Anorak News | State Of Play

State Of Play

by | 25th, November 2005

‘“NAUGHTY boys in nasty schools/ Headmasters breaking all the rules/ Having fun and playing fools/ Smashing up the woodwork tools”. So sang Madness.

‘Come on then! I’ll take on the lot of yers!’

School was indeed fun back then. But surely our education establishments should be more than just holding bays for the young and bored.

The Government has tried to change things and make it so that the nippers learn more in class than how to skive off and chisel their initials into a classmate’s head.

But not everything is going to plan. As the Guardian reports, the £386m Excellence in Cities scheme, which aims to raise standards in inner-city schools, has been a flop.

The value of the scheme, which costs £386m, has been assessed by the Department for Education and Skills. And the findings are that GCSE grades have not risen. Pupils are not entering secondary school ‘with the appropriate skills and attitudes’.

This is less than heartening news for parents who want their children to thrive. But they do have an option: pay for little Armani to go to an independent school.

The Times (“Brightest are failed by state school”) has seen research produced by Professor David Jesson, an education evaluator based at York University.

Professor Jesson found that the majority of “able” children are only half as likely to score an A grade at A-level at state school than if they went to an independent institution.

Jesson found that while only 7 per cent of all pupils are in independent schools at age 11, by age 16, they are accounting for 25 per cent of all top grades at GCSE. “At 18, 33 per cent of those with three A-levels are in independent schools.”

The figures suggest a “state-independent school divide”. Brighter pupils at independent schools have more chance of doing well in their exams than those in the state system.

But what can be done? Raising the level of education in the state sector is one way, but, as the Excellence in Cities scheme proves, it’s not easy.

So why not just change the tests to take into account the different skills picked up by pupils in the local comprehensive?

With extra marks given for fighting with next door’s school, pulling hair and eating dirt…’

Posted: 25th, November 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink