No, didn’t think so myself

Schools are failing white, poor, working-class children and should adopt an approach similar to the British Olympic team to help bolster their performance, a thinktank has recommended.

This is from ResPublica. And they don’t mean that only winners should get prizes, that we should be elitist and value only results.

Funny that.

21 thoughts on “No, didn’t think so myself”

  1. Sounds very much like a demand for more grammar schools – they don’t allocate places in the Olympic squad by ballot or postcode.

  2. For fuck’s sake. Our Olympic success is like putting kids into General Studies because it’s an easy way to raise numbers of GCSEs.

    The systems of funding is based around chance of an athlete winning a medal. The result of this is that we win medals in less competitive events. It’s much easier to win a medal in track cycling than say, the 100m. Jamaica and Kenya don’t have velodromes, and there are few incentives for a Jamaican to win the gold, unlike the 100m where he can make money from Nike or Puma. The funding then allows people to train full time when most countries aren’t. So your canoeists can win medals.

    On top of that, the Olympics just aren’t the big deal they once were. American kids don’t go into sprinting. Russians aren’t pouring money into gymnastics.

  3. children could benefit from the adoption of the “marginal gains” approach used to great acclaim by the Olympic cycling team. It would focus on making small, closely monitored improvements across the board, from teaching to school leadership, which would cumulatively add up to academic success.

    Ok, that sounds reasonable. Continuous improvement. It’s what Nissan do in Sunderland, right?

    It recommends a “northern teaching premium”, offering higher wages to talented teachers to entice them to schools outside of London.

    Normal Guardian idiocy resumes.

  4. “…attributed in part to a lack of academic aspiration at home, with white working-class parents less likely to take an interest or engage with their children’s schooling and perpetuating a culture of “narrow horizons””

    In Liverpool!?! The hell you say….

  5. adopt an approach similar to the British Olympic team

    Import foreigners to . . . take the tests? What?

    I mean, its worked pretty damn well for *our* teams.

  6. As Andrew M says, it is the marginal gains approach which means small improvements across the board, which would add up to a significant difference.

    We got a letter about this very recently from our kid’s school.

    Not entirely stupid.

  7. It’s a curate’s egg of a report. Half the suggestions are eminently sensible, half are terrible. Either it was written by a committee of individuals of varying talents but weak leadership, or they’re just throwing darts at a list of ideas. Neither system produces a report which is fit for publication.

  8. Hallowed Be – they do go have a baby. Which the class swot is left holding when he walks away to the next girl.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    Given the increasing revelations about drug taking I’m not sure that copying the Olympic team is such a great idea. Unless they are going to sedate all the unruly ones so the bright ones can get on.

  10. “In a speech in September, the prime minister highlighted the “burning injustice” that “if you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university”.”

    Sorry, but I just don’t see this as a problem. A lot of those degrees are crap and worthless. A C&G in welding is worth a more on your CV than a degree in history of art.

  11. The only bit about the Olympic programme that they really mean is “give us loadsa money”.

    They have no idea what else is needed.

  12. “A C&G in welding is worth a more on your CV than a degree in history of art.”

    For some people.

    True for white working class boys.

    Not true for the children of the gilded and posh, for whom all such things are merely a rite of passage.

  13. Andrew Duffin,

    The irony to me about girls going to university is that most of them would be better off just going to debutante balls. As far as most women I’ve met are concerned, they wasted 3 years of their life at university, other than meeting their future husband.

  14. @ BiW
    But the problem is that the school system doesn’t help white working-class boys towards an apprenticeship or modern variations of apprenticeships.The arrant prejudice by a large part of the overwhelmingly female workforce in primary schools is a large part of the cause; it is not clear whether or not the system is as great a factor.
    Forty/fifty years ago the “Secondary Technical”scools, arguably the most valuable part of the Butler tri-partite system prepared boys and, occasionally, girls for apprenticeships. Now nothing does.
    There are a few good female teachers, fewer than in my youth because the brighter* young females with teaching ability are now lecturers at “new universities” instead, but a lot more bad ones
    *The brightest were always at Oxbridge and that hasn’t changed so it makes no difference.

  15. “The link between low income and low educational performance is widely accepted but other ethnic groups have managed to overcome that, possibly by a culture of attainment and aspiration and valuing education more than the indigenous white working-class population.”

    Right. Or maybe the relentless ‘positive’ discrimination that is the Graun’s stock in trade has something to do with it?

  16. john77,

    The problem with apprenticeships is that they used to depend on a quid pro quo of working for a company and getting trained, but having to work for that company for a period as part of the deal. It’s like companies in the 90s that took on graduates and spent a load of money training them, but if you left you had to pay it back. Employees went to court and won. So, no-one does this now.

    Most of the apprenticeships today are pretty low grade – childcare, retail and hairdressing – for this reason.

    I rarely say things were better in the old days, but turning polys into unis was a bad idea. And I’ve heard that BTECs have been ruined, downgraded. I’m hoping that some mix of e-learning and some sort of examinations will help (the cheapest way of getting into computing is doing a Microsoft MSDN certification – cost you a few grand and you’ll get a trainee job somewhere).

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    Apprentices were also paid sod all in their first year, in recognition that they did very little except learn.

    Minimum wages, even if lower than NMW, are still a barrier.

  18. @ BiW
    You were working for a company as an apprentice but you could leave after you qualified: in the old days therewas massive competition to be an apprentice at Rolls-Royce because you could walk into a job in any engineering firm when you finished. You didn’t have to stay after you qualified so the company would offer good wages to the ones it wanted to keep or the hint of promotion if the unions had set maximum as well as minimum wages. My former employer used to export actuaries – it paid a higher starting salary than competitors so it got more applicants, picked the brightest ones and then, of the minority that qualified, picked the ones it wanted to keep and let the others leave to join a company that didn’t train and had to pay much more to recruit ready-trained actuaries.
    When I started work there was no question of anyone paying back money for training – you accepted a lower salary/wage while being trained because it was worth it in the long run, both to yourself and, on average, to your employer.

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