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'Massively' improved state schools threaten private sector

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Yoda-, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

  2. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    It won't matter because all the good free schools will go private anyway probably...
  3. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    I can't keep track...Are schools improving or not?

    One week we're falling despairingly down the international rankings and failing to teach children the basic skills they need in the workplace, the next we're so massively improved that private schools are feeling threatened.
    cissy3, Scintillant and phlogiston like this.
  4. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Exactly. It would be worth writing a response to the Guardian directly. The Times also had this story on the front page yesterday. So what are we meant to believe?
    A. British schools are so bad that kids are dumber than ever.
    B. British schools are so good that kids are achieving higher than ever.
    cissy3 likes this.
  5. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I think that the "Good Schools Guide" editor is the weak link in this article. It's a great story for him to push his guide. But what if lots of parents believe it?

    It would make little difference whether he is right or wrong about state school performance, if parents decided to move from private to state schools. Perhaps give David Cameron a copy?
    cissy3 likes this.
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    This is a joke isn't it.

    I can only think of one decent state school in Enfield. Many of the schools around here that Ofsted has graded outstanding are pretty mediocre. I'm sure this situation is reflected throughout the country. Baring exceptions such this this, parents with money, who care about their kids education will always choose private.
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Meanwhile (and I'm not making this up - it really is happening) the rubbish private schools are allowed to turn into free schools and receive state funding.

    State schools which cannot attract sufficient pupils for similar reasons are forced to shut...
    Yoda- likes this.
  8. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    There certainly are some high performing state schools in the London area that get better results than nearby private schools.
    Some selective state grammar schools are so oversubscribed that they can cream off an extremely talented intake. Although private schools often have entrance tests, their intake is limited to people who also have a lot of money. Fewer children to select from.
    With the private schools ( compared to selective state schools) what parents are getting is not necessarily better teaching or brighter children, but a particular type of cohort - wealthy- and slightly better facilities, e.g. a swimming pool.
    Money alone means very little, compared to character, ability and conscientiousness.
  9. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Not so. 41,400 kids in the independent sector are on bursaries that average £8,227 per year, and several thousand parents with very limited income pay no fees at all. In addition, there are scholarships of up to 50% of fees available, some employers (including the armed forces) pay the fees, teaching staff get an often sizeable discount for their own children, in choir schools the cathedral or college usually pays most of the fees, etc.
  10. Mr. Numb

    Mr. Numb New commenter

    I cannot believe the shoddy journalism of the Guardian in publishing this story.

    First of all, why does the Guardian accept the "Good Schools author" as some authority who can properly judge the state of State education? As far as I know he has 1200 schools in his guide - 300 of which are in the State sector. How has he made the decision to include them? Did he independently inspect all of them? Unlikely. So where does he get his "data" from? Same as the rest of us, presumably, from Ofsted reports and league tables. Does anyone working as a teacher seriously trust this "data" as evidence about the true state of State education?

    Secondly, according to official statistics more students than ever attend Independent schools. Surely, this fact alone should have made the Guardian "journalist" question the accuracy of declaring government changes a success.

    Thirdly, even if 300 schools in the state sector can measure up to Independent schools how can that possibly be seen as evidence that the whole state sector is improving?

    Nevertheless, the Guardian allowed a DfE spokesperson to say at the end of the article that this story disproved all the doubters speaking of the downside of government changes and shows how the DfE needs to push ahead relentlessly with its pace of "reform". I am reminded of Mao at the height of the Great Leap Forward declaring his reforms a "success" and told his peasants to work even harder.
    old_dobbin and Yoda- like this.
  11. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    What is really happening is that some schools have been able to re-introduce selection. It is not the teaching that the people I know who have paid to send their children to public school. They have paid the school fees to make sure their children don't have to be in the same classroom as the children they consider to be yobbos.

    It is a fear thing encouraged by OFSTED and the gutter media and is a negative choice rather than a positive one.

    The schools have not improved other than to get rid of the children the people with money don't want their children to share a classroom with.
  12. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    There's a lot of truth in this. You only need a couple of yobbos to totally wreck the learning for the rest of the class.

    There's an independent school near me that gets very good GCSE results. However, I think this has less to do with the standard of teaching than the fact that the head won't hesitate to expel kids who step out of line. This contention is supported, by the fact many leave to continue their sixth form education elsewhere.
  13. Iftilsi

    Iftilsi New commenter

    “The classrooms are crowded, our corridors are narrow and in terms of our sports facilities, they’re limited,” says head teacher Idrish Patel. Bolton Muslim girls’ school (BMGS) – once independent, now an oversubscribed state school for Muslim girls in the town – does not have flashy sports facilities or even a kitchen. But despite its humble building, the school achieves impressive results.

    When judged alongside other schools where at least 30% of students are from disadvantaged backgrounds, it’s third in the country for GCSE performance. This makes BMGS one of the only non-London schools to break the capital’s stranglehold on the top league table spots.

    In 2015, 83% of its students achieved five or more A*–Cs, including English and maths, at GCSE. Among its disadvantaged students – 32% of the school’s intake – attainment is slightly higher.

    Patel puts the school’s success down to strong community links and hardworking staff. A priority for the school is ensuring teachers have a work-life balance – something he says is enhanced by the weekly timetable. “Our school starts early – we want teachers on site at 8am to start at 8.15am. But on Friday we finish at 12pm so they have an extended weekend of two and a half days. The design is completely different.”

    Lessons also finish at 2.25pm on Wednesdays, so teachers then have an hour to spend on professional development or analysing students’ progress.

    Data analysis has been key to the school’s success, adds Patel. He describes their system as “laser sharp”. “We do fine grading – we want to see the specific knowledge needed for each learner: who is borderline, who needs pushing, how much more can we push them?”

    If a student is lagging behind, extra support is provided on a one-to-one or a small group basis. Lesson plans are also adapted: “After the tracking and assessment the teachers identify areas for development and the lessons are structured around building on those gaps.”

    Students at the school begin their GCSEs as early as year 9, to reduce the pressure of exams. “We spread it out, we don’t put everything in one year,” says Patel. “So, for example, in year 8 some are starting to think about what options they want to go for and what pathways are open to them.”

    In year 9, students spend time developing the skills needed to grasp a subject at GCSE level before moving on to the key knowledge required. School should be a place where students can afford to make mistakes, he says.

    Across Bolton, the average GCSE pass rate for five A*–Cs including English and maths is 57% – compared with London boroughs which range from 52% to 73%. Schools in the area face a mix of challenges – from the struggle to recruit teachers, to higher than average levels of deprivation.

    Patel says the school is fortunate to have parents who are keen to be involved in their children’s education – and committed staff who are happy to make appointments to see family members outside of the usual open evening schedule.

    The school’s success is a boost to the local community, he adds. “Regardless of whether it’s a Muslim school or non-Muslim school, as British citizens we all expect everybody to excel, regardless of class, religion or which part of the UK you’re living in.”

    His next hope for the school? To keep up the results, and maybe – if funding permits – get a new canteen.
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Why don't you just set up a load of free schools, Mr Ifti?

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