those in EY (and lots is similar eyebrows). Also kids similar in ability to those in Harrow. We have kids who go to Oxbridge, kids who work in a factory and kids who don't work .. Ever. What the majority of kids would tell you is that they felt safe, were pushed for best grades and were supported. Most kids are happy ( as happy as teenagers can be). Some hate school some love it.
At a comprehensive that is what you get.
Good post PurpleGirly. Totally agree.
I teach in an inner city deprived (bottom 5% of UK) comp.
Behaviour at our place is similar, and sometimes a hell of a lot worse. We were asked to do the show- but said no.
I'd say our grass roots staff (ie. not management) truly go the extra mile for kids every day. Relationships are excellent and staff care about kids' outcomes. Teaching comes low on the agenda after parenting, social work, mentoring etc.
Thanks for the answers! I realise that its a snapshot and will have been heavily edited but given that I think the Harrow programme was a pretty accurate snapshot of (my experience of) private school, I wondered if the same could be said of EY.
Watched the last episode last night (on planner) and was really impressed with the quality of the pastoral care given by the staff, which was probably over and above what I remember from our school. Though being a small, all girls private school, the behavioural issues were much more introverted and therefore probaby dealt with in a much more subtle way. (Think self-harming and anorexia rather than backchatting and violence)
Obviously it was very heavily edited to show only the 'worst' bits, but those bits weren't made up, they were real.
Dh works in a comp which is (on paper) a much better school than Thornhill but says the behaviour is very similar.
It was very similar to the behaviour that I witnessed at my school in the 80s/90s ; though, as Viva says, not in top set lessons, but definitely in mixed ability lessons, corridors and lunch times.
I was petrified during and hated my time at school when not in setted lessons. I was actually scared. I know ds would be too and that is why he doesn't go to a school like that.
Agree with all pps that the staff all showed amazing care and pastoral support. Couldn't fault them. Still wouldn't want ds to go there.
I thought the same about the pastoral care. I went to a girls' grammar in the 80s and we had zero pastoral care. I could have done with some to be frank as I had problems at home.
Very impressed by the pastoral care at Thornhill
It was very similar to the schools my dc have attended recently, except the teachers are obviously going out of their way in terms of their behaviour towards the pupils.
Unfortunately, ime in a school like this when the dc don't care the teachers tend to have a lot more apathy towards their roles and responsibilities. With exception to the Geography teacher who I believe would be like that without the cameras.
Well, there's the thing. It is concerning that a school with behavioural issues can't always attract the very best staff.
I'm not saying that being good at behaviour management/pastoral care and excellent academic teaching to the gamut of ability are mutually exclusive; of course they're not: some teachers are very good at both.
But I do think that some excellent teachers just wouldn't want to have to deal with those kinds of issues and behaviours day in, day out and so would only choose to work in a school with a better discipline record.
It's like the argument that it's difficult to recruit specialist MFL and science and maths teachers these days. Well, yes, for some schools it is and for other schools, they have their pick of tens and tens of excellent applicants.
I have friends who had children at the essex school and heard sime of the back stories which were worse than what was actually portrayed.
But you are watching the behaviour that makes good television and not the everyday good behaviour.
I think the teachers on EY all deserve a medal. Some of the behaviours of the children were awful, but they never gave up on them. Which is something to be admired. And they got the results they wanted from some of the most difficult kids which is brilliant.
Saying that I would hate my dc to go to a similar school.
DH goes to lots of schools.
Educating Yorkshire has been edited to the point of fiction.
The school itself is probably pretty normal, but normal peaceful classrooms don't generate viewing figures.
I watched the first episode with ds (Yr 9 of the local comprehensive) and he couldn't believe how long pupils could go on misbehaving without parents being involved and the big machinery being rolled out.
Yes, there are troubled pupils at his school who behave in similar ways to some of the ones on the programme. It would be odd if there weren't, considering that they have to take everyone, including children from criminal families, children from families going through horrendous times, families with serious problems of substance abuse etc.
But there is no way anyone in his school could get through over 100 instances of being reported to the Head before they even send for the parents.
The pastoral care at ds' school is excellent but they also have a very strong head who backs teachers up and reacts quickly if there is a problem.
Another point about recruiting teachers: even the ones who are excellent at both crowd management and academic teaching might try to avoid a school where they feel their colleagues were blase and had developed low expectations.
My mother taught for many years at a college where aspirations among the teachers were very, very low. It was soul destroying. She liked the pupils but hated going to work.
It's not just about the pupils and the daily struggle, it's about the atmosphere of the staff room.
One of the schools we visited when ds was going up to secondary clearly had very very disillusioned staff; it was apparent just from the 2 minute chats in the corridors that they did not expect their pupils to achieve and saw their job purely in terms of getting through the day as best they could. These were the people who were so badly organised they couldn't even arrange for somebody to be present in reception on visiting evening.
I don't blame them for having got that way. But I would rather clean out toilets than have to work with them.
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