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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:27 pm
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I can't help thinking that all this is mad!. Cramming ten year olds for exams to the extent that certain question types are recommended not to be tutored for as they won't come up in this or that type of paper. Schools (independent and state) and LEAs know this goes on but haven't come up with an assessment method that doesn't reward such cramming.
Leaving this insanity aside, can I ask what would parentsl ook for in say an ordinary non-selective state school to which they would be willing to send their children - keep the answers short, bullet point style so we can get a picture.[/i]


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:35 pm
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.you are very bossy(short and to the point)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:19 pm 
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Bossy? Moi?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:42 am
Posts: 235
Location: South Warwickshire
I agree with the original poster, it is ridiculous. Having said that, our area (Warwickshire) is introducing a bespoke test for next year. Although we know there will be some maths, literacy and NVR, we know very little about the format and no specific practice papers are available. So perhaps that is the shape of things to come in other areas?

I know standard schools can be bad in some areas, but I went to a comprehensive and it was excellent. There were a fair few nutters, but I didn't see much of them in the classroom as we were streamed almost from the first week. I guess the difference was that there was mobility beyond the age of 10, as some people fell away and some didn't move up to the top sets until towards the end. During lessons I was surrounded by people of extremely high ability, and I found it hard to keep up, if anything. I ended up with extremely good A levels and University etc. As for the nutters, some of them are dead or in prison now, but at least 2 of them are self-made millionaires!

There were no state selectives where I grew up and I am sure that had an influence on the quality of my comp. If the best had been creamed off, it would have been detrimental to the majority. But I draw a distinction between what I see as the common good and the best I can get for my own children given the system I am confronted with. I think my son would thrive in an environment where he was surrounded by others who are motivated and have a high academic ability, and I will jump through whatever silly hoops are put in front of me to get him there. He might do just as well at a non-selective school, but I'd go on what I see as the most likely route to a successful outcome.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
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Location: Warwickshire.
Okay , here are my bullet points:
...3 separate sciences
...excellent facilities
...wide range of languages, including Latin or Greek
...good behaviour from pupils, and a reputation for it
...inspirational teaching
...a school building which inspires childen to attend, behave and learn
...good pastoral care
...good relationship between staff, pupils and parents
...an integrated sixth form
...a uniform which makes pupils proud to belong to the school
...teachers who eat with the pupils, to model correct behaviour and build good relationships with them
...good provision for G and T
...good exam results
EDIT...small class sizes (less than 20)

This is what we looked for when we were deciding upon schools for our son. If we could have achieved this from a non-selective state school we would have been extremely happy.
Please excuse my overuse of the word 'good', it just seems silly to find a different adjective each time!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:54 pm 
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Thank you for this thoughtful and honest reply which I fully share.
I too went to a comprehensive, catholic - inner London - with a non selective intake. It had the mix of pupils that you mention and a focus on both the academic (Latin, Greek, Modern Languages etc) and the less able children.
Like you, my sense is that the true comprehensive of the kind we might have gone to is a thing of the past - particularly in the big cities. With 30% and more in parts of London going private and with the continuing degradation of the curriculum (media studies, dance, tourism and leisure, diplomas etc being passed off as vocational qualifications) the choices that I think parents face are reduced despite the language of politicians of the day.
So to answer my own question I would be looking for among other things:
1. a school which values education in its own right (not as a mere passport to a job)
2. Access to subjects such as literature, languages, three sciences etc and which are well taught
3. A school that instills a sense of curiousity and questionning
4. Schools where the needs of each individual pupil are addressed such that a community amongst all the pupils is fostered - that's the sort of context where discipline doesn't become a problem.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:05 am
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Location: LONDON
ealingmum

I love the sound of your school. Where is it? :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:32 pm 
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I am afraid that while the school I went to still exists it is not the same school as it was when I went there in the 1970s. Putting my finger on why it isn't the same school is not easy but some of the reasons would include:
- the departure of the religious order that led the school and provided many of the teachers; - the care of the pupils was first class
- the high expectations of the academically able, the gifted in terms of sport and from those less able either academically, musically etc
- the collapse in families over the last 30 years which essentially provided children with the emotionial and physical support that is so essential;
- the degradation of the curriculum mentioned above;


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:05 am
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Location: LONDON
I think the problem is that the perfect school does not exist. :evil:
We all can visualise the ideal as nicely descibed by some forum members, including yourself. Our hankering after the ideal frequently pushes a minority of people to what you have descibed as 'mad' measures. In an ideal world we would all send our children to the school down the road where they would live a happy and fulfilled existence, leaving school armed with the tools to allow them to pave their way in the world. In reality this utopia probably doesn't exist down the road, if infact it exists anywhere at all. At the end of the day we all try to do what we see as the best thing for our little cherubs and I hope it really does work out for all of us whatever route we ultimately follow. Good luck in your search.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:21 pm 
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Loulou don't get me wrong - I am not saying the ideal school exists down the road; merely trying to understand what parents want from a school. It is in some ways a stupid question but I do think the respondents, thus far, above have elevated the discussion on this forum from "how do I answer this or that type of VR or NVR question" to what it is we are all looking for. If you like, trying to bring some sense to all this "madness" -


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