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Indirect advertising

Academies are paying comprehensive schools to take troublesome pupils, a study claimed yesterday, indicating that schools are finding stealthy ways to be selective.

It was suggested that thousands of children are being pushed out by schools desperate to improve their results. Some failing schools are closing and reopening with a smaller intake as a way of excluding difficult pupils, according to the Centre for High Performance, run by Oxford and Kingston universities.

I expect there to be a storm of outrage.

And a rise in applications to those academies so named and shamed. One “difficult” child can ruin the education of dozens of others. Parents know and fear this. If the elite truly wanted to improve the education of the masses, they would give comprehensives the power to exclude as well. But then what would happen to those children no school would take? That would happen. No school would take them. They would not be educated, by their own choice.

15 comments to Indirect advertising

  • The Stigler

    True. But it does show the sham that is “Academies” (there has been other research showing how they use tricks to do selection). They don’t really function any better than comprehensives, except by picking the better pupils. Now, private education isn’t too different to this, and I have no problem with people paying to make that choice.

    My own perspective based on going to a comp with a very diverse intake (everyone from chavs to kids who had their own car on their 17th birthday) is that a lot of kids just shouldn’t be in academic education after the age of 13. I had kids in my class who left school at 16 with no qualifications. For these kids, you might as well find something constructive they like doing and let them do it all day. There have been programmes set up where a bunch of kids spend all day taking the wreck of a car and making it a working race car.

  • Lee Moore

    It’s just a matter of simple maths, and so a closed book to our education bureaucrats. One disruptive child can disrupt the schooling of a whole class. The marginal extra disruption added by a second disruptive child is much less than the disruption caused by the second. And so on for the third, fourth, fifth. So to minimise the total disruption you want to maximise the number of disruption free classrooms, ie concentrate the disrupters together. Precisely what this alleged wheeze is doing. Ergo IT MUST BE STOPPED !

  • Lee Moore


    The marginal extra disruption added by a second disruptive child is much less than the disruption caused by the second.

    should have read :

    The marginal extra disruption added by a second disruptive child is much less than the disruption caused by the first.

  • Lee Moore

    the sham that is “Academies”

    I don’t think they’re a sham at all. The object of the exercise was to create schools that were not controlled by the LEA. Nothing shammy about that.

  • While some of the excluded pupils would each ruin things for a dozen others in any school, some would be themselves better off, as well as less destructive to those children unluckily enough to be sat next to them in class, if discipline were not a dirty world. I think we should consider the wellbeing of the dozens of others first, but it’s worth noting that when the ‘outrage’ pretends to be concerned about the fate of the ‘excluded’ – great word for faux outrage that – they’ll be lying even in their own perverse terms. The ‘excluded’ are being taught that their antics have no bad consequences (for them – as far as they can see) and bring about a useful change of scene from time to time.

    Comprehensive education was one giant sham from the day it was brought in. Just as with the old rhetoric versus the current reality of the NHS, comparing the rhetoric of the labour educationalists who brought ‘Comprehensive’ in many decades ago with the dismal reality of today is indeed educational.

  • Lee Moore

    I agree that some excluded pupils wouldn’t need to be excluded if schools were (a) allowed to and (b) willing to impose some discipline. But not all disruptive children are disruptive because they are unaware of “boundaries” – some are disruptive because they are bored out of their skulls from being either

    (a) much too bright for the educational pap they are being fed, or
    (b) much too stupid for the educational nectar they are being fed

    ie they are stuck in classes that are not catering for their ability. Hence they rightly perceive that their time in class is totally wasted, so they may as well play silly buggers.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    “They would not be educated, by their own choice.” Then again, they are just children. Probably what would help them is more choice about when, where and how to get educated, instead of the one-size-fits all you-must-achieve-X-by-age-Y state-centralised approach.

  • Paul Marks

    Selection on the basis of ability and-or character is at the heart of every good educational system.

    Some children crave the harsh discipline of military school – and respect nothing else. Other children would be crushed by such a school – and need tender nurturing.

    The “Bog Standard Comprehensive” (BSC) is based upon the error that all children are the same – same level of ability, same character, and so on.

    Of course a child who is uninterested in academic work will just be disruptive influence in an academic class.

    But such a child need not be “stupid” – he (or she) just may have other interests, such as repairing cars (a complicated task involving a lot of practical intelligence) and may only respond to someone they respect (say a big bloke who knows how to handle metal).

    Different places for different people – down with the BSCs.

  • Paul Marks

    I am told that Bavaria has “Technical Schools” for children really interested in practical work – in England and Wales we were promised them by the Butler Act of 1944.

    Only about half a dozen were ever built.

  • RRS

    In some jurisdictions in the U S attempts to deal with similar problems have resulted in the provision of designated facilities to “serve” the “needs” of the disruptive and recalcitrant.

    Unfortunately, there is not sufficient uniformity in the kinds or causes of the particular disruptive behaviors for the establishment of a pattern ( or patterns) of “educational” response.

  • PeterT

    In Sweden, where I was educated, it at least used to be the case that in high school you followed a course. Similar in principle to the university course system, but with a core of key subjects like maths and English (you could choose ‘standard’ or ‘advanced’ study.) My focus was on science, but there were also courses for building and electrician studies (electrics??). I think this system might have been imported from Germany. I can still recall the relief of not having to study with the oafs and bullies any more, once I had self sorted into the elite.

  • TDK

    They would not be educated, by their own choice.

    A bit stark, no? Normally we assume that children are not capable of giving informed consent. It’s not clear why this situation should be any different.

    Just to be clear: I’m not arguing that forcing disruptive into formal education generally leads to them getting educated – it doesn’t

    Nor am I arguing say that sharing them out equally is the right approach. It clearly isn’t, except to someone so wrapped up in egalitarianism that they try to bend reality to match the theory.

  • rxc

    I think that this is a real problem, but no one has a good solution. The academies and charter shools (in the US) exist because some parents want better education for their children, but cannot afford expensive private schools (Public school in the UK), so they self-select for better education. When you have a disruptor in the group, the remainder suffer. We do not, as a society, know how to deal with these disruptors in a manner that (1) is effective, and (2) does not offend our sense of propriety and moral justice. The old ways (put them out on the street or in the army) are no longer available, because they are not societally acceptable, and they do not work, either, in today’s societies.

    The only solution I can think of is to gather them all together in one place. In the US, this used to be called “reform school”, but I think it no longer exists. Integration has been shown to be a failure, as a policy. The theory may be attractive, but it just does not work. Just like a lot of other progressive ideas.

  • Roue le Jour

    My understanding is this:

    There were two problems with the selective system. Firstly, Grammar schools selected by essay. There were therefore a group of intelligent children of average articulacy who failed to get into Grammar schools. This was anticipated by the tripartite system and it was intended that those children should attend Technical schools. Unfortunately, in spite of the success of technical schools in Germany, there was no appetite for building Technical schools in the UK, so those children were dumped in Secondary Moderns.

    Secondly, there was no pass mark to the 11+. The number of children who “passed” was simply the number of Grammar school places in that educational district. As the provision of Grammar school places varied widely there was inevitably a large group of children who “failed” the 11+ but who would have “passed” it had they had taken it elsewhere.

    Comprehensive education was seen as a solution to both these problems.

    As I said on the other thread, I favour selective education, but I do not think “vindictive bastards” is the whole explanation for the introduction of comprehensive education.

  • Roue le Jour

    And to top it off, selective education can never be re-introduced into the multicultural west as the children selected will be of the wrong hue.