Your School

What sort of school did you attend?

State school
29
81%
Independent school
5
14%
Both
2
6%
 
Total votes: 36

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skalpel
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Re: Your School

Post by skalpel » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:06 pm

Donkey Toon wrote:Yet at home was reading books that were on the required reading list for Oxbridge degrees.
I don't mean to crush down your long and really interesting post into a sentence, but I think this is a really key part of what you're saying. Personally, I wasn't reading anything of the sort. I was a reasonably keen kid - in my primary SAT exams I got three sixes which was meant to be exceptional, and I did get one A* in English Lit at GCSE, but it remains that, in my own time, I'd not read much more than Goosebumps and Roald Dahl by the time I'd left school. I had no understanding at all that learning could be: a) recreational, and b) interesting. School was where learning happened, and at home was TV and a games console (thank f*** for Sid Meier's Civilization, by the way, I can't underestimate the enormous job that did in developing my childly understanding of humanity and history without my realising it). But I stuck in at school because I was told that's what I was supposed to do. I wish I'd been like you, a sort of Matilda figure (as it were) who knew that learning can be an amazing solo-adventure. I mean, I even played a musical instrument at school too, but my brain made utterly no connection between the music I played there and the music I listened to in my free time. It was like they were two completely unrelated things which could never cross paths. Everything school was completely compartmentalised. I think this is pretty damning (both for my parents and my school).

MIFUNE wrote:See I differ here, I think my drive to teach myself stuff I am interested in was as a result of my complete uninterest in education and my negative feelings towards it. I went to school, I did my GCSEs, my A-levels and I went to university for no other reason than lack of a better option and that you are put on a conveyor belt for that path early on in school while not being properly given any other options. But because I had very little interest in what I was being taught at any stage of my education it forced me to read and learn about stuff that I did find interesting by myself which developed my self-exploration and self-driven development. So if I had gone to a private school I may have been better educated and received better grades, but I do not know if I would have also gone my own way so to speak with my self-educating and self-development. I don't know which in the end would be more beneficial.
That makes loads of sense, yeah. Do you regret the conveyor belt? I mean, do you feel that in the end you chose the right path (way back when you were 14...)?

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Re: Your School

Post by PTAO? » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:16 pm

I vote Donkey Toon's custom rank be changed to Matilda

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Re: Your School

Post by Mifune » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:42 pm

skalpel wrote:
MIFUNE wrote:See I differ here, I think my drive to teach myself stuff I am interested in was as a result of my complete uninterest in education and my negative feelings towards it. I went to school, I did my GCSEs, my A-levels and I went to university for no other reason than lack of a better option and that you are put on a conveyor belt for that path early on in school while not being properly given any other options. But because I had very little interest in what I was being taught at any stage of my education it forced me to read and learn about stuff that I did find interesting by myself which developed my self-exploration and self-driven development. So if I had gone to a private school I may have been better educated and received better grades, but I do not know if I would have also gone my own way so to speak with my self-educating and self-development. I don't know which in the end would be more beneficial.
That makes loads of sense, yeah. Do you regret the conveyor belt? I mean, do you feel that in the end you chose the right path (way back when you were 14...)?
I not sure to be honest. University was a total bust in a education sense, but was pretty massive in a personal development sense. I think that if I could go back then I would do things differently, but I have no idea if the outcome would be any different. There are also things that I would really not want to be different. Really I think it would not of made much difference either way, I've been directionless my whole life so far, I'm not sure if anything would have changed that in a genuine way.

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Re: Your School

Post by Ciudad Burro » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:49 pm

skalpel wrote:
Donkey Toon wrote:Yet at home was reading books that were on the required reading list for Oxbridge degrees.
I don't mean to crush down your long and really interesting post into a sentence, but I think this is a really key part of what you're saying. Personally, I wasn't reading anything of the sort. I was a reasonably keen kid - in my primary SAT exams I got three sixes which was meant to be exceptional, and I did get one A* in English Lit at GCSE, but it remains that, in my own time, I'd not read much more than Goosebumps and Roald Dahl by the time I'd left school. I had no understanding at all that learning could be: a) recreational, and b) interesting. School was where learning happened, and at home was TV and a games console (thank **** for Sid Meier's Civilization, by the way, I can't underestimate the enormous job that did in developing my childly understanding of humanity and history without my realising it). But I stuck in at school because I was told that's what I was supposed to do. I wish I'd been like you, a sort of Matilda figure (as it were) who knew that learning can be an amazing solo-adventure. I mean, I even played a musical instrument at school too, but my brain made utterly no connection between the music I played there and the music I listened to in my free time. It was like they were two completely unrelated things which could never cross paths. Everything school was completely compartmentalised. I think this is pretty damning (both for my parents and my school).
It is pretty clear that neither of us got much help from home fella. Which is a bugger. <gent>

But you got there one way or another because nobody reading your posts could be in any doubt that you are extremely intelligent, informed and eloquent. Proof positive that true intelligence will out and qualifications are often just a smoke screen to give a false first impression. (my jaded views coming out again!)

I got lucky with reading. By the time i'd taken the 11+ i'd never read anything other than comics and only owned a complete collection of Asterix comic books and a few of Tintin. Then the summer between testing and starting Secondary School a friend lent me first the Silmarillion, then Lord of the Rings and then the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy books. Those books completely opened me up to the joy of reading and I never looked back.

Within a year I had read the book "In Search of the Indo-Europeans" by JP Mallory a book about tracing the origins of Indo-European peoples throught the linguistic growth and spread of that family of languages. Still required reading at Oxford/Cambridge for history degrees as far as I am aware. It made me fall in love with history (think I've mentioned this before on the history thread) and within another year had delved heavily into the Greek Classics, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, even The Kalevala ... which is the Finnish equivalent. So keen was I to read that I had to order a copy from the Harvard University Press. Cost me £40 for a paperback in 1981 and was two months pocket money.

Developing a love of reading totally transformed my life and my view of what could be done on your own. I was learning far more reading at home by my self than I was learning at school.

Meanwhile at school my history lessons involved learning crop rotation or Henry VIII's wives but mostly involved reading a highly abbreviated summary and lots of colouring in. I'd then go home and read a decent book on the subject. I was also having school lessons in subjects such as Horticulture and Animal Husbandry. Which involved such academic pursuits as lawnmowing the school lawns, digging potatoes or picking tomatoes and learning how to muck out stables or chicken coops. It is no bloody wonder I gave up on school.

<laugh> Sid Meier's Civilization. You are so right. It didn't influence my childhood development because we didn't have a computer at home when I was a kid. In fact I didn't have one of my own until I was nearly 30 and so got into the game quite late. But I still play it today and yes, it is amazing how much subliminal learning you can get from it concerning the evolution/development of mankind. Should be used in schools as a fun learning tool because it will probably teach more than they learn in their normal class. So long as the teacher is there to help them realise just how educational it is.

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Re: Your School

Post by OverseersmademesupportenglandTOON » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:17 pm

I went to a state school for a few years before going to a private boarding school so I've seen the difference in both systems.

At state school there was far more disruption in class and as such lessons were fragmented to the extent that learning was stymied and everyone learnt at the rate of the slowest pupil in the subject.

This factor and teacher strikes made my parents contemplate sending me to boarding school.

Once there, I found much less disruption in lessons and if anyone misbehaved they could be dealt with far quicker and ejected from lessons.

At the end of my education as a 16 year old I was far more independent than my friends who'd remained in a state school and also had the ability or ingrained belief in myself to face challenges and make decisions.

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Re: Your School

Post by OverseersmademesupportenglandTOON » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:38 pm

skalpel wrote:
Pretty Terrible Attacking Options wrote:A mate of mine moved to London with kids, and when looking at where to live and the schools etc, he realised you pay a premium similar to public school fees just to live in the catchment area of the schools that were any good.
Hah, yeah that's a great point. May I ask what he did in the end?
I'm actually working on a project at the moment involving school catchment areas and when we did face to face interviews everyone wants to move to an ofsted grade 1 area and ignore everything else.

Parts of London in grade 1 areas can add an extra £100,000 to the price of a house quite easily.

MiniOT is at a state school in an area rife with grade 1 schools but they are so heavily oversubscribed we went for the nearest grade 2 to us and the school is pretty good.

We bolster her teaching in subjects she struggles in but you have to do that as a parent.

She's just turned 9 and does maths at an 11 year old level but her hand writing sucks so we spend a few extra hours a week helping her to improve.

The school has limited IT facilities but we ask for the curriculum every term and she has full access at home to everything she needs.

Some parents at the school expect the state to do all the work and you can see that in their grades and the parents simply blame the schools.

Would I want her to go private? Yes.

It's simply not affordable for us at the moment.

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Re: Your School

Post by Kaltenberg » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:44 pm

skalpel wrote:Yeah. It's ridiculous that some people enjoy calling anybody who went to a private school a wanker or something, just because they're unhappy with the system. I went to s*** state schools, and I'm saving up to get my son the best private education I can so that he gets the exact opposite of the ballsed up childhood education I got. There are plenty of really good state schools, but if I'm living somewhere where the best education is private, then that's what I'll be looking at.

An uncle of mine got into the RGS back in the 60s. I wish I'd gone to the f***ing RGS <grim>.
I went to RGS on a full bursary... <run>

The education I got seems to be far better than my brothers and sisters, plus the facilities were pretty incredible and appear to continue to improve, but at the same time I feel like I missed out on a more social / eventful early-mid teens phase that I like to think I'd have had at a "normal" school.

I did well and felt a lot of pressure within myself to make the most of the opportunity and go on to do something with it, but at the same time got bored and had no idea what I actually wanted to do, which didn't seem like the best mindset to be going into whatever field with (I feel like medicine and law were the two big ones people were moulded for), plus the house income was about to surpass a significant bursary threshold and I didn't want that kind of cost hanging over me. I thought I was throwing it all away when I decided to go do a shitty BTEC ND course at Newcastle College, and maybe I was, but I've come to appreciate the more subtle effects of that education since.

Since the 11+ was brought up earlier, I had to sit one (or very similar) for entry to RGS, and looking at their FAQs that's still the way they determine ability before accepting newcomers. They have an example here, but it sounds much the same as what I did. The interview was weird, I'm not sure what they're looking for there, but all I remember is that it opened with being asked where I thought I ranked on the entrance exam.

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Re: Your School

Post by skalpel » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:54 am

MIFUNE wrote:I've been directionless my whole life so far, I'm not sure if anything would have changed that in a genuine way.
This is amazingly lugubrious <laugh>. I'm on board the directionless train with you though, so at least we can share the misery. Is it that you enjoy too many things and you don't know which thing is really yours? Or the opposite?
Cal wrote:I went to RGS on a full bursary... <run>

The education I got seems to be far better than my brothers and sisters, plus the facilities were pretty incredible and appear to continue to improve, but at the same time I feel like I missed out on a more social / eventful early-mid teens phase that I like to think I'd have had at a "normal" school.

I did well and felt a lot of pressure within myself to make the most of the opportunity and go on to do something with it, but at the same time got bored and had no idea what I actually wanted to do, which didn't seem like the best mindset to be going into whatever field with (I feel like medicine and law were the two big ones people were moulded for), plus the house income was about to surpass a significant bursary threshold and I didn't want that kind of cost hanging over me. I thought I was throwing it all away when I decided to go do a shitty BTEC ND course at Newcastle College, and maybe I was, but I've come to appreciate the more subtle effects of that education since.

Since the 11+ was brought up earlier, I had to sit one (or very similar) for entry to RGS, and looking at their FAQs that's still the way they determine ability before accepting newcomers. They have an example here, but it sounds much the same as what I did. The interview was weird, I'm not sure what they're looking for there, but all I remember is that it opened with being asked where I thought I ranked on the entrance exam.
Christ. That opening question <laugh>. Checking to see if you have the desire or something? Or if you're totally deluded? Full bursaries are few, right? That means you were obviously worth their taking, you clever bastard. The RGS option didn't even come up for me <grim>. It sounds like a great place. I'm not sure what you missed out on socially or eventfully to be honest; at my school basically sod all happened for five years while everybody (including the teachers) got increasingly used to pissing around instead of doing anything, then we all left <awe>.

I went onto a BTEC in my late teens as well, but I ended up with a record breaking attendance rate (of less than 20% if I recall...) so it didn't exactly go swimmingly.
overseasTOON wrote:we ask for the curriculum every term and she has full access at home to everything she needs.
This is probably going to sound stupid, but I genuinely didn't know that you could do this. That must make it really easy for you to supplement her education at home. Great idea.
Donkey Toon wrote:It is pretty clear that neither of us got much help from home fella. Which is a bugger. <gent>

But you got there one way or another because nobody reading your posts could be in any doubt that you are extremely intelligent, informed and eloquent. Proof positive that true intelligence will out and qualifications are often just a smoke screen to give a false first impression. (my jaded views coming out again!)

I got lucky with reading. By the time i'd taken the 11+ i'd never read anything other than comics and only owned a complete collection of Asterix comic books and a few of Tintin. Then the summer between testing and starting Secondary School a friend lent me first the Silmarillion, then Lord of the Rings and then the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy books. Those books completely opened me up to the joy of reading and I never looked back.

Within a year I had read the book "In Search of the Indo-Europeans" by JP Mallory a book about tracing the origins of Indo-European peoples throught the linguistic growth and spread of that family of languages. Still required reading at Oxford/Cambridge for history degrees as far as I am aware. It made me fall in love with history (think I've mentioned this before on the history thread) and within anot...
Haha, thank you. Once my cheeks return to their regular shade I'll borrow your kind words apply them to you. We seem to have turned out all right in spite of it all, I guess. Or so we think...

Your early books sound like great starters. I'm gonna go ahead and stick In search of the Indo-Europeans on my booklist now, thanks for the recommendation. My route, oddly enough, started in music. After getting obsessed with finding obscure rock records in my late teens, I segued into Jazz and Classical music, applying this obsessiveness to both of them for long enough that I suddenly found out that I could hold a conversation on (say) the second movement of Brahms' first cello sonata with people who had studied it at a music conservatory. And from there on in my twenties it just became a case of wanting to be able to talk to people about all kinds of stuff. That unstoppable need to know more, which you're talking about, was dropped on me from there. A bit late, but what you gonna do? The first book I bought as an adult was Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" which, I suppose, sounded at least in title like a decent square one <laugh>. It's not bad at all actually.

I'm going to show my ignorance of the channel islands here, so forgive me, but what was it like actually getting hold of books before the Amazon era began? Has there always been a good set of bookshops and libraries in Guernsey? Or if you wanted something specific did you have to find some other means?

Horticulture and Animal Husbandry?! Were they preparing you for a move to Sark or something? <laugh> Oh, and by the way, can you recommend a good translation of Beowulf?

And yes, I really did just take the time to elegantly fade out that quote.

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Re: Your School

Post by Kaltenberg » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:16 am

skalpel wrote: Christ. That opening question <laugh>. Checking to see if you have the desire or something? Or if you're totally deluded? Full bursaries are few, right? That means you were obviously worth their taking, you clever bastard. The RGS option didn't even come up for me <grim>. It sounds like a great place. I'm not sure what you missed out on socially or eventfully to be honest; at my school basically sod all happened for five years while everybody (including the teachers) got increasingly used to pissing around instead of doing anything, then we all left <awe>.

I went onto a BTEC in my late teens as well, but I ended up with a record breaking attendance rate (of less than 20% if I recall...) so it didn't exactly go swimmingly.
Well it turned out I did pretty well and I was far too modest with my first few guesses, so probably a good way to start things off. I don't remember if I asked or was told out of how many (don't remember the number either) but the first guess was top hundred.

I have no idea how much ability comes into it beyond passing whatever the requirements are to get in in the first place, beyond that they claim they're means tested.

Yeah, I imagine things would not have ended up too differently in that regard had I went elsewhere, but it's the only real doubt I've had about my education.

My BTEC was pretty terrible as well. Most of the tutors seemed to have no clue what they were teaching, but I made some good friends, had an enjoyable time, and got what I needed to get on the course I wanted.

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Re: Your School

Post by PTAO? » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:52 am

I might be drunk, but reading OT's post makes me want to pay for kids to go to private school when I'm old and drunk.

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Re: Your School

Post by Mifune » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:16 am

skalpel wrote:
MIFUNE wrote:I've been directionless my whole life so far, I'm not sure if anything would have changed that in a genuine way.
This is amazingly lugubrious <laugh>. I'm on board the directionless train with you though, so at least we can share the misery. Is it that you enjoy too many things and you don't know which thing is really yours? Or the opposite?
<laugh> It wasn't intentional. Yeah I guess, there are plenty of things I enjoy doing and I am interested in. It is just that I've never really felt anything was as you put it, mine. As a result you kind of just drift along. I am sure that is what happens to a lot of people, they just drift along and then before the know it they are middle aged and in some joyless, meaningless, dead-end job. That is one thing I am determined to avoid one way or another. How about yourself?

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Re: Your School

Post by Ciudad Burro » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:47 pm

skalpel wrote:
Haha, thank you. Once my cheeks return to their regular shade I'll borrow your kind words apply them to you. We seem to have turned out all right in spite of it all, I guess. Or so we think...

Your early books sound like great starters. I'm gonna go ahead and stick In search of the Indo-Europeans on my booklist now, thanks for the recommendation. My route, oddly enough, started in music. After getting obsessed with finding obscure rock records in my late teens, I segued into Jazz and Classical music, applying this obsessiveness to both of them for long enough that I suddenly found out that I could hold a conversation on (say) the second movement of Brahms' first cello sonata with people who had studied it at a music conservatory. And from there on in my twenties it just became a case of wanting to be able to talk to people about all kinds of stuff. That unstoppable need to know more, which you're talking about, was dropped on me from there. A bit late, but what you gonna do? The first book I bought as an adult was Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" which, I suppose, sounded at least in title like a decent square one <laugh>. It's not bad at all actually.

I'm going to show my ignorance of the channel islands here, so forgive me, but what was it like actually getting hold of books before the Amazon era began? Has there always been a good set of bookshops and libraries in Guernsey? Or if you wanted something specific did you have to find some other means?

Horticulture and Animal Husbandry?! Were they preparing you for a move to Sark or something? <laugh> Oh, and by the way, can you recommend a good translation of Beowulf?

And yes, I really did just take the time to elegantly fade out that quote.
<laugh> Yeah you are right. It is rare that somebody is actually as smart as they think they are.

It is interesting that music was the key to your development and self learning. Very like a person who's works I follow with interest. Jazz Coleman. Lead singer of Killing Joke, classically trained musician and self trained classical composer and conductor. Has written a book about the philosophy of self education and his source of inspiration seems to hinge around his love of music.

I've got that Bill Bryson book .. but haven't read it yet. I have a mountain of books to be read. It is in danger of falling over and killing somebody.

Pre-amazon there were some good book shops and two very good libraries. The libraries are still going strong I believe (haven't been to either in many years) but the book shops are a shadow of themselves. I used to have a good relationship with one called Buttons Bookshop. If I couldn't find a book I wanted they would use their suppliers to try and find a copy for me as a special order. It was through them that I managed to get my copy of the Kalevala despite it not being generally available in English. Like I said they had to order it from Harvard University Press at great cost. Can probably get a whole range of prints now for a fraction of the price.

Beowulf translations. That is tricky. It partly depends on what you want from a translation? It being written in poetry form tends to mean that you end up with two types of translation. A literal pure form which strives to retain the linguistic purity in translation but as a result often loses the beauty and form of the poetry. Or one that strives to maintain the form of the poetry but at the cost of pure translation. Effectively playing pretty lose with the literal translation. My understanding is that the Penguin Classics version (Michael Alexander) which is the one I have read is pretty good at finding a middle line, although leaning towards literal translation. Of the others I have read that the Seamus Heaney version is a bit dubious in terms of literal translation but is an easier read and more true to the poetic style of the original. I can't really speak for any of the other versions i'm afraid. Although i've just ordered the recently released version by JRR Tolkien, which he actually completed in 1926 as part of his work as a Professor of Languages and presented in lectures at Oxford Uni. Being a big Tolkien nerd I need to read that. Especially as it was by reading excerpts of that that originally inspired me to read Beowulf and The Kalevala, which he also translated and was the inspiration for much of his work. He also being a expert on Old Finnish.

And yeah Horticulture and Animal Husbandry. Like I said if you failed the 11+ you were pushed towards vocational. And when I was there those were the two main industries, although in sharp decline at the expense of Finance. I think they stopped teaching them a few years after I left school.

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Re: Your School

Post by FogOnTheRhine » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:59 pm

So I guess I'm in the vast minority going to a private school. I'd definitely say that I got a lot of encouragement to learn but even so we had all the kids who just couldn't care less - we used to have to help the younger kids with reading and the whole time they'd just piss about. I really enjoyed it though, felt I got a great education and wasn't particularly kept apart from the states schools, we'd play them in sport all the time and there'd be kids who were friends between the schools. I'd say the states schools here are pretty good as well though, especially now. There used to be a couple of properly s**** ones but they all seem to have turned around pretty well and I can't think of any shithole ones in the entire island.
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Re: Your School

Post by asbo » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:03 am

I've enjoyed reading the posts in this thread, Mifunes' and DonkeyToons' are the ones I can most easily relate to and reflect many of my own experience with school.

I went to state schools and they were decent schools I guess. I was a pretty disruptive influence in class, from the time a started primary until the time I left secondary and even into sixth form. I was probably the kind of cronut parents are trying to keep their kids away from when they send them to private school.

I was a clever kid and enjoyed learning, I started reading books without encouragement from an early age, but curiously grew out of this during my high school years, before starting to read again when I was 17. I don't think it's a coincidence that I didn't read much during high school because the way we approach learning in the UK completely crushes any enthusiasm one might have for a subject they're studying. Reading during high school English boils down to the "Point - Evidence - Explain" approach needed to pass the exam. A student could write a brief essay skilfully and concisely appraising a passage of text, but if they haven't used the PEE structure they'll struggle to attain the B demanded at GCSE level by most employers.

This for me is the problem with the education system in this country; the box-checking required to pass exams. As a result there's too much exam coaching and rote learning going on for school to be either enjoyable or effective. For me, the way we examine for every subject is suitable only for maths.

I'm another person who has found it easier to learn things out of school, under my own steam, than I ever did in class. French is a great example. A bunch of boring people with no imagination come up with a syllabus to be learnt: They must know numbers 1-100, they must know this list of colours, this list of hobbies, this list of food, these modes of transport (I loved how l'aeroglisseur was included in this at my school to give a decent list length <awe>), verb conjugations for aller and etre, but only these two verbs and only in the present tense. We won't discuss structure, similarities between the French and English languages, or prepare them in away for having a conversation in French. Let the rote learning extravaganza commence.

I thought my French teacher was fantastic, very enthusiastic, great sense of humour and her lessons were always enjoyable. She had no chance of actually teaching us proper French though because the curriculum didn't allow it.

I was talking to someone the other day about how patriotic (and if we're being perfectly candid, xenophobic and racist) I was during my youth, how I never wanted to leave England and that I dropped French when I was 13 as a result. I was asked if I regretted dropping it and my honest answer was no, because I legitimately believe that I'd have needed to start again from scratch even if I'd studied it for a further two years at school.

I finished high school at 15, I think the minimum wage for kid that age was about £2 an hour and I was eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance (£30 per week plus bonuses if your attendance was over a certain amount I believe). So there was every incentive for me to continue with my "education". I'd came to enjoy school anyway because of my mates there, and had no idea what opportunities would be out there for a 15 year old kid in a small town with no money and a handful of GCSEs. Leaving the safety net of school at that age had "stacking shelves for 50 years for minimum wage and then dying" written all over it and it frightened me.

So despite longing to get out of school my entire life I found myself staying on for sixth form and eventually going to a well respected university.

A couple of people have expressed regret at not having the chance to study a subject they love to a high level. Don't worry, you didn't miss out on much, in my experience higher education doesn't really represent that, it's a continuation of the same crap you go through at school.

The real eye-opener for me was a Risk Assessment module in my second year. Holy s*** it was boring and not the sort of thing I was expecting at all when I signed up. I was the only one in the year who failed it, the others didn't just pass it, they aced it. No one could understand how I had failed such a banker subject, but the lectures were too tedious to attend. Revising for it was mind-numbing and I couldn't commit to it, so I just accepted I was going to fail it and enjoyed myself. In the end I scored just enough not to be thrown off the course, but by that point I was past caring, I'd realised it wasn't for me. Not just the education but the kind of career that would inevitably follow; people in big companies, in boxes, doing set tasks, the product dropping off the conveyor belt may have once held an interest for them, but the actions they perform day after day are faceless and mundane.

University was great for me. Meeting new people, broadening my horizons, learning to stand on my own two feet. I had some fantastic times and learnt so much, unfortunately little of it relating to my course. I always performed well on the big projects, they interested me and I found them easy to invest in, but I bombed way too many of the filler modules to with a decent grade.

Oh well.

So on the subject of state vs. private education, for me it makes no difference, They both set you on the same soul destroying path. Perhaps had I been privately educated I'd have scored better grades, my degree might have led me into the field I'd chosen to study, I'd have a mortgage, a company car and an excellent salary. And I'd probably be f***ing miserable.

I fully intend to never have kids (irritating little shits the lot of them <fist>) but if the worst should happen and I one day end up with one, I know I could provide a better education for them than they'd receive at school. I guess there are three problems with home-schooling though:
1 - Having the free time to do it
2 - You're denying them the company of people their own age and keeping them somewhat sheltered and isolated, home-schooled kids always seem a little strange
3 - You're having to spend all day with the irritating little s*** <fist>

Just an aside on the mocking of subjects like horticulture and animal husbandry, I think they should be taught in schools to some extent, for a couple of reasons. Firstly I remember back to a conversation I had with a former schoolmate before I went to university. He was a nice lad, but he was, for want of a better term, a simpleton. He was adamant that algebra shouldn't be taught at GCSE on the basis that he had never, and would never, use it in his day to day life. I tried to explain that the world as we know it would exist without basic algebra, that the building we were stood in would collapse, that his car wouldn't work, that his phone wouldn't exist. He didn't get it.

The point I'm trying to make is that although you may never use that knowledge yourselves, it's pretty f***ing important that someone, somewhere is using it if you hope to see food on the shelves next time you go shopping. It also doesn't hurt for people to know where their food comes from, you'd be amazed how ignorant some people are when it comes to this.

The second point, and feel free to dismiss this as paranoid rambling if you wish, but there may come a time when you have to start providing for yourselves again, My generation, and the ones above and below, are used to lives of convenience, being able to pick what they want off a shelf or a menu or even having food brought to their house. But imagine if some catastrophe meant this was no longer possible, if modern civilisation collapsed due to a a supervolcano erupting, or a solar storm causing global power outages, or a nuclear war or act of cyber terrorism. Perhaps more realistically in the UK, what if the pound's value crashed? Overpopulation means the UK has to import 40% of its food, a figure which is rising all the time due to population growth, and which could spike dramatically due to rising sea levels, much of the UK's arable farm land is in low lying wet areas. The Levels already take a pounding every time it rains, and the Fens are just as vulnerable. Both will probably be lost by the end of the century.

I look at my Grandad's generation, skilled gardeners who are able to produce, store and use large amounts of food from small patched of land. Our generation would have no chance, these skills are being lost, many people wouldn't know how to cook their food even if they could produce it.

One final thing: I'm still quite old-fashioned in that I like to handwrite everything, so if we could just spare a quick thought for the tree that was sacrificed during the creation of this post...

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Re: Your School

Post by LaFraise92 » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:55 pm

I went to state school in Cramlington from 1996 to 2010. Standard first and middle schools, then I moved up to Cramlington Community High School (now Cramlington Learning Village, lol), and back in 2005ish when I started Derek Wise had just taken over and their whole 'accelerated learning' programme was just coming in. We used to take the piss out of it when we were going through it (we had a two-hour period each week called 'Learning to Learn' which to us seemed pointless, but which was actually a really effective way of teaching presentational, organisational and rhetorical skills - three things massively neglected in the national curriculum - as well as encouraging us to use different ways of learning things). So I feel that while I was always quite an academically talented kid, I got lucky with my state school. I got good GCSEs and AAAB at A-Level and ended up studying my degree in modern languages at St Andrews.

Generally, when state schools get things right, they are really good. If they can ensure interesting, challenging teaching that entertains, as well as discipline and academic progress, then I don't think there's a better education for providing a mix of grounding in reality and sharpness that comes in handy later in life.

That said, I did have a few problems with state school education. They tend to aim massively for the middle - as long as the average student is getting on fine, they tend to think that students either side of them are fine as well. My school didn't really have an effective way of dealing with people who were disruptive and I know more than a few people who dropped out of school at 14 or 15 even. Equally, when I was applying to go to Cambridge, they had no idea about the interview process or anything like that, and only my French teacher who'd studied there could give me advice (that was, of course, 20 years out of date). They never encouraged anything extracurricular - sports were too cliquey and there were no other 'clubs' really - and again, I was pushed into applying for things like the Prime Minister's Global Fellowship and the Cambridge Shadowing Scheme by my French teacher. They weren't really equipped to deal with people at sixth form level who either wanted to do something vocational or go to a top-20 university; they aimed for the bulk of people going straight into semi-professional work or studying degrees at middling universities. I understand that with their stretched resources this is probably the best way of going about things but I hate to think of the people who are now regretting wasting their potential because the school didn't seem bothered about them and they hadn't developed an individual drive.

I tended to find that a lot of stuff I learned during my school years was outside of school - other people have mentioned computer games and things like that.
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Re: Your School

Post by skalpel » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:31 pm

AbsolutelyGlorious wrote:I've enjoyed reading the posts in this thread, Mifunes' and DonkeyToons' are the ones I can most easily relate to and reflect many of my own experience with school.

I went to state schools and they were decent schools I guess. I was a pretty disruptive influence in class, from the time a started primary until the time I left secondary and even into sixth form. I was probably the kind of cronut parents are trying to keep their kids away from when they send them to private school.

I was a clever kid and enjoyed learning, I started reading books without encouragement from an early age, but curiously grew out of this during my high school years, before starting to read again when I was 17. I don't think it's a coincidence that I didn't read much during high school because the way we approach learning in the UK completely crushes any enthusiasm one might have for a subject they're studying. Reading during high school English boils down to the "Point - Evidence - Explain" approach needed to pass the exam. A student could write a brief essay skilfully and concisely appraising a passage of text, but if they haven't used the PEE structure they'll struggle to attain the B demanded at GCSE level by most employers.

This for me is the problem with the education system in this country; the box-checking required to pass exams. As a result there's too much exam coaching and rote learning going on for school to be either enjoyable or effective. For me, the way we examine for every subject is suitable only for maths.

I'm another person who has found it easier to learn things out of school, under my own steam, than I ever did in class. French is a great example. A bunch of boring people with no imagination come up with a syllabus to be learnt: They must know numbers 1-100, they must know this list of colours, this list of hobbies, this list of food, these modes of transport (I loved how l'aeroglisseur was included in this at my school to give a decent list length <awe>), verb conjugations for aller and etre, but only these two verbs and only in the present tense. We won't discuss structure, similarities between the French and English languages, or prepare them in away for having a conversation in French. Let the rote learning extravaganza commence.

I thought my French teacher was fantastic, very enthusiastic, great sense of humour and her lessons were always enjoyable. She had no chance of actually teaching us proper French though because the curriculum didn't allow it.

I was talking to someone the other day about how patriotic (and if we're being perfectly candid, xenophobic and racist) I was during my youth, how I never wanted to leave England and that I dropped French when I was 13 as a result. I was asked if I regretted dropping it and my honest answer was no, because I legitimately believe that I'd have needed to start again from scratch even if I'd studied it for a further two years at school.

I finished high school at 15, I think the minimum wage for kid that age was about £2 an hour and I was eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance (£30 per week plus bonuses if your attendance was over a certain amount I believe). So there was every incentive for me to continue with my "education". I'd came to enjoy school anyway because of my mates there, and had no idea what opportunities would be out there for a 15 year old kid in a small town with no money and a handful of GCSEs. Leaving the safety net of school at that age had "stacking shelves for 50 years for minimum wage and then dying" written all over it and it frightened me.

So despite longing to get out of school my entire life I found myself staying on for sixth form and eventually going to a well respected university.

A couple of people have expressed regret at not having the chance to study a subject they love to a high level. Don't worry, you didn't miss out on much, in my experience higher education doesn't really represent that, it's a continuation of the same crap you go through at school.

The real eye-opener for me was a Risk Assessment module in my second year. Holy s*** it was boring and not the sort of thing I was expecting at all when I signed up. I was the only one in the year who failed it, the others didn't just pass it, they aced it. No one could understand how I had failed such a banker subject, but the lectures were too tedious to attend. Revising for it was mind-numbing and I couldn't commit to it, so I just accepted I was going to fail it and enjoyed myself. In the end I scored just enough not to be thrown off the course, but by that point I was past caring, I'd realised it wasn't for me. Not just the education but the kind of career that would inevitably follow; people in big companies, in boxes, doing set tasks, the product dropping off the conveyor belt may have once held an interest for them, but the actions they perform day after day are faceless and mundane.

University was great for me. Meeting new people, broadening my horizons, learning to stand on my own two feet. I had some fantastic times and learnt so much, unfortunately little of it relating to my course. I always performed well on the big projects, they interested me and I found them easy to invest in, but I bombed way too many of the filler modules to with a decent grade.

Oh well.

So on the subject of state vs. private education, for me it makes no difference, They both set you on the same soul destroying path. Perhaps had I been privately educated I'd have scored better grades, my degree might have led me into the field I'd chosen to study, I'd have a mortgage, a company car and an excellent salary. And I'd probably be f***ing miserable.

I fully intend to never have kids (irritating little shits the lot of them <fist>) but if the worst should happen and I one day end up with one, I know I could provide a better education for them than they'd receive at school. I guess there are three problems with home-schooling though:
1 - Having the free time to do it
2 - You're denying them the company of people their own age and keeping them somewhat sheltered and isolated, home-schooled kids always seem a little strange
3 - You're having to spend all day with the irritating little s*** <fist>

Just an aside on the mocking of subjects like horticulture and animal husbandry, I think they should be taught in schools to some extent, for a couple of reasons. Firstly I remember back to a conversation I had with a former schoolmate before I went to university. He was a nice lad, but he was, for want of a better term, a simpleton. He was adamant that algebra shouldn't be taught at GCSE on the basis that he had never, and would never, use it in his day to day life. I tried to explain that the world as we know it would exist without basic algebra, that the building we were stood in would collapse, that his car wouldn't work, that his phone wouldn't exist. He didn't get it.

The point I'm trying to make is that although you may never use that knowledge yourselves, it's pretty f***ing important that someone, somewhere is using it if you hope to see food on the shelves next time you go shopping. It also doesn't hurt for people to know where their food comes from, you'd be amazed how ignorant some people are when it comes to this.

The second point, and feel free to dismiss this as paranoid rambling if you wish, but there may come a time when you have to start providing for yourselves again, My generation, and the ones above and below, are used to lives of convenience, being able to pick what they want off a shelf or a menu or even having food brought to their house. But imagine if some catastrophe meant this was no longer possible, if modern civilisation collapsed due to a a supervolcano erupting, or a solar storm causing global power outages, or a nuclear war or act of cyber terrorism. Perhaps more realistically in the UK, what if the pound's value crashed? Overpopulation means the UK has to import 40% of its food, a figure which is rising all the time due to population growth, and which could spike dramatically due to rising sea levels, much of the UK's arable farm land is in low lying wet areas. The Levels already take a pounding every time it rains, and the Fens are just as vulnerable. Both will probably be lost by the end of the century.

I look at my Grandad's generation, skilled gardeners who are able to produce, store and use large amounts of food from small patched of land. Our generation would have no chance, these skills are being lost, many people wouldn't know how to cook their food even if they could produce it.

One final thing: I'm still quite old-fashioned in that I like to handwrite everything, so if we could just spare a quick thought for the tree that was sacrificed during the creation of this post...
Great post. Worth the tree.

Regarding Horticulture and Animal Husbandry, you make a good point really. Things like that aren't passed down from parents to children any more and it's useful to get it somewhere. Doing them as GCSEs still seems a bit unnecessary to me though, unless you specifically choose it yourself.

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Re: Your School

Post by asbo » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:16 am

LaFraise92 wrote:That said, I did have a few problems with state school education. They tend to aim massively for the middle - as long as the average student is getting on fine, they tend to think that students either side of them are fine as well.
I always got the impression that they prioritised C/D grade students since the statistic that tends to get more focus is the percentage of students receiving A*-C. It always seemed the teachers biggest concern was keeping C-grade students in that bracket and pushing the D-grade students up there too.

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Re: Your School

Post by Swarlos » Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:42 am

Went to a private school aswell. I had one year in a state school in reception, but my parents complained that I learnt to swear aged 6 (among other reasons). I don't see the obsession by certain members of society in public schooling; if your parents can pay for it, and they want to give you a good education, so be it. By the time I realised I was lucky or there was a stigma with it, I'd already been there a number of years and wouldn't want to change. At a more mature age, we absolutely acknowledge our privilege.

My school had average to good A Level and GCSE results, but compared to some state schools, and with our resources, my school massively underperforms and still does (I have a sister who has recently left). We had some amazing teachers, but some absolutely awful ones, and I am slightly confused as to whether I believe I would've got a better education elsewhere. Class and year sizes help; 1 - individuals got more attention, 2 - excellent pastoral care, 3 - more chance to stand out in a year of 60 pupils, 4 - smaller class sizes related to better discussion and debate, and people were easier to control. Apart from that, I was quite anxious whilst at school, and left it way less mature and independent that I believe I would've been at a state school. The school was also full of arrogant knobs, but I am quite lax in my attitude and am still good friends with some you lot would label cunts.

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Re: Your School

Post by LaFraise92 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:27 pm

Swarlos wrote:Went to a private school aswell. I had one year in a state school in reception, but my parents complained that I learnt to swear aged 6 (among other reasons). I don't see the obsession by certain members of society in public schooling; if your parents can pay for it, and they want to give you a good education, so be it. By the time I realised I was lucky or there was a stigma with it, I'd already been there a number of years and wouldn't want to change. At a more mature age, we absolutely acknowledge our privilege.

My school had average to good A Level and GCSE results, but compared to some state schools, and with our resources, my school massively underperforms and still does (I have a sister who has recently left). We had some amazing teachers, but some absolutely awful ones, and I am slightly confused as to whether I believe I would've got a better education elsewhere. Class and year sizes help; 1 - individuals got more attention, 2 - excellent pastoral care, 3 - more chance to stand out in a year of 60 pupils, 4 - smaller class sizes related to better discussion and debate, and people were easier to control. Apart from that, I was quite anxious whilst at school, and left it way less mature and independent that I believe I would've been at a state school. The school was also full of arrogant knobs, but I am quite lax in my attitude and am still good friends with some you lot would label cronuts.
And now you're on your gap yah in Honduras <roll>
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Re: Your School

Post by Amnesiac » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:27 pm

I went to state schools, my parents could never have afforded private schools no matter how much they wanted to send me there, although my Primary school was pretty good at the time to be honest. When I was there, with it being a fairly small school where everyone knew everyone, they actually had the staff to nurture kids who had both intelligence and a willingness to learn by having a quiet space for us to study where they used to play classical music in the background. From reading my reports from back then, it seems it really helped me seeing as my results were consistently good to great.

Secondary school was useless though. It wasn't even that we had big classes because we only had around 20 people per class, it was just that if you shown any signs of being above average you were just left to get on with it! They were always more interested in the kids who were disruptive and didn't give a s*** really! I found it hard to be interested in education when the people who were meant to teach you seemed to have no interest in teaching you at all over someone who was being an idiot. Over the next 3 years from starting I tended to focus more on finishing the day so I could go skating or something. Looking back though, I think the GCSE years were the worst though, when I decided to start studying to music and stuff again I got told off because "you're not allowed music in the exam" which I knew anyway, but if it's helping me study and actually making me study then why should they care? But anyway, I'm still fairly sure I only passed my GCSEs because the school taught us how to structure an answer with limited knowledge on the subject rather than actually teaching us about what was on the exam! It wasn't a bad school (at first, almost got closed down when I was in year 7), but they were far more focussed on results rather than pupils. They actually expelled auite a few people in the year below me for being too thick and bringing down the results average!

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