Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Thanet School's GESE Exam League Tables Out Today, Marlowe Academy at the bottom Clarendon House at the top

Here are the results for 5 or more A to Cs
Charles Dickens Broadstairs 28%
Chatham House Ramsgate 94%
Clarendon House Ramsgate 97%
Dane Court Broadstairs 97%
Ellington and Hereson Ramsgate 32%
Hartsdown Tech College Margate 43%
King Ethelbert Birchington 34%
Marlowe Academy Ramsgate 14%
St George's Broadstairs 41%
St Lawrence College Ramsgate 75%
Ursuline College Westgate-on-Sea 57%

I will ramble on about this if I get time, starting at the top, with the picture, are they boys or girls, there has been an inconclusive debate about this see

Apart from my own experience of schools, none of them in Thanet and finished more than forty years ago, I have employed several Saturday workers at the same time as they were receiving their education in various Thanet schools, my two oldest children have now completed their school education and between them have attended three of the Thanet secondary schools.

Now the way the secondary education system has run in this country for the past twenty odd years that I have had the bookshop in Ramsgate and my older children have been through the school system here, seems to have been at least partly based on the academic snobbery of past prime ministers, Tony Blair and John Major.

Fundamental to our education system has been a move towards prioritising academic achievement, something that is fine for the children who have academic ability, but not so good for those who haven’t.

An aside to this is the British educational tradition that means that academic specialisation starts much earlier than in most other countries.

The present system seems to have weaknesses both with dealing with disruptive children who don’t want to work and children who have practical rather than academic skills, who used to go through the secondary modern and apprenticeship system.

In Kent because of the selective school system, operating in an environment where secondary modern schools no longer exist, this produces two separate groups of schools trying to achieve the same ends, the best results at GCSE.

Socialist political solutions to this problem seem to be mainly to disband the only really successful schools i.e. the grammar schools, the present governments solutions seem to be leaning towards more independently run schools, but seem to fail to address the problems too.

Whether you get a good education or a bad one, what is certain for most people is that this education will be one of the most expensive things that you buy in life, the fact that it is compulsory and paying for it is effectively a proportion of your life’s income doesn’t alter this fact.

Another side issue here is proliferation of non-jobs and associated education to degree level and beyond.

Simon Moores has also posted about this issue, see which has lead to me to the BBC page which shows progress statistics as well as exam results.

What about the Marlowe Academy with the third worst results according to the BBC are these figures indicative of failure?

They have certainly both thrown money at it and changed the name since it started life as Conyngham School in 1963, it cost about £140,000 then about £2,000,000 at today’s value.

Conyngham School was perceived as a failing so it was Changed to Ramsgate School, this in tern was perceived as failing so they knocked it down and rebuilt it - at colossal expense – and renamed it the Marlowe Academy. I am not sure if this was after Christopher Marlowe was son of a shoemaker in Canterbury who became a playwright or Philip Marlowe of the arguably better dialogue. Nothing to do with Ramsgate either of them though.

Fraid I thought something was wrong at the end of last year when pupils of the higher scoring Ramsgate schools managed to hack the internet announcing that they were closed, as a potential employer looking for high IT skills I noticed the Marlowe pupils hadn’t managed to pull this one off.

Sorry about beating about the bush here, I suppose as someone who failed the 11 plus myself I don’t really want to face the unpalatable question, did the huge 86% of the Marlowe Academy’s pupils who failed the basic standards do so because they are all stupid? Or did we, adults, society, teachers, whatever you will, fail them in some way?


  1. If you look at the measure (CVA) of how a school has improved its intake upto the age of 16 then the Marlowe is on the plus side at 1005, on the other hand childen going to Clarendon House have not reached their original ability level with a score of 990. They must be doing something right at the M.A.
    Of Kent's grammar schools only 8 have a better CVA then the M.A. and 21 worse.

  2. I can see no point whatsoever in publishing these statistics in the form of a league table. I'm all in favour of schools publishing their results but this should be set in the context of the overall education which that school provides, a sort of end-of-year report for the school.
    A school may have massive numbers of students schieving good grades in English and Maths, but I want to know what choice of subjects they offer, what facilities they have, how the school is run and managed, whether there is a lot of bullying etc. etc.
    The use of league tables is a very blunt instrument for working out where to send your children and is, by no means, the best indicator of the best schools.

  3. I think it is we who fail them and Government keep coming up with the 'new idea' is the worst failiure of all.

  4. Anonymous 1804.
    If you have an empty bucket and put one drop of water in it then you have infinitely improved the amount of water in that bucket. If you have a full bucket and add a drop of water, that drop falls over the side of the bucket so the net improvement is zero; in fact the splash may cause other drops to fall out of the bucket, leading to negative improvement. But there is still more water in the bucket than in the first case.
    CVA is yet another device introduced to mask falling educational standards. We have selective education in this county (luckily) but we only have half the original system - the system that created almost 100% literacy in this country after the War, and was introduced by a socialist government to boot. What has disappeared is the secondary modern school where those less academically gifted learnt skills appropriate to their interests. As Plato said "Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each." Every child has a genius within; the post-war system was better at finding it, as even Barbara Castle, the instigator of the comprehensive school movement, was eventually forced to admit.

  5. The depressing thing is that the mentality prevailing in Thanet is still in favour of the 11plus. A terrible demeaning test created to seperate the population into managers and employees from age 11 upwards. Why judge people at such a formative age?

    Added to that a huge proportion of that selected population, with the better qualifications promptly upssticks and clears off at the first opportunity - they go to University and, effectively, never come back.

    A look at Friends Reunited is enough to show this - from my year at Chatham House around 10% of the respondees on Friends U. now/still live in Thanet mostly in teaching or the public services, as far as I can make out. The rest are spread around the planet - in jobs ranging from Artificial Intelligence to Banking to HR. The loss to the area in skills, income - and outlook - is not to be underestimated and I believe is a key reason Thanet remains the educationally, economically and (yes) psychologically depressed area it is.

  6. 1444. Why is the 11+ demeaning? I may understand Relativity and the like but I can't for the life of me turn a piece of wood in a lathe or weld two pieces of metal together yet these are skills that are still vital in our society. I look on in awe at people who can do such things. If the post-War education system were still in place then those who are not academically gifted would go to secondary modern schools at 11 where they would learn these skills and not be forced to pass meaningless exams, the results of which are rigged anyway.It would be a very strange society indeed if all of us could obtain a university degree. Maybe what is really needed is less emphasis on grading people by exam results and more by what they achieve; bring back City and Guilds, apprenticeships (proper ones, not modern ones)and a recognition that artisans are just as important (if not more so) than scholars.

  7. Demeaning precisely because it has always used academic skills to judge people on.

    Is it really the best preparation to go to a school that doesn't specialise in academic skills not because you've been identified as most suitable (or heaven forbid are interested in that) but because you've failed something that only asseses a part of your skillset.

    If the 11+ was a straightforward placement test assessing a range of academic and practical competencies (and yes there are ways to test 11 year olds in this way) I would have fewer issues with it, but it's an academic test, used to filter people by those abilities and those alone.

    It's academically questionable and I feel profoundly wrong.

    One final note. It would be interesting to assess the life expectancies of 100 students from the two CHSs and Dane Court against the same number from Charles Dickens, Ellington and King Ethelberts. I would be willing to bet real money students who pass 11+ on average live longer. I strongly suspect it's *that* decisive.

  8. I note from your earlier post that it wasn't a demeaning test when you passed it and went to a grammar school - very Tony Blair.

    In the post-war period up until the Great Socialist dumbing down in the '70s there was a further 13+ test to recognise the varying development dates of young people. As I pointed out before, the original 1944 concept accepted that not everyone was academically gifted and divided accordingly.

    Choice of school influencing longevity - poppycock. If that were true then people going to grammar schools in Kent, Buckinghamshire and the other isolated pockets of selective public education would all live longer, and that isn't so. There are too many other factors involved so this is just a red herring

  9. You imply that as a 10 year old I should have possessed the same awareness I have now. Sadly no.

    It was a demeaning test for me. It divided me from all the friends I had at primary school, most of whom I lost contact with.

    It was demeaning for parents who ended up embarrassed both that their children had passed and that other's hadn't.

    It was demeaning for parents whose children failed but felt they had to go through the appeals proceduce regardless. And failed.

    As a child of course it was pleasing to pass the test (it's pleasing for anyone to pass any test, isnt it?) but I was immensely sad to say goodbye to so many friends - and in that environment to lose most of them too. Something that has stayed with me.

    I don't envy the children or parents of Thanet, still today forced to endure an unneccessary trial that, oddly, no other country I can think of, and thankfully very few other counties in the UK, think is anything but a ludicrous anachronism.

  10. I wish I had been bright enough to fail my eleven plus.

    One of our scout troop had sussed and deliberately failed the exam. He had a great time at secondary modern school (playing footie, allotment gardening, woodwork, metalwork) started work at 15. At 15 he repeated his genius by refusing an apprenticeship and going straight for wages.

    First of us to own his own house outright. Buy to let investor too. Can still buy any of we ex Grammars out of his top pocket.

    You can't eat qualifications.

  11. > because they are all stupid?


    Also because the teachers fail to keep order, leading to those who have some talent and ability being bullied by those without.

    Speaks a former pupil.

    Perhaps if you offered those on the nearby local estates money for sterilisation, then this problem could eventually be breed out of the area.

    1. An that... Anonymous one! Is the most narrow minded arogent stereotypical and down right rude comment I have ever come across! Disgusting! ... You are as good as implying that housing estates contain, as if they were some sort of container! A specially designated area!? For mothers an families? What are you implying exactly? Those on benefits? ... So my one question I really would like answered... Are you saying then that stupidity (for lake of a better word!) Is a nature or nurture factor?


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.