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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:30 pm 
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I've just read a piece by Alice Thomson on The Times. I just copied parts of what she said, to compare Germany and Britain:

"As Germany shows, creating an aspirational, flexible and rigorous state sector can make private schools redundant.

I went to almost every type of school in England and was also educated in Germany. My mother was a headmistress in both sectors and I have been a governor in fee-paying and state schools. Far from being the problem, private schools provide the potential solution for the rest of the country. Other schools don’t need to imitate them, but they can learn from their success.

There is no reason why state schools can’t overtake private schools. A German friend of mine, whose son had been at a highly selective private school in London, discovered on returning to Munich that he was a year behind in maths and science and needed extra coaching to catch up.

Bavarian pupils start at the age of six, but lessons are rigorous, and children and parents have a choice of three types of school at 11 depending on their inclinations and interests. Their results are so successful that less than 1 per cent of children attend private schools.

The best answer for those who don’t like the idea of private education is to make state schools so admirable that they become the places everyone wants to attend. Instead of sneering at or apologising for some of our greatest schools, we should ensure the state sector becomes so impressive that it makes independent schools redundant. "

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/c ... 285431.ece

We all know how powerful and wealthy Germany is on the international stage. Indeed we may say in the recent times, Germany is more powerful than Britain. So it seems incredible that their elites are the products of state schools, unlike Britain.

Essentially, is the influence of independent schools the result of the class system in Britain? The rich and the elites would send their children to independent schools, if they can get away with it (avoiding the media criticism). And as many have argued, the main point about independent schools is their Eton-like network.

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:14 pm 
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You seek a lot of opinion. Are you a journalist writing article?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:49 pm 
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No, I'm just a mother who seeks to understand the complexities of life in Britain today.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:10 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
I would give this thread about 10 posts before the moderators step in and lock it :lol:

it is so politically loaded!

btw British Society as we know it has evolved since 1066 it is very different to Germany and over that period on average much more successful eg number of Noble Winners some of the best universities in the world.

and what ever else you say "don't mention the war" :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:11 pm 
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Location: West Essex
"Aspirational" = Selective

"Selective" = Not fair!

This is why we can't square the circle here in the UK.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:33 pm 
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Germany has a fully selective education system with assignment to one of three tracks at age 10. Unlike the UK the curricula are different in each track. The top one -Gymnasium - is a grammar school. Students in these schools are usually very successful and the leaving certificate gives access to university.

If you go to one of the other schools - Realschule or Hauptschule - you can kiss goodbye to your university prospects at age 11. You are extraordinarily unlikely to be able to change track in an upwards direction. None of the headlines waxing lyrical about the excellence of German education ever talks about the Hauptschule, where most children go.

Germany has some of the most unequal outcomes of any country in terms of many international tests. It is one very good reason why we should not hope for more grammar schools here. They are worried about this themselves and are addressing their 3 tier system, albeit with baby steps. Utopia it is not.

The Times article, which I have read, is shockingly inaccurate and one-dimensional, based on anecdote. I've lived in Germany and written about this subject myself and suggest that there is a lot more to it than this shallow article implies.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:42 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
I knew this already

the only truly egalitarian system I know is the Finnish model( in the developed world) although even that is not perfect

but I do not have the knowledge or wit to put it as eloquently as yourself.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:06 am 
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The only way to reduce the influence of independent schools is to bring the standards higher in state schools than the independent schools. That require adequate funding, more grammar schools for higher ability children, system for moving up to grammar schools, more streaming and setting in non-grammar schools, rewarding good teachers and removing poorly performing teachers etc.

Oops, entered in 'hard hat' thread. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:51 am 
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tiffinboys wrote:
The only way to reduce the influence of independent schools is to bring the standards higher in state schools than the independent schools. That require adequate funding, more grammar schools for higher ability children, system for moving up to grammar schools, more streaming and setting in non-grammar schools, rewarding good teachers and removing poorly performing teachers etc.

Oops, entered in 'hard hat' thread. :wink:
I would be very interested to see the evidence upon which you base your opinions, particularly wrt to streaming and setting.

Those who advocate more grammar schools are less likely to say they would like to see more secondary modern schools. Which is a little short-sighted because that is where most children go in a selective system. Those saying they want more grammars tend to be middle class people who assume their children will get into them. They also can be relied upon to shout the loudest if their offspring fail to access them, and help to form the market for the private sector.

The problem will never be the high-achieving rich kids, but the low-achieving poor ones. Richer, more advantaged people ignore that at their peril because the more you divide a society, the more you risk a disaffected underclass and once you have that, then you can forget all about social cohesion, law and order and peace and harmony. And that affects everyone. I read the other day that pupils at St Paul's school in London have been told to wear hoodies rather than blazers offsite as they are being mugged for their expensive 'phones and iPads. That is the future if we don't address some of the equality issues we face.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:49 am 
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Who is this middle class parent? So easy to dismiss aspiration for a place in grammar school as middle class phobia. I am certainly not a middle class if you define it by earning over £40k or living in 4 bedroom detached house in millionaires' row or parent being Oxbridge graduate.

I know both our local grammars have extremely good results to show among the 16 thousand or so Secondary schools here. Our 2 non-grammar schools which have streaming and have a top form (usually referred to as grammar stream), have been showing very good results, with top set performing nearly as well as grammar schools. This is good enough evidence for me to suggest we need more grammars and more setting/streaming in non-grammars.


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