Aparteid in UK education?

New school segregates pupils

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Aparteid in UK education?

#1  Postby campermon » Jul 28, 2011 8:31 am

I thought April fools day had come early when I read this;

"School colour-codes pupils by ability

A secondary school has divided its students by ability, complete with different uniforms. Innovative way to lure the middle classes, or worrying segregation?

Students with purple ties are gifted and talented. All the children at Crown Woods college in Greenwich, south London, know that. They are taught in separate colour-coordinated buildings, play in fenced-off areas and eat lunch at separate times. At 11 years old, all pupils at the college are streamed according to ability in what the headteacher argues is the only way to survive in the brave new world of market-driven education.

Crown Woods re-opened in May this year after a £50m rebuild under the Building Schools for the Future programme. Based on a small-schools model in the US, the pupils are ranked as they leave primary school and put into one of three "mini-schools" on site. The gifted and talented go to Delamere. They have purple badges on their smart blazers. The rest go to Ashwood, which wears blue, or Sherwood, which wears red. These two schools are more mixed ability, but they are still streamed into three tiers. Each school has 450 students and functions independently. There are no shared subject departments."

Continues here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/201 ... -streaming

My jaw dropped as I read on....

What do people think?
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#2  Postby babel » Jul 28, 2011 8:47 am

campermon wrote:I thought April fools day had come early when I read this;

"School colour-codes pupils by ability

A secondary school has divided its students by ability, complete with different uniforms. Innovative way to lure the middle classes, or worrying segregation?

Students with purple ties are gifted and talented. All the children at Crown Woods college in Greenwich, south London, know that. They are taught in separate colour-coordinated buildings, play in fenced-off areas and eat lunch at separate times. At 11 years old, all pupils at the college are streamed according to ability in what the headteacher argues is the only way to survive in the brave new world of market-driven education.

Crown Woods re-opened in May this year after a £50m rebuild under the Building Schools for the Future programme. Based on a small-schools model in the US, the pupils are ranked as they leave primary school and put into one of three "mini-schools" on site. The gifted and talented go to Delamere. They have purple badges on their smart blazers. The rest go to Ashwood, which wears blue, or Sherwood, which wears red. These two schools are more mixed ability, but they are still streamed into three tiers. Each school has 450 students and functions independently. There are no shared subject departments."

Continues here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/201 ... -streaming

My jaw dropped as I read on....

What do people think?

The bold and underlined part is something I'm not too enthousiastic about. Sooner or later it becomes an economic privilege to be educated. Education should be a right for all.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#3  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jul 28, 2011 9:02 am

You surprised campers?

Just going back in time. When I was at school it was exactly the same (I was at school before the whole notion of comprehensive education).
The 12+ in Scotland determined which school (or part of) you went to. Once there it was almost impossible to move. I was dumped in a junior secondary which at the time only had a crummy local leaving cert which was not worth the paper it was written on.
I was lucky because they introduced Lowers (In Engaland O levels) and a fourth year. Normally you left at 15 years old.
I passed enough lowers and applied to go a senior secondary school and did my Highers (A levels).

If your parents had any some money you could go to a fee paying school. It was not totally private as it was partially government funded.

If your parents had plenty of the ready then of course you could go to a completely private school.

Like I said it is just going backwards to the lovely bad old days where money meant everything.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#4  Postby campermon » Jul 28, 2011 10:42 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:You surprised campers?



No, not really! I expect that the headteacher of the school is working on getting a knightship.

What annoys me most about this school is the remarkable opportunity they have missed. With 3 'schools within schools' they could have set up real 'house' competition between them - academic, sporting and artistic. I have no issue with setting kids by ability per subject or awarding 'special' ties / badges to kids for exceptional attainment in subjects. I do believe that is important to be honest with kids regarding their attainment and grades - this is vital in guiding them into suitable qualifications (academic or otherwise) etc..( I think in the recent past, the education system has shied away from allowing kids to 'fail' (the subject of a whole different thread)). However, this guidance is based on multiple sources of data. What this headteacher seems to be doing is narrowing the future pathways of his pupils on ks2 data (which is often flawed) and a 'cognitive' test.

If I had gone into such a system at the age of 11, I would have been deemed 'non-academic' (I was in middle ability at junior school and I failed the 11+ 'cognitive' test). I would have then been placed on a path which may have excluded some academic subjects and most probably pushed toward vocational qualifications. In reality, I didn't really mature (educationally!) until I was older. Fortunately, in my school I had the opportunity to study 'academic' subjects (O levels) which allowed me to study A levels, do a degree in physics and then go onto do my PGCE and become eventually a head of science in a school. It upsets me to think that their could be a number of kids like 'me' who this school has binned (academically that is) at the age of 11.

:thumbup:
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#5  Postby trubble76 » Jul 28, 2011 10:56 am

It largely depends on how it is done. The danger is that the brightest (or best performing) kids get all the best teachers and facilities, while the lower achievers (often due to unhelpful home life) get lumped with the dregs, ensuring that they stay at the bottom of the pile for evermore.

If however the opposite happens, I feel it might be ultimately beneficial.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#6  Postby MacIver » Jul 28, 2011 11:14 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:You surprised campers?

Just going back in time. When I was at school it was exactly the same (I was at school before the whole notion of comprehensive education).
The 12+ in Scotland determined which school (or part of) you went to. Once there it was almost impossible to move. I was dumped in a junior secondary which at the time only had a crummy local leaving cert which was not worth the paper it was written on.


What Scot said. This reminds me of the horror stories my parents use to tell me of. They'd do a test at the end of Primary School, and that would decide whether they went to the "Smart School" or the "Thick School".

In my High School, a certain level of segregation made sense. I was in the second bottom class for French, but the top class for maths and science. These classes would progress at different levels. But importantly, other subjects, such as PE, RE and art would be a mix of abilities.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#7  Postby campermon » Jul 28, 2011 11:17 am

trubble76 wrote:

If however the opposite happens, I feel it might be ultimately beneficial.


I have no doubt that the school will be successful as measured against the narrow criteria of success retroactively introduced by the tory government.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#8  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jul 28, 2011 11:32 am

MacIver wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:You surprised campers?

Just going back in time. When I was at school it was exactly the same (I was at school before the whole notion of comprehensive education).
The 12+ in Scotland determined which school (or part of) you went to. Once there it was almost impossible to move. I was dumped in a junior secondary which at the time only had a crummy local leaving cert which was not worth the paper it was written on.


What Scot said. This reminds me of the horror stories my parents use to tell me of. They'd do a test at the end of Primary School, and that would decide whether they went to the "Smart School" or the "Thick School".



Yes we are probably of the same generation. There was on school which had the two schools within it but the dividing wall was solid and could never be breeched.
I hope in these "new" schools there will be a possibility to breech the wall.



In my High School, a certain level of segregation made sense. I was in the second bottom class for French, but the top class for maths and science. These classes would progress at different levels. But importantly, other subjects, such as PE, RE and art would be a mix of abilities.


The comprehensive system in Britain while in principle is a good system seems to fail too often. Here there is much tighter streaming. You stay in the stream that you qualified for after primary school but at the end you can move on if you qualify.
Age is of less importance in the Dutch system. You can easily repeat a year. Nobody bats an eyelid if the ranges of ages in a class varies by two years or more.
I would like to see a much better exam system with proper exams not the mickey mouse stuff they sit today.
In university they should scrap all those stupid vocational degrees.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#9  Postby AndreD » Jul 29, 2011 2:58 am

I think it's generally fine to stream students as long as it's done non-overtly, but using different uniforms to indicate their ability is ridiculous. This will clearly lead to those of lesser colours feeling inferior to those dressed in purple, and probably doing even worse academically as a result.
To be honest it reads so me like one of those Jane Elliott experiments designed to overcome racism.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#10  Postby byofrcs » Jul 29, 2011 4:08 am

Thank goodness they avoided yellow stars.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#11  Postby ianryan1 » Sep 26, 2011 5:14 pm

The most disturbing aspect of this article is that this comment is probably true

"I felt if we made explicit the provision for high-ability children, we would be able to attract those children and their parents who would rather not put them in to take the Bexley 11-plus, but would feel comfortable with the type of provision we'd make for them – and that's entirely what's happened."

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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#12  Postby quixotecoyote » Sep 28, 2011 1:10 am

As much as I dislike the described system, after the revolution, the people who overuse apartheid are up against the wall right after the people who tack "gate" onto the end of every scandal.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#13  Postby MacIver » Sep 28, 2011 2:06 am

This looks to be a right apartheidgate.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#14  Postby laklak » Sep 28, 2011 3:27 am

I'm really glad I'm a Beta. I don't want to be an Alpha, Alphas have to work too hard.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#15  Postby Teshi » Nov 10, 2011 8:14 am

I think it's generally fine to stream students as long as it's done non-overtly


After a certain age (7? 8?), nothing is covert. Children know what stream/set they're in and it makes a difference. Clothes are just making it obvious, which I think is appalling, but I think the whole thing is a bit of a problem anyhow. I have no problem with occaisionally taking groups aside into another classroom, but the effort has to be on trying ot allow the bottom pupils to achieve as well as the middles or uppers (and thus becoming middles or uppers occaisionally), instead of segregating the brightest pupils from everyone else.

In a system that allows kids to pull up their socks and get a high school diploma at 18, you will find kids who do just that. Lots of people don't mature intellectually until they are in their mid-teens. They don't deserve to be slotted by a godlike administration into a set or stream at 7, 11, 14 or 16.

In Ontario, for example, you are "guided" into a set in certain subjects but people can and do choose the "college" or "workplace" streams themselves, and at least there's a sense of choice involved. You can also fight the guidance department and get into a "University" stream. You can change the course of your life at 15, 16, 17-- and you will find people who did.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#16  Postby HAJiME » Nov 10, 2011 10:21 am

I can remember feeing awkward at school because my friends were in higher sets for maths. If it was obvious so that everyone, not just your friends, knew... Fucking hell.

As for the comment about the best students getting the best teachers etc... The "best" students (that should say "most interested") always get the most attention from teachers. If a student is REALLY interested in your subject, you will spend more time with them because they will have more to ask you, it's that simple. It's not about ability. The thing is, if you enjoy something, you do tend to be good at it and continue to get better. In my opinion, it's less about ability and more about personality. It's shy kids who really miss out in school, even if they are paying attention and doing the work, one can't help wonder how much better they could be. The world praises those who are, to a certain degree, quite loud and willing to make themselves noticed.

In Ontario, for example, you are "guided" into a set in certain subjects but people can and do choose the "college" or "workplace" streams themselves, and at least there's a sense of choice involved. You can also fight the guidance department and get into a "University" stream. You can change the course of your life at 15, 16, 17-- and you will find people who did.

Not quite the same thing, but in the UK (at least in my experience) you're practically forced to go to university, which in itself is such a blatant removal from discovering what's best for the student. Every level of schooling is just about doing well to get to the next level, there is no thought about an end place... At 17, to complete my A-levels, I had to apply to university otherwise I'd have failed the course. The thing is, how can there be consideration for an end place when you're so young? My logic was just plog along and do things I enjoy, but when It came to uni I put it off for 2 years, taking a foundation course and a year out because I simply didn't know what to do, but eventually felt forced into it. I studied a pointless subject and now I have a pointless debt.
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Re: Aparteid in UK education?

#17  Postby Teshi » Nov 10, 2011 12:05 pm

HAJiME, I don't really understand that you had to apply to university to complete your A Levels. Was it part of the course? If so, it's hardly a universal requirement. This certainly doesn't mean you are forced to go to university, given you took two years off before you attended.

In addition, Ontario makes the distinction between Universities (where you might study an academic subject like Physics, Human Biology, English or History) and College (where you could also learn an academic subject but the entry levels would be lower, you would need College rather than University courses and the courses would usually be focused on getting you a job). Most people do something at the tertiary level, if only to train them for a specific job.


In my undergraduate degree I doubled majored in English and History, and minored in Polical Science. None of these lead to jobs and post-graduation I worked in a coffee shop, a toy shop, in a school and as a substitute music teacher in order to earn some money. I didn't really have a dream but I realised that in order to be employed full time I would need more qualifications, so I attended Teacher's College. There are few jobs in Ontario so I came to the UK, where I also have citizenship, and now work as a teacher here (where there are lots of jobs for someone with my skills).

If you weren't made aware of the choices available to you, that's a problem and I wish the school had given you more guidance about your options. I know when I graduated most people went to university and now Ontario is pulling off a bit and trying to get more people to consider the more practical college option.

However, your university degree will be important in the future as you begin to work and gain experience. It will open doors to higher level careers that your undergrad comrades will not have. On top of that, it has hopefully required you to demonstrate that you can think at a higher level.

*

The UK education system is quite different to the UK system. It is set up in such a way that you are intended to go to school until you are 16. After that you get some kind of credentials and in the past this was fine because companies took in sixteen year olds and apprenticed them and trained them up from basically being able to read and add (something that no longer occurs). The GCSE qualification is quite basic, compared to a similar grade level in Ontario.

A-Levels, on the other hand, are much harder than Grades 11 and 12 in Ontario. They are intended to focus study in an academic, pre-university way and do not lend themselves well to the generalist most of us will have to be in our lives in this educational climate. There is no middle of the road qualification that allows children to continue their studies in a general way until they reach 18 and are thus more able to make decisions about their lives.

In Ontario, you can (and should probably) study 7 or 8 subjects at the top level of school. This gives you a broad base at 17-18 to work off. The classes, as I said, are much less specialised and so enable everyone to graduate high school with a generalist diploma in a variety of classes. If you have University level classes, this doesn't disqualify you from college but it also means you can apply to universities. If you have college level classes you can return to school in the summer to get university-level qualifications if you change your mind.

University isn't for everyone but I would recommend general education to everyone until 18 and I recognise how improved a society is where people have even employment-useless types of university education. A society that is educated to that level functions and reacts much better to economic hardship. I can't imagine what the children leaving school at 16 are thinking in the UK: there are much fewer jobs. Training in the workplace no longer really exists as much and rarely leaves to a secure, life-long job as it used to. The GCSE is quite basic and put them at a severe academic disadvantage over university-educated friends and makes it incredibly hard for them.

Streaming is just part of this education system set up for an economy and workplace that no longer exists. It was fine (or, some dismal version of fine) where there were coal-mines, ship-yards and factories to work in. You were expected to learn to read and add and that was fine because there was a job for you down t' mine and that was fine for a sixteen year old. If you were bright, but not academic, there was plenty of chance for you to end up supervising a load of coal-faced miners. Let the kids who get into grammar schools and be streamed into university directly and then go straight into the civil service, like their Daddies.

The world no longer works like that. Most jobs benefit from being filled by a highly literate, broad-minded, generalized, highly-educated person who already had a high level of maturity. Fooling around on the bus, drinking until you vomit and not being able to speak well (not "in the right accent" but "clearly, accurately, politely, intelligently and kindly") are not skills employers are going to want. They want that 20, 21 year old who is mature and not all that likely to show up to work hung over. Can they be patient with customers? Can they work in a number of different jobs?

Once upon a time, a sixteen year old could haul coal or clean clothes and kept his or her mouth shut because he or she was in a world of powerful adults. Now, a sixteen year old needs to be able, at the very list, be well-presented, patient and clear with customers in order to get on the ladder at all. Better to keep those people in school two more years not learning a trade at all but just learning more about the world and life and academic skills they can come to later if they want to not work at Sainsbury's their entire life. Get them to a stage where they can sit on a bus and talk quitely, dress themselves without wearing a school uniform and talk in a measured, calm and sensible way to a customer. Only then should they be ejected into the world.

The system is borked in the UK. It does not mesh well with the realities of the workplace. Nobody wants to train a sixteen year old when they could take in a twenty one or two year old with a university education.
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