Saturday, May 31, 2008


1. The Guardian, 31 May 2008, has a story about a claim that some kids in government schools in the UK are unteachable. (Private school chief: some state pupils are unteachable).

State schools in the UK can be places of terror. (Boys questioned over school rape claim)

2. State schools generally produce very poor academic results.

In England, the 7 % who go to private schools collected 40.2 % of A grades scored at A level in 2004.

The 7 % who go to private schools collected 45.7 % of the A grades in maths and 60 % of the A grades in modern languages. (Private v state: discipline and disruptive pupils)

According to an article in the Daily Mail, 1 June 2006, more than half of school leavers have problems with the basics:


Hundreds of thousands of teenagers have such poor mastery of the three Rs they cannot scrape a grade C in the two subjects employers and parents regard as crucial.

They are finishing compulsory schooling without the literacy and numeracy skills they need to "participate in life, learning and work" despite a raft of multi-billion pound Labour initiatives...

And the inability of pupils to get good grades comes despite widespread suspicions that exams have been dumbed down in recent years...

Forty-two per cent of pupils finished 11 years of compulsory education without achieving at least a grade C in GCSE English which means they struggle to read and summarise information accurately or use basic grammar...

Forty-eight per cent - or 301,671 - failed to reach the same standard in GCSE maths meaning they are unable to calculate the area of a room.

A total of 54 per cent - nearly 350,000 - fail to achieve the expected level in both English and maths.

The official exams watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), says pupils need to meet grade C standard - so-called "level two" - to function as citizens...

Just 46 per cent leave school able to read, write and add up properly.

3. In 2003, The Times reported ( Classroom anarchy - Times Online):

"Ofsted’s chief inspector, David Bell, referred in his latest report to a 'hard core of pupils with no social skills' whose language is 'offensive' and who have 'little or no understanding of how to behave sensibly'.

"They are, he said, 'unteachable'.

"If verbal and physical abuse is increasing and parental control is reducing, then the number of disillusioned teachers leaving the profession, now one in three, will also rise.

"One Leeds deputy head teacher with 30 years’ experience is in no doubt. 'Some of these children are coming through secondary school not properly house-trained,' he says. 'They cannot sit still and listen...

"Even children in nursery schools are now displaying high levels of unacceptable actions — ranging from offensive language to abusive and insulting comments and threats.

"The report criticised the lack of support from local education authorities and parents, with one in 12 teachers claiming to have been threatened by parents at least once a term."

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4. A recent study has shown that England's school are among the world's most violent. ( More expulsions of violent children overruled )

England is 36th out of 45 in a league table of school safety.

In the United Kingdom, a headmaster may expell a pupil, but the headmaster's decision can be over-ruled by school governors and appeals panels.

According to the Sunday Telegraph (More expulsions of violent children overruled) , 2 December 2007:

In 1007, a pupil from a UK school took a knife on a school trip. A pupil was stabbed in the chest. The pupil, one of three who had carried knives on the trip, successfully appealed against exclusion and is back at school.

In 2007, at another UK school, governors overturned the decision of a headmaster who had expelled a pupil for setting up a website calling on classmates to kill a teacher.

In 2007, an 11-year-old pupil who repeatedly battered a fellow pupil on the head, punched a member of staff and smashed a door was allowed back to his school by the governing body.

A comment on the Sunday telegraph website reads:

I was once a teacher. - Thank God! no more! Thank You Thank you and thank you to the parents and governors who started a campaign against me and forced me out! I was accused of being too strict and unsympathetic! I refused to teach children who abused me verbally and it was bye bye not to them but me! I was never once offered any support by other teachers or the local authority. There is no hope now. None. If you are training to be a teacher leave now!

Why aren't these violent youths and frequently thuggish youths and all and every one of them a bully jailed? This lip service to anti-bullying campaigns is pathetic -it's the bullies and their horrible parents who are protected. None of them deserve a second chance! That's the tosh that creates them in the first place and makes schools hell for all but the small groups of thugs and bullies of both sexes now I have to say. Posted by ep on December 2, 2007

5. So, how should schools be organised?

1. Give pupils a choice of schools.

This means there must be lots of small schools of different types.

All schools should be tiny. The big schools should be broken up.

Parents and children must have a wide choice of schools where possible. No secondary school needs to have more than 200 children.

2. Give headmasters and teachers the right to exclude pupils who are disruptive.

3. Set up special schools that give intensive care (very expensive) to the disruptive children.

4. Set up top quality schools that cater for the less academic kids.

There are parents and children who want such schools - so long as they are well run, and do not become dumping grounds for the disruptive children.

5. Lower the school leaving age and shorten the school day.

This will mean children will learn more. That is the paradox.

The school day should be about 3 hours.

The school leaving age should be around 12.

The 1819 Factory Act in the UK limited the working day for children in cotton mills.

What we need now is a Schools Act limiting the school day to three hours.

I would suggest that school hours could be 9 am to 12 noon.

Very few children can concentrate on school work for more than 3 hours per day.

When children are not at school they can enjoy being children.

Interests will vary:

A. Children can work at home or in libraries on interesting homework projects. It would help if every child was given a computer.

B. They can join clubs involved in everything from sport to music to carpentry to journalism ....

C. They can become apprentices in safe and interesting occupations.

D. They can explore their world.

Mothers of younger children will be able to spend more time with their offspring.

6. Mothers of young children should stay at home and not go out to work.

7. BBC 1 television should show educational programmes only.

8. All schools should be run privately by non-profit making trusts.

8. Sack the bureaucrats.

According to an article about UK schools in Scotland on Sunday, 9 September 2007, (Alexander attacks 'bloated' education authorities) one in every four pounds of education funding never makes it to schools.

Studies show that of the average £5,160 spent on a child's education annually, £1,700 is swallowed up by local government.

According to Scotland on Sunday, 9 September 2007, (SNP school plan sparks class war)Glasgow and Edinburgh education chiefs say they cannot carry out an SNP pledge to cut the size of classes in the early years of primary school to 18 pupils because there is a lack of money and classrooms.

It is time to close down the "bloated" education authorities. Get rid of the government bureaucrats, both local and national. Sack the education chiefs. It is these folks who have helped to ruin British schools.

We could learn from the Netherlands, when it comes to the organisation of schools.

In the Netherlands 70% of children are educated in private schools at the taxpayers' expense.

In the Netherlands, state spending on education is lower per head than in Britain, and results are better. (Schools unchained)


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