What kind of school did you all go to? public/private/state? same sex? boarding?
And has it affected your chances in life?
I went to a single-sex state grammar school, where people could board, but most, including me, went as day pupils. It gave me a great education, and I think grammar schools are an excellent idea, but I'm less sure about the single sex aspect, certainly from 16-18.
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Hi Sneaks, I went to a massive, mixed, comprehensive school. It was a complete disaster academically, I left with one GCSE! In Geography... I had been in top sets across the board, but was put into remedial for English for almost all of my fourth year (the same teach banned me from any extra curricular activities, so my passion for drama went down the swanny), because I'd been playing up a bit due to difficulties at home - I'd been sat at the back, talking in class. I just didn't have the strength to deal with it: remedial is pretty traumatic when you're bright, and it was populated by some really rough kids, so I fell into a kind of depression and just stopped going to most of my lessons, and none of the teachers ever noticed! They were alll totally suprised when I didn't get my exams (I didn't go to more than one of them...).
However! It was also an amazing experience in terms of my personal life; I met some of the best people of my life so far, I think they did, literally, save my life at that time. I LOVE school re-unions, and am still close friends with several people from school - I see them regularly - in fact we are all travelling to another city for a lecture tonight. None of my group of really close friends did well academically at school (actually one of my other friends did, but her mum removed her in the sixth form and sent her to a girl's grammar instead) we've all done very well afterwards, mostly as creatives. One of my friends has been a senior lecturer for over ten years and runs one of the top two undergrad courses of its kind in the country. I think we are strong people who look after eachother, and that that is more valuable than the academic stuff - I was lucky to find myself with such people!
Oh and I meant to say also that a frequent topic for discussion at school re-unions is the problem we all have with grammar and puntuation, and I can tell face book postings from my old comp firends a mile off, they're an aposrophe lover's nightmare! One friend has just taken her GCSE in English language again, at the age of 41, and is ecstatic to have gained over a C grade. And the talk we are going to tonight is about developments in the English language, we all have this thing about it, we're always trying to compensate! One friend married a high flying English teacher who corrects her past particles (?????) and other technical sounding things and I spent ages reading about grammar, punctuation, writing style this summer.
I went to a fairly rubbish state Comprehensive school. Of about 200 people in my year group, six went to university (I was one of those) and another twenty went to Polytechnics (showing my age there!), but the vast majority (including my brother and sister) left school at sixteen and got rubbish jobs or went on to vocational training elsewhere. I was put forward for Oxford but nobody in the entire history of my school had ever been there (1 person got into Cambridge 12 years earlier) so nobody had any idea what I needed to do, and I was intimidated by the whole process, so I flunked the interview. So yeah, it had a big impact - now I'm very relieved that I didn't go to Oxford, I'm very happy with the way my life turned out, but if I'd been at a different school things might have turned out very differently!
I was at a state grammar, about 1000 students, single sex but started taking boys in the sixth form which I think worked well. We had close ties with local boys schools too which was probably a good thing! It was very academic and most people went to university: we had excellent university and careers advice and when I didn't get my A-level grades and, for various complicated reasons by which I missed my interview, wasn't on the list when I rang up my second choice university, my head teacher talked them into taking me. I was very lucky for the opportunities I got. I was very lucky to have access to the state grammar system - there are far too few left!
I went to a single-sex state comprehensive. My mom decided on that school because she wanted me to "concentrate on my education, not boys". I think it worked for me. I did fairly well at GCSE, and pretty well at A-Level. I went to an ok-ish uni but got offers from some really good ones (I wanted to do a specific course which they couldn't offer), and I have no regrets. If I hadn't gone to the uni I did, I would have never got into my field of work (unrelated to my undergrad), and so would never be in the position I am in today.
I don't think my school affected my chances - more the decisions I made during my time at school.
I went to a local comp - about 1500 students. Its in the country and is in a garrison town, so 90% of the students left every 2 years to go off to germany or cyprus with their army parents. I don't think it has every affected my life, I came out of my school with the best grades and beat all my boarding and public school friends who went to the same orchestra as me. But recently I've had a lot of people saying to me that they wouldn't step foot in a state school. Whereas I would argue that an A from a state school is better than an A at public school becuase you have had larger class sizes, worse resources etc.
It's kinda complicated :-)
Most of my primary years were spent in a German school in the UK, which was private (because it was German, but it didn't cost anywhere near as much as a "proper" independent school over here would cost). After that I had 4 years at a pretty standard comprehensive, which has gone way downhill in recent years. I did fine there, and plenty of people have gone one to uni though I doubt we had many Oxbridge applicants! Anyway, the school had no sixth form so it's hard to say what people did afterwards. Probaby a fair share went on to leave school at 16.
Then went to a big college for A-levels and I hated it. I think I could have done much better at a sixth form, or smaller college. It did prepare me for uni though! I don't think going to a state school necessarily held me back - in some ways it probably helped to get into uni (I had a university give me an interview, I didn't turn up and they still offered me a place. What's the point? - they'll do anything to increase their students from non-independent school backgrounds)
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Private co-ed day school. One which placed a lot of emphasis on academic merit. Without doubt, the best possible choice my parents could have made. I'm not saying that would be the case for every one, but for me, it certainly was. I'm a dyslexic student and I feel that the attention that I was given at school is what enabled me to follow an academic career path. Also, I loved the co-educational aspect and some of my closest male and female friends today, are those I went to school with.
I went to a comprehensive and it was a lot of fun. Didn't do very well but made a lot of friends, learnt all about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and decided that I'd better put more effort into learning when I left. Then I started A levels at a Grammar school 6th form, felt really inferior because I thought everyone else must be extremely clever, so dropped out after one day and started my GNVQ at a college.
I went to a large convent school, it was a state school but probably marginally "better" than a lot of the non-religious ones in that area. I hated school until sixth form, didn't fit in and missed up to a third of it some years due to psychosomatic illness. But I got good grades, was on the Oxbridge list and so on....until A-levels. I loved sixth form, found my niche, and my grades went through the floor! The school persuaded my uni to take me anyway but I've never felt terribly bright since. I think I was reasonably lucky in my education, it was good for a state school and I don't imagine that my teen years would have been less painful anywhere else :p
I went to a large mixed comprehensive school. I think people had mixed experiences - I was in the top sets and worked hard, whereas there were a lot of students who left at 16 and a few who got pregnant. I dont think it's really influenced my life after. I chose to accept a place at a middling Uni because I liked the city, but got the grades to get into better unis. I chose not to apply for Oxbridge, think 4 of my year group (about 100 in sixth form) got offers.
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Edit: what a huge procrastination post I have written!!! :(
I went to two different types of state secondary school, the first was a grant maintained Church of England school (state and church funded but requiring an additional small voluntary annual parental contribution) which had formerly been a very good London school and the other was a comprehensive in the countryside. Both recieved average ofsted inspections at the time and had the usual stereotyped problems of state schools which led to the first being closed and reopened and the other being put into special measures.
The first school had a number of good teachers but these increasingly left as the reputation of the school declined. Unlike many other state schools it also offered unusual subjects like Latin and Classics. I took Classics there and despite being in the mid-ability stream came top in the year in the SATS exam. In every other subject I did rather poorly. More a reflection on my own abilities at that time and childhood circumstances (bullying/ family life) then anything else. The school had a good library and that was a great asset to have. I think that the excellent library (loads of fiction and non-fiction) helped nurture me as a book worm, and I was a total nerd and was there every breaktime and was the highest borrower in my year
The second school had fewer resources though was still a better then average comprehensive at first (computer labs, excellent art department, swimming pool). I changed schools halfway through my GCSE's and so I spent a lot of time in a classroom at lunch and afterschool redoing coursework and modular exams to meet the requirements of my new exam boards and new subjects in one year (instead of two). I did pretty well considering with all but one subject in the A-C boundaries.
So, I think that the schools were okay in as much that they did their job but a lot of the lasting impact on my "life chances" came from self-motivated learning outside of school. I wish that my schools had been better at languages - as it has been hard as an adult to learn extra European languages. I know that many independent school students leave having a much better command of other languages (extra trips, intense teaching, unsusual languages offered etc). My schools were also incompetent in tackling bullying or counterproductive classroom behaviours. I had to, for example, start my Information Technology coursework at GCSE over again after a fellow student deleted it. I was also streamed according to Mathematical ability rather then other subjects meaning that in English and History I was always well ahead of the rest and fairly bored.
I went to two bog-standard comprehensives. I went to an all-girls high school (1500 girls - eugh!) until the end of GCSE. I utterly hated it; they were not supportive of anything anybody did unless it was music or dancing. I won a national competition to get a place on a chemistry school, and the head of science didn't even know, let alone the head.
After GCSE I went to another comp down the road for A-Levels; all-boys this time (1450 of them, 10 girls in 6th Form). I had a whale of a time, grades dropped a bit, but I was a senior prefect, I had contemporaries who didn't pick on me because I was good at science; I was supported for all my science and maths activities by the school.
I was encouraged to go to uni, and helped with my applications. To an extent, I think school is what you make of it, as neither of my secondary schools were much cop academically but I got to PhD level so I must've drawn something from them!
p.s. My primary school was a lot worse; 1000 children to cope with so anyone bright was beaten down!
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