Precocious 5 yr olds?

by Harry on April 6, 2006

I’ve been doing some research trying to find out the sizes of schools in different countries (I want to know the average size and the median size of schools—anyone know this for the US, UK, and a couple of other randomly chosen countries? Tell me below). Anyway, in the course of this I have found this document at the DFES site. Unless I am reading it wrong (which I must be, surely) it says that in 2004-5 there were sixty 5 year old children attending secondary schools in England and Wales, fifty 6 year olds, and 110 seven year olds (see table 2b on p. 9). “Secondary” includes schools “deemed middle” so the numbers of 8 year olds and above are less startling, but it is very odd, no? Can anyone explain this? Or am I going to be reduced to asking my dad?

{ 16 comments }

1

John Quiggin 04.06.06 at 7:23 am

Is there anything to stop a school offering a one-stop shop from K-12? I suppose such a school would probably be classed as a secondary school.

If it comes to that, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any explicit arguments for separate primary and secondary schools. I can think of some obvious ones, but also some counterarguments.

2

Matthew 04.06.06 at 7:45 am

“secondary” schools are for those over 11.

3

Matthew 04.06.06 at 7:47 am

Oh sorry you mean the numbers are too high. I’ve just read the title. I imagine its where there only is one school?

4

Ginger Yellow 04.06.06 at 8:09 am

A lot of British parents seem to think it’s a good idea to rapidly push their children through the school system faster than usual, often to a baffling degree. The most spectacularly pointless example I can recall was a seven year old who took GCSE computer studies, achieving a C. Why not just wait at least a couple of years and get an A?

5

Matthew 04.06.06 at 8:16 am

Harry, if you look at the regional statistics the very young age groups are in only two regions, Northamptionshire and Sheffield. The Northamptonshire school is this one, which seems to be a new type of school.

http://www.rm.com/BSF/Generic.asp?cref=GP346553

To quote that site:

Why all-age?

The whole ambitious project is designed to meet two needs specific to the locality. There is a large amount of new housing going up in Wootton Fields with a very mobile population. The all-through school gives families to opportunity to deal with just one establishment which is key to settling in whole families as quickly as possible. In addition, the site provides a centre for sports and learning for this whole new community. The principal, Tony Downing, believes that this will be an important model for the future, especially in new communities.

6

harry b 04.06.06 at 9:11 am

Thanks Matthew, all is now clear. Also, to me, it looks brilliant.

7

nick s 04.06.06 at 9:54 am

The all-through school gives families to opportunity to deal with just one establishment which is key to settling in whole families as quickly as possible.

Oh, that makes sense: it’s the flip-side of the rationale behind the International Baccalaureate, which was created to ensure continuity for the children of diplomats and other international worker types who change school frequently.

The disadvantage of 5-16/18 education, of course, is that kids can get stuck with others they really don’t like for a long period of time.

8

harry b 04.06.06 at 10:14 am

There are plenty of rural K-12 schools in the US, but I’d never before heard of them in the UK (well, it used to be common to have schools which went 5-13 or 14, but since 1944 I’d never heard of this). The nrom in the US is to have middle or junior high schools too, so that two transitions are built into a child’s life. I think the case for k-12 could be pretty strong, and its surely worth experimenting with. nick s’s point certainly captures one of the possible downsides.

9

Cranky Observer 04.06.06 at 10:28 am

Hey, Chancellor Bismark decreed K-8 and 9-12 (or 9-10-vocational), so that is the way it Should Be!

Anyway, two things to keep in mind: Kindergarten is not required in many US states and/or school districts, so that could skew your stats. And there are so many school districts in the US, each with their own policies and philosophies, that I am not sure simple statistics tell you much.

Cranky

10

marcel 04.06.06 at 11:21 am

Hey Cranky (9): what was the name of the school that Bismark was chancellor of?

11

dearieme 04.06.06 at 11:27 am

Central European School of Warfare, Provocation and Intimidation.

12

pdf23ds 04.06.06 at 1:46 pm

“The disadvantage of 5-16/18 education, of course, is that kids can get stuck with others they really don’t like for a long period of time.”

I think this is already the case in the US, where most elementary/junior high schools are just subsets of a particular district high school. So you have a bigger class in high school, but all the people from kindergarten are still there with you.

Of course, most people are more mobile than that, so it’s probably not a huge issue.

13

Cranky Observer 04.06.06 at 1:59 pm

> what was the name of the school
> that Bismark was chancellor of

Ha ha. I am sure you know the history of US urban school districts, and the sources of much of their structure and development, as well as I do. Or I could take you for a walk through my old grade school – much of the German design influence is still there underneath the touchy-feely 1990s rennovation.

Cranky

14

harry b 04.06.06 at 2:13 pm

Well, cranky, I’m not so up on the history (to my embarrassment) so found that quite illluminating (but not especially cheering!)

15

derrida derider 04.06.06 at 8:28 pm

Well, I went to a K-12 school in the Australian outback. And you’re right – it did stick me with some kids (and teachers) I didn’t like for a long while.

16

Tracy W 04.09.06 at 3:01 am

My guess, based on my experience in working with databases, is that a certain number of times the data entry people forgot the first digit when entering the age. Or mistyped the age of birth.

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