Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Results

It's been a bit of a week in the Minerva household.  First was the turn of the Eldest daughter who received her A2 results last Thursday. They were, thank goodness, super so the day which also happened to be her 18th birthday did turn out to be a good one.  This Thursday comes the turn of my twin daughters who receive their GCSE results.  I am a bit of a worrier, to be fair, and I am not just worried about the grades in an absolute sense but also about the relative equality.
There is another question though as well.  My daughters go to private schools. I don't justify it, but they do and their results and the results of their fellow students are outstanding.  My eldest daughters' friends all achieved their offers several with the same kind of fantastic results that my daughter obtained, A*s aplenty.  I teach at a State school - a reasonable State school where our results are improving massively but they are still low.
Why?
I keep going over and over this again and again. Why are our results so much worse? Yes there are some parents/boys who are difficult (it is a boys' only school.) but the dedication and time that the staff put into the school are just the same or even more so than the private. There is a dearth of extra curricular activities at our school as teachers seem to focus on their lessons, and their marking which is as it should be, shouldn't it? In research, class sizes have been shown to have nothing to do with achievement but I do feel that although it may not ostensibly be a class size issue, there are associated issues which may impact on the grades the students gain.  An example of this would be quick feedback. Research shows that quick marking of work is a factor in achievement, and a class of 12 is obviously quicker and easier to mark in depth than a class of 30 especially in English, for example.
But this can't be the only answer.  I am determined, however, for this to be personal mission. I want to be part of a school where our results are as good as, or better than independent schools. Where the faces of the students who open their letters on results day are beaming with smiles, and where their parents, like this one, cry with pride.

The question, and it is a huge question, is how? Every journey starts...etc.

Minerva

12 comments:

Tony said...

And there's no trick to bringing your state school up to the standard of an independent school, if that is your aim: just choose your students carefully, rejecting (or excluding if they've already got in) any whose parents haven't got much money or who don't talk proper or who seem a bit dim. That'll do it. Some other state school will have to take them.

And another thing ...oh, never mind.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Quite a birthday present for your daughter, Minerva.

Minerva said...

Tony - there must be another way too. There are quite a few non selective private schools who do really, really well!
Jean Luc - it was indeed!

Tony said...

What on earth do you mean?
All private schools select their intake from the offspring of the well-heeled, while including a few on bursaries to make sure they get some bright ones and not only the rich and thick.

Tony said...

Minerva, you haven't answered my question. Where are these "non-selective private schools" which you say are doing "really, really well"? Can anyone go to them?

Or were you just joking?

Peter said...

Where are these high performing "non-selective private schools" to which you refer?

What are their fees?

Minerva said...

Peter and you Tony - are you by any chance related?
My daughters' school isn't selective except that you have to pay a fortune to go there. Paying doesn't mean that better results are guaranteed...
Look at the Charter schools in the States? Strict discipline and high expectations lead to stunning results but we aren't allowed the freedom to do that here...

Tony said...

No, I am not related to Peter.

So you call a school where only the children of the rich can go 'non-selective', do you? My!

Michael Manning said...

Hello, Minerva! Yes, well said. We have a huge imbalance here in the United States relative to after school activities. Friends of mine who are dedicated teachers tell me the most frustrating aspect of their job is being micro-managed in everything. Good to stop by! :)

Michael Manning said...

I agree here with Jean-Luc Picard, Minerva. Quite a nice surprise!

Davoh said...

Every journey begins with the courage of the mother.

Davoh said...

um, they could also try Australia. As far as i know, opportunities are unlimited.