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Easter Holiday Revision Classes

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iloveglee | 20:06 Sun 25th Mar 2018 | Jobs & Education
18 Answers
I wonder what opinions there are out there about a letter my daughter has just received from her daughter's school. xxxx (daughter's name) is required to attend revision sessions in school during the easter holidays.

This appears not to be an offer of the opportunity of revision sessions, if you feel you could benefit from them, but suggests that this is compulsory. Surely this can't be. What about parents who have booked to be away during the easter holiday - being as you can't go away in term time!! The letter came the day they broke up for the easter break.

What has happened to taking a break, chilling out and relaxing. Meeting friends and spending time with family. I fully recognise that GCSE's are important, but at the loss of happiness and good mental health? Really? These kids are so pressured when they are at school, this seems to be the way of things now, but surely they are entitled to take time off. Even at an important time like this.

It seems to me that this is pretty counterproductive. This school already has serious problems of increasing mental illness, bullying and drug taking, and I suspect they will end up with a school full of bitter resentful children who could be forgiven for thinking, we'll fail just for spite and mess up their league tables.

Is it just me that thinks that childhood is so precious, and for so many reasons it's being lost. And why, when countries such as Finland and Canada just to name two, have such good results from their Education systems without all this constant pushing and harrying.


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I'd be interested to see evidence that Canada and Finland get better results because of less pushing and harrying. I also don't think revision classes will cause an increase in mental illness- they may help alleviate stress as students feel more prepared as the exams approach.

But if you feel strongly, or have a holiday booked, just say she cannot go
I think this is something you need to talk to the school about...and I bet the teachers are delighted!
My granddaughter here in Rochdale is in the same situation. Taking GCSEs this year. She will be going in for three revision mornings this week . She doesn't seem to be bothered at all.
>I suspect they will end up with a school full of bitter resentful children who could be forgiven for thinking, we'll fail just for spite and mess up their league tables.

It partly depends on whether the parents are seen by their children to support the school they chose to send their children to.
I bet a fair number of parents are happy to pay tutors £25 or so an hour to do extra weekend/evening sessions in the final year of GCSEs and would welcome some free tuition in the holidays. Hopefully the sessions will be fairly informal, deal with things like revision techniques and reducing stress and will be more effective than 'home revision' which usually involves an X box or similar
Looking online, it seems your daughter's school is not alone in offering revision classes.

The school is likely to have identified those needing help rather than opening up to anyone. No doubt there is a limited number of teachers and time in which to provide the support and although unlikely, how would they cope if 100 folk turnt up for a class with space only for thirty?

The attendance will not be compulsory and perhaps you should be asking the school why they think your daughter needs the extra help?
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Perhaps I worded this wrongly. Canada get very good results, as do Finland. Their Education model is very much more relaxed, with less pushing and harrying, and more concentration on self directed study, and out of classroom education. Their good results may not be directly related to the lack of pushing and harrying, but they get them anyway. And possibly happier children.

I think the point i am making is that there are many teenagers suffering extreme stress and mental health problems. Adding to this by making them feel they 'have' to go into school during holidays may help some children, but be counterproductive for others. It's the element of compulsion suggested in the letter that I am wondering what people think of this.

They were thinking of booking a last minute trip but now don't know quite what to do. They kind of put across the impression that if you were to go on holiday rather than sending your child to revision sessions, you are not doing the best for your child.

The impression that the school has given, when providing after school revision sessions, is that the teachers are willingly volunteering their time. One of the teachers, that the family know, has told them that they are being put in a really difficult position - basically they are disadvantaging the children if they don't 'volunteer'.

It's the norm now to have holiday revision sessions. If you don't feel your daughter will benefit or she doesn't want to attend then don't send her. If the school didn't offer them then there would be parents complaining about that too. Don't forget that the teachers are giving up their holidays to provide these sessions.
Finland still has lots of libraries and the Finnish people are known for their love of books. Teachers have to do a five year degree course .Can't see that happening here.
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Indeed, to be become a teacher in Finland you have to be the best of the best. Having had the opportunity, just, to speak online to a friend in Finland, basically their philosophy of education is less is more.

They teach what is necessary to be taught, children learn what they need to know, but they are also taught to think, analyse and problem solve. From a young age, often in a practical situation. Their whole society works very very differently from ours.

Unfortunately for my grand-daughter she has had many problematic issues with this school, who have been very unsupportive of these problems. The whole family find it very hard to support a school that has not been very supportive of them.

Yes, i can see that this is very common these days - the revision classes that is. I simply cannot understand how I and my husband, my children, my sister, my two oldest grand children, and my nephews and nieces have managed to get through their GCSE's, and A Levels and go on to have successful careers in various environments, without ever having had once to either have a private tutor or go into school during the holidays.
Most of the kids that actually need to attend probably won't but there is an expectation that schools will provide them - once one school start doing something like revision in the holidays other school follow (like keeping up with the Jonses). I also think there is so much emphasis on target grades, expected grade, etc that the pressure to meet these targets is huge for the pupils, their teachers and the schools. It's almost like there is too much data available to 'measure' the pupils with. I'd hate to be either a pupil or teacher these days.
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I'd hate to be a pupil or teacher these days as well. I passed 8 gcse's, which was considered enough in those long distant days. I went to a grammar school, pretty strict modelled on public school ideas but in no shape or form were we subjected to the kind of pressures kids these days do.

but of course there were no league tables in those days.
Likewise iloveglee, Back in the day I did O-Levels with no extra tuition but things were far more relaxed back then. There wasn't the same pressure as nowadays we were just encouraged to do our best. No private tutors, we were all on a level playing field at my grammar school in the 50s rich kids and poor kids alike. Now it must be horrendous with all the pressure to succeed .
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Yes, i feel for kids these days. It's presented to them as if they don't do well at gcse level, their life will be over and there will never be any opening for them at all. And all without being able to take on board that some kids simply are not academic, and do very much better in vocational subjects. My grand-daughter being one of them. She gets A stars for her singing and cooking, but they seem to be of no account.

I saw a news item on the TV today which suggested, if I understood it correctly, that those kids who 'fail' their gcse maths and english will have to keep re-sitting it as many times as it takes until they either pass it, or become 19!! However, if they are doing an apprenticeship they don't have to. Because they are learning their maths and english, as it's applied to the job or trade they are learning. They were interviewing apprentices within the logistics industry and their supervisor was explaining how the maths applied to the job, and in what way it was important. My son didn't pass maths gcse but he's now an operations manager and knows pretty much what there is to know about logistics.

I don't know where or why we went wrong with education in this country. But I do think we have.
“I don't know where or why we went wrong with education in this country.”

I do. It began when the government decided that streaming of pupils in some way for their secondary education was no longer necessary. This meant that all children of all talents and abilities were lumped together. It is obvious that some children are more academically gifted than others (in just the same way that some can run faster than others) and the result is that classes have to proceed at the speed of the slowest learners. Either that or the slowest learners are simply left behind to wallow in ignorance. That ain’t rocket science. Even in my grammar school we were streamed for many subjects. Just because you went to grammar school did not mean you excelled at everything. Those who showed an aptitude for maths were put in the top stream for that subject. A different group may be in the top stream for French.

The result of this is that large numbers of young people by the age of sixteen receive an inadequate secondary education. Those in the middle do reasonably well out of this model and perhaps gain a few GCSEs. Those who are never likely to do well in any school may also squeeze a few GCSEs with grades that, in earlier education, would have indicated a fail. Those who are academically gifted are th eones who lose out. They go on to ‘A’ Levels and because of the deficiencies in secondary education generally those examinations are roughly equivalent to ‘O’ Levels of fifty years ago. So those wanting to pursue a career that needs more than ‘O’ level education have to go to university. The majority of these (perhaps more than 80%) leave with a degree that is largely worthless together with enormous debt. Only the 10-20% that gain decent degrees get value for their £27k tuition fees and go on to careers which truly need a degree level education.

The government has taken a step towards (what they think) is a remedy for this failure by now making it compulsory to stay in education or recognised training until age eighteen. All this has done is to recognise the failure of the secondary education system to adequately educate the majority of children who previously needed no further education beyond sixteen or perhaps eighteen at most. There are other issues such as the acceptance by many parents that education is “uncool” and who contribute to the breakdown of the education system by failing to ensure their children conduct themselves properly whilst in school.

Unfortunately the children you speak of who are “under enormous pressure” these days are the victims of this scandalous folly.
> It began when the government decided that streaming of pupils in some way for their secondary education was no longer necessary.

New Judge usually speaks a lot of sense and usually manages to sound very authoritative and persuasive. But on this occasion it is based on a false premise as pupils are streamed for secondary education, particularly in Maths and English. And of course many of those who might have gone to Grammar schools now go to the better secondary schools or private schools that use a selection exam. As a result the ability range in classes at state schools is not generally as wide as NJ assumes.
I would agree, however, that the focus an academic qualifications for pupils who are just not cut out for this type of learning is wrong, and forcing them to stay to 18 does not help. Some form of part time work experience/apprenticeship would be more beneficial for a fair number of pupils starting at maybe age 14.
The problem is the system and not with the schools. The schools have to implement the policies and meet ever more unattainable targets, to try to give the impression that silk purses have been made from sows' ears. Schools, departments and teachers are measured by exam results and progress level data so it's not surprising they take steps such as running Easter revision classes for those pupils who aren't making the grade often through their own (lack of ) efforts or abilities
I’m not blaming the schools, f-f. As you say, they must operate under the policies devised by the State. But there are a number of schools I know of where pupils are not streamed for anything. They are taught together for everything. There is the added problem that some of the parents of many pupils in comprehensive schools often do not care too hoots for their education and fail to provide the support they need. This is far less prevalent in grammar schools and is often dressed up as a “privileged” upbringing (when it is nothing of the sort).

Children need to have their education tailored to their talents and aptitudes. Comprehensive schools are not too good at doing this. The most successful schools in the State sector are invariably selective. The comprehensive mantra suggests that because everybody cannot respond favourably to a grammar type of education then nobody can have the opportunity. I enjoyed an excellent grammar school education. I was not privileged; my parents were far from wealthy; we lived in rented accommodation in a fairly run down area. I had the choice of at least three grammar schools within easy reach. All children should be afforded the opportunities that I had.
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Children in all of the schools I know of are streamed. I really believe that the curriculum contains far too much 'knowledge'. Stuff that most people really don't need to know, unless they really want to know it. Consequently children are not taught to think, analyse and problem solve because there isn't the time. Its cramming pure and simple.

And so far as A levels being the same level as GCSE's were. I would definitely disagree with this. Maths as a subject is seared onto my brain, even though it's 50+ years ago. The content of maths now, is far beyond what I remember. History has 10X the content, but only half of the depth. Science - I was pretty good at that but would be hopelessly floundering now. And no, I am not suffering from any kind of memory problem!!

I agree with fictionfactory, we have the lost the way because we simply cannot grasp the fact that a university education is not for all children and we do not provide the vocational subjects that they would be best suited to. And no, I don't agree that selection to grammar/secondary modern is the answer. In fact selective education is, in my view a large part of the problem. And I went to a grammar school. If 'the system', because it is the system not the schools that are to blame, that it needs to be horses for courses, and ensure that an equal amount of vocational study, carrying the same 'weight' as academic study, is provided.

All the research lately is suggesting that the most successful, and best paid people in later life are not those with degrees, but those who have had the advantage of a good quality apprenticeship. I can certainly vouch for this with my two oldest grand-children. One of them came out of school with 12 good gcse's and was capable of nothing. She ended up having to do an apprenticeship anyway The other one achieved a very modest number of GCSE's went straight to a good apprenticeship scheme and is now very successful.

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