Doing education right

Pupils at Bath’s Royal High School beamed with delight as nearly 90 per cent scored A* – B in their GCSE results.

Hmm:

The Royal High School is an independent day and boarding school for girls in the city of Bath, Somerset, England, catering for up to 1,000 pupils.

Bath High School for Girls was founded in 1875 by the Girls’ Public Day School Company (now the Girls’ Day School Trust). It was a direct grant grammar school from 1946 until 1976.

So Britain does know how to do education right then. Just copy that method nationally…..

61 thoughts on “Doing education right”

  1. You could also look at Beechen Cliff for how to do comprehensive education right, of course 🙂

    The Royal School which merged with Bath High was, to give it its formal title, “The Royal School for Daughters of Officers of the Army”

  2. And the practices and techniques that work well for 1,000 rich girls in Bath will be equally effective at, say, Eastbury Comprehensive School, Barking and Dagenham which has* 1714 pupils of whom 65.5% do not speak English as a first language?

    Everywhere else you insist that we don’t know in advance what will work and that centrally planned economies are doomed to fail, and yet how you suddenly think imposing a particular “way” of doing education nationally from the top down is going to help?

    Rather, than, for example, trusting teachers to know how to do their job in their own varied situations and different classrooms, paying them enough to attract competent people into the profession, rewarding competent teachers and firing incompetent ones based on sensible observation and not easily gamed metrics, and chucking the national curriculum in the bin? Because I’d have thought that would be much more your style of iconoclasm.

    * http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10611050/Revealed-The-one-in-nine-schools-where-English-is-not-first-language.html

  3. Probably better would be just to run education in the same way that nurseries are run and give a large tax rebate to everyone earning a reasonable wage. People of average means would then be able to buy the education they wanted and really poor people could continue with a much reduced crappy state education.

  4. “And the practices and techniques that work well for 1,000 rich girls in Bath will be equally effective at, say, Eastbury Comprehensive School, Barking and Dagenham which has* 1714 pupils of whom 65.5% do not speak English as a first language?”

    Yes. Discipline, streaming, uniform, competition, incentives, high expectations, leadership, hierarchy, personal responsibility, rigorous performance management of pupils – and excluding the disruptive little toerags who ruin other children’s education – will produce good results wherever implemented.

  5. “…1714 pupils of whom 65.5% do not speak English as a first language?”

    If we sent these children back to their countries of origin – or, at least, didn’t allow any more in – then educational standards would be easier to raise.

  6. > and excluding the disruptive little toerags who ruin other children’s education

    Sorry, you can’t have that one. Because reasons.

    In Japan, the troublesome toe-rags are sent to boot camps, where an ex-forces drill instructor barks orders at them until they behave. The disincentive effect is strong: teachers can credibly use the threat of military school to restore good behaviour.

    Over here it would no doubt be considered detrimental to the kids’ emotional needs, or some such bollocks.

  7. Yes. Discipline, streaming, uniform, competition, incentives, high expectations, leadership, hierarchy, personal responsibility, rigorous performance management of pupils – and excluding the disruptive little toerags who ruin other children’s education – will produce good results wherever implemented.

    So like grammar schools used to do? The left would have bloody conniptions. Do it now!

  8. If children who don’t speak English as a first language are a problem then that seems a good reason for limiting immigration, especially for non English speakers.
    No we shouldn’t try to run every school as a copy of Bath. It clearly works well for its pupils. It would likely work well for a lot more, but not necessarily for everyone.
    Open a few more schools in the Bath model (or convert some to it). See if the results hold up. If they do open/convert a few more. Continue until the new schools are no better than average.
    Of course the same procedure should be followed with any other education model producing above average results.
    Open an individual education account for each pupil, have the Government put that child’s share of the education budget in every year, and let the parents use that money to pay for access to the school of their choice, so the parents get to decide what constitutes a good school for their children.

  9. Oh yeah that’s going to work:

    1) Make all children come from wealthy middle-class homes. All other children to be phased out.
    2) Make all children go to private schools. Those who can’t afford private schools to be phased out.
    3) Make all children want to do things needing high GCSE marks. All non-academic children to be phased out.
    3) Make all schools single sex. For girls. All boys to be phased out.

  10. “And the practices and techniques that work well for 1,000 rich girls in Bath will be equally effective at, say, Eastbury Comprehensive School, Barking and Dagenham which has 1714 pupils of whom 65.5% do not speak English as a first language?”

    Are you Richard Murphy in disguise? The fact that different sorts of children need different sorts of schooling is precisely the point of having diversity of provision. Only a moron could think that universal one-size-fits-all comprehensives make sense.

  11. Eastbury Comprehensive School, Barking and Dagenham which has* 1714 pupils of whom 65.5% do not speak English as a first language?

    Which is one of the Great Benefits Of Multiculturalism And Diversity.

  12. No we shouldn’t try to run every school as a copy of Bath. It clearly works well for its pupils. It would likely work well for a lot more, but not necessarily for everyone.

    This was one of the things that the UK used to do quite well. Traditionally there were private schools for the well off and sons / daughters of the military, grammar schools for the academically gifted middle/working classes and for the rest (be it a secondary modern), there were the “3 R’s” plus trade classes for the boys and cookery/homemaking classes for the girls.

    What destroyed this was the comprehensive school model and the demand that every child is treated equally, regardless of their interest, ability or academic gifts.

    Cue chaos as the academically gifted have their potential destroyed or at least disrupted by the bored idiots at the back all sacrifices to the great god of “equality”.

    Except for swine like Diane Abbott of course, who force equality on the rest of us and then send their own precious little darlings to a private school.

  13. Bath Royal High charges £13,300/annum. State secondaries get £6,300/annum. If you’re suggesting that all schools should have their funding more than doubled, you’ll enjoy a rapturous welcome at the next Labour Party conference.

  14. @ Andrew M

    “In Japan, the troublesome toe-rags are sent to boot camps, where an ex-forces drill instructor barks orders at them until they behave. ”

    Do you have a reference for this? I live in Japan and have some connection with education here. This is the first I’ve heard of it.

    My observations are that from primary school age, children walk to school in crocodiles, each line being supervised by an elder child. None appear to misbehave.

    My actual experience (teaching children in Japan) is they are invariably polite, well behaved and “well socialised” so to speak. I live opposite a railway station with a generous car park and seating area. In summer it’s an ideal place for teenage lads to skateboard, and teenage couples to sit spooning. There is never any vandalism, litter or graffiti.

    I would be very happy for you to provide evidence of military boot-camps as part of the Japanese education system.

  15. The credo of the Comprehensive School System:

    Failure is accepted
    Mediocrity is expected
    Excellence is elitist and therefore to be discouraged

  16. “1) Make all children come from wealthy middle-class homes. All other children to be phased out.
    2) Make all children go to private schools. Those who can’t afford private schools to be phased out.
    3) Make all children want to do things needing high GCSE marks. All non-academic children to be phased out.
    3) Make all schools single sex. For girls. All boys to be phased out.”

    Silly season over there Biggie?

    1–Being middle-class has fuck all to do with being able/willing to learn.

    There are lots of scummy underclass trash who don’t give a shit about their kids. Their numbers who have been swelled by welfarist evil over the last 70 years.

    There are also lots of thick-as -pigshit, , scummy middle-class litter-droppers who produce fancily-named kids who are also thick as their parental pigshit. I remember the plummy-voiced young moron sobbing on Youtube the day after Brexit cos she reckoned that the Good Vote meant that Nandoos– a south African restaurant chain– would have to close at once.

    Regardless of background get the wasters out and punish troublemakers while rewarding effort. That will do.

    2-All schools should be private. No need for 13 grand a year fees . Those are pitched for those who can afford to pay. A proper school–backed up by Internet services/lessons could deliver a very good, socialism-free education at very reasonable rates. Lots of poor working people are already being tax ripped enough to pay for such.

    3- If by “non-academic” you mean thick–ok. And no apologies for the word. Lack of verbal etc skills equals just that. It matters not if you are-say-a woodworking savant. Very nice and you can earn your crust. But you will not be at the top of society and influencing others much based on woodwork. Let other types of school teach those who express themselves via physical skill. They may end up MORE prosperous than the verbals–based on plumbers wages today etc.

    4-Single sex schools are best for learning ( its not the schools job to help adolescents sort their sex lives out–they can sink or swim on their own. They have to anyway). The present pandering to females needs to be ended and it will be difficult to do if the females aren’t even there.

  17. A direct grant grammar school pre-1976 (eg Bath High School for Girls) with many free places had a very diferent intake from an independent school today (eg Bath Royal High School), pretty much entirely financed by fees paid by welloff parents. It seems pointless to compare them even if one happens to be historically the successor of the other.

  18. BiJ,
    I can’t find the article right now, but it was something I read fairly recently. I may of course be mistaking Japan for another East Asian country, and of course I defer to your on-the-ground knowledge.

    My point remains that there must be a part of the system which isolates the troublemakers from the rest of the student body; and that military-esque boot camps are one possible solution.

  19. “No we shouldn’t try to run every school as a copy of Bath. It clearly works well for its pupils. It would likely work well for a lot more, but not necessarily for everyone.”

    True. All successful schools have the same general things in common —discipline, streaming, uniform, competition, incentives, high expectations, leadership, hierarchy, personal responsibility, rigorous performance management of pupils….and ways of dealing with the disruptive little toe-rags. The details differ; but the general principles are the same.

  20. Japan streams pretty ruthlessly, so its juvenile delinquents do end up at certain high schools with other juvenile delinquents. There are lots of TV dramas about heroic teachers helping these young punks straighten out their lives.

    As far as “ex-forces drill instructors barking orders at them until they behave”, well, maybe. Until recently, teachers at regular Japanese high schools could be quite harsh and militaristic. My wife is Japanese and saw lots of instances of teachers hitting students, and no one thought anything of it. This was in the late 70s/early 80s, though. My understanding is that that sort of thing isn’t generally tolerated anymore, but I would not be surprised if certain schools still applied pretty harsh discipline by western standards.

  21. The education system is strictly for the benefit of the member of the industry within it such as teachers and administrators. Any actual education is unintended and are merely side effect.

  22. Hey a fellow Abingdonian, BiTiN!

    Abingdon too was a direct grant grammar until ’76, then went private rather than be absorbed into the comp system. When I was there in 80s it was still pretty much a grammar school, though few signs of private largesse had started to appear. And so a decent education was denied to the cleverer children of Abingdon, in favour of cleverer children of parents from the wider area who could stump up for it (which fortunately mine could).

  23. English as a 2nd language is actually not an impediment, and schools who use that as an excuse expect their students to adapt to them instead of the reverse. That was from the mouth of an OFSTED inspector giving us governor’s training. It is also an excuse for low expectations bigots. In fairness, I have met many bilingual, or trilingual, families and quite often even the parents think it will be too hard for their children when the starting point should be that one should never underestimate the capacity of a young brain.

    I have since verified that as a school governor, and as a parent.

    My children spoke French and German when they joined the local state school nursery and are none the worse for it now in secondary.

    Indeed, children with several languages do usually better than most.

    On the other hand, an undisciplined child has a tremendous negative effect on a class. It has to be seen to be believed.

  24. Monoi

    “Indeed, children with several languages do usually better than most.”

    If a child already speaks French and German, it will soon pick up English. If a child speaks a couple of sub-saharan languages (with a room-temperature IQ to match), it is unlikely to pick up English easily or to thrive in a UK schools.

  25. Bloke in Tejas in Normandy

    Jim,

    Greetings! But nope, back then there were ways and means whereby local folk (such as me and 2 brothers) could get subsidized else it’d been Fitzharry’s (eek).

    I was there in the 60’s, so still direct grunt.

  26. “Theo, some of those for whom English isn’t their first language are British.”

    But many are only nominally British.

  27. As a cynic, my estimate is that performance wouldn’t even twitch if state spending per pupil doubled to that spent on the posh girls in Bath. It’s the system and the attitude which makes the difference, not money.

  28. Bloe in North Yorkshire

    A third old Abingdonian briefly de-lurks! I was there in the seventies when it was a direct grant school. An excellent system that should be reinstated.

  29. “…my estimate is that performance wouldn’t even twitch if state spending per pupil doubled to that spent on the posh girls in Bath.”

    Exactly so. The money would be spent on the ‘producer interests’ – higher salaries for all staff, better working conditions, more vacuous training, etc.

  30. “Eastbury Comprehensive School, Barking and Dagenham which has* 1714 pupils of whom 65.5% do not speak English as a first language?”

    Easy those 65.5% will have extra English classes, say 50% of timetable until they can cope with studying other subjects in English. No doubt my stupid ‘colleagues’ insist that all should be treated equally, and this would be unthinkable.

    I also hope that they are studying GCSEs in their first language, an easy GCSE option often overlooked.

  31. @ Theophrastus
    May I ask whether you are descended from a Roman or post-Roman immigrant? Many of the *real* British speak English as a second language. 😉

  32. “Bath Royal High charges £13,300/annum. State secondaries get £6,300/annum. ” OK, but how about comparing like with like? Add back into the state school budget the money that central government and, especially, local government spend on doing things that the £13,300/annum has to cover. Allow for the fact that Bath Royal High has to raise its own capital while the £6,300/annum covers only running costs. Make an allowance for the High having a higher proportion of sixth-formers and (for all I know) people doing laboratory subjects.

    I don’t know what the comparison would look like but I do remember the bursar of an independent school in Newcastle doing the sums twenty years ago and demonstrating that back then the difference was tiny.

    I add that when we transferred our daughter from her state primary to a private primary it wasn’t for the swimming pool and the acreage of green playing fields around the school building – because they belonged to the state school. Still, her new primary had one tarmac netball court; which was nice, don’t you think?

  33. @Theophrastus, August 25, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Yes. Discipline, streaming, uniform, competition, incentives, high expectations, leadership, hierarchy, personal responsibility, rigorous performance management of pupils – and excluding the disruptive little toerags who ruin other children’s education – will produce good results wherever implemented.

    NI Grammar school I attended was like that and prefects were first line of rules & discipline enforcement and could impose detention, lines, chores (eg litter picking, wash teachers cars)…

    “rigorous performance management of pupils” – yep, if you were not meeting expectations Mr & Mrs Bylbe were asked to move Tim “nice but dim” Bylbe to more a suitable school.

    Then family moved to Scotchland

    Any George Heriots FP here?

  34. Greetings! But nope, back then there were ways and means whereby local folk (such as me and 2 brothers) could get subsidized else it’d been Fitzharry’s (eek).

    Direct Grant schools were (IIRC) required to offer 25% free places. Mine certainly did (20% for the town and 5% for the county).

  35. — “Bath Royal High charges £13,300/annum. State secondaries get £6,300/annum.”

    The evidence strongly demonstrates that educational results don’t correlate with funding.

    Private schools charge what the market will bear and their high fees largely reflect parents’ desperation to avoid state schools rather than simply being the cost of superior facilities.

    The Internet’s chief censor, Mark Zuckerberg, famously gave $100 million to improve Newark schools, which was consumed and otherwise pissed away by the entrenched bureaucracy: state schools being run for the benefit of teachers and administrators rather than the children.

  36. @Henry Crun, August 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    The credo of the Comprehensive School System:

    Failure is accepted
    Mediocrity is expected
    Excellence is elitist and therefore to be discouraged

    Superb, thanks

  37. @BigFire, August 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    The education system is strictly for the benefit of the member of the industry within it such as teachers and administrators….

    As is entire public sector now with the exception of some staff who want to be a “public servant”.

  38. @ Pcar
    There is a large minority of the workers in health, education and social services (and a small minority various other public sector jobs) who chose their careers because they wanted to serve other people. Their voice is drowned out by the “activists” but they do not deserve to be forgotten.

  39. “What destroyed this was the comprehensive school model and the demand that every child is treated equally, regardless of their interest, ability or academic gifts.”

    That’s *NOT* the comprehensive school model. The comprehensive school model is that the grammar school, the secondary modern, and the technical college all operate as a single institution, and each child is treated according to it’s abilities within that single institution. Treating each child identically is the complete and utter antithesis of the comprehensive system. Only in Britain could people screw up a system so, ahem, comprehensively.

  40. Theo: If a child already speaks French and German, it will soon pick up English. If a child speaks a couple of sub-saharan languages …

    For once I have to disagree with you. A very young child has the capacity to learn more than one language without being especially brainy – though of course brainy helps, as with everything.

    I think we know (apologies if mistaken) that monoi is French by birth and perhaps Mrs monoi is German. The children subsequently came to the UK when small and went to school here so acquired a new language effortlessly.

    Adults think this is hard because learning a language as an adult is hard but for children it is easy, natural and fun.

    The hard thing is to maintain the same level of fluency in one’s languages and monoi might agree that his idiomatic French is a bit rusty when he goes back to France until he reacclimatises.

  41. Why not use military methods. The army can teach an oaf to use a machine gun , and take it apart and reassemble.
    In ww2 many of the pilots could not drive cars etc.

  42. John Galt,

    “Cue chaos as the academically gifted have their potential destroyed or at least disrupted by the bored idiots at the back all sacrifices to the great god of “equality”.”

    I bumped into one of the “bored idiots” a few years after leaving school. He was doing ok in a local engineering company.

  43. Bloke in North Dorset

    John,

    That’s the difference between training and education. We really would like the State to educate our yoof so they can then be trained by their employer.

    Or, as someone on here put it a few years ago: if your teenage daughter comes home and says that they’d doing sex education tomorrow you’d be relaxed, but if she said they’d be doing sex training you’d be worried (I assume:) ).

  44. @andrewm it is mostly intake. OFSTED frequently tells us nothing other than the obvious ; St GrotEstate’s High School with its 20% pass rate is “failing” and St NiceParents High School with its 80% pass rate is a success, even though the former may actually be a better school.

    Short of cheating (which is commonplace) nothing is going to get St GrotsEstate up to the required standard. The raw material doesn’t have the learning skills or the education levels required.

    It is not unusual for teaching standards to be blamed, and for St NiceParent’s teachers to preen themselves about how wonderful they are.

    There are several reasons why Private schools are successful that state schools can do nothing about ; they cannot replicate it.

    (a) they can exclude difficult/expensive (in SEN) terms easily
    (b) EBD pupils usually don’t apply let alone get in. If a pupil does develop significant behaviour problems they are likely to be excluded.
    (c) class groups are significantly smaller
    (d) they can (in some cases) ignore OFSTEDs diktats which means no mass generation of paperwork to keep them happy.
    (e) they can to some extent ignore the curriculum demands, this tends to mean more old fashioned teaching and what someone our age would recognise as subject teaching rather than things like groupwork and discovery based learning as the norm.
    (f) (e) works because most pupils who arrive are educated to a good level ; anyone who isn’t may not be admitted.
    (g) they are not obsessed with the latest set of numbers (exam results yes, but not annual assessments)

  45. TMB

    My point is that some first languages (German, French, etc) make it easier to acquire English as a second language than others do (eg Iruba). And the differences between average IQ in sub-saharans and western Europeans will amplify that. Yes, children are generally skilled at language-acquisition, but not equally so, because their initial conditions vary. So third world immigration will almost always drag down standards in UK state schools.

  46. @john77, August 25, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    @ Pcar
    There is a large minority of the workers in health, education and social services (and a small minority various other public sector jobs) who chose their careers because they wanted to serve other people. Their voice is drowned out by the “activists” but they do not deserve to be forgotten.

    Knee-jerk reply without reading beyond first six words. Exceedingly poor behaviour.

    As is entire public sector now with the exception of some staff who want to be a “public servant”.

  47. @ BiTiN, Jim, BiNY and ATGNaT:
    Bit late to the thread, but yet another OA here briefly de-lurking – direct grant pupil in the ’70s and no big fan of MStJP…

  48. @ Pcar
    Can you read what I have written? To be a “public servant” is NOT the same as wanting to serve other people. To be a “public servant” frequently means a skiver coasting along for his/her 35-hour week knowing that she/he won’t (I nearly said “cannot” but it is just possible) be sacked for idleness or incompetence and entitled to a generous pension.
    A GP – or a Dentist, or a Vet – is not a “public servant” being either self-employed or employed by a medical partnership. You have forgotten them.

  49. @john77, August 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I use Public Servant in it’s true meaning: to serve the public whose taxes pay them by sating their needs happily, quickly and efficiently.

    A GP – or a Dentist, or a Vet – is not a “public servant” being either self-employed or employed by a medical partnership. You have forgotten them.

    If they are not Public Servant/Public Sector employees and my criticism is of Public Servant/Public Sector employees attitudes, how have I “forgotten” them?

    Mrs Pcar is a dentist and doesn’t see herself as a Public Servant.

  50. Social Justice Warrior

    I look forward to reading Tim’s next post explaining how every school in the nation can copy the method of selecting only the ablest pupils.

  51. @ Pcar
    In that case you should have said “want to serve their neighbours”(if you are a Christian) or “want to serve the public” or – if you imagine that your readers will understand what you mean “want to be a public servant” but not, repeat not, “want to be a “public servant”” since the use of quotation marks implies that the phrase has a meaning distinct from the normal meaning of the words comprising it.

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