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There's a "culture of low expectation" in secondary schools. Do you agree?

(712 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 13:01:49

Hello. You may have seen/heard on the news today that Ofsted is warning that thousands of bright secondary-school-age children are being "systematically failed" at school.

And we'd like to know what you think about this.

Ofsted says there is a culture of low expectations in England's non-selective secondaries - meaning that, according to a new Ofsted report, more than a quarter (27%) of pupils who achieved the highest results in primary school fail to achieve at least a B grade in both their English and their Maths GCSE.

The most academically able, says Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, arrive "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" from primary school, but things start "to go wrong very early. They tread water. They mark time. They do stuff they've already done in primary school. They find work too easy and they are not being sufficiently challenged."

Do you think this is a fair reflection of life at secondary school? Do you think your child's secondary school has a low expectation of its pupils/your child? Does/did your child "tread water" in Year 7? Do you wish secondary schools did more to challenge their more academically able pupils?

Please do tell!

EvilTwins Wed 03-Jul-13 17:31:34

Which is the L8 subject?

jellybrain Wed 03-Jul-13 13:36:58

Haven't read the whole thread but, I do think that there is an element of coasting in some schools for bright kids. We have just had DS2s end of year report for Y8 which includes his targets for the end of KS3 he has only one subject with a level 8 target and in most subjects he is expected to make just 1 sub level of progress in an entire year. His current levels already include a number of level 7s. He is achieving what's being asked of him but, is not being challenged. The only subject in which additional work has been set is French and even that seems to have petered out to nothing.
I can see parent's evening being quite full on this time.

NotEnoughTime Mon 01-Jul-13 16:25:13

I would say it very much depends on the school.

At the secondary school that my son is going to in September there is a very high expectation (amongst the staff AND the pupils) that the children will work hard and do their very best there.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 17:37:49

Apparently New Zealand has a good system, but someone who knows it criticised it saying 'well these days ANYBODY can get a qualification'. I see this as a strength in a system - this particular woman saw it as a weakness.

Talkinpeace Wed 26-Jun-13 17:28:46

Finland is notorious for bringing all students up to a certain level but doing nothing to help the bright aspire to greatness.

KIPP schools in New York are not representative of the main stream US system.

next try

wordfactory Wed 26-Jun-13 17:18:41

I'm also a huge fan of KIPP schools in the States.

I've kindly been invited a few times to the one in NYC and am in awe of the teachers there. As are the kids.

They certainly do not have low aspiration, no matter how disadvanatged the pupils.

wordfactory Wed 26-Jun-13 17:15:23

Well the lovely poster cory tells me Finland and Sweden.

But I guess they are both a lot less socially diverse than the UK. I imagine too (though this is based on short visits not evidence) that celebrity culture isn't so big there.

Talkinpeace Wed 26-Jun-13 17:13:28

name both - in one country

wordfactory Wed 26-Jun-13 16:57:43

Better, as in more respect for teachers? Or higher educational aspiration?

Perhaps the two go hand in hand?

Talkinpeace Wed 26-Jun-13 15:29:03

Which country would you say does it better?

wordfactory Wed 26-Jun-13 09:17:39

I think the UK as a whole is quite ambivalent about education generally.

Look at the way teachers are treated. Look at the way celebrity culture pervades daily life.

It wouldn't be a great surpirse if this seeps down into school life for students...

Talkinpeace Tue 25-Jun-13 22:47:22

none of my DCs gangs of friends laugh at them for being bright and hardworking
then again most of DDs friends just collected their prefect ties so they clearly have low expectations

teacherwith2kids Tue 25-Jun-13 18:47:24

Certainly IME it is some - and depending on the ethos of the school, may be very few indeed, especially as 'like minded students' tend to congregate together and this may be less susceptible to the views of others.

Arisbottle Tue 25-Jun-13 18:45:29

Do all children laugh at the serious students and call them a boffin or some? Do all children lack aspiration or just some?

IME it is the latter for both.

AndreaDawn Tue 25-Jun-13 14:42:47

Coming back here from the US where all my children's peers wanted to belong to the straight A and Honour Roll, to the kids here who laugh at the serious students and make fun of them, calling them posh and boffin!
The mind set here is totally different and is a daily uphill struggle to maintain high standards. A few good teachers, the rest are distinctly average in our local supposedly "good" school. I am so thankful that both my kids had the majority of their schooling done in America, which gave them a great work ethic and a burning passion to be the best they can be.

xylem8 Mon 24-Jun-13 20:38:50

Not my experience at all
20 children (more than 1 in 6) got 10A*s or better at GCSE

wonderingagain Mon 24-Jun-13 19:38:16

I met someone else today whose son got into a Russell Group university on his BTEC. Apparently they prefer it for environmental science.

This is relevant because BTEC L3 isn't often taught in selectives and BTECs are actually very challenging yet they are seen as second best and would have some parents worrying and thinking their child wasn't being pushed enough.

One up for the non-selective, underachievers.

Talkinpeace Sun 23-Jun-13 15:24:27

Some of the most inspiring teachers - in my case Dr Wood who taught me for two years and made me want to do a degree in the subject - are those who say
"I don't know, lets find out"

the most irritating teachers are those who think they know it all.

Nobody does, life is a learning process. I'm damned good at what I do but I'm constantly trying to get new ideas and develop so that I can be better.

Arisbottle Sat 22-Jun-13 22:04:21

Sorry pressed too soon, I suspect our school is very similar to the one that evil says was downgraded to needs improvement and the issues may be similar.

Arisbottle Sat 22-Jun-13 22:03:05

I agree Evil that kind of teaching is not wanted by OFSTED, our school has worked hard to reduce teacher talk. In my experience teachers are often quite big characters who can naturally dominate a room and allowing others to take centre stage does not come naturally to us.

Our school was Ofsteded earlier in the year and we were told that our students were too compliant and well behaved!

EvilTwins Sat 22-Jun-13 20:45:01

Oops... Some selectives/independents is a one-way ticket to inadequate. Obviously in independent schools, that doesn't matter as they're not slaves to ofsted.

EvilTwins Sat 22-Jun-13 20:43:53

I don't think that schools are able to get away with that style of teaching any more. A school local to me, where 2 friends teach, was recently downgraded from Outstanding to Requires Improvement. It is a non-selective state school but has a good reputation in the area and therefore attracts a lot of middle class parents. It is also the kind of school where teachers stay put- there are very few behaviour issues and because it's over-subscribed, it can use exclusion as leverage more than an emptier school can. The biggest criticism from ofsted, and one if the main reasons it was down graded was Teaching & Learning. Too much "chalk & talk", too much teacher talk, not enough independent learning. Google the current ofsted framework- the "old school" style of teaching favoured in some selevt

Arisbottle Sat 22-Jun-13 20:16:15

I agree beatback, but from talking to my son, to many of his teachers, to many ex grammar teachers and from observing in our local grammars, there is a lot of open your text book and answer questions 1-10 type lessons and the homework is usually answer questions 11-20.

beatback Sat 22-Jun-13 20:00:43

Does child centred learning only involve less able pupils,because i would have thought it would involve all across the abilty range and therefore still be very relevant within a Grammar School. Surely child centred learning is about enjoying as well as learning, regardless of school or academic expectations.

Arisbottle Sat 22-Jun-13 19:50:05

So is your husband in classrooms?

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