Feb 022011

Why is it always expressed as an exclusive choice ? A simple black or white choice – one or the other.

Life of course is not that simple and neither are the possibilities for schools. We have all heard evidence that both boys and girls learn better in lessons that are single sex. The boys do not get distracted by the girls and visa versa; even something as simple as controlling the room temperature – warmer for girls and cooler for boys will make a difference.

For some reason this is always presented as an argument for single sex schools – usually by someone with a financial interest in single sex schools.

Those who argue against single sex schools also have a point that classes are not the only thing that is learnt at school – we also learn to interact with each other which also applies to the opposite sex.

To me, a compromise seems simple – a mixed school with single-sex lessons for “real” subjects and only bring the two sexes together for less result orientated lessons.

Nov 122008

So this morning I am sitting in front of the TV with my caffeine fix and some news channel on to break up the silence. On comes this item about how a school has shown a dramatic improvement after having introduced a new disciplinary regime. Something like an increase of 25% in pupils getting 5 or more GCSEs (cannot recall the exact numbers and it does not matter anyway).

But wait! The reporter goes on to say this increase does not include English or Maths and when those subjects are included, the increase is not quite as dramatic. So English and Maths are unimportant subjects are they ? Or perhaps the story does not come across as so interesting if the real increase is given.

So this reporter has stretched the truth (i.e. lied) by reporting a meaningless statistic that sounds good rather than a proper set of figures which would still sound good to those who do not have unrealistic expectations.

Why does the media do this ? Well obviously to make things sound better than the really are or more usually worse than they usually are. That is fair enough on an entertainment show, but surely news should present the facts and not try to stretch the truth.

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