St Olave's teacher: 'Weak students are treated as collateral damage'

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Cubone-r
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A super elite Sixth Form kicks students out at the end of year 12 if they do not have high enough grades - they don't provide any advice/help or assistance in what to do next - they are simply ejected.

Others had to wait for their AS results in August to see if they had made the grade. “It was absolute carnage,” said one parent. “It was dreadful. There were just groups of children in tears.”

Some teachers at the school have contacted the Guardian to express concern. One, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the stress the exams had put on students: “It’s been really hard to witness. I’ve felt very much these weaker students are being treated as collateral damage in pursuit of league table position.

Should students be ejected at the end of year 12 if they don't meet the standards - all just to increase the sixth form's league table position.

Do you agree with this? Or do you think students should be given a chance to improve or at least some guidance before being chucked out.

Bear in mind that this is the same sixth form that was judged to be unlawfully getting rid of students at the end of their first year (https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...get-top-grades)

https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...mage?CMP=fb_gu
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Pangol
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(Original post by Cubone-r)
Do you agree with this? Or do you think students should be given a chance to improve or at least some guidance before being chucked out.
I'm in two minds about this.

I think what this school has done - and there are many others that do this, particularly "great results" private schools - is dispicable. However, the way that they are being challenged is to say that once a student has been accepted onto a course, there should be no accademic reason for them to not be allowed to continue into the second year. While I think it is totally wrong to ditch students just because they won't get an A, I think there is a very good case for not allowing students who failed their AS, or even got an E as AS, to continue into the second year. This is evidence that they simply won't hack it, and would be better off doing something else for the next year.
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Cubone-r
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(Original post by Pangol)
I'm in two minds about this.

I think what this school has done - and there are many others that do this, particularly "great results" private schools - is dispicable. However, the way that they are being challenged is to say that once a student has been accepted onto a course, there should be no accademic reason for them to not be allowed to continue into the second year. While I think it is totally wrong to ditch students just because they won't get an A, I think there is a very good case for not allowing students who failed their AS, or even got an E as AS, to continue into the second year. This is evidence that they simply won't hack it, and would be better off doing something else for the next year.
But the school give no guidance or advice to pupils as to alternative paths they could take if they are removed after their first year - as an educational organisation that is disgraceful in my opinion.
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Pangol
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(Original post by Cubone-r)
But the school give no guidance or advice to pupils as to alternative paths they could take if they are removed after their first year - as an educational organisation that is disgraceful in my opinion.
Oh absolutely, I am not defending this school at all. My concern is that if this legal challenge is successful, then every state school will have to allow every student who they accept onto an A level course to see it though to the end, even if they fail the first year. This seems crazy.

Removing people because they won't get absolute top grades is unfair to the students and only benefits the school's grade headlines. But removing students from courses that they are very likely to fail seems reasonable. And of course these students should then have other options presented to them.
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black1blade
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"If he insisted on pursuing a place at St Olave’s, the headmaster said the boy would not be allowed to study an A-level programme, but would be offered a GNVQ in health and social care, which he described as commensurate" savage.
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Reality Check
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From a procedural point of view, it seems to be important whether these kids are considered to have been 'kicked out' of an existing course due to 'poor' results or 'not being allowed to continue'. I think the college can argue for the latter where the new linear A levels are concerned. The AS is not "Year One" of the A level course (clear continuation) - it's a separate qualification in its own right. Thus, 'continuation' to the second year of A levels could actually be seen as admission to a further qualification, the full A level - and that admission could be dependent on AS results.

Of course, I've not seen the learning agreements, T&Cs etc etc, (and particularly if the students were accepted to do the A level right from the get go, what I've said is irrelevant) but it doesn't, prima facie, seem impossible for the college to do this.
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username1221160
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Other than it being declared unlawful, I'm surprised it is news. I went to one of the best non-selective state schools in the country and they quietly asked students to leave when they bombed in their mock exams. It is one of the reasons why they had such a good reputation.
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Pangol
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(Original post by Reality Check)
Of course, I've not seen the learning agreements, T&Cs etc etc, (and particularly if the students were accepted to do the A level right from the get go, what I've said is irrelevant) but it doesn't, prima facie, seem impossible for the college to do this.
It does seem outrageous that the reason the students have not been allowed to continue is not because they would not be able to pass the course, but because they may not do it with top grades, thus affecting the school's headline exam results. It looks like they are prioritising the image of the school above the interests of their students. For some students, a D at maths A level is a significant result.

I am aware of a top private school locally who have told parents that their children will have to sit exams as private candidates rather than through the school once it becomes clear that they won't get A or A*s. It's just fiddling the system to make the school look good.
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by Quantex)
Other than it being declared unlawful, I'm surprised it is news. I went to one of the best non-selective state schools in the country and they quietly asked students to leave when they bombed in their mock exams. It is one of the reasons why they had such a good reputation.
Yup, same for my sixth form. One of the best non-selectives too.
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Pangol
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(Original post by Quantex)
Other than it being declared unlawful, I'm surprised it is news. I went to one of the best non-selective state schools in the country and they quietly asked students to leave when they bombed in their mock exams. It is one of the reasons why they had such a good reputation.
Being asked to widthdraw from a course if the first year is failed or barely passed seems fair enough, though. But doing so just because the quota of As and A*s will be down is awful.
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Lxxa14
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Wow 3Bs as a requirement is really high. But Olaves only really cares about their grades so I'm too not surprised. At Newstead - the girl's grammar school nearby it - 3Ds are required but I don't think they ACTUALLY kick people out. I think they should lower their requirements to 3Cs at least.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Quantex)
Other than it being declared unlawful, I'm surprised it is news. I went to one of the best non-selective state schools in the country and they quietly asked students to leave when they bombed in their mock exams. It is one of the reasons why they had such a good reputation.
Exactly. The same sort of thing goes on at Cambridge. Officially, so long as you pass your Tripos exams you're 'allowed to continue', but most colleges have their own regulations regarding satisfactory progress and a third would result in your being asked to leave the college. And league tables are again part of the rationale - they just go by a different name.
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Forecast
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(Original post by Reality Check)
Exactly. The same sort of thing goes on at Cambridge. Officially, so long as you pass your Tripos exams you're 'allowed to continue', but most colleges have their own regulations regarding satisfactory progress and a third would result in your being asked to leave the college.
Does this actually happen? I've not heard of this before.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Forecast)
Does this actually happen? I've not heard of this before.
Yes, I can confirm that someone I was studying with bombed their IA, got thirds in everything and was asked to leave. But to be fair their CamSIS was a bloodbath - they'd not been going to any supervisions, so had just got themself into an unrecoverable place.

Christs will kick you out pretty quickly, as well. It was always a running joke with us that if you get a 2ii at Christs' they take you out the back and shoot you. OBVIOUSLY JOKING.
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black1blade
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(Original post by Reality Check)
Yes, I can confirm that someone I was studying with bombed their IA, got thirds in everything and was asked to leave. But to be fair their CamSIS was a bloodbath - they'd not been going to any supervisions, so had just got themself into an unrecoverable place.

Christs will kick you out pretty quickly, as well. It was always a running joke with us that if you get a 2ii at Christs' they take you out the back and shoot you. OBVIOUSLY JOKING.
Maybe I shouldn't apply to christ's then lol :P
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Canucked
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This is why Britain will never compete with places like Finland for high education standards. They ditch the students who need real help and promote the ones that would do well with or without help.
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Joinedup
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Hmm I guess Olave's is going to court because it made the mistake of ejecting students with parents rich enough to pay for specialised lawyers.

Seems like the obvious thing to do if your 'product' is high exam results, being as selective as possible and kicking out the bottom performing students as frequently as possible is clearly going to be easier than finding teachers who are x% better than the existing ones.

any sausage factory manager would understand this policy... however it seems no-one is particularly proud about it
The Guardian repeatedly contacted the school for comment, but there has been no response. At the time of publication, the Guardian was still awaiting comment from the Department for Education. Bromley council declined to comment and referred Guardian queries to the school.
although to be fair they might be keeping shtum because the lawyers are circling
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AlexLamberti
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Ive just finished at Olaves and can honestly say I had a great time and the teachers really care about the pupils etc. However, the 3Bs policy is ridiculous especially as it doesn't consider any extenuating circumstances, I had a friend get kicked out last year as she missed the 3bs but had horrible personal issues which were not even considered. It did create a very very nervous and competitive atmosphere at school but in general everyone was happy with the policy as 90% of students pass the 3bs boundary easily.
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G'Olave
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Olaves has been "expelling" for grades for 6 years before now.
I suspect other schools have copied.

These exclusions are rarely about serious weakness across the board.
AAC is "bad" enough to get kicked out !

Bereavements and illness are no "excuse".
Last year one student's parent was dying of cancer. Mocks co-incided with operations that were touch and go - the student spending time in hospital.
No allowance was made for some Cs.

It was rumoured that the Head got a bonus for league table rankings - but no-one could confirm it.

Apparently parents, staff and some governors have been complaining privately for years - but the Head just blanks them.
Some staff have (allegedly) been threatened with disciplinary action for complaining about these exam and school exclusions.
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whatshouldido23
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Doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Most schools only care about the letters on the piece of paper on results day, not the pupils. And they wonder why mental health among young people is at crisis point :/
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