Vikki Askew

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by rockfreak » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:45 pm

If the state sector is failing it's because it's underfunded and because it has, by definition, to take in the most difficult youngsters and cannot exclude. them. The immensely snooty private sector (including Christ's Hospital) doesn't have to take in the very bottom layer of society and can in any case exclude them if they prove too difficult. In that respect it's in a privileged position, a situation which some of its ex-pupils appear too thick to grasp. To quote Alan Bennett (Northern grammar school): "The system is unfair and if this hasn't dawned on them (private school pupils) by the end of their schooldays then their education has been wasted."
Actually my own daughters did OK at their local comprehensive out here in semi-rural Kent. One got a degree with Hons and another is studying to be a teacher. I'm more than happy with them - as people as much as anything else. In the end, you boarding school snobs always come up against the brick wall: no other country in developed Europe has this fractured and idiotic system of secondary education that we have.
I mentioned Michael Marland, who was just leaving CH when I joined. Went on to be HM of Woodberry Down Comprehensive near Manor House, North London - a none too salubrious part of town back then and back in the days when the comprehensive system was only just trying to bed down with huge numbers at some schools. Made his name by trying to develop pastoral care in the state system. I know from talking to a teacher in a tough Islington comprehensive in 1980 that Marland was massively respected in the profession. I protest the political and social ignorance of some of the people posting on this site.
Last edited by rockfreak on Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by Elvie » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:45 am

I’m guessing golfer is just trying to contain himself given the insensitive prick who made a snidey comment about his wife and the public education system. A lady who he clearly adored and has now sadly passed.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by loringa » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:57 pm

by sejintenej » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:54 pm

Andrew, be thankful that the teachers you refer to are doing so much - in my day at CH dyslexia was totally ignored - not do well and you got the slipper.

In a state primary school the parents were told "he will never do anything so we are not going to waste resources on him". This was translated as that he had to sit at the back of the class and any home or other work he did would not be looked at. In secondary school he was taken out of class to help backwards children and got no help whatsoever even though the council examiner confirmed that he was dyslexic. It was only when he got to Uni that the council did the minimum required to help him and that was after we had him independently tested and from which we discovered that he had inherited it from me. We were forced to pay for extra teaching for 11 years both term and holiday time.

David, I am very sorry to hear of your appalling experiences. Fortunately, when eventually tested at her prep school my daughter was found to be no more dyslexic than I am, it clearly being a spectrum on which we all sit somewhere. We did, however, suspect that she might have been and it was a relief to find out for sure; we would not have had she remained at her primary unless or until we had had her tested ourselves. I fear this is part of the problem with special educational needs; once formally recognised with an SEN statement, learning difficulty assessment or what are now known as education health and care plans, my experience is that schools are pretty good nowadays at tailoring their teaching to a pupil's needs. I don't know how successful the new SEN support measures have been in replacing school action and school action plus as I have been abroad for a while now but I was also quite impressed by the initiative shown in many schools in recognising and supporting needy pupils without statements. Little consolation to you but progress at least.

Changing the subject somewhat, there is clearly a place for both independent and state schools. Having been to five different primary schools, one twice, plus a small private school in Malaysia, I benefited greatly from going to CH and remain most grateful for the experience. Perhaps unlike some of the angrier posters on this forum (not all of course) I have actually spent a certain amount of time in various state schools, both rural and urban inner city. Some are good, others less so but most teachers do their best with the material with which they are presented. I enjoyed some of my experiences more than others but it was certainly always interesting!! Yes, independent schools do attract some of the best teachers but by no means all; plenty of excellent teachers see it as their duty to work in the state sector and they have my greatest admiration. It is an inconvenient fact to those who object to private education that many schools are straining at the seams to cope with the numbers and would be very hard pushed indeed to cope with an additional 600,000 plus pupils.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by sejintenej » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:26 pm

loringa wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:57 pm
by sejintenej » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:54 pm

Andrew, be thankful that the teachers you refer to are doing so much - in my day at CH dyslexia was totally ignored - not do well and you got the slipper.

David, I am very sorry to hear of your appalling experiences. Fortunately, when eventually tested at her prep school my daughter was found to be no more dyslexic than I am, it clearly being a spectrum on which we all sit somewhere. We did, however, suspect that she might have been and it was a relief to find out for sure; we would not have had she remained at her primary unless or until we had had her tested ourselves. It is an inconvenient fact to those who object to private education that many schools are straining at the seams to cope with the numbers and would be very hard pushed indeed to cope with an additional 600,000 plus pupils.
Thanks Andrew for that support
. I do wonder how much the general population knows about dyslexia so here is a bit of what we learned. Firstly there are about / over 40 different types of dyslexia ranging from the inability to distinguish letters through to a specialist imagination and the Dyslexia Society reckons that +/- 15% of the population is affected.. They are differences in brain wiring from the "normal" and vary from minor to extremely severe. In my relatively minor variety I cannot remember anything short term and especialy names, especially of people. Inconvenient at best - imagine not being able to remember your favourite aunt's name but knowing who she is and her merits/demerits.

The brain takes in information on one side but the other controls physical functions like writing notes. If the two do not have the "normal" links then in class you can hear and understand the teacher but you cannot take notes without totally turning off the teacher/lecturer. Next is what the American General Patton had. Put an apple on the table in front of you; you can watch that apple from every direction including through the table and from above. Then you watch it dry out, elements of rot appear and slowly it falls apart all in minutes. (That, and the split between the two sides is how my son described his vision and problem). Patton's advantage was that he could watch from above as the future battle would unfold, then he would adjust his forces and try again and again until he had the advantage to start the battle.

Those are just a few form of dyslexia. Then there is the backwards spelling, letters being written backwards, not seeing certain letters etc etc. Some can be overcome - coloured glasses for reading can overcome the problem IN SOME CASES. The notetaking problem can be helped by another student giving copies of his/her notes and that is how my son got his degree..

Lastly, never ever write off dyslexics. Although they usually hide it a huge proportion of famous people in all walks of life - company creators and directors, film stars, politicians ....are dyslexic in one way or another, a far far greater proportion than the 15% I referred to above.. The Virgin creator is a well publicised case

Going back to the mention of "special needs" who are the ones my son had to help, I have to wonder if they are dyslexic in some form or another and whether the teachers are qualified to diagnose and handle their needs. At my son's school (and that was long ago) they were certainly not so qualified.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by sejintenej » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:57 pm

rockfreak wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:45 pm
If the state sector is failing it's because it's underfunded and because it has, by definition, to take in the most difficult youngsters and cannot exclude. them. The immensely snooty private sector (including Christ's Hospital) doesn't have to take in the very bottom layer of society and can in any case exclude them if they prove too difficult.
The state sector DOES have the ability to exclude pupils.

Having had to deal with youngsters (from 11 to 16) I am convinced that the problem is often the parents and sometimes those with whom the problem child associates. Problem youngsters? well one had a police record for violence, there were those who used drugs and many who smoked. There ARE ways of dealing with them peacefully IF you are prepared to treat each one as an individual.

Actually my own daughters did OK at their local comprehensive out here in semi-rural Kent. One got a degree with Hons and another is studying to be a teacher. I'm more than happy with them - as people as much as anything else.
and I can boast a PhD who was chosen to lecture in the USA several times before he even got that, a girl with multiple MAs and professional diplomas and a BSc out of three children, one dyslexic and they all went to state schools.

In the end, you boarding school snobs always come up against the brick wall: no other country in developed Europe has this fractured and idiotic system of secondary education that we have.
Rubbish. We are honorary uncle/aunt to several children in France. One, the most extreme, had the choice of going to the lycee in Toulouse or in Montpellier, both far far from home and of course boarding. That was simply because there were only three schools in the entire nation which taught the subjects she wanted (and subsequently received international honours in). The other two also have to board a bit closer to home (they can get home at weekends) from the age of I think 12. There simply are no state schools closer. (A member of this Forum who posts no more actually taught at one of those schools which she goes to and indicated that it was close to being a brothel)..

I mentioned Michael Marland, who was just leaving CH when I joined. Went on to be HM of Woodberry Down Comprehensive near Manor House, North London - a none too salubrious part of town back then and back in the days when the comprehensive system was only just trying to bed down with huge numbers at some schools. Made his name by trying to develop pastoral care in the state system. I know from talking to a teacher in a tough Islington comprehensive in 1980 that Marland was massively respected in the profession.
Yes, there are certainly excellent teachers in the public sector and as I discovered some almost criminally uncaring.. Problem seems to be that inspectors bear down on the competent
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:03 pm

An individual school in the state sector can 'exclude' pupils by reason of their behaviour at the school, but the state sector as such cannot exclude pupils, as a local authority has a duty to see that a child is receiving an education.

And while most countries have private schools, none have a system whereby it is almost self-evident for the rich to send their children to them, and none have pernicious private-school networks.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by Avon » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:44 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:03 pm
...and none have pernicious private-school networks.
Really?

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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by Avon » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:51 pm

rockfreak wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:45 pm
If the state sector is failing it's because it's underfunded and because it has, by definition, to take in the most difficult youngsters and cannot exclude. them. The immensely snooty private sector (including Christ's Hospital) doesn't have to take in the very bottom layer of society and can in any case exclude them if they prove too difficult. In that respect it's in a privileged position, a situation which some of its ex-pupils appear too thick to grasp. To quote Alan Bennett (Northern grammar school): "The system is unfair and if this hasn't dawned on them (private school pupils) by the end of their schooldays them their education has been wasted."
Actually my own daughters did OK at their local comprehensive out here in semi-rural Kent. One got a degree with Hons and another is studying to be a teacher. I'm more than happy with them - as people as much as anything else. In the end, you boarding school snobs always come up against the brick wall: no other country in developed Europe has this fractured and idiotic system of secondary education that we have.
I mentioned Michael Marland, who was just leaving CH when I joined. Went on to be HM of Woodberry Down Comprehensive near Manor House, North London - a none too salubrious part of town back then and back in the days when the comprehensive system was only just trying to bed down with huge numbers at some schools. Made his name by trying to develop pastoral care in the state system. I know from talking to a teacher in a tough Islington comprehensive in 1980 that Marland was massively respected in the profession. I protest the political and social ignorance of some of the people posting on this site.
Given your preceding post, dripping with prejudice, chippiness, and highly selective use of facts, your last statement has sent my ironyometer offscale high.

You’d have benefited from the teaching of the lady for whom this post was initially about.

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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by rockfreak » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:21 pm

Firstly, apologies to Golfer. I probably did go over the top in the circumstances. But I do still stick to my original points. The system is unfair. Avon says that my points are selective. Which ones and in what way?

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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by LongGone » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:02 am

And while most countries have private schools, none have a system whereby it is almost self-evident for the rich to send their children to them, and none have pernicious private-school networks.
The US has a very strong private school network that mainly involves schools in New England (like Choate and Phillips Exeter) which feed into the Yale/Harvard funnel for future domestic and foreign leaders.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:45 pm

Avon wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:44 pm
michael scuffil wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:03 pm
...and none have pernicious private-school networks.
Really?
In Europe, not that I can think of. Private schools are largely for state-school failuresand misfits, and that doesn't carry much clout. Of course there are powerful networks based on university attendance. The ENA and Polytechnique in France are good examples. In Germany, the fraternities (which certainly did form an old-boy network) however are now looked upon somewhat askance.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by rockfreak » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:00 pm

Yes, an interesting point Michael. Is it not true (and I only submit this due to the views of a friend from Germany) that the private schools in Germany are not necessarily better in educational standards than the rest but because the parents are, for example, strict Catholics who want their children religiously educated. But that these schools do not necessarily provide better education for the money? Only you can fill us in on this.
Interesting point about Christ's Hospital. I loved English and never had a problem with it. Gad told me I could write at age 13 and I went on to make my living with it. I liked History although didn't excel in it but I do remember Chern catching my attention with the reform movements of the 19th century (Reform Bill, Extension of the Franchise, Edmund Burke and the development of One Nation Conservatism, Chartists, etc etc) and maybe this much later rang a bell in my head and caused me to embrace radical protest. Hell's Bells! it would be difficult not to be radical after 40 years of Thatcherism! But as to the other subjects which I was often bl**dy useless at, I don't ever remember any teacher taking me aside and saying: "Look young man, you're having problems with this, aren't you? What is going wrong? Let's see what we can do to help". In that respect I'm not sure that some of those teachers at CH were anything special. Maybe they didn't have the time or the inclination. After the best part of a lifetime I'm still mentally wrestling with these conundrums.

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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by sejintenej » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:57 am

rockfreak wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:00 pm
But as to the other subjects which I was often bl**dy useless at, I don't ever remember any teacher taking me aside and saying: "Look young man, you're having problems with this, aren't you? What is going wrong? Let's see what we can do to help". In that respect I'm not sure that some of those teachers at CH were anything special. Maybe they didn't have the time or the inclination. After the best part of a lifetime I'm still mentally wrestling with these conundrums.
Which mirrors what I have written. So, what made CH, Manchester Grammer School etc. so much better than the likes of Eton, Harrow etc which, in our day, had far lower educational standards?
Firstly it was not becessarily because they selected the cream of applicants - a lot of us came in at nine ande simply had to be able to understand simple sentences and do very basic maths - the medical was the important exam.

Was it the teachers? Yes, there were some good ones and some bad ones. Your comment above is probably applicable to state schools as well as CH.

I reckon it was the lack of factors competing for our time - no girlfriends, no hanging out on street corners. It was also physical fitness and adequate food and also the discipline - you sat down and did your homework at the specified time. I suspect that there was also an element of competitiveness.
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by ZeroDeConduite » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:09 am

With subjects where I underperformed there was virtually no help from the teachers. With subjects I was adequate in, the teaching was 'adequate'.
Only where I had an aptitude (science) did the teaching staff go out of their way to help me develop more fully. And when I had (personal) problems Van Praagh was extremely supportive, though the head of music was also supportive - in a completely baffled way because he had no idea why, at the age of 17, I developed an interest in compositional harmony and counterpoint.
Which was because, in the stifling isolation of the school, I had no idea that anything else (nowadays called 'media studies') existed.

<<"I reckon it was the lack of factors competing for our time - no girlfriends, no hanging out on street corners. It was also physical fitness and adequate food and also the discipline - you sat down and did your homework at the specified time.">>

I would add to that the total lack of any stimulating possibilities, apart from the school curriculum and its peripheral activities - music/Big School theatre/trainspotting :D
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Re: Vikki Askew

Post by sejintenej » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:57 pm

ZeroDeConduite wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:09 am
though the head of music was also supportive - in a completely baffled way because he had no idea why, at the age of 17, I developed an interest in compositional harmony and counterpoint.
Which was because, in the stifling isolation of the school, I had no idea that anything else (nowadays called 'media studies') existed.

<<"I reckon it was the lack of factors competing for our time - no girlfriends, no hanging out on street corners. It was also physical fitness and adequate food and also the discipline - you sat down and did your homework at the specified time.">>

I would add to that the total lack of any stimulating possibilities, apart from the school curriculum and its peripheral activities - music/Big School theatre/trainspotting :D
"Head of music", "compositional harmony" "counterpoint". Sorry but you and I were there at the same time and I have absolutely no idea what you are writing about.
We had Corks running the choir and a band master running the band and that was it. full stop, finish, end of story. Oh, I forgot Daddy Dors and his indian Club method of teaching. So far as I was aware there was no real music, no concerts etc. , classical music was effectively banned in favour of pop; Our time was used for rugger and for homework - up to 5 hours a day including weekends in my last years. Certainly no time for music.

I had piano lessons for a year and a half - 30 minutes once a week but was absolutely prohibited from taking any time to practice - it was simply another money removing device. It is only since I was perhaps seventy that I have been able to listen to music apart from Abba type skwarks .
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