Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites Nadine from Sweaty Betty to the spotlight #State V #Private School

What I Expected from Primary School and what the Child actually received

Well I obviously set my expecations too high as it is not at all what I expected.

Usually State schools require parents to live in the catchment area in the hope that their children will get into a really good State school.

This is exactly what I expected, I live in a lovely small village and the intake per class before my son started School was 19.  I thought great, small classes means he’ll get more attention to do well.  However, when my son started there was a new Head Teacher and there was 27 children in his class with one full-time teacher and a part-time teaching assistant, though some days the teaching assistant would be teaching on her own.

At the School they introduced a reading and writing program as the Ofsted report said the School was lacking with childrens’ writing skills.  Read Write Inc was introduced.  I bought some books so I could help my son at home and he thrived on it so much he was put in a higher class – in Year 1 instead if his Reception class (along with 5 others from his class). 

However, now my son is in Year 2 and he is not being pushed to his full capacity.  I am told by his teacher that “he has everything in his head – he just needs to put it on paper”.  The thing is he needs motivating (bribing even) to do things.  He is lazy and if he can get away with writing one sentence instead of five he will do.  I feel the School is not motivating him enough – but then there are other children struggling who need more help.

He is in a higher Maths group within his class, but he still thinks it’s easy. 

My son says he gets bored.  If this continues he will become easily distracted and will not want to learn at all and become naughty instead.

Why I think it’s happened

The School will take in children from out of the Village to get more children in the class as the School will get more money. 

The Head Teacher was off for a year on long term sick due to stress.  This led to inconsistencies in teaching.

A New Head has now been appointed but is a Manager and business person – not a teacher.  She is results driven and is upsetting a lot of parents and teachers.

Teachers are upset because she is putting pressure on to do more – one teacher is off on long term sick, and she is a really good teacher, my son did really well with her.

Parents are upset because the children are being bullied; lunch times are not supervised properly as there are lots of fights and rough play (one incident resulting in a broken collar bone).  The Bullies then get rewarded for good behaviour.

In fact one boy had a serious fight and the next week in Assembly was awarded the Head Teacher Award for being well mannered and polite!  What kind of signal does that send out to the pupils (and Parents).

My son tells me that some of his class are teasing him and he is too nervous to tell any Teacher.

The bullies do not get punished enough they get internally excluded but not expelled, if they were externally excluded this would affect the School’s results.

Bullying should be nipped in the bud!  For example there were a group of girls who were bullies at Pre-School.  The same girls continued to be bullies in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and guess what they are still bullying in Year 3 so why wasn’t it nipped in the bud in Reception!

Several children have left the School because they were being bullied. 

Two children have left my son’s class.  One has gone to another State School (because of bullying) and is doing so much better.  The other one has gone to Private School (as she wasn’t being pushed enough) and is excelling in everything, her Parents have told me her behaviour and manners are much better too.

Also Parent Governors are not fully informed, e.g. one of my friends is a parent governor and she had no idea the Deputy Head was taking a Secondment for a year.

A friend told me there are three levels of pupils (so true):
1.   The ones at the bottom who need help get left behind – their parents spend a fortune on extra tuition.
2.   The ones in the middle are helped to get the results for the School
3.   The ones at the top are left as they will automatically succeed in getting results for the School.

There are also a lot of children with special needs at the School and they do get one to one support.

There are some really good teachers at the School but I think they need more support.

I wouldn’t say that all State schools are the same I know there are some really good ones out there and I have other friends who very happy.  Unfortunately I am not happy with my son’s School.

What I want

All I want is for my son is for him to be able to do his best and be well behaved.

In fact during the Easter holidays my son is better behaved away from School.

Unfortunately, due to the size of his class and lack of support, the environment is more about controlling rather than learning.

What I don’t want to do is pay for a better education, why should I!  Especially as I don’t have the hassle of the School run, we walk to School every day, it only takes five minutes.

Given the choice which would you choose?

Having looked around lots of Private Schools in the area, I have to say I am very impressed and would love my son to go to a Private school.  The only downside is that you have to pay for it, but then you do get what you pay for:

·        Smaller class sizes – more conducive to learning
·        Children are better behaved
·        Children have neater handwriting
·        Pushed but not to the extreme where the child finds things too difficult or feel too pressured
·        Have the option of moving up a year
·        Read more books appropriate to their level
·        More sports facilities
·        Lots of after School care clubs and before school care too
·        Lots of extra curricular activities, including drama, music and different sports
·        More challenging
·        More focus on the individual
·        Peace of mind
·        Better equipped for life experiences

If only I could afford it, I would have no hesitation in sending him to a Private School.

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