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  • Personal value of school
  • Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    @oakleymuppet / @singletrackmind
    and anyone else …

    oakleymuppet

    I learnt **** all in secondary school apart from how all but two of my teachers were cockwombles, that authority figures were to be distrusted, that I could learn 2-3 years worth of information in the six months before my exams and that whilst I was shoved in the middle set for Maths that I was actually good at it.

    I find myself in partial agreement with steve, even though he seems to have pissed a lot of you off. I reckon I could have forgone secondary completely and still ended up where I am today, but I was always one of those kids that did things purely for his own benefit in a bloody minded independent fashion – so maybe others wouldn’t do so well with less formal schooling.

    This seems so near identical to my secondary experience it seems like my school life was copy/pasted.
    For me the initial issue with school started at nursery – what I do remember was being forced to lie down and pretend to sleep and apparently I managed to escape early on and walk home.

    At some point I got to primary and what I remember about that was being forced to adopt ITA and what felt to me as a 5yr old that they were saying my parents and the whole outside world were lying… I was already reading and writing and was told it was all wrong. I was an avid reader and they confiscated any books that were not in ITA so they could control what you read… I still remember they confiscated the hobbit and I never got it back.

    Though that was unpleasant it was secondary school where the real unpleasantness began. Initially I was put into the top set for everything then my parents got divorced and we lived in various relatives houses for a while. I walked out of an exam end of the year and got put into the bottom set (then called remedial).

    I mainly kept myself to myself until one day the cool kids with cool clothes and in the school football team had a go at me. I probably went a bit OTT and several ended up in hospital and unable to play football for a while and I got sent off to some local authority child psychology unit where posh women with dolls seemed to want me to say I was being sexually abused.

    The only thing they didn’t want to know was I hated school. You’d think some posh git with a degree in psychology would realise I was upset by the divorce and I didn’t want to be in school because it was shit but nope.

    We lived under a constant threat from social services because my mother was divorced and we didn’t have our own house and because the nosy woman had it in her head.

    So I learned woodwork, metalwork and tech drawing to be released as factory fodder then one night in my last year at work I nearly lost a finger on a surface grinder. (Not hanging off but scored bone and had it got trapped it would have been a gonna)

    Sod this I thought … so I decided to get my O levels. Given I was in CSE classes non of the syllabus was the same and several subjects were completely new. The school did what they could top prevent me taking O levels but I managed to get the books one way or another and learned enough to get A’s apart from history where I got a B.

    that I could learn 2-3 years worth of information in the six months before my exams

    Which makes you question WTF are they doing for the 2-3 years?

    At that point i woke up shaking with a racng heart beat. Actually took 15 mins or so to calm down with some 5-2 breathing techniques, lights on etc. Was like being a kid again when there weren’t really monsters under the bed, now there are, but they’re tiny, and I am 51.

    Just hearing school playgrounds still makes me nauseous and raised heartbeat at 53.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Full Member

    Which makes you question WTF are they doing for the 2-3 years?

    Teaching kids who don’t want to be factory fodder maybe.
    Getting o levels as an adult is completely different to as a child, your metacognition will / should be much more advanced and therefore it is easier (INAT or scholar and didn’t particularly excel at school)

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    Getting o levels as an adult

    Not really understanding what you mean by that?
    Despite the school doing all they could to prevent me taking O levels I did them at 16 like everyone else. I don’t think I was particularly more “adult” than most of the year??

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
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    Primary school about 3years in I think. “Today kids we are making fathers day cards” “mines dead” “oh you need to do maths”

    So I did, I added one to every maths question for what seems like months but was probably only a week, drove the teacher nuts though…school kind on carried on like that until eventually I was told I wasnt welcome at sixth form so I moved schools and started to be believed in..got more A’s at A level than GCSE’s.

    How the **** I ended up being a teacher I am not really sure. Teachers are all ****, suppose I fit in.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    as i’ve posted before. My son is TG, came out a year or so ago. He is totally alienated from former life, friends, hobbies. At home he barely leaves his room. School is the only constant for him. Although he has issues there it’s not the school it’s other parents’ kids that are the problem. (I make that point, because I firmly believe that while the school can do what it can, in the end if the kids are little **** the parents need to know and deal with it as much as the school).

    When we were lockdowned and remote learning, it was abysmal. He needs the structure and normality of going to school.

    How do I balance the mental health aspect of that normality against the virus risk, which we are managing as best we can (not seeing grandparents, etc.)  A very significant risk of harm or death (yes, he is on ‘suicide / self harm watch’ and when he just wants to go out for a walk for a bit my heart is pounding until the door opens again) against a potential risk from the virus?

    You might think I’m an idiot for letting him go to school based on your very bad experiences / your situation, but I’m barely exaggerating when I say it’s helping to keep him alive right now.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Primary School in the late 70’s early 80’s – my one lasting memory was of getting a telling off because they thought my Mom had done my home work because it was punctuated correctly. My Mom was ace at written english so she’d been teaching me punctuation since I could write – unlike the school system. Mom went into the school and explained all this to the Teacher….
    I got bored towards the end of Primary School and spent most afternoons of the last term stood outside the classroom for one reason or another – I just didn’t find it engaging.

    Secondary School on the other hand was brilliant. I felt like I learnt loads – especially when we started Science and Engineering I really engaged with those subjects.
    (pure)Maths has always baffled me so it took me 2 attempts to pass that – although if the same equation/method was thrown into a science or engineering scenario I had no problems working them out!!

    Secondary school was also where I made long lasting friendships, decisions about career and future.

    I keep telling my 14yo lad that Secondary School is where he can shape his future – It’s all in his hands.

    Premier Icon jimw
    Free Member

    I am one of the fortunate ones who loved school. I was in the first year of fully comprehensive education in Hampshire, so went to what had been a secondary modern in a semi-rural setting(it isn’t now!)instead of taking the eleven plus. We were the first cohort of completely mixed ability kids in the school and the teachers took great pains to encourage us all. I can still remember being taught about the corn laws by a charismatic and enthusiastic history teacher. I also learned woodwork, metalwork, home economics as it was then as well as sciences & maths. I use skills I learned in each of those subjects every day. The only subjects I didn’t like were languages.
    It didn’t have a sixth form so I went to a sixth form college. Three of the subjects I took at A level were great, but maths was taught appallingly badly for my teaching group so I can see how a bad teacher can affect your life afterward as I didn’t do well and so didn’t study engineering as I had wanted to and did a product design degree instead.
    So to sum up, I was lucky I guess.

    Premier Icon convert
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    Unless you are doing a vocational degree most uni courses are not about the content. They are about learning to learn, to research, to argue a point, to fail, to jump through hoops without touching the sides. To learn to do group work and be collaborative. Secondary education is pretty much the same only at a lower level.

    We can all remember a shed load of nonsense we were made to do. Some of it was indeed nonsense. But some of it was a vehicle to learning in a broader context regardless of if you were aware of the actual point or not.

    If you have access to your early primary school exercise books go have a read. Then imagine that person putting together an application letter for a job with you. Somewhere along the line you learnt some skillz. You also learnt that Terry in your class is an utter **** and when you get to choose your clan in a future life you are sure as hell that Terry and any other **** that looks and acts like him is not going to be in it.

    Premier Icon bensales
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    It would be impossible for me to have the career I have, and therefore the life I and my family have, without the education I’ve received.

    So yeah, as far as I’m concerned, school is invaluable.

    Premier Icon kilo
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    Not really understanding what you mean by that?

    Apologies skim read your op and thought you had got your o levels when working post school.

    Premier Icon stevextc
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    You might think I’m an idiot for letting him go to school based on your very bad experiences / your situation, but I’m barely exaggerating when I say it’s helping to keep him alive right now.

    Not at all if that is their decision.

    My brother went to the same school as me and didn’t hate it as much as I did.
    My son doesn’t hate school …

    The issue I see is to an extent the (non) recognition of children for whom school is a living hell and/or are unable to learn in that environment.

    Premier Icon handybar
    Free Member

    I initially went to a secondary school that I hated with a passion. I became depressed, ran away from home, then changed to a new school after a few months of what I can only describe as darkness. Then it was like night vs day. The new school was just a lot kinder in general, and it was in a modern building, whereas the previous one was dark with tiny windows and a strong emphasis on discipline.
    I don’t know what would have happened to me otherwise. I stayed on for sixth form and did well academically at the new place. But I think it really comes down to feeling at home somewhere. My father refused to see there was a problem – he is naturally avoidant – and it wasn’t until I said I’m not going back that things improved. Ironic now as all he does is complain about going to the wrong school himself and feeling he has underachieved in life because of it.

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
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    The issue I see is to an extent the (non) recognition of children for whom school is a living hell and/or are unable to learn in that environment.

    Recognition isnt the issue the issue is having any different provision for them

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    Recognition isnt the issue the issue is having any different provision for them

    Very true. School refusers either take up untold amount of resources or are completely ignored. Nether is sustainable.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    Recognition isnt the issue the issue is having any different provision for them

    Very true. School refusers either take up untold amount of resources or are completely ignored. Nether is sustainable.

    Huh, all I needed was a copy of the syllabus, library and examination hall?

    Premier Icon pondo
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    Huh, all I needed was a copy of the syllabus, library and examination hall?

    That’s you, with your individual experience, which is not necessarily the same as everyone else’s.

    Premier Icon convert
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    Huh, all I needed was a copy of the syllabus, library and examination hall?

    If I may say so that is an incredibly self orientated response that probably needs a bit more thinking through.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    AA

    How the **** I ended up being a teacher I am not really sure. Teachers are all ****, suppose I fit in.

    I think that’s missing the point … some teachers are just shit but the majority are just fine for what many/most of their students need and some are undoubtedly excellent for many.

    Three of the subjects I took at A level were great, but maths was taught appallingly badly for my teaching group so I can see how a bad teacher can affect your life afterward

    and I guess the issue is one bad one can screw up the entire thing

    the issue is having any different provision for them

    By which I mean not involving schools or teachers… not making provision in school.

    Premier Icon stevextc
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    That’s you, with your individual experience, which is not necessarily the same as everyone else’s.

    Ummm.. that’s the subject.
    What part is so difficult to see?

    a) Some kids thrive in school
    b) Some kids manage despite
    c) Some kids are made ill by school

    We probably have different ideas as to the percentages of a,b,c but surely you can see many kids just manage anyway but would manage as well or better without school and some can’t manage at all in school but can manage perfectly well without it

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
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    Not at all if that is their decision.

    It’s not. It’s mine. But as a parent you have to make decisions that are in their interests.

    He’d not go and would stay in his room continuously. But equally, he’d rather not wake up at all tomorrow. Do I let him make that decision?

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    If I made say so that is an incredibly self orientated response that probably needs a bit more thinking through.

    As I said …

    The issue I see is to an extent the (non) recognition of children for whom school is a living hell and/or are unable to learn in that environment.

    Premier Icon johnx2
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    Total outsider here (bar own experience and that of being a parent) but this international lurgy I keep hearing about does make me wonder if there’s a chance to design education a bit differently?

    Working at home will be much more the norm with people spread out all over the place, with far less regimentation than was once the case. I know schools will have moved on from what I remember (70s comps: tough and frankly rubbish), but you still get a pretty institutional vibe. And I realise that it won’t be easy for many kids to educate from home, given all kinds of inequalities in domestic circs which the pandemic has just exacerbated. But, if you were designing an education system from scratch would you come up with schools like the ones we have? Or something really quite different?

    (Perhaps not given a main function of schools is to keep kids off the street, institutionalise them a bit and occupy they whilst their parents work…)

    Premier Icon stevextc
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    Do I let him make that decision?

    You’re a bit stuffed either way … but one of those lets them make the decision later and one doesn’t.

    Premier Icon pondo
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    Ummm.. that’s the subject.
    What part is so difficult to see?

    Then… what’s your point?

    Premier Icon perchypanther
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    I came to a pretty early realisation, probably as soon as I was able to read books for myself, that education was my only route out of a life of council estate poverty in a town that was in the middle of being actively oppressed by the Government of the day.

    School is brilliant. Free access to a world of infinite choices, should you make the effort.

    I tell my kids this every day.

    One listens, one does not, the third swings wildly between the two.

    Premier Icon jimw
    Free Member

    and I guess the issue is one bad one can screw up the entire thing

    Yes, but I don’t regret the choice I made in the slightest, I could have stayed on to resit maths to improve on my E grade to go with the two A grades and a C grade I had in my other a-levels but it may well have been a blessing as it made me realise the more creative and practical avenue was for me. In fact I could even say that it was the understanding of how not to teach a subject from the perspective of a student encouraged me to take up teaching post degree level.

    Premier Icon kerley
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    The methods and ways in which schools work are not really for me and I didn’t do that well in that system.
    In an ideal world we would separate kids out based on what sort of schooling would suit them best (academic, non-academic, those who suit learn/revise/test, those who don’t etc,) but that would be near to impossible to actually achieve within current funding and peoples generally fixed way of thinking about schooling.

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    As I said …

    So your solution to the (non) recognition of children for whom school is a living hell and/or are unable to learn in that environment. is to provided them/their parents a copy of the syllabus, library and examination hall?. And that is a generic response that will work for every child that hates school and misses years of conventional education regardless of their educational needs AND their parent’s ability to help/educate?

    Premier Icon holdsteady
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    other than reading, writing and basic maths so much useless rubbish gets taught at secondary schools that will be no use to vast majority of people, would be handy if they taught far more useful stuff that most people will at some point need to know, like mortgages, pensions, wiring a plug, changing a fuse, fixing a puncture on a car etc etc

    Premier Icon 5thElefant
    Free Member

    Yeah, secondary school and uni were utterly worthless for me (in terms of learning – years of free time at uni to dedicate to the gym were appreciated). I’d already realised that teachers were a lot thicker than me in primary school.

    If you want to learn something, just learn it. More true now that the whole world’s knowledge is at your finger tips.

    Obviously the baby-sitting aspect is useful.

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
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    wiring a plug

    Makes me laugh that this is back in the new Gove led GCSE science when it was rightly removed from the last version as plugs that need wiring are not found these days. Back whn I was a kid we had to wire plugs all the time, not done a single one in at least 15 years that I can recall.ust finding a plug you can unscrew is rare.

    would be handy if they taught far more useful stuff that most people will at some point need to know, like mortgages, pensions, wiring a plug, changing a fuse, fixing a puncture on a car etc etc

    We are teachers not parents and crucially we dont choose whats in the exams

    Premier Icon perchypanther
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    would be handy if they taught far more useful stuff that most people will at some point need to know, like mortgages, pensions, wiring a plug, changing a fuse, fixing a puncture on a car etc etc

    Back in the day, this was called Social and Vocational Skills and you could do an O level in it at our school.

    It was the only O level that some kids ever got.

    Premier Icon kelvin
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    so much useless rubbish gets taught at secondary schools that will be no use to vast majority of people

    What you learn, at school and elsewhere, as a young person, is secondary to developing the skills to learn, and develop, in my opinion.

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
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    Yeah, secondary school and uni were utterly worthless for me (in terms of learning – years of free time at uni to dedicate to the gym were appreciated). I’d already realised that teachers were a lot thicker than me in primary school.

    Clearly you missed lot of crucial things growing up.

    What you learn, at school and elsewhere, as a young person, is secondary to developing the skills to learn, and develop, in my opinion.

    Amen to that!

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
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    TG?

    Premier Icon handybar
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    The thing is doing well academically at school is no longer a guarantee of upward social mobility. Some of the best well off people I know did ok at school but then found a passion in life, one set up a record studio, another got into property development. There are so many well qualified accountants and lawyers who are just doing it to retain status and money, but are pretty depressed deep down.
    That’s why I support education systems which put less emphasis on grades and exams and more on experiences, like the Duke of Edinburgh awards. I discovered perhaps too late in life that I loved mountains and rock climbing, but I didn’t start until my late 20s. If I’d had the chance to try as a teenager it could have opened up a new world for me. We are all a bunch of battery chickens these days, being examined constantly at school, then performance managed at work. Target culture is frankly crap.

    Premier Icon stevextc
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    And that is a generic response that will work for every child that hates school and misses years of conventional education regardless of their educational needs AND their parent’s ability to help/educate?

    Nope it’s one response. (Personal experience value of school). Again what have the parents ability to help/educate got to do with it? You seem stuck in a paradigm that kids need an adult to teach them academic stuff.

    Take French** for example … tens of millions people speak it without a formal education in it.
    they just get exposed to it… (I chose this especially)

    Working at home will be much more the norm with people spread out all over the place, with far less regimentation than was once the case.

    Certainly over the last decade almost all my work related learning has been remote.

    But, if you were designing an education system from scratch would you come up with schools like the ones we have? Or something really quite different?

    That’s my thoughts….
    **Back to French
    So as it happens I used to score 4.5/5 on the AF French test (no mystery I lived there) and my kid just decided to learn French. For what reason I don’t know…. he doesn’t want any help, the only thing I did was approve Duolingo.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
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    transgender

    Premier Icon pondo
    Full Member

    Still struggling to see the point of this post….

    Premier Icon stevextc
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    handybar

    That’s why I support education systems which put less emphasis on grades and exams and more on experiences, like the Duke of Edinburgh awards. I discovered perhaps too late in life that I loved mountains and rock climbing, but I didn’t start until my late 20s

    It’s certainly an option … and I also share the passion for outdoors but I wouldn’t thin it suits everyone any more than the battery farm does

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