Get your education questions answered

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livegreen
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby livegreen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:57 pm

@SW12Pops

Thanks for the further insights and clarification. My only concern lies with the assertion that the teaching is always better in Independent Schools due to extra resources. This may be supported by inflated exam results, but is not by the performance on leaving school and attending Universities.

There is another narrative for this, so please bear with me whilst I try to explain. The Independent Schools (in particular the London Day Schools), are highly selective and expensive. Only children from wealthy families can attend but even this is not enough – your child also needs to be bright (passing competitive entry exams) and easy to teach and compliant (the interview). Only admitting this type of pupil ensures that the school will always get excellent results – thereby attracting similar families in the future. The reputation is key and exam results are the key to the reputation. So the teaching will be focused on passing exams, practising exams, doing extra workshops as you explained above to pass exams, ensuring teachers are involved in exam boards – anything to get the advantage and enhance the reputation of the school. This means that the pupils are no longer taught to be resilient, good at problem solving, to be individuals and to think outside the box as may have once been the case – instead pupils are taught how to jump through hoops in order to pass exams – exceeding in some cases their potential and getting better grades than expected. I have no specific evidence for this type of teaching practice, however the performance at University could support this.

With regard to getting local comprehensives up the “league tables” – this is impossible as they are by definition mixed ability intake. Only schools that have an intake of higher achievers can ever be at the top of the “league tables”. Hence the domination by super selective, fee paying schools – and some grammar schools.

This is a fascinating topic and what may appear to be common sense is often the opposite once you drill into the figures. This is the apparent contradiction you mention, and my advice to parents attending the Independent Schools Show is to ask the difficult questions and do not believe the marketing propaganda.

With regard to the prevalence of Independent School leavers in the upper echelons of law, the Army and Politics – you should note that this is all wealthy white males who entered their professions many years ago and to be promoted had to impress other males from a very similar background. I do believe this is changing, albeit slowly, and we are moving towards a meritocracy – fingers crossed.
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SW12Pops
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby SW12Pops » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:16 pm

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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:16 am

I strongly disagree that private schools could be eradicated by spending more on state schools.
One reason why parents send their kids to private schools is because they want to be sure that little Johnny does not end up in the same class with stereotypical kids living with 5 stepbrothers, their single mum-on-benefits and no father figure. One of the many reasons, not the only one, why some parents, not all, but, still...

It is not a coincidence that Nordic countries have an excellent state education system but also a much less unequal society!

After all, even within state schools, the affluence of an area has a huge impact on the quality of the schools - teaching kids from more stable families and more affluent backgrounds tends to be easier.

Of course it's all a huge generalisation but we are talking about large numbers, not single cases.
And of course there is bullying and bad behaviour in expensive posh independent schools, too.
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Scottov
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby Scottov » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:36 am

I despair at this topic, as it allows people to falsely believe the very comforting notion that a child, your child, will do better at university if he/she goes to the local comp.

this is not only not true, its a deeply disturbing bit of propaganda and spin.  The sort of propaganda and spin that the political classes might fall back on rather than improve state education. 

I repeat, your child will NOT do better at university if they go to the local comprehensive.     

A fact of life for a start is that they are less likely to win a spot in the first place.  

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/u ... ities.html
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/h ... 14206.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/s ... 76431.html

this one is interesting as it shows the difference in quality of careers advice and guidance

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/educ ... 92101.html

now, how do you square this with the 'conclusions' that state school pupils do better with the same grades.  the problem with this analysis is, as we can see, that pupils of similar ability are not likely to be lined up with each other in comparison.

Because of the difference in quality of education, a B grade student will get a B at a state comp (and likely not a place at a russell group university); and very much more likely to get an A in a good independent and a place at the prestigious university.  Where you are then comparing them with the much more able pupil, a true A/A* calibre intellect, who needed to be more able to get that same grade.  

in short, an A* pupil from a state comp is likely to be much more able, that an independent school pupil who got an A*.  Their education was a relative hindrance not a leg up.   relatively speaking.

the other issue with this idea is that ignores sample size.  because there are so many more pupils from independent schools, of mixed ability, than there are from state schools, you are effectively comparing a small number of the very best of the state system against a larger, more mixed cohort. 

Instead of believing such nonsense about the narrowing gap between state and independents (its getting wider) people would be better off demanding improvements in the state sector.  Improvements that don't need to be spun, to play on the insecurities of those not able to access a private education.  demand more, accept less spin!

The other thing I would say is do not underestimate how keen independent schools are to offer large bursaries and scholarships to very bright pupils.  they tend to have more money than can give away under these categories, particularly outside of london.

The ISC itself has often spoken of the difficulties of getting enough candidates for these scholarships, so if the child is very bright there is often a first class education waiting for them somewhere, ready and waiting on a platter.

 
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Scottov
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby Scottov » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:43 am

a few of you might benefit from reading this:

https://www.isc.co.uk/media/4890/isc_ce ... report.pdf

 
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parentpractice
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby parentpractice » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:45 pm

Such an interesting thread and in my work as a parenting coach, I do meet parents daily who are very anxious about what the future looks like for their children and of course the stakes are high now in terms of  helping our children get the right/best education for them and supporting them to be successful   -however we define the word!

However there is another aspect to this that many have not discussed and that is the importance of our children learning the soft skills for life- to enable them to have the positive edge. We are doing our children no favours when we educate them too narrowly and in my work I see the fall out of children who have been tutored, taught and trained to within an inch of their lives, to get into Oxbridge or a Russel Group Uni, only to find on arriving there that they lack the pragmatic skills to actually survive - let alone thrive-in real life. Knowing how to cook, manages finances, wash a jumper and change a fuse or car tyre are essential life skills. It's also vital for success academically, as well as personally, that they learn to understand other perspectives, think creatively and problem solve. As Mark Twain put it " I never let my schooling get in the way of my education."

I am speaking at the Schools Show on 11th November talking about Bringing out The Best in your Children, so hope to see some of you there. 
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Scottov
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby Scottov » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:04 am

parentpractice wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:45 pm
Such an interesting thread and in my work as a parenting coach, I do meet parents daily who are very anxious about what the future looks like for their children and of course the stakes are high now in terms of  helping our children get the right/best education for them and supporting them to be successful   -however we define the word!

However there is another aspect to this that many have not discussed and that is the importance of our children learning the soft skills for life- to enable them to have the positive edge. We are doing our children no favours when we educate them too narrowly and in my work I see the fall out of children who have been tutored, taught and trained to within an inch of their lives, to get into Oxbridge or a Russel Group Uni, only to find on arriving there that they lack the pragmatic skills to actually survive - let alone thrive-in real life. Knowing how to cook, manages finances, wash a jumper and change a fuse or car tyre are essential life skills. It's also vital for success academically, as well as personally, that they learn to understand other perspectives, think creatively and problem solve. As Mark Twain put it " I never let my schooling get in the way of my education."

I am speaking at the Schools Show on 11th November talking about Bringing out The Best in your Children, so hope to see some of you there. 

I'm not sure it is overlooked, at least outside of london where this is one of the main drivers for choosing a boarding education.
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:30 am

I despair at how some people misinterpret the simplest pieces of information. In the era of fake news, teaching basic statistics and data analysis should be a key part of the curriculum. 

The fact that private school students have x% more chances of going to a top university does not mean that YOUR KIDS will have x% more chances if they go to a private school. 

The samples (private vs state) are not comparable because the data points (the pupils) are not similar in the two groups : private schools tend to select on a combination of academic merit and income (yes, there are scholarship, but, still...). State comprehensive schools do not. 

For example, one of the key criticisms against grammar schools is that they select those pupils who would have done very well in pretty much any school. In other words, top schools, whether grammar or private, provide an environment in which pupils who are already talented can prosper: teaching more talented and more motivated pupils is easier, teachers can cover more material without being slowed down by poorly performing students, etc. But top schools do NOT transform a mediocre student into a top one. This doesn't mean that sending your kid to a selective school, whether state or independent, is a bad choice - it simply means that selective schools do not transform B students into A* students. 
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:34 am

PS I strongly believe that, in most cases (there are always exceptions but we are talking about trends, not single cases) the family background is one of the most important factors in determining a child's academic success. E.g. a talented child of educated professionals who can guide him, tutor him if needed etc, will probably have more chances of getting into a top university than a rich but averagely tented kid who attends a very expensive private school. 

Another advantage, however unfair, of private schools is that kids tend to be more exposed to a number of things which are rarer, if not non-existent, in working class environments; some, like Daddy finding little Johnny an internship in a firm run by his mates, are patently unjust; others, like exposing children to foreign travel and to many experiences which boost self-confidence and enhance soft skills, are, however unfair they may seem, unfortunately part of life. 

I'd also urge parents to consider all the implications of sending their children to an expensive private school on a scholarship: the tuition fee may be entirely or partially covered, but, if the family can't afford all the other stuff that the other kids do, children may suffer and be socially excluded. If all the other kids go skying in Courmayer, diving in the Caribbean, etc, and yours don't, well, let's just say that has the potential to cause problems.
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Scottov
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby Scottov » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:54 am

SouthLondonDaddy wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:30 am
I despair at how some people misinterpret the simplest pieces of information. In the era of fake news, teaching basic statistics and data analysis should be a key part of the curriculum. 

The fact that private school students have x% more chances of going to a top university does not mean that YOUR KIDS will have x% more chances if they go to a private school. 

The samples (private vs state) are not comparable because the data points (the pupils) are not similar in the two groups : private schools tend to select on a combination of academic merit and income (yes, there are scholarship, but, still...). State comprehensive schools do not. 

For example, one of the key criticisms against grammar schools is that they select those pupils who would have done very well in pretty much any school. In other words, top schools, whether grammar or private, provide an environment in which pupils who are already talented can prosper: teaching more talented and more motivated pupils is easier, teachers can cover more material without being slowed down by poorly performing students, etc. But top schools do NOT transform a mediocre student into a top one. This doesn't mean that sending your kid to a selective school, whether state or independent, is a bad choice - it simply means that selective schools do not transform B students into A* students. 

I'm sorry, but that's just not the case and there is no end of advanced data to prove it.  

the real issue is that too many opinions are formed off anecdote and emotion, and this is not a matter of subjective opinion.  

it is entirely possible to measure value added achievement in one educational environment versus another through the use of Midyis, Yellis and Alis. and it is.  in fact the baseline expected attainment is measured to within an inch of its life in education these days, and the progress against the baseline ability is relentlessly tracked.

it is certainly true that a less able pupil is not going to be turned into a rocket scientist if only he got into Westminster, because he won't and furthermore he won't get it.  However, that's a red herring.  many independent schools do add a grade onto the pupils achievements compared with the baseline, expected grading in the state sector.  D into C, C into B etc.  

without getting too much into it, someone's feelings or gut feeling about this subject are not at all relevant.  I know this is hard to hear, but the cold hard truth is that you child is considerably more likely, whatever their ability, to outperform in a good independent school.  

This can be and is born out through a myriad of hard, objective analysis.  

anyway, them's the facts do with them what you will :)
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:25 am

I don't think what you and I have said is incompatible. We both agree that independent schools do not make miracles and do not transform a mediocre student into a rocket scientist. You do, however, mention that independent schools tend to "add a grade". I'd be interested in seeing how this was measured. I'm not saying it's false; it is perfectly plausible and fits perfectly with what I said about selective schools providing an environment in which already talented students can prosper more easily; I'm simply saying I'd like to understand who measured it / how / when / etc. I remember reading a few studies on grammar schools (not private ones), which came to a different conclusion, i.e. that the same kids would have done almost as well at a local comp, but I don't remember the details nor the exact source, so I can't post details.
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Get your education questions answered

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:42 am

A separate point is that what is best for our own children is not necessarily best for society as a whole, and that the perspective of parents is very different from that of policymakers.
E.g. talented students are likely to benefit from selective schools, whether state-funded grammar schools or expensive private schools. However, some believe it is beneficial to have classes of mixed ability ( which for example is why some secondary schools divide their students into a number of bands based on academic results, then accept a given number of students in each band). Creating more grammar schools may benefit the more talented students but may be to the detriment of the less talented ones, who would have instead benefited from having more talented kids in their class.

I don't know enough to have a clear opinion on this, but it's something to bear in mind.
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