Comprehensive school

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A comprehensive school is a public school for elementary aged or secondary aged children (aged approximately 11-18) that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude, in contrast to the selective school system where admission is restricted on the basis of selection criteria. The term is commonly used in relation to England and Wales, where comprehensive schools were introduced as state schools on an experimental basis in the 1940s and became more widespread from 1965. With the Blair educational reforms from 2003, they may be part of a local education authority or be a self governing academy or part of a multi-academy trust.

Contents

About 90% of British secondary school pupils now attend comprehensive schools (as opposed to independent schools or the small number of grammar schools). They correspond broadly to the public school in the United States, Canada and Australia and to the Gesamtschule in Germany.[ citation needed ]

Context

Comprehensive schools provide an entitlement curriculum to all children, without selection whether due to financial considerations or attainment. A consequence of that is a wider ranging curriculum, including practical subjects such as design and technology and vocational learning, which were less common or non-existent in grammar schools. Providing post-16 education cost-effectively becomes more challenging for smaller comprehensive schools, because of the number of courses needed to cover a broader curriculum with comparatively fewer students. This is why schools have tended to get larger and also why many local authorities have organised secondary education into 11–16 schools, with the post-16 provision provided by sixth form colleges and further education colleges. Comprehensive schools do not select their intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude, but there are demographic reasons why the attainment profiles of different schools vary considerably. In addition, government initiatives such as the City Technology Colleges and Specialist schools programmes have made the comprehensive ideal less certain.

In these schools children could be selected on the basis of curriculum aptitude related to the school's specialism even though the schools do take quotas from each quartile of the attainment range to ensure they were not selective by attainment. A problem with this is whether the quotas should be taken from a normal distribution or from the specific distribution of attainment in the immediate catchment area. In the selective school system, which survives in several parts of the United Kingdom, admission is dependent on selection criteria, most commonly a cognitive test or tests. Although comprehensive schools were introduced to England and Wales in 1965, there are 164 selective grammar schools that are still in operation.[ citation needed ] (though this is a small number compared to approximately 3500 state secondary schools in England). Most comprehensives are secondary schools for children between the ages of 11 to 16, but in a few areas there are comprehensive middle schools, and in some places the secondary level is divided into two, for students aged 11 to 14 and those aged 14 to 18, roughly corresponding to the US middle school (or junior high school) and high school, respectively. With the advent of key stages in the National Curriculum some local authorities reverted from the Middle School system to 11–16 and 11–18 schools so that the transition between schools corresponds to the end of one key stage and the start of another.

In principle, comprehensive schools were conceived as "neighbourhood" schools for all students in a specified catchment area.

History

England and Wales

The first comprehensives were set up after the Second World War. In 1946, for example, Walworth School was one of five 'experimental' comprehensive schools set up by the London County Council [1] Another early comprehensive school was Holyhead County School in Anglesey in 1949. [2] [3] Coventry opened two Comprehensive Schools in 1954 by combining Grammar Schools and Secondary Modern Schools. These were Caludon Castle and Woodlands. Another early example was Tividale Comprehensive School in Tipton. The first, purpose-built comprehensive in the North of England was Colne Valley High School near Huddersfield in 1956.

The largest expansion of comprehensive schools resulted from a policy decision taken in 1965 by Anthony Crosland, Secretary of State for Education in the 1964–1970 Labour government. The policy decision was implemented by Circular 10/65, a request to local education authorities to plan for conversion. Students sat the 11+ examination in their last year of primary education and were sent to one of a secondary modern, secondary technical or grammar school depending on their perceived ability. Secondary technical schools were never widely implemented and for 20 years there was a virtual bipartite system which saw fierce competition for the available grammar school places, which varied between 15% and 25% of total secondary places, depending on location.[ citation needed ]

In 1970 Margaret Thatcher, the Secretary of State for Education in the new Conservative government, ended the compulsion on local authorities to convert, however, many local authorities were so far down the path that it would have been prohibitively expensive to attempt to reverse the process, and more comprehensive schools were established under Thatcher than any other education secretary.

By 1975 the majority of local authorities in England and Wales had abandoned the 11-Plus examination and moved to a comprehensive system. Over that 10-year period many secondary modern schools and grammar schools were amalgamated to form large neighbourhood comprehensives, whilst a number of new schools were built to accommodate a growing school population. By the mid-1970s the system had been almost fully implemented, with virtually no secondary modern schools remaining. Many grammar schools were either closed or changed to comprehensive status. Some local authorities, including Sandwell and Dudley in the West Midlands, changed all of its state secondary schools to comprehensive schools during the 1970s.

In 1976 the future Labour prime minister James Callaghan launched what became known as the 'great debate' on the education system. He went on to list the areas he felt needed closest scrutiny: the case for a core curriculum, the validity and use of informal teaching methods, the role of school inspection and the future of the examination system. Comprehensive school remains the most common type of state secondary school in England, and the only type in Wales. They account for around 90% of pupils, or 64% if one does not count schools with low-level selection. This figure varies by region.

Since the 1988 Education Reform Act, parents have a right to choose which school their child should go to or whether to not send them to school at all and to home educate them instead. The concept of "school choice" introduces the idea of competition between state schools, a fundamental change to the original "neighbourhood comprehensive" model, and is partly intended as a means by which schools that are perceived to be inferior are forced either to improve or, if hardly anyone wants to go there, to close down. Government policy is currently promoting 'specialisation' whereby parents choose a secondary school appropriate for their child's interests and skills. Most initiatives focus on parental choice and information, implementing a pseudo-market incentive to encourage better schools. This logic has underpinned the controversial league tables of school performance.

Scotland

Scotland has a very different educational system from England and Wales, though also based on comprehensive education. It has different ages of transfer, different examinations and a different philosophy of choice and provision. All publicly funded primary and secondary schools are comprehensive. The Scottish Government has rejected plans for specialist schools as of 2005.

Australia

When the first comprehensive schools appeared in the 1950s, the Australian Government started to transition to comprehensive schooling which has been expanding and improving ever since. Prior to the transition into comprehensive schooling systems, primary and secondary state schools regularly measured students' academic merit based on their performance in public examinations. [4] The state of Western Australia was the first to replace many multilateral school systems, proceeding with Queensland, and finally South Australia and Victoria. [5]

The Australian education system is organised through three compulsory school types. Students commence their education in Primary school, which runs for seven or eight years, starting at kindergarten through to Year 6 or 7. The next is Secondary school which runs for three or four years, from Year 7 or 8 to Year 10. Finally, Senior Secondary school which runs for two years, completing Years 11 and 12. [6] Each school tier follows a comprehensive curriculum that is categorised into sequences for each Year-level. The Year-level follows specific sequence content and achievement for each subject, which can be interrelated through cross-curricula. [7] In order for students to complete and graduate each tier-level of schooling, they need to complete the subject sequences of content and achievement. Once students have completed Year 12, they may choose to enter into Tertiary education. The two-tier Tertiary education system in Australia includes both higher education (i.e.: University, College, other Institutions) and vocational education and training (VET). Higher education works off of the Australian Qualifications Framework [8] and prepares Australians for an academic route that may take them into the theoretical and philosophical lenses of their career options.

Related Research Articles

Education in Australia encompasses the sectors of early childhood education (preschool) and primary education, followed by secondary education, tertiary education (universities and Registered Training Organisations. Regulation and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, however the Australian Government also plays a funding role. Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of four, five, or six and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the State or territory and date of birth.

Grammar school Type of school in the United Kingdom and some other countries

A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching Latin, but more recently an academically oriented secondary school, differentiated in recent years from less academic secondary modern schools. The main difference is that a grammar school may select pupils based on academic achievement whereas a secondary modern may not.

Independent school (United Kingdom) Fee-paying school in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, independent schools are fee-charging schools, typically governed by an elected board of governors and independent of many of the regulations and conditions that apply to state-funded schools. For example, pupils do not have to follow the National Curriculum. Historically, the term 'private school' referred to a school in private ownership, in contrast to an endowed school subject to a trust or of charitable status. Many of the older and more exclusive independent schools catering for the 13–18 age range in England and Wales are known as public schools, seven of which were the subject of the Public Schools Act 1868. The term 'public school' derived from the fact that they were then open to pupils regardless of where they lived or their religion. Prep (preparatory) schools educate younger children up to the age of 13 to 'prepare' them for entry to the public schools and other independent schools. Some former grammar schools converted to an independent fee-charging model following the 1965 Circular 10/65, which marked the end of their state funding; others converted into comprehensive schools.

The eleven-plus (11+) is an examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary education, which governs admission to grammar schools and other secondary schools which use academic selection. The name derives from the age group for secondary entry: 11–12 years.

Education in England is overseen by the United Kingdom's Department for Education. Local government authorities are responsible for implementing policy for public education and state-funded schools at a local level.

The Tripartite System was the arrangement of state-funded secondary education between 1945 and the 1970s in England and Wales, and from 1947 to 2009 in Northern Ireland. It was an administrative implementation of the Education Act 1944 and the Education Act 1947.

Education in Northern Ireland

Education in Northern Ireland differs from systems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom, although it is relatively similar to Wales. A child's age on 1 July determines the point of entry into the relevant stage of education, unlike England and Wales where it is 1 September. Northern Ireland's results at GCSE and A-Level are consistently top in the UK. At A-Level and BTEC level 3, one third of students in Northern Ireland achieved A and distinction grades in 2007, which is a higher proportion than in England and Wales.

State schools or public schools are generally primary or secondary schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in whole or in part by taxation. State funded schools exist in virtually every country of the world, though there are significant variations in their structure and educational programmes. State education generally encompasses primary and secondary education.

A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school that existed throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 1944 until the 1970s under the Tripartite System. Schools of this type continue in Northern Ireland, where they are usually referred to as secondary schools, and in areas of England, such as Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Wirral,.

The grammar schools debate is a debate about the merits and demerits of the existence of grammar schools in the United Kingdom. Grammar schools are state schools which select their pupils on the basis of academic ability, with pupils sitting an exam in the last year of primary school to determine whether or not they gain a place. The debate on selective education has been widened by measures which allow a proportion of students to be chosen based on their "aptitude" for a particular subject.

A secondary technical school was a type of secondary school in England and Wales that existed in the mid-20th century under the Tripartite System of education. For various reasons few were built, and their main interest is on a theoretical level.

A selective school is a school that admits students on the basis of some sort of selection criteria, usually academic. The term may have different connotations in different systems and is the opposite of a comprehensive school, which accepts all students, regardless of aptitude.

The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is the credential awarded to students who have completed senior secondary education in the state of Western Australia. It is the Western Australian graduation certificate of the Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Students are required to meet various breadth and depth requirements, achievement standards and literacy and numeracy standards across their final years of schooling. As of the 2020 WACE, there are 106 courses available for students to study. Many WACE students are awarded an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), summarising their results across all areas of study into one ranking for the purposes of university admission. Students may choose from ATAR courses, which count directly towards their ATAR, Vocational Education and Training courses, which are more practical courses and can lead to further vocational opportunities, and, from 2021, General courses, which provide pathways to university, employment, or further vocational education and training. From 2010, the WACE replaced the Tertiary Entrance Exam (TEE), as the standard academic examination for school leavers in Western Australia.

Educational institutions are often categorised along several dimensions. The most important is perhaps the age or level of the students in the institution, but funding source, affiliation, and gender, racial, or ethnic exclusivity are also commonly used.

Education in Western Australia Overview of the education in Western Australia

Education in Western Australia consists of public and private schools in the state of Western Australia, including public and private universities and TAFE colleges. Public school education is supervised by the Department of Education, which forms part of the Government of Western Australia. The School Curriculum and Standards Authority is an independent statutory authority responsible for developing a curriculum and associated standards in all schools, and for ensuring standards of student achievement, and for the assessment and certification according to those standards.

The history of education in England is documented from Saxon settlement of England, and the setting up of the first cathedral schools in 597 and 604.

Direct grant grammar school Former type of English secondary school

A direct grant grammar school was a type of selective secondary school in England and Wales that existed between 1945 and 1976. One quarter of the places in these schools were directly funded by central government, while the remainder attracted fees, some paid by the Local Education Authority and some by the parents of pupils; the amounts were set according to ability to pay. On average, the schools received just over half of their income from the state.

State-funded schools (England)

English state-funded schools, commonly known as state schools, provide education to pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 without charge. Approximately 93% of English schoolchildren attend 20,000 or so such schools. Since 2008 about 75% have attained "academy status", which essentially gives them a higher budget per pupil from the Department for Education.

In England and Wales, a comprehensive school is a type of secondary school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude or the wealth of the parents of the children it accepts.

History of state education in Queensland

The history of state education in Queensland commences with the Moreton Bay penal settlement of New South Wales in Australia, which became the responsibility of the Queensland Government after the Separation of Queensland from New South Wales in 1859.

References

  1. Peter Medway and Pat Kingwell, "A Curriculum in its place: English teaching in one school 1946–1963", History of Education 39, no. 6 (November 2010): 749–765.
  2. Comps - here to stay?, Phil Tinline, September 2005, BBC, accessed 12 August 2008.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Barcan, Alan (2007). "Comprehensive Secondary Schools in Australia: a View from Newcastle, New South Wales" (PDF). Education Research and Perspectives, University of Newcastle, NSW. 34: 136–178. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 January 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  5. Harrington, Marylin (2008). "Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Bill 2008". Bills Digest. National Curriculum: Social Policy Section: 1–19. ISSN   1328-8091.
  6. Technology, Elcom. "Education system overview". www.studyinaustralia.gov.au. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  7. "F-10 curriculum". www.australiancurriculum.edu.au. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  8. Agency, Digital Transformation. "Higher education | australia.gov.au". www.australia.gov.au. Retrieved 24 October 2017.