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 Post subject: Depressing Open evening
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:31 pm
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Location: East Lancs
We've just been to the local comp's open evening. The idea was that they would have all their best equipment and things out and we would talk it up to DD so she wouldn't be too upset to go there if she doesn't pass the 11+. Well they did, and we did, but honestly :roll: We listened to the headmaster's talk, he was so proud that this year 53% of GCSE candidates got 5+ A* - C inc English and Maths. It is a huge improvement on last years 35% but still I can't get over the fact that almost half the children that go to that school leave with less :( He kept talking about how
Quote:
"We reward the "average kids" for all their hard work, as they keep plodding along but never quite make it to the top"
and a lot was said about SEN children but very little was mentioned about G&T children.
To be fair to the school it was fairly well equipped with interactive white boards in every class, and they have recently refurbished some of the science and DT labs. But it does seem to be trying to distance itself from academic studies. They offer a Dance GCSE (in a new dance studio) and a Catering GCSE (in a fairly basic home ec room) along with "an increasing range of the new Diploma qualifications". ??

They gave us the Percentage of pupils achieving Level 5 or above in year 9 SATs in 2009: English 81%, Maths 77%, Science 76%. My DD was already at level 5 on all these by the end of year 5.
Nothing he said inspired confidence that my DD would reach her potential at that school.

When we had a look around the Grammar last week, it was the first High School DD had ever been to and she was overwhelmed by it, she came away very quiet and I thought that maybe she didn't like it. But now, having something to compare it to, she see's how much more the Grammar has to offer and says she would much rather go to there. The best she had to say about the comp was "It wasn't too bad I suppose"


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
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how utterly depressing.
I'm not from your region, but the sentiments are universal.
I, too, have always struggled with these dismal percentages for what are, surely, p*** poor results anyway - for FIVE GCSEs to be held up as a sort of golden score. FIVE! After being at school for 12 years, kids have as target norm just five, all of which can be "C".
The trouble is, that everyone's too anxious of appearing dismissive of the achievements of the less able but the children being sacrificed are the ones whom it is alright, apparently, not to focus on. We can celebrate sporting achievement, endure the humiliation of not being picked etc but find it hard to push for "support" (dread word) for the cleverer.
You have my sympathies. Our local comp is great with the clever, so I've heard. I think it's nearer 3/4 get the hallowed five. (Still a quarter who don't).
Dance and all that stuff great - I think these subjects attract extra points, too, don't they?? Slightly out of my depth with points, having foolishly thought the marks alone sufficed for representation of achievement but seemingly not. I think the less academic subjects somehow get more points.
We don't need a world comprised solely of kids brandishing As in Latin, but a little more recognition that they exist would be nice!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:37 pm
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Hi Nathair
I know how you feel :( although my daughter is now at grammar school we went and looked around our catchment school (and others) last year in case she didn't get in to the school of her choice. In 2008 it was the 3rd lowest in my county for GCSE results but since becoming an academy I'd heard good things about it, it had been virtually rebuilt, new ICT suite, new sports hall, etc. We went to look round on a school morning to get a real view of the way the school ran. I was appalled at the behaviour of the kids, no respect for the teachers or staff. The person that showed us round spent most of the time explaining how they dealt with 'naughty' children, telling us that they have a seclusion room for the worst behaved. When I questioned what they did to encourage children that were bright we were told they received attendance awards ! The final straw was when she told us that children had their mp3 players on in class, when I queried this she said 'well you try telling them they can't wear them' As I'm sure you can imagine we left pretty quick and told them we wouldn't be looking to send our child to their school.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:11 am 
I really feel for you Nathair and I hope DD does pass the 11+.

Quote:
We don't need a world comprised solely of kids brandishing As in Latin


If only - I wouldn't be if surprised if less than 1% of the school population get this! :(


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I really feel for you Nathair. At a couple of the Upper schools we were considering for DS there seemed to be a lot of effort put into making the "less able" and disruptive children feel as if they had achieved something (anything) to the detriment of the average and above average children. There seemd to be an assumption that the clever children had already been creamed off and gone to grammar school and the ones left fell into the "under-achievers" or "behavioural difficulties" categories. This is despite the fact that 70% of Bucks children go to Upper schools. There were no systems in place for the very able children who, for one reason or another, had not gone to grammar school. I feel really sorry for them as the best they are now expected to achieve is far below their actual potential. It was made worse when the HT wheeled out the token boy/girl who had gained 9 high grade GCSE - they were made to look like the oddity - the ones who had bucked the trend.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:31 pm
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Location: East Lancs
andyb wrote:
It was made worse when the HT wheeled out the token boy/girl who had gained 9 high grade GCSE - they were made to look like the oddity - the ones who had bucked the trend.

He did exactly that! The one poor child who has probably gone through 5 years of bullying from other kids. Had teachers who wish they could do more but have their hands full with the kids who don't want to be there, and has managed to get good grades despite the school they went to :evil:
I know that if the worst happens and my DD doesn't get to Grammar she could be that child and it's not a good thought; Why should any child have to strive to achieve despite their school? And suffer for the 5 years at the hands of kids who have no expectations?
We were shown around by a lovely girl who was a Year 11 prefect, I asked her what her plans when she has finished at school; She didn't think she would bother with collage because the shoe shop were she has a saturday job has said it will give her a full time job when she's 16 :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:06 pm 
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T.i.p.s.y wrote:
If only - I wouldn't be if surprised if less than 1% of the school population get this! :(


I know that you know that I know that ... oh you get my point. But for anyone who might not, I was trying to dredge up my caring side and show that I know education isn't "merely" results, that learning takes place in many different ways and that for those who try etc, it's great that they can put their energies into dance etc. One of our best friend's daughter despite one of the most expensive educations on the planet emerged, smiling, with NO GCSEs whatsoever. She's lucky, she has chilled parents with buckets of cash, plus she is a very talented photographer (has started winning awards and stuff right from the off) so no end of geography GCSEs were going to make any difference to her.

My gripe is the blaming the schools bit (not here in this strand) when the elephant in the room is so much bigger, parents, expectations, sense of possibly undeserved entitlement, aggression triumphing etc. Often the facilities at these underachieving schools are fantastic, the staff are committed (a good chum is an art teacher at a dive of a school and a more fantastic teacher would be hard to find; she is routinely hit in the arm by a pupil who, apparently, is very fond of her: shame he has to stab her with a compass to prove it). It's not the schools per se always, it's the catchment, it's the poor kids born into hopeless cycles of due and entitlement without a jot of responsibility or backing. In that context, five GCSEs is probably pretty impressive.
I speak as someone who saw part of Secret Millionaire this week. Still in priviliged shock.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:26 pm 
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I totally agree with you Milla.
It is a huge achievement to take a child coming in at 11 with low literacy and numeracy skills and sometimes unsupportive parents and send them out with 5 GCSEs. Although it is "nice to know" that my daughters' grammar school does well in league tables, part of me thinks so they should do well :shock: They take the top 120 from far and wide most of whom come from homes where education is prized.

However I do sympathise fully with the original post.If educational outcomes really matter to you then you don't want your child to be the exception for getting 10+ good GCSEs.

I hope your daughter does well in her 11+ Nathair and everyone else who is taking it for that matter. I don't envy you all :cry: I am glad of a few years off from that one. Such a shame it feels like such a battle at times to get the right school for your child :(


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:41 pm 
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I wonder if the middle school system tends to be more successful?

Something clearly "happens" between primary and secondary and whether it's as simple as size ... but then again the cost of resources needs to reach to a wide net to make it doable; also, with regard to size, what might seem an enormous school to us, might be less so to a child who tends to see the size relevant to them. Or whether it's that we put children in at the bottom, in year 7 and adults emerge (hopefully!) at Y13, and such a massive change happens physically and emotionally as well, (again, hopefully!) as academically. All in a few short years.

At least with middle schools, children go in at Y6 and the initial maturing happens in a smaller context, and then from Y9 to Y11/13 the stages are shorter, the range of ages to deal with reduced.

An awkward truth is that they are chucked in together at an impressionable and half-formed age and have to get on with it, learning how to survive as well as study. As adults we can choose to withdraw ourselves from situations alien to us which is something pretty much denied children


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:54 pm 
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I just thought I would add my 2p. My autistic nephew this summer passed 4GCSEs - way beyond anyones expectations. The school are very proud of him (as we all are) despite now adding to the 'poor results' of a fantastic state comp - the only school that would take him - thay need not have entered him for any GCSE's and that would have brought their overall pass rate percentage up (he can fall off the register because he is statemented), but they worked with him and helped him. He has encountered no bullying: in fact he is a popular boy even though he is obviously 'different'.
Results can be viewed in many many different ways. What is important is the impression you get from seeing the school in action. Good facilities and good behavoir account for so much.


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