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Re: Calder High Results

Posted by Alison Dale ( on January 07, 2001 at 20:32:21:

In Reply to: Calder High Results posted by Kate on January 05, 2001 at 19:01:35:

As someone who has had two children at Calder High and who has also taught there for a while I found a great deal to agree with in Kate’s contribution to the discussion forum.

I currently work in a school in another authority which achieves about the same results as Calder High but with a very different intake. A few years ago the Observer did a value added analysis of schools’ results. This is where the academic ability and social backgrounds of a school’s intake is taken into account, rather than just the raw figures of results achieved. Using this as a measure Calder High came out as an underachieving school. This confirmed my own feelings that a school which has a town like Hebden Bridge (large graduate population, well housed and well nourished children) in its catchment area should be doing far better than it is. Surprise, surprise this important piece of news about our local school was ignored by local papers.

I felt that many of the students at Calder High were alienated by the over authoritarian attitude of a large proportion of the staff. I heard many staff room discussions along the lines of what a hard time they had because they were dealing with so many “hippy” children. This was said as if “hippy” was synonymous with being stupid! I often found the same children quite bright and formed the opinion that they often resented the way they were treated by teachers because they were accustomed to being treated as fellow human beings, rather than as objects of petty discipline.

I have been teaching for over 20 years and count my time at Calder High as one of the happiest in a school. This was mainly because the children were so easy - well behaved if approached with a sense of humour and treated in a non-authoritarian manner. I was saddened to see these average results in a school which I feel should be getting around 60% of its kids through 5 GCSE’s at A* - C if all the staff had a more realistic and positive attitude towards them.

Thanks to Kate for bringing up this important issue.

Alison Dale