Posted by Alison Dale on December 06, 1998 at 11:54:45:
In Reply to: Schools League Tables posted by Josh Greenwood on December 01, 1998 at 19:15:08:
I was interested to see that, according to the “Observer” league tables Calder High is a poorly performing school. This report has confirmed my own concerns about the school gained from seeing friends’ children underachieve there and teaching in it for a short while myself.
Given the number of children attending Calder High who come from educationally advantaged home backgrounds with graduate parents, lots of books around and plenty of encouragement its results are appalling. From my
own observations I feel that much of the problem lies in the way many of the teachers deal with the children. I saw several examples of unnecessarily over authoritarian behaviour which thoroughly alienated children who come from homes where they are accustomed to being dealt with in a democratic and gentle manner. There was also an extremely petty emphasis on school uniform which led to well behaved and bright pupils being sent home, again producing an atmosphere of resentment which is not particularly conducive to engendering an enthusiasm for learning.
I have been a teacher for over twenty years, some of them spent in very “tough” schools and appreciate the need for good discipline. But a school needs to take into account what its intake is like when it formulates its behaviour policy and decides upon its teaching methods. I very much enjoyed my time at Calder High because the children were so intelligent, well behaved and responsive if approached in a non-authoritarian manner and given work which was appropriate and challenging. From what I could see many of the teachers at the school were coasting and failed to appreciate just how able many of the children were. I have known a large number of children who I would have expected to have easily gained 5 good grades at GCSE leave Calder High with very few qualifications.