Ofsteadbollocks wrote:Furthermore, the staff routinely go above and beyond their call of duty. No going through the motions here - an athletics team which is routinely borough (and beyond) champion, a successful swim team, before and after school and weekend running clubs, music clubs and choir, fantasticly creative and quality summer and Christmas shows, access to Wimbledon Junior tennis squad, Crystal Palace diving and performing at the Royal Opera House, school trips to the seaside where teachers will stand in the freezing sea to allow the kids to swim - I hope this report doesn't stifle their enthusiasm, I am not alone in being grateful to them for all their efforts and all the opportunities they provide for my children.
As I said earlier, perhaps the issue is that there is too much focus on all of the above and insufficient focus on English, maths and science. At the end of the day, very very few children will make a living at athletics, swimming, running or music. However, better English or maths skills coming out of primary school will always assist a child at secondary and beyond.
There has been some interesting commentary over the past year or so about this very issue, with the point being made that schools with more disadvantaged intake often focus more on the core curriculum and less on peripherals and that their pupils do better as a result.
It's interesting to compare Ravenstone with other similar schools. Two figures that stood out for me are:
(i) a high level of students with a statement of special educational needs (over 16%) - significantly higher than other schools (Does anyone have any idea why this is the case?)
(ii) a higher percentage of expenditure on teaching assistants (22%) (which may or may not be related to (i) above).
The use of teaching assistants has been found to be less than helpful in terms of children's progress:
http://fullfact.org/factchecks/teaching ... ants-28975
The widespread use of teaching assistants is something that is a relatively recent phenomenon in the English school system. Other European countries don't have such use of teaching assistants. For what it's worth, I would much prefer more fully-qualified teachers and a lot fewer teaching assistants. (As an aside, I find it more than a little ironic that the Labour Party wants all teachers in free schools to be qualified but is opposed to any reduction in the number of teaching assistants who lack such teaching qualifications.)
Of course, many parents, understandably, see widespread use of teaching assistants as a positive thing, even though it is not.