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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:07 am 
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Having lived in various parts of England, Bristol, the North West, North East and now Plymouth, what is very noticeable, is the wide variation of types of secondary schools. There are no state grammar schools at all in the North East, Bristol and most of the North West. The nature of the totally seletive procedure in Bucks and Kent, it could be argued is somewhat anachronistic and divisive. Not one of the three main political parties supports selective education yet the Kent and Bucks 1950's system still exists!

How is a totally selective education system designed for the immediate post war era when most employment was unskilled labour and a high level of education deemed only necessay for 25% of children, still operating in Bucks and Kent?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:09 am 
Ask rather why is it that, this long after the abolition of most Grammar Schools, the Grammar Schools that remain are excellent schools with positive Value-added scores; whereas so many comprehensive schools are failing their pupils? This is what is anachronistic and divisive - the differences between comprehensives.

Look at the Ofsted reports and website for Shireland Language College in Smethwick, and you will see what it is possible to do with an inner-city comp.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:40 pm 
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I have looked at the Shireland Web site and Ofsted report. They make very interesting reading. One of the most interesting comments in the Ofsted report was

[i]“All students are provided with a home computer and broadband Internet access free of charge and e-mail communication between staff and students including academic guidance and the marking of work is routine.”[/i]

Compare the above quote to the one below, which is taken from The Guardian of 7th November which was posted on this site.

[i]You wouldn't know the corridors were painted only a few months ago. Damp stains have already appeared on the ceilings and the walls are peeling. Still, at least the really cold weather hasn't kicked in yet, because the geriatric central heating system barely staves off hypothermia. King Richard secondary school in Portsmouth is falling apart. Literally. It was built in the late 1940s and should have been knocked down 10 years ago. The concrete is crumbling, the steel retaining bars are knackered, and water is getting in everywhere.
Keeping the place looking even vaguely welcoming is a pointless task. "But what choice do we have?" its head, Brian MacClarin, shrugs. "Everyone knows the school is falling to bits, but the local authority doesn't have the money to rebuild it. We can't do nothing, because that sends the message to staff and students that no one really cares. So we just have to repaint every summer and watch it come off by Christmas.[/i]

I don’t think money entirely explains the difference between comprehensives but how do explain that one school can give a free computer and broadband connection to every pupil and another has not enough money to maintain the building in a satisfactory condition?


Up the line.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:20 pm 
I think achievement stretches far beyond money alone. Look at The Compton School in Finchley, London.
It draws a large proportion of its pupils from the local council estate (many of whom could be considered deprived), many do not have English as a first language (around 50%), it has one of the best value added scores in the borough (only beaten by the grammars), it has a catchment of 0.799 miles (2006), 75% of it GCSE year (2006) got 5 A-C GCSE's of which 25% were A/A* and it has what I have been told is one of only a handful of schools in the country to get top scores (outstanding/excellent) for every single aspect of their most recent Ofsted (?Sept 2006). For a normal comprehensive intake the school has done a fantastic job. Being lucky enough to have a child in this school I think this is down to an inspirational head teacher, a really strong system of praise/santions to address behaviour, an incredibly draconian uniform policy (just like an old fashioned grammar with detention for breeching this ) and the use of emotional intelligence (management speak for praising the positive excessively!). Not surprisingly last year there were 679 applications for 180 places.

This isn't having money thrown at it thats helped the school achieve these dizzy heights - its good,enthusiastic, inspirational teaching staff that understand their pupils and know how to get the best out of them. Surely you should be able to achieve this whether you are teaching in an ultra modern chrome and glass building or a ramshackle environment.


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