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darkshark
27th-August-2009, 07:54
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/aug/27/gcse-results (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/aug/27/gcse-results-pass-rate-up) -pass-rate-up
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The government, teachers and exam boards welcomed the results, but they will inevitably spark another row about "dumbing down" as the pass rate edges towards 100%. Only 1.4% of students failed GCSEs this year, which ministers say is due to improvements in schools and pupils taking more appropriate subjects

dumbing down me thinks!

John123
27th-August-2009, 08:02
It's not the only place. Student's in Ireland are 14 times MORE likely to get an "A" in pass maths now than in 1994. Crazy stuff.

manofmunster
27th-August-2009, 09:04
I've heard lots of casual comments over the years along the lines of (the Irish education system is far superior to the English one (from English as well as Irish people)" And "A's are too easy to acheive in the UK"etc etc


Anyone on here know what this widely held opinion is based on??


With a little one on the way we are considering our future lifestyles and a house in the country in Ireland is (in general) more affordable than in England. One of the other considerations is education and I was wondering what peoples opinions are of the respective systems or if there's anyone on here qualified to comment objectively??

27th-August-2009, 09:58
I've heard lots of casual comments over the years along the lines of (the Irish education system is far superior to the English one (from English as well as Irish people)" And "A's are too easy to acheive in the UK"etc etc


Anyone on here know what this widely held opinion is based on??


With a little one on the way we are considering our future lifestyles and a house in the country in Ireland is (in general) more affordable than in England. One of the other considerations is education and I was wondering what peoples opinions are of the respective systems or if there's anyone on here qualified to comment objectively??





MoM, I went to Uni in London and nothing could prepare me for the standard that I faced. It was truly shocking. While the Universities are impressive and ahead of their Irish counterparts, the students entering third level are way below the standard of the Irish students.

Dirge
27th-August-2009, 10:28
I've heard lots of casual comments over the years along the lines of (the Irish education system is far superior to the English one (from English as well as Irish people)" And "A's are too easy to acheive in the UK"etc etc


Anyone on here know what this widely held opinion is based on??


With a little one on the way we are considering our future lifestyles and a house in the country in Ireland is (in general) more affordable than in England. One of the other considerations is education and I was wondering what peoples opinions are of the respective systems or if there's anyone on here qualified to comment objectively??Currently science and maths are not up to scratch in secondary level education but with a concerted effort by Batt O'Keefe it may well be sorted by the time your "little one"smileys/smile.gif is at that level. Im not qualified to compare the two system but there may be someone else on here to do that. But the pace of life is fairly laid back in the countryside (and city) in Ireland so that's a positive.

Theres the odd rugby match worth seeing aswellsmileys/wink.gif

fitzy73
27th-August-2009, 10:56
For what it's worth, the clearing system for University in the UK rates an Leaving cert honours programme as 2/3 rds of an A level.

I did the Leaving in 91, and spent a few years at college in Ireland before transferring to a degree course in the UK.

The first years in the UK had a better academic standard when it came to the subjects they studied at A level, but really struggled to adapt to modules outside of their previous area of expertise. The Irish students were far more adaptable - a relic of maybe having to juggle the seven subjects for their Leaving as opposed to the 2 or 3 for an A level?

As regards which is a better education system ... still undecided. My wife was grammar schooled and did A levels, so I'll have to take her views on board before I completely ignore them and send junior to boarding school somewhere in the west of Ireland ... smileys/lol.gif

Lightblue
27th-August-2009, 11:21
I went to college in London and was surprised at the narrow minds and train of thought among my English peers. It still strikes me that many English people don't/won't/can't think outside the box. Teachers will teach your child, it's up to you to educate them. Encourage them to read at an early age, broaden their minds and encourage debate / communication. My kids teachers have always said that they could tell the kids who read at home. Much wider vocabulary and better confidence.

peatbog
27th-August-2009, 12:56
One of mybest friends at this side of the pond(uk) is a teacher at GCSE level and despairs at the methodology of teaching here. Absolutely everything is aimed at passing exams, actually educating the pupil to understand the subject and form their own opinion is of secondary importance in his view.

mr chips
27th-August-2009, 13:45
One of mybest friends at this side of the pond(uk) is a teacher at GCSE level and despairs at the methodology of teaching here. Absolutely everything is aimed at passing exams, actually educating the pupil to understand the subject and form their own opinion is of secondary importance in his view.

Have to say that this strongly echoes my own memories of Inter &amp; Leaving Cert in the late 80s - in fact it was one of the main reasons I found my secondary education to be such a dispiriting experience. Perhaps things have radically changed since then ...

My dad and his twin brother were both teachers at secondary school level, my dad in Ireland and my uncle in the north-west of England. They often used to discuss the respective systems under which they worked, and from memory (they're both retired now) the consensus they generally seemed to reach was that there wasn't enough diversity in the A-level system, but that it catered better to the needs of the more highly-focused student, eg someone who might have their sights firmly set on the likes of a medical or engineering degree. However, other factors also came into play - for example, it seems the smaller average school size in Ireland was more advantageous than going to the big comprehensives, as it lent itself to a stronger sense of school community/identity and better pastoral care. In spite of this, however, apparently class sizes here were usually larger, which wasn't as beneficial for the actual teaching.

lahinch_lass
27th-August-2009, 14:35
I remember comparing the syllabus content with a northerner around the time I did my leaving cert. Both of us did physics and despite the supposition that the concentration on fewer subjects means A level syllabus is far more in-depth.. it wasn't true. The content at that time was pretty much identical. The Northern student thought up what they considered the msot advanced areas of their A Level physics content, and I'd covered all of it in LC physics.


Heck I did engineering in college so I know damn well that our students are expected to cover the entire LC Hons syllabus in a single term if it's a core subject and they happen not to have done it. e.g. I had classmates that hadn't done physics and they had to learn it in a hurry. I hadn't done chemistry and at the time it was one of the 1st term subjects for everyone in engineering in UL.. 10 weeks to learn the LC course, not pleasant. Particularly when the lunatic lecuturer says you're not allowed use a log table with the table of the elements for the ruddy exam smileys/shock.gif


Personally I'd say the irish systems gives you a broader knowledge base which gives you a better experience to build on. I reckon the nonsense of specialising in only 3 subjects at the age of 15 or 16 is absolutely insane. I had no notion what I wanted to do at that age... as reflected in my subject choices for LC. We had to to do English, Irish, Maths and French in my school, after that we had to choose 3 others from groupings: physics/Art/geography/home economics, accountancy/biology/business studies, history/chemistry/business studies.


Yes I know business studies is listed twice. My school wasn't quite big enough to have teachers for all the subjects, nor was the boys school, so for 5th &amp; LC yr we had to go to them for certain classes, and they to us. Phys, Geog, chem and one of the Bus Studies were in the boys school, and all the others were in the girls. But the boys weren't offered home ec or Art. I picked Physics, history and Accountancy. Pretty much left my options wide open when it came to picking college courses. and I was the only student with that combination that year, from what I've heard since finishing that particular combo still tends to be chosen very rarely.


The level of education here is very dependent on the individual teacher. My english teacher was very good. The science teacher and maths teachers were also pretty good. some of the others were a bit hit and miss, it depended which year you were as to whether to got the decent teacher for your particular exam cycle or not. my LC cycle I got the good irish teacher but I was doing pass irish, wheras the honours class had the other irish teacher, she was ok, but not as good as the one I got. Both french teachers were hopeless, one was very good at french but couldn't teach to save her life, the other was a good teacher, but should not have been teaching a language subject.


And that sort of teaching assessment is pretty typical for irish schools. No doubt it's pretty similar in the UK. The only thing is here is that most of the time you've some level of choice. In my home areas we'd a choice of 4/5 schools, 3 in the main town - mixed, all-girls, all-boys. Or if my parents had wanted to drive us there was another mixed school either 20mins south or 20 mins north. But the one BIG issue here is actually primary schools, and rather limited choices when you are in the countryside. Pretty much all are church owned, and there tends to be only 1 in each area unless the parents are willing to drive the kids to another school. I know one family in my village sent their kids to primary school in the next village over, and there was also another family that shipped the daughters of the family off to boarding school at secondary level, and another family that shipped their boys off for secondary. But send

mr chips
27th-August-2009, 15:24
Sounds like you had some decent teachers LL. My abiding memory of, e.g., Leaving Cert English, was of reading the prescribed novel Wuthering Heights on a wet Saturday in the first weekend of term, then sitting in the class for the rest of the term, undecided as to whether I was more inclined to shoot myself or the teacher, as he read the book aloud to us in a dull, nasal monotone, every day, until he'd finished it. smileys/sad.gif I think he was a Geography teacher standing in for an English teacher on long-term sick leave, but by god it was no excuse.

Languages was my thing at the time, but the only option in my school was the two compulsory ones, French and Irish, so I did German on my own in 6th year with an evening community class once a week (and got a C at honours, which I was happy enough with all things considered). I did start off interested in Chemistry but the atmosphere turned a bit sour in that class for a fair while after the teacher left us unsupervised one day with the lab storeroom unlocked, and a couple of lads stuck a lump of phosphorus in the bunsen flame for the craic. The place had to be evacuated and five or six chancers were ambulanced into A&amp;E for "smoke inhalation". Me hole - the guy holding the tongs fecked the whole lot out the window as soon as it went up and we all legged it out of there pronto!

lahinch_lass
27th-August-2009, 16:03
Sounds like you had some decent teachers LL. My abiding memory of, e.g., Leaving Cert English, was of reading the prescribed novel Wuthering Heights on a wet Saturday in the first weekend of term, then sitting in the class for the rest of the term, undecided as to whether I was more inclined to shoot myself or the teacher, as he read the book aloud to us in a dull, nasal monotone, every day, until he'd finished it. smileys/sad.gif I think he was a Geography teacher standing in for an English teacher on long-term sick leave, but by god it was no excuse.

Languages was my thing at the time, but the only option in my school was the two compulsory ones, French and Irish, so I did German on my own in 6th year with an evening community class once a week (and got a C at honours, which I was happy enough with all things considered). I did start off interested in Chemistry but the atmosphere turned a bit sour in that class for a fair while after the teacher left us unsupervised one day with the lab storeroom unlocked, and a couple of lads stuck a lump of phosphorus in the bunsen flame for the craic. The place had to be evacuated and five or six chancers were ambulanced into A&amp;E for "smoke inhalation". Me hole - the guy holding the tongs fecked the whole lot out the window as soon as it went up and we all legged it out of there pronto!



smileys/lol.gif worst to happen in our physics class was the lads on the bench in front of mine using the excuse there was better light at the back of the room to do the experiment for measuring the focal length of a concave mirror. Just happened to be where the girls bench was and our uniforms involved skirts. Suffice to say after that the teacher split the 3 girls out and put one of us at each of the 3 benches closest to the front of the room.


I still reckon it was rough justice blaming us for the antics of the lads. Up to then all our experiments got the correct results, much to the disbelief of the teacher it has to be said. Actually he tended toward disbelief anytime ANY experiements in that lab worked. Put it this way when he brought out the piece of radioactive material and the gigercounter, the background radiation measured was higher than what it was reading off the "radioactive material" smileys/c&#111;nfused.gif


So big issue in irish country schools - lack of decent lab/computer equipment. Not sure how it compares in the city schools.

mr chips
27th-August-2009, 16:37
Ah, but the rough justice all depends on whether the girls were victims or partners in crime!smileys/lol.gif

Another good one from my school's chemistry lab was when my older brother's class was being shown the chemical properties of sodium. The teacher was supposed to cut off a very small piece of sodium from one of the sort of boiled-sweet shaped lumps of the stuff (these were stored under oil or vaseline or something, I think to prevent spontaneous combustion) and drop the fragment into a bowl of water, whereupon it would race round and round giving off smoke and glowing. However, this</span> teacher, being a bit of an oaf (and normally used to teaching Physics rather than Chemistry), apparently held the lozenge of sodium above the bowl of water as he tried to cut the fragment off - using a pair of dividers to hold it, and only the point of a compass to "cut" it. Of course, he dropped the whole thing in, stared for a fraction of a second and went "Urk!", then dived behind the desk just as the glass bowl blew into shards from the force of the reaction. smileys/lol.gif

There you go, pretty much the two highlights of my entire Leaving Cert experience, and one of them wasn't even mine!

No Bother
27th-August-2009, 16:40
1st year Sicence, hydrogen experiment, teacher said it was too dangerous for us to do. So we all gathered round her desk to watch.She was sucessfull alright alright, 4 people had to get stiches and a few more with minor cuts.