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May 02, 2007

Comments

Amanda

Bina I think you are actually pretty right about the teaching in some schools. I don't think the teachers are actually bad or anything, but the students sometimes do behave really badly - well, actually, sort of passively in that they just don't do anything much - and this means that the teachers try to do "fun" stuff all the time and it doesn't really teach us much. I do go to a better school now but it isn't selective and so I can't comment about selective schools. But one thing I can say is that lessons shouldn't always have to be fun. I was only really taught to write essays this year in English. It wasn't fun but I learnt something. At my old school we would just work in groups all the time and do plays because a lot of the kids in my class did not concentrate and you could not really get them to write much.

Jolanda did your three older kids all go to an OC? I did but I didn't get into a selective school. I liked the OC, the teacher was great. But then teachers don't get selected, just the students.

Hi Amanda.

My eldest was put on the reserve list at No. 14 for Opportunity Class. The next year in May he was offered a place from the reserve list because quite a few students left and apparently they were working their way down the reserve list. He accepted the offer. It was the best two years and he excelled there. He then missed out on Selective School Placement from Opportunity class and lost his appeal.

My eldest daughter was also put low on the reserve list, No 17, for Opportunity Class. She appealed the decision and lost her appeal. She was also offered a place later on from the reserve list and she took up the offer. She went for 5 weeks but was so disapointed and disillusioned that she became depressed. The teacher had a reputation of not being very good. The one my son had was brilliant. She then left opportunity class and accelerated one year so that high school could be a bit closer. She then was offered a place in her second choice of Selective High School and lost her appeal with relation to her first. She was said to have been unsuccessful for all choices in the first instance but that she was offered a place to 'defuse the situation' because of some letters that I had sent to the Minister. This is noted on the data file. It was damage control, their intention was to keep her out.

My youngest daughter missed out on Opportunity Class and lost her appeal and missed out on Selective School placement and lost her appeal.

My youngest son is applying this year for opportunity class for next year for years 5 and 6.

Nina

Oh for goodness sake, does anyone seriously believe these children aren't getting an education?

What a pack of twits.

Do you people get to vote in elections?

I pray not.

Nina. The Education Act clearly states that children should be entitled to receive an education of the highest quality. If the education presented to them is not appropriate for their obvious and identified special needs as children with identified special abilities then it is in breach of the Education Act.

Bina

RN, I can see that you are a sincere person and that your advice is good but very sad. I would like to comment from the point of view of someone who was brought up in a different culture. The Aussie culture is to accept the most awful things in a passive way - to "go with the flow" and "don't rock the boat". People in other cultures - lots of them - do not value passive acceptance of systemic incompetence / corrution / injustice. They complain and they expect to see change. I went to a private prep and a selective high school in England myself and, having taught in state schools in NSW and Queensland, I have to tell you that it would break my heart to have to send my own children to such schools. Huge, huge amounts of a teacher's time, more time every year, are spent dealing with the increasing numbers of students who have behaviour problems. The teaching strategies adopted by teachers are not really chosen because they are educationally effective but because they keep the class calm and happy. The whole system is dominated by the needs of the most disruptive students. Intelligent, motivated children are getting a really raw deal from our state schools.
You advise Jolanda to teach her children to try to drain a decent education from out of this dysfunction. I can see your point of view but it is really, really sad that this is the best that state schools can offer intelligent students. Intelligent children are a community asset. We are wasting them.

ken

I'm flattered Jolanda, but no one certainly not me takes any delight in this sorry saga

RN

Jolanda, I have spent some time now reading the various material that you have published and also reading the AAT decision. I suspect that you wont allow this to be posted on your blog because you dont agree with me, but worth trying anyway! Why dont you try your kids in the catholic school system? Costs arent nearly as high as most private schools, and they often have better targeted programs. If this is not an option, then perhaps you need to accept that for whatever reason your kids wont get into selective schools, and start teaching them coping strategies, starting competitions between them (eg small prizes based on who does the best in a certain subject/year at school), identify other kids in their school that are bright and work with their parents. I started kinder reading Enid Blyton books, and had to endure being brought back to reciting mat, sat, cat etc. I was lucky in primary school one of my close friends was also bright and we were pretty competitive. Yes, kids get targeted if they are bright or clever -its part of society so the earlier that your kids learn to deal with it, the better equipped they will be and also happier (its someone elses problem, not theirs!). My overall advice... drop the bitterness, accept that there are sometimes barriers that we dont like or agree with, and start to teach your kids how to manage to get a reasonable education without going to a specialist school. And remember, education is far from being everything. If your kids are truly gifted and you teach them how to manage their emotions, they will succeed in life even if they leave school at 15. Stop worrying about something that really isnt that important.

RN. I cannot believe that you can honestly tell me that I should just accept what is being done to my children and say nothing.

I am doing what you say, I am doing everything that I can to help my children.

That I also do everything that I can to expose the bullies in the system that are targeting my children is part of my job. As a parent if I do not do what I can to protect my children and get justice for my children then I am failing in my duty of care.

That isn't going to happen whilst I am still able to breathe.

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