Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

Discussions for education, teaching & parenting.

Moderators: Blip, The_Metatron

Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#1  Postby Simon_Gardner » Mar 02, 2010 11:26 am

The Indpendent wrote:Dominic Lawson: Critics of faith schools won’t acknowledge why they succeed

An accumulated wisdom lies at the heart of many faith schools

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

If a class of adolescent children were to be allocated a new sex education teacher called Mr Balls, one would imagine that he would struggle to be taken seriously.

The nation, however, must not indulge itself in such juvenile high spirits, as it is indeed a Mr Balls – the “Children’s Secretary” Ed Balls, to be precise – who is now putting through a Parliamentary Bill which for the first time makes sex education mandatory for pupils in all state schools.

The original Bill made absolutely no distinction between faith schools and all other institutions, but last week the Children’s Secretary, allegedly as a result of lobbying by the Catholic Church of England and Wales, introduced an amendment which allowed any faith school to provide the mandatory “Sex and Relationship” education “in a way that reflects the school’s religious character”.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers immediately protested that this would “place the religious character of the school above the promotion of equality and tolerance of diversity”; the Secretary of State reassured them, via a published letter in a newspaper, that all faith schools would, in their sex education classes, indeed be “required to promote equality and encourage diversity”. Mr Balls concluded his letter with the observation that for young people to receive accurate information in such matters “is the bottom line”. This completely finished me off – but then I admit to having found Frankie Howerd funny.

One can see Mr Balls’s difficulties, however. On the one hand he is obsessively committed, in true New Labour style, to the promotion of “equality and diversity” – which in this context has a scope and meaning which one can only guess at; on the other hand it is simply the fact that a third of the maintained sector in this country consists of faith schools, and the Catholic ones among them – which happen to be thickest on the ground in Labour’s urban constituencies – are especially disinclined to see sexual behaviour as a purely mechanical matter.

Such schools have a very strong culture, which should properly be described as counter-revolutionary, in view of the social trend of the past half-century towards almost anarchic liberalisation in the treatment and upbringing of children. Last week I had a tangible impression of this, in a visit to a maintained Roman Catholic secondary school. A photograph of the current Pope was prominent in the main hall; the waiting room was dominated by a vast print of that extraordinary Salvador Dali painting, “Christ of St John of the Cross”.

Once into the classrooms, however, something quite distinct from mere religious affiliation was observable. That something, I can only describe as rigour. It was palpable not just in the pristine tidiness of every room or corridor we entered or in the fact that the entire class would stand up when the headmistress entered the room (and even the teachers addressed her as “Miss”). It was more of an accumulated sense of order and – yes – discipline. I felt almost as if I had been transported back into the Britain of my own childhood – and not just because of the age of the buildings.

I was not surprised to discover that, uniquely among the state secondary schools in that part of England, this school has GCSE results which in no way lag behind the much-better financed private schools in the same county. Of course, money helps to provide better facilities within the private sector, but this school, cramped as it seemed, and with no favours shown by the local authority in terms of new investment, was able to provide that most essential ingredient for educational progress – a calm and ordered atmosphere of dedication to learning.

Naturally, it does not require a Catholic, or even a religious culture to create such an atmosphere. I remember having exactly the same sensation when I visited a very poorly equipped school in Shanghai over 10 years ago; and I have visited academy schools in this country which had a similarly rigorous approach, but were funded via purely secular governing bodies. These, by the way, were in some of the poorest areas of the London inner city; the headmaster of one of them pointed out to me that it was precisely because so many of his pupils came from profoundly chaotic backgrounds of long-term familial unemployment and absent fathers that they required a degree of imposed order and discipline which might strike the outsider as draconian. Indeed, when I used that word to describe his methods, he said to me, “You have to understand where many of these children come from. They have been given no boundaries at all and desperately need the order we bring to their lives”.

It’s fair to say that the Catholic secondary school I saw last week was of a different social mix; and its secular critics would perhaps try to argue that its good academic results compared to neighbouring maintained schools might be because it has proportionately fewer pupils from deprived backgrounds. This is an accusation which is generally levelled against faith schools, to explain away their relative (though by no means invariable) academic success. At least at secondary level, it is an accusation unsupported by much evidence.

A year ago the House of Commons Library produced a thorough analysis, which showed that while 13.2 per cent of pupils at state secondary schools “with no religious character” were eligible for free school meals, the equivalent figure for Roman Catholic faith schools was 12.1 per cent. This is a much smaller difference than that between the rate of A* to C grades in five or more GCSEs; at the schools of “no religious character” those grades were attained by 64.5 per cent of pupils; at the maintained Roman Catholic faith schools, 72.8 per cent of pupils achieved that performance.

It’s not quite the result that Richard Dawkins would have expected; and it helps to explain why even a Government whose instincts are profoundly opposed to much of what the Catholic Church stands for continues to finance such schools as a thriving part of the maintained sector.

There are those within New Labour – and some among the teaching unions – who will nevertheless insist that any good such faith schools achieve academically is more than outweighed by their “social divisiveness”; that they are obstacles to “social cohesion”. That, too, is an argument in search of evidence.

Three months ago York University carried out a simple piece of research, analysing the extent to which Ofsted inspectors rated schools at achieving their new legal duty to “promote community cohesion”. Of the secondary faith schools surveyed 32 per cent were rated “outstanding” at community relations, whereas of the non-faith school secondary schools surveyed, only 16 per cent were given the same grade. Naturally, such a single statistic does not settle this argument one way or the other; but I bet it came as a surprise to some in the Government.

What does all this have to do with the issue of mandatory “Sex and Relationship” teaching in faith schools? In one sense, nothing; but what it does demonstrate is that there is an accumulated social and educational wisdom at the heart of many of these schools and that it would be a very foolish government which imagined it knew better than they how to make the very best adults out of the children in their classrooms.

Whatever you might think about the doctrines of the various churches, and the families which adhere to them, you surely don’t believe that morality is a matter best decided by politicians.


http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/dominic-lawson/dominic-lawson-critics-of-faith-schools-wont-acknowledge-why-they-succeed-1914315.html
Image (Since 27 Nov 1987)
Dates - YYYY/MM/DD; measure metric scientific.
Image

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts - attrib Patrick Moynihan
User avatar
Simon_Gardner
THREAD STARTER
 
Name: Twitter @Simon_Gardner
Posts: 7723

Country: GMT
European Union (eur)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#2  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 02, 2010 11:39 am

Assuming that is true (and it no doubt is in the case of some religious schools, as it is in some secular schools), that is in no way a validation of their religious nature. There is nothing in that article that makes any reasonable arguments for schools to be of a religious nature.

There is this constant straw man that secularists assume that everything religious organisation do is bad, and everything that religions promote is incorrect or harmful. Quite the contrary. There is plenty in most religions that is good. The point is that this stuff exists independently of religion, and it is quite possible to extract the good things that certain faith schools might be doing, without needing to hang on to the harmful or demonstrably false aspects.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9632
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#3  Postby Emmeline » Mar 02, 2010 12:09 pm

Faith Primary Schools: Better Schools or Better Pupils?
"It appears that most of the apparent advantage of Faith school education in England can be explained by differences between the pupils who attend these schools and those who do not".
Gibbons & Silva 2009 (London School of Economics)
http://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp4089.html
Emmeline
 
Posts: 10401

Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#4  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 02, 2010 12:15 pm

Incidentally, can I just point out that if they switch to a model that compares schools on value added rather than percentage of pupils getting particular grades, we wouldn't have all of this BS in the first place. There would be no incentive to pick the high-achieving pupils (perhaps even the opposite, because there's more potential for improvement in a bright kid from a shit background than there is in an outstanding kid from a nice upper-middle class family).
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9632
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#5  Postby Emmeline » Mar 02, 2010 12:20 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:Incidentally, can I just point out that if they switch to a model that compares schools on value added rather than percentage of pupils getting particular grades, we wouldn't have all of this BS in the first place. There would be no incentive to pick the high-achieving pupils (perhaps even the opposite, because there's more potential for improvement in a bright kid from a shit background than there is in an outstanding kid from a nice upper-middle class family).

They've been using that model for some time as well as comparing exam results. While it does indeed demonstrate that there are many superb schools serving disadvantaged areas, children from challenging backgrounds tend to make less progress anyway if they don't have parental support and/or have a dysfunctional family to go home to each evening. It's hard for kids to focus on learning if their mother is a depressed alcoholic who can't even get them to school on time.
Emmeline
 
Posts: 10401

Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#6  Postby Agrippina » Mar 02, 2010 12:23 pm

The difference has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with limits, order, discipline all being in place and enforced.

This is the difference between schools in the 'olden' days and schools today.

I have teachers in my family so I have a lot of access to this information. The success of religious schools is that they exact a high standard of discipline, good behaviour and performance. They don't tolerate nonsense from the pupils and because the parents are paying a lot of money for the education, the parents also enforce the rules of the schools.

Children misbehave and slack off when there are low expectations of them and there are no controls and no lines of drawn. A simple thing like dressing to a code, wearing a uniform the way it was designed to be worn, tidy hair, calling teachers 'Miss' or "Mrs' or Ma'am' and 'sir" as we had to do when I was at school, puts the teacher at a level of mentor rather than best friend. Expecting kids to be on time for class and making the highest standard of achievement the level that everyone else is expected to meet makes children aspire to achieve that but it must also not be so high that it is unattainable. We have exactly the same thing with the children in our 'private' schools which are also backed by religion. King David and Crawford College, both Jewish-backed schools produce the highest performers every year in the general education department exams and in the private schools final exams, which the other private schools write, failures are phenomenal and more likely to get mentioned than a mere 4 distinctions (A+) when there is a general tendency towards 6 or 7 or even in some cases as many as 10. Also in our public schools, the children who leave the Afrikaans-medium schools also tend to show better results than the other schools, simply because they still exercise the old-fashioned kind of discipline that was in place before parents decided that they had to be friends rather than role models to their kids.

It's not religion, its order, discipline and control, backed by parents who pay loads of money for the education. Just my observations from what the teachers in my family tell me from being on the inside as it were.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#7  Postby Weaver » Mar 02, 2010 12:35 pm

For a few years my daughter had to attend a public school in Louisiana which thought uniforms and strict discipline (and finding excuses to incorporate religion wherever possible) were the only things that really mattered, and would lead to good academic achievement. Their teaching staff was sub-par, particularly when compared to public schools in New York State. Needless to say, there's a reason why Louisiana schools are always at the bottom of national rankings - along with many Southern states which value discipline over actual education.

What it all comes down to, in the end, is money - states which are willing to pay good money for good education end up with good students. The same can be seen on smaller scales when comparing school districts to each other. Unfortunately, it's easy to credit successes with easier-to-observe minor things like uniforms and saying "Sir, Ma'am", when deeper analysis can easialy show this to not be the driving factor.

I'm not trying to say that anarchy should rule classrooms - far from it. But it's possible to have orderly classrooms without such authoratarian methods as uniforms, key phrases from students, and (especially in US Southern States) corporal punnishment.

And, by the way, I've gained this opinion not only from watching my kids go through school - but because my family is full of teachers as well.
Image
Retired AiF

Cogito, Ergo Armatus Sum.
User avatar
Weaver
RS Donator
 
Posts: 20125
Age: 52
Male

Country: USA
United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#8  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 02, 2010 12:35 pm

Topsy wrote:
I'm With Stupid wrote:Incidentally, can I just point out that if they switch to a model that compares schools on value added rather than percentage of pupils getting particular grades, we wouldn't have all of this BS in the first place. There would be no incentive to pick the high-achieving pupils (perhaps even the opposite, because there's more potential for improvement in a bright kid from a shit background than there is in an outstanding kid from a nice upper-middle class family).

They've been using that model for some time as well as comparing exam results. While it does indeed demonstrate that there are many superb schools serving disadvantaged areas, children from challenging backgrounds tend to make less progress anyway if they don't have parental support and/or have a dysfunctional family to go home to each evening. It's hard for kids to focus on learning if their mother is a depressed alcoholic who can't even get them to school on time.

Fair enough.

But if the bottom line of what counts as a "good school" is how many A-C grade students they get, which I still think is the case, then there could be less incentive to put the resources into the lower level students. If you can put your resources into getting students from a D to a C or B to an A, or you've got a student that's never going to get a C, but at least you can get them literate and numerate by the time they leave school, which are you going to do, if the number of A* to Cs is what ends up getting the headlines?
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9632
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#9  Postby Agrippina » Mar 02, 2010 12:44 pm

Weaver wrote:For a few years my daughter had to attend a public school in Louisiana which thought uniforms and strict discipline (and finding excuses to incorporate religion wherever possible) were the only things that really mattered, and would lead to good academic achievement. Their teaching staff was sub-par, particularly when compared to public schools in New York State. Needless to say, there's a reason why Louisiana schools are always at the bottom of national rankings - along with many Southern states which value discipline over actual education.

It's also the quality of teachers. If you pay peanuts.....

What it all comes down to, in the end, is money - states which are willing to pay good money for good education end up with good students. The same can be seen on smaller scales when comparing school districts to each other. Unfortunately, it's easy to credit successes with easier-to-observe minor things like uniforms and saying "Sir, Ma'am", when deeper analysis can easialy show this to not be the driving factor.


It's not the discipline on it's own, it's when it also incorporates expectations of high standards from both teachers and pupils.

I'm not trying to say that anarchy should rule classrooms - far from it. But it's possible to have orderly classrooms without such authoratarian methods as uniforms, key phrases from students, and (especially in US Southern States) corporal punnishment.

And, by the way, I've gained this opinion not only from watching my kids go through school - but because my family is full of teachers as well.

I'm not advocating school uniforms, I am advocating a standard of dress. and the standard isn't because of anything other than that society has a standard it expects from all of us. For instance when an event calls for 'black tie' you won't be given access if you pitch up in jeans and a t-shirt. Possibly if you're Mickey Rourke but even he conforms to the standard of the dress code of the Oscars. And if the teachers expect to be addressed by their surnames, then they will have to behave to a standard that commands the respect that goes with it. It's perception, the veneer that we put on our behaviour within society that makes us conform. If the teachers arrive at school dressed seductively and fool around with the students, and used pop-slang language in speaking to the kids, how will the kids learn what is and isn't appropriate behaviour? That's all it is, schools use uniforms (here anyway) because it's easier to control the ways kids dress that way and because otherwise you have a lot of drama with kids who can't afford the latest sneakers or designer clothes. I hate uniforms as much as the next person but I can understand why our schools still enforce them.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#10  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 02, 2010 12:47 pm

Weaver wrote:What it all comes down to, in the end, is money - states which are willing to pay good money for good education end up with good students. The same can be seen on smaller scales when comparing school districts to each other. Unfortunately, it's easy to credit successes with easier-to-observe minor things like uniforms and saying "Sir, Ma'am", when deeper analysis can easialy show this to not be the driving factor.

I'm not trying to say that anarchy should rule classrooms - far from it. But it's possible to have orderly classrooms without such authoratarian methods as uniforms, key phrases from students, and (especially in US Southern States) corporal punnishment.

Indeed. I listened to a Radio 4 documentary looking at the Finnish education system, which tends to be to education what the French are to healthcare. It was reported as everything that is blamed for the failures in the UK (and I assume America too). Informal classroom environments, teachers that encourage discussion, etc. And the discipline was exemplary. They asked the teachers what the worst behaviour they'd ever come across was, and it was stuff that happened in my school every day. What they did acknowledge was that in terms of the very talented students, they perhaps don't do quite as well as the UK, but overall, they are much better. And it's no secret. Every teacher has a masters degree and they are paid accordingly, and the class sizes are small. But that costs money.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9632
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#11  Postby Weaver » Mar 02, 2010 12:49 pm

Teachers' education seems to be a big factor here as well - in NY State, the Master's Degree is the expectation for all levels - whereas in Louisiana there wasn't a single teacher in the entire school district with a degree over a Bachelor's.
Image
Retired AiF

Cogito, Ergo Armatus Sum.
User avatar
Weaver
RS Donator
 
Posts: 20125
Age: 52
Male

Country: USA
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#12  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 02, 2010 12:56 pm

Agrippina wrote:That's all it is, schools use uniforms (here anyway) because it's easier to control the ways kids dress that way and because otherwise you have a lot of drama with kids who can't afford the latest sneakers or designer clothes. I hate uniforms as much as the next person but I can understand why our schools still enforce them.

I don't buy this one bit. We still knew who the rich and poor kids were at our school. There was still massive pressure to wear branded shoes (those shoe tags were the big accessory when I was in school), have branded bags, and you still need football boots and trainers for sports. Maybe it'd be worse if there was constant pressure for kids to have an entire wardrobe of nice clothes (then again, if they didn't have to fork out for new uniforms every year, maybe they could afford them). But I think you can blame our pathetic emphasis on consumerism and class for the fact that kids are judged on what clothing they can afford.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9632
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#13  Postby Agrippina » Mar 02, 2010 1:01 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Weaver wrote:What it all comes down to, in the end, is money - states which are willing to pay good money for good education end up with good students. The same can be seen on smaller scales when comparing school districts to each other. Unfortunately, it's easy to credit successes with easier-to-observe minor things like uniforms and saying "Sir, Ma'am", when deeper analysis can easialy show this to not be the driving factor.

I'm not trying to say that anarchy should rule classrooms - far from it. But it's possible to have orderly classrooms without such authoratarian methods as uniforms, key phrases from students, and (especially in US Southern States) corporal punnishment.

Indeed. I listened to a Radio 4 documentary looking at the Finnish education system, which tends to be to education what the French are to healthcare. It was reported as everything that is blamed for the failures in the UK (and I assume America too). Informal classroom environments, teachers that encourage discussion, etc. And the discipline was exemplary. They asked the teachers what the worst behaviour they'd ever come across was, and it was stuff that happened in my school every day. What they did acknowledge was that in terms of the very talented students, they perhaps don't do quite as well as the UK, but overall, they are much better. And it's no secret. Every teacher has a masters degree and they are paid accordingly, and the class sizes are small. But that costs money.


Also, people tend to think that discipline = quiet classrooms. Discipline can be very strict in a classroom where discussions are conducted as they would be in a board meeting. We have Outcomes Based Education in our schools so the strict rows of desks type classrooms hardly ever exist except in the rooms of the most die-hard classic teachers. Most of the young ones have casually arranged classrooms where discussion goes on all day but it is done with a tone or respect with the teacher acting as moderator.

@Weaver
We have special teacher's colleges where they are taught, and educational psychology is a requirement. Also all teachers have to have been passed for practical teaching examinations done in each year of their training. We don't allow anyone with a Bachelor's Degree to teach they have to have the practical qualification as well as have passed two of our 11 languages.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#14  Postby Agrippina » Mar 02, 2010 1:04 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Agrippina wrote:That's all it is, schools use uniforms (here anyway) because it's easier to control the ways kids dress that way and because otherwise you have a lot of drama with kids who can't afford the latest sneakers or designer clothes. I hate uniforms as much as the next person but I can understand why our schools still enforce them.

I don't buy this one bit. We still knew who the rich and poor kids were at our school. There was still massive pressure to wear branded shoes (those shoe tags were the big accessory when I was in school), have branded bags, and you still need football boots and trainers for sports. Maybe it'd be worse if there was constant pressure for kids to have an entire wardrobe of nice clothes (then again, if they didn't have to fork out for new uniforms every year, maybe they could afford them). But I think you can blame our pathetic emphasis on consumerism and class for the fact that kids are judged on what clothing they can afford.


That's where we're different, branded stuff is not allowed. The only badges allowed are school ones.
And they have shoes made especially for school uniform purposes.
Of course it's consumerism but in a country with so many poor people, it's not fair to subject kids to the ridicule of their peers because their parents can barely afford the uniforms, books and fees. So there's no competition with clothes.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#15  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 02, 2010 2:36 pm

Agrippina wrote:
I'm With Stupid wrote:
Agrippina wrote:That's all it is, schools use uniforms (here anyway) because it's easier to control the ways kids dress that way and because otherwise you have a lot of drama with kids who can't afford the latest sneakers or designer clothes. I hate uniforms as much as the next person but I can understand why our schools still enforce them.

I don't buy this one bit. We still knew who the rich and poor kids were at our school. There was still massive pressure to wear branded shoes (those shoe tags were the big accessory when I was in school), have branded bags, and you still need football boots and trainers for sports. Maybe it'd be worse if there was constant pressure for kids to have an entire wardrobe of nice clothes (then again, if they didn't have to fork out for new uniforms every year, maybe they could afford them). But I think you can blame our pathetic emphasis on consumerism and class for the fact that kids are judged on what clothing they can afford.


That's where we're different, branded stuff is not allowed. The only badges allowed are school ones.
And they have shoes made especially for school uniform purposes.
Of course it's consumerism but in a country with so many poor people, it's not fair to subject kids to the ridicule of their peers because their parents can barely afford the uniforms, books and fees. So there's no competition with clothes.

They tried to do that in our school, by banning logos on bags and coats, but parents who had just spent a load of money on new bags and coats kicked off. They also tried to have "official" school trousers with a logo on, but again parents kicked off because they saw it as a way of having a monopoly on school clothing, when you could buy the same stuff elsewhere without school crests at a fraction of the price. And I think you'd struggle to find unbranded football boots over here. But anyway, the point I was making is that in countries like France, the Netherlands and Germany, they don't have uniforms generally, and I'm not aware of any of these sorts of problems being any better or worse. I know that within Europe, British kids have been described as having the lowest self-esteem of those in Western Europe in a WHO study, and tend to have greater levels of all of the social problems that uniforms are being cited as cures for. Japan on the other hand has lower rates of these social problems, despite also having uniforms. So like I said, I'm not aware of any concrete evidence that it has any effect on discipline, bullying, or many other issues.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9632
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#16  Postby Agrippina » Mar 02, 2010 2:49 pm

Most of our kids use 'post' bags. A sort of white denim bag and they have to have unbranded sports shoes, luckily we have a sort of middle of the road type brand that most schools recommend.

I think that low-self-esteem has to do with more than just uniforms, it's a combination of a whole lot of things. There's more to the British teenager problem than what we can define in a conversation like this, you'd have to do comparative studies. And we have much bigger problems here too that go beyond discipline (there's a lot of that) and uniforms. We have poverty which is such a big problem that it overshadows any others we might have. Also under-educated parents, here certainly, are a large contributing factor to poor performance by our 'matrics' and also kids who don't live with their parents and are sponsored or whose parents live far away from schools etc. And I'm sure there are problems in the UK that Europeans don't have and ones in some parts of America that don't appear in others.

All I was saying in my original post is that when you have parents who can afford private school fees, the backing of the parents for disciplinary measures and expected standards of performance by the pupils, included in levels of hierarchy as far as the teachers' behaviour and the behaviour of the children towards the teachers, availability of learning aids, a level of social behaviour that in inculcated in the children from the beginning etc. etc. you'll get the expected results, which will be better when compared with schools where there are no fees, poor availability of learning aids, indifference to the standard of behaviour and poorly educated teachers. And a whole lot of other ills.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#17  Postby Beatsong » Mar 02, 2010 10:12 pm

Agrippina wrote:The difference has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with limits, order, discipline all being in place and enforced.

This is the difference between schools in the 'olden' days and schools today.

I have teachers in my family so I have a lot of access to this information. The success of religious schools is that they exact a high standard of discipline, good behaviour and performance. They don't tolerate nonsense from the pupils and because the parents are paying a lot of money for the education, the parents also enforce the rules of the schools.


Just to make sure you're clear on this as I see you're not in the UK: the article made clear that it was about STATE religious schools. These schools operate within the normal state sector, funded by the government, and the parents aren't paying any money at all for them. Also, whatever they are doing right about discipline (and there is obviously something), must be being done within the same confines of national policy as other state schools - ie no corporal punishment etc.

There is an argument about the difference in discipline between state and private schools, and how the fact that the parents are paying feeds into that, but it's a different argument.
NEVER WRONG. ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM.
User avatar
Beatsong
 
Posts: 7027

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

#18  Postby Beatsong » Mar 02, 2010 10:14 pm

Anyhow I thought it was a good article because, while I fundamentally disagree with what it was trying to promote, it did so persuasively and with strong evidence, and that will make me think a bit harder. Thanks Simon :)
NEVER WRONG. ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM.
User avatar
Beatsong
 
Posts: 7027

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#19  Postby Beatsong » Mar 02, 2010 10:18 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:I listened to a Radio 4 documentary looking at the Finnish education system, which tends to be to education what the French are to healthcare. It was reported as everything that is blamed for the failures in the UK (and I assume America too). Informal classroom environments, teachers that encourage discussion, etc. And the discipline was exemplary. They asked the teachers what the worst behaviour they'd ever come across was, and it was stuff that happened in my school every day. What they did acknowledge was that in terms of the very talented students, they perhaps don't do quite as well as the UK, but overall, they are much better. And it's no secret. Every teacher has a masters degree and they are paid accordingly, and the class sizes are small. But that costs money.


That, right there. Just everyone STOP, right there.

Ask ANY teacher. That's all there is to it. It's why parents pay for private schools.

What you say about "informality" under these circumstances in Finland is interesting. I know from my own experience as a teacher that you can be SO much more informal with a small group than a large one, while still maintaining control. There's much more scope for creativity and allowing things to go off on tangents following the creativity of the kids, because you always know you can bring them back when you need to.

Even with rough disadvantaged kids and few resources, amazing things can be achieved with small classes. The last school I taught at was 30-40% muslim so every Eid, that number of kids was away. It was like a totally different experience, and that's not because of anything to do with the muslim kids specifically - in fact the muslim girls were probably some of the best behaved in the school. We still had loads of poor, fucked up white and caribbean kids from dysfunctional families there, but with 15-20 of them in a class instead of 25-30, everything changes.
NEVER WRONG. ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM.
User avatar
Beatsong
 
Posts: 7027

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Critics won’t acknowledge why faith schools succeed

#20  Postby Agrippina » Mar 04, 2010 9:50 am

Beatsong wrote:
Agrippina wrote:The difference has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with limits, order, discipline all being in place and enforced.

This is the difference between schools in the 'olden' days and schools today.

I have teachers in my family so I have a lot of access to this information. The success of religious schools is that they exact a high standard of discipline, good behaviour and performance. They don't tolerate nonsense from the pupils and because the parents are paying a lot of money for the education, the parents also enforce the rules of the schools.


Just to make sure you're clear on this as I see you're not in the UK: the article made clear that it was about STATE religious schools. These schools operate within the normal state sector, funded by the government, and the parents aren't paying any money at all for them. Also, whatever they are doing right about discipline (and there is obviously something), must be being done within the same confines of national policy as other state schools - ie no corporal punishment etc.


That is disgusting that the taxpayers are supporting a religious school.
Whatever the other factors involved, I would be furious if I knew that my taxes were being used to finance a religious school.

There is an argument about the difference in discipline between state and private schools, and how the fact that the parents are paying feeds into that, but it's a different argument.

Of course there is, if you're paying for private education, you want value for your money.
But then when you pay taxes and getting free schooling, you are still paying aren't you?

Our schools are state funded to a degree but if parents want more than the state can afford, they pay fees and at some of our schools they run into thousands of Rands a month. When my two youngest were in high school, during the early 1990s, I was paying R200 a month each, I know the fees are ten times that today, but the education and results and discipline are a lot better than they are at totally state-funded schools.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Next

Return to Parenting & Education

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest