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Old 22.01.2011, 10:43
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Social Mobility in the UK

On a serious note (after my other puerile insinuations today ), just read this interesting article and would like to share.

Any thoughts??

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12225252
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Old 22.01.2011, 10:57
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

Two words: Comprehensive schools.
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Old 22.01.2011, 11:45
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

I was lucky, I went to a grammar school, I didn't thrive as the teaching was rubbish. But I think the scrapping of grammar schools for the brightest was a big mistake. My old school has declined in the league tables since it went private. It now teaches rich average kids.

The first comprehensive school in London was a girls' shool near my home in Eltham, SE London. It started off very well, gave real opportunities, and still does, to poor children. But the standard of parenting continuously declined and today the whole catchment area is a sump of lost opportunity.

The big killer in British education was the continuing changes made to the school systems by politicians whom think they know it all. Today the school teachers are tightly monitored and I think the national curriculum has been reduced to English Maths and Science.

My daughter went to a comprehensive school in Bournemouth UK between 2006 and 2008. She took 10 GCSEs and was the only child taking French or German. (She passed both as she had learnt enough in Bern)
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Old 22.01.2011, 22:19
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

That may be a bit unfair on comprehensives. I was in the first intake in a comp. near London in the late 60s (my brother had joined when it was a Grammar 2 years before) and standards didn't seem to decline in the 7 years I was there. Things may have changed since, but maybe not so much because of the school system but also because of rampant post-Thatcher "no such thing as society" materialism. That's not to say that the Labour gov. of the last 13 is blameless. Switzerland is by no means classless, but with its decentralized government and (mostly) close communities it certainly seems to do a better job of looking after its citizens, even if they have arrived here recently with little or no knowledge of the local language. The traditional system of apprenticeships also means that relatively low-achieving kids can leave school at 15 and still go on to a decent, skilled job - and possibly also transcend class boundaries eventually.
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Old 23.01.2011, 05:58
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

Comprehensive schools were introduced to end social division among teachers.
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Old 23.01.2011, 08:05
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

There are actually about 10,000 words, which include "comprehensive schools".

The British attitude of being proud of being poor and failing, while scorning success is a big factor IMO. This starts at an early age in (comprehensive) school. "Swats" are despised and laughed at and those who disrupt and general fail are heroes...
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Old 23.01.2011, 10:43
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

I think a lot of researchers look back through rose tinted glasses.

There’s no question that local authority (ie free) Grammar schools contributed hugely to social mobility.... but it was only ever for a very select few. I was lucky enough to go to one and it set me up for life but the vast majority of kids didn’t get that opportunity. The truth is that even before Comprehensive schools, most kids were consigned to a host of Secondary Modern schools which were no better and arguably worse than Comps. It may be true that the overall standard of education declined under the Comprehensivisation, I don’t know, but I don’t think social mobility got any better or worse for the vast majority of kids from poorer backgrounds after its introduction. In fact, if educational attainment is the yardstick ( and we can debate dumbing down), far more kids spend longer in education these days and the system is pumping out massively more graduates than in the public Grammar school days.

This is just a personal view but up to the early 1970s, the hall mark of the working class was someone who wore a blue collar, did unskilled work or worked in a trade, lived in rented social housing, were paid in cash in hand at the end of the week, rented their telly, could afford one car at most, possibly bought on HP and most of their kids left school at 15.

Middle class families were in the minority, had white collared, professional jobs, were starting to own their own suburban semi detached homes, bought their telly, were paid a monthly salary into a bank account, took out “personal loans” rather than HP, and aspired to have their kids at least progress to A levels and hopefully go on to University. Looking back, what my parents would have seen as the yardstick of a middle class life seem relatively modest these days.

In absolute terms, I think many more families hit the middle class criteria these days. In other words the middle class has expanded to include more of the population. What has changed is that the gap between the the lower and upper middle class bands has widened. On the other hand, the numbers of what my parents would have called people living working class lives has contracted.
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Old 23.01.2011, 12:36
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

I went to a grammar school. It merged with a local comprehensive while I was there. I attended the comprehensive school for the second year of my O Levels before leaving.

The comprehensive had many advantages over the grammar school. Being much larger, it had the scope to offer a much wider variety of courses. At the grammar school there was very little choice.

The comprehnsive did far more to prepare people for the realities of life. At the grammar school people were very protected and isolated.

The grammar school that I attended was not long out of totally segregating girls and boys. There was a lot of sex disrimination still remaining. For example: Boys could not take cookery or home economics and girls could not take woodwork or metalwork. Even with the more mainstream courses there was still a similar attitude. In science subjects, girls were encouraged to take Biology and Boys to take Physics.
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Old 23.01.2011, 12:53
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

I never went to grammar school, but to a comprehensive. I come form what I guess would be a working class family (lived in a council house, dad was a welder, mum was a housewife, then a school cleaner, neither were very well paid). One thing that helped was that our school worked on the basis that it thought all the GCSE students would go on to do A-levels, so I never thought about not doing them. That then led to uni. Luckily, my family never pressed too hard on the "when are you going to get a proper job, son?" line, so I wasn't under pressure to work down t'pit (not that they had any round our way). Also, luckily, a fair few people on my course were from similar backgrounds and it never seemed to make a difference to anyone.
At the end of that wittering on, I don't know if it makes all that much difference as I've seen plebs like myself do ok and I've seen people from middle-class (and higher) backgrounds fail miserably.
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Old 23.01.2011, 12:56
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

Like most school systems and changes of same, what is good for one group is not necessarily good for others.
Regarding co-education I once read that teenage boys fool around more when there are girls in the class. Girls are motivated to work harder at their maths and sciences when taught with boys.
Decision: Boys should all go to single sex schools. Girls should all be taught at co-educational schools.
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Old 23.01.2011, 13:32
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

My grammar school was totally segregated. The boy's school and the girl's school were were next to each other but had separate buildings and grounds with the school gates on different streets. Even the school starting and finishing hours were different so that the boys and girls wouldn't mix. Having no sisters, I came out of the system without a clue how girls worked or how to socialize with them so University proved a steep learning curve in more ways than one!
I think it's wrong to segregate kids, whether by religion, race or gender.
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Old 23.01.2011, 13:37
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Re: Social Mobility in the UK

i went to a standard first, middle and high school, went to a drug dealer haven of a college, and got a 2-2 at uni, yet im doing alright, it depends on the individual, cannot pin it down to a school, as each school/college has low and high performers, even people who go oxford and cambridge produce rubbish students.

theres 9 people on my team at work, and all come from "generally" low and high backgrouds, yet we all made it to this high end position, and we all get on well, so its down to the person, NOT the school, upbringing helps also, but thats another matter
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