Why is it only the right that gets angry about how state schools fail the poor?

(280 Posts)
longfingernails Sun 23-Jun-13 19:08:09

A truly fantastic article.

blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/06/christine-blower-the-nut-and-the-bigotry-of-low-expectation/

My favourite snippet:
This is what separates British left and right now. The left, in their post-Blair phase, is no longer very worked up about the poor doing badly at school. (?It may matter or it may not,? Blower said about poor children not going to top universities). The standard left response is to talk philosophically about inequality in society, as if this has the slightest bearing on whether the concept of a sink school ought to be tolerated in this day and age.

By contrast, the right are hopping mad about educational inequality. When the subject is raised in front of Michael Gove, it?s like flicking a switch. He blows his top. When I last interviewed him and raised the subject about whether it poor kids should be expected to do as well as rich, he replied in a crescendo of anger.

FavadiCacao Wed 03-Jul-13 09:38:24

a profit for it's investors

Are investors also called shareholders?
I would love to believe that a school making profit would reinvest such profit into the school, rather than paying a dividend to its investors. You already have an example of the private sector being involved in the education system: the competitive market of exams boards (remember the scandal?)

What happens if the school is not making profit? Would you close it? After all hedge funds and venture capitalists are volatile markets, where shares go up and down.
Given the size of the education system, how many schools would it take before a bail out is required? ('too big to fail model', we have seen in the banking sector and the EU crisis.)

TabithaStephens Wed 03-Jul-13 00:59:59

Why does it matter? Which would you rather have. An education sector that did its job and made a profit for it's investors, or an education sector that didn't do its job and was a massive money pit for the taxpayer?

Just because something is a non profit organisation, doesn't automatically make it better than a profit making business.

FavadiCacao Wed 03-Jul-13 00:41:22

???
who would fund the public sector?

It appears the tax payer! Private schools get private funding:act as a business!
Academy and free schools get funded by the tax payer: should be efficient and deliver goods but should they make profits out of free money (our money!)?!

TabithaStephens Tue 02-Jul-13 20:25:34

Are banks the only private businesses now?

There are plenty of succesful businesses that provide quality goods and services while managing to turn a profit. If there wasn't, who would fund the public sector?

FavadiCacao Tue 02-Jul-13 15:40:48

I don't think any party gives a 'minute' thought beyond their self interests.
If Labour had not been bad enough for education, Gove is pushing for privatising the education by the back door. On The Independent earlier:

Academies and free schools should become profit-making businesses using hedge funds and venture capitalists to raise money, according to private plans being drawn up by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

Clearly the banking system has been so successful it is now a template for schools! Presumably, in the same way as Cyprus is the new funding template!

moondog Sun 30-Jun-13 21:58:36

Inside the Secret Garden: the progressive decay of liberal education

This is an excellent read-recommended to me by a Mumsnetter.

Arisbottle Sun 30-Jun-13 20:22:45

How sad, and I hope unusual, that you could not get that in the state sector.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sun 30-Jun-13 16:29:08

I'm grateful that my clever children now have teachers at their indie who are vastly cleverer than me. But much more important than being 'clever', those teachers are passionate about their subjects, inspiring, and the DC love and respect them. But at their state primary, sadly, the teachers weren't and the DC didn't.

Arisbottle Fri 28-Jun-13 19:56:33

My clever children have needed teachers, although I am open to the fact that my clever children are probably not clever by MN standards and of course we are not middle class. grin

All my children have learnt cursive handwriting and their times tables at their rather bog standards state schools. I have certainly never spent hours getting my children to do basic things the schools should be doing.

moondog Fri 28-Jun-13 19:25:32

Well your state endorsed critical thinking and reflective practice failed you.
My ire is reserved for the pathetic training given to teachers which does not equip them well to serve those kids that need them most.
We've already established that clever kids teach themselves and that middle class kills have all the gaps filled in by their parents.

The amount of time I have spent with my own children practicing reading, writing, spelling, and maths runs to hundreds of hours, hours I would rather have spent frankly flicking through magazines and designing my garden.
But hey! Needs must!
When they have spent all day making a castle out of foam bricks and listened to some overweight policeman banging on about 'stranger danger' and handing out gonks, there isn't much time for the other stuff like learning your times tables or how to write cursively.

We know how to teach kids with special educational needs, behavioural problems and so on. There is reams of evidence to support this and it is the world I am involved in from day to day, surrounded by colleagues who make a real difference to kids, kids who come to school reeking of piss and hollow eyed from messing out on their Xbox all night.
Trouble is, they are in the minority.

Arisbottle Fri 28-Jun-13 19:14:16

Moondog is clearly sneering but it is what she does do it is not personal and most teachers are thick skinned.

As a state teacher I don't make assumptions about people because of their background, in fact I come from the type of background that most mumsnetters live on fear of.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 28-Jun-13 18:22:12

It is ironic that state teachers take personal umbrage at any inferred criticism (inferred, not implied ), and yet will blithely stereotype schools, pupils and families in the independent sector of which they have no experience.

Minifingers Fri 28-Jun-13 18:15:06

And the 'heavens', 'get a grip', 'it's not about you'' comments? Patronising. And more revealing of where you as an individual are coming from than any other comment you've made on this thread.

Minifingers Fri 28-Jun-13 18:10:44

I know it's not about me because I'm not in that world any more. Bit if you go around posting sneering generalisations about a whole profession (which is what you've done on this thread) on the basis of the poor practice of some individuals whose practice you have witnessed, then you can expect members of that profession to read it and take offence. And I think you want people to take offence - your language and your stance reveals that you are eaten up with contempt for teachers in state schools.

Bonsoir Fri 28-Jun-13 16:50:37

I don't mind compulsory education to 18, but I don't think DC necessarily have to be in the same establishment. Selectivity has to happen sometime.

TabithaStephens Fri 28-Jun-13 16:31:08

I think compulsory education to 18 is a crazy idea. It just keeps the disruptors there for another 2 years, and stops good kids from getting on.

moondog Fri 28-Jun-13 16:09:29

'Your sneering and contempt for teachers in the state sector is upsetting'

Heavens, if an online chat with a random person makes you feel like this, then you probably are better off out of that world. I loathe the way that discussion of any sort about this sort of thing, ends up with those being challenged taking it all so personally. Get a grip. It's not actually about you.

Merrymouse is right. It requires a massive rehaul and putty, wobble boards and social skills group are not the answer.

merrymouse Fri 28-Jun-13 14:34:57

My son wasn't really tolerated in his school. When we looked at other options in the state system we were told "these children aren't really happy anyway". Thankfully we had the money, confidence and educational background to find an alternative. (Among other things, you aren't greeted by a wall of sound when you enter his current school at lunchtime)

Zero tolerance only works when you have a viable alternative, and you are prepared to recognise the real needs of children with SN (eg all the therapeutic putty in the world cannot make up for a fundamentally chaotic environment).

Minifingers Fri 28-Jun-13 11:15:13

"Yes, that zero tolerance is what we need."

And do what with the massive number of children who'd end up with permanent or temporary exclusions? Put them all in pupil referral units? hmm

Minifingers Fri 28-Jun-13 11:12:02

"a culture of discipline was enforced, which was hugely important."

It's easier when you're dealing with only a small number of disruptive children, to devise and use discipline policies consistently.

It's much, much harder when permanent or temporary exclusion is something can only be done as a last resort and when you don't have the support of parents. It's also the case that there may well be signficant numbers of children in state schools who have undiagnosed autistic spectrum disorders, dyslexia, or severe emotional and behavioural difficulties which are beyond the scope of traditional discipline policies.

I have taught in schools at the rougher end of the spectrum and know that you only need one or two children in a group who are persistently disruptive and difficult, to ruin a whole year's work for the class. You lose SO MUCH teaching time dealing with these children. And it's not usually just a couple of difficult kids in a class. If you're talking about a second to bottom set in the sort of comprehensives I've worked in, you're looking at one or two exceptionally challenging children, and maybe another five or ten who are opportunists who will take the chance to misbehave if the teacher is distracted. It's really, really tough and even good teachers find it hard to stick it out for long enough at these schools to develop the sort of relationships with the children that make getting to grips with bad behaviour even remotely possible. These schools have high staff turnover.

I'm out of all that now moondog, but if I was still having to deal with it your posts would make me feel suicidal. Your sneering and contempt for teachers in the state sector is upsetting. Actually I stopped working in secondary because the feelings of failure you get working in a school with a lot of challenging children drove me into a serious depression. It totally lifted when I went to teach in further education - same sort of children, but much smaller classes, and the chance to easily remove kids who were persistently disruptive. But of course that's in non-compulsory education. In compulsory education these children have to go SOMEWHERE. And by sixteen (at least in those days) the most seriously difficult and disengaged children would have left to sign on or take up work. Three other people who I trained with who were very bright, hard working teachers have left the profession in the past year because they have felt ground down by the lack of educational engagement of their pupils, and their disrespect, while experiencing constant pressure from above to improve results.

moondog Fri 28-Jun-13 09:53:15

Yes, that zero tolerance is what we need.
God, the shame at the though of being caught even whispering in prayers kept us all under control.

moondog Fri 28-Jun-13 09:52:04

We had some rather... odd folk in my school too. grin
I was thinking private sector in a more general sense though.

Mind you, even with the odd ones, a culture of discipline was enforced, which was hugely important.

Minifingers Fri 28-Jun-13 09:47:15

"Love the description of 'class of 16 compliant pupils' where was that stereotype dreamt up?"

Regular disruptive behaviour that impacted on other children's learning wouldn't be tolerated for any length of time in a private school. It's the norm in a lot of state schools. Obviously there are those on this thread who will argue that good teachers don't experience disruptive behaviour or deal with it so effectively it doesn't impact on children's learning. In my experience even fantastic, experienced and inspirational teachers in tough state schools can lose a lot of teaching and learning time from dealing with continuous low level disruption.

Minifingers Fri 28-Jun-13 09:43:38

Well, maybe things are different now in the private sector, but we had some GOD AWFUL teachers at my Surrey boarding schools in the 1980's. I went to two between 1979 and 1983 - one was later voted 'school of the year' and is still very popular with parents). I mean, really poor. Eccentric (not in a good way), disorganised, dull. I was also aware that some of the boarding pupils were sexually abused by staff. :-(

moondog Fri 28-Jun-13 09:18:23

Yes. Pretty accurate summary.
I have come across people who are jaw droppingly bad yet untouchable, because unless they are fiddling with kids or with money, they are there for as long as they want to be.
Terrifying.
As they collect their salaries, someone's future disappears around the u bend.
Compare that with the private sector where, if you don't perform, you are much more likely to be out on your arse.

An under performing teacher gets even more propping up and protecting.
Infuriating.

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