Santa, the last of the wildmen

AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: European high schools

  1. #1
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    53

    European high schools

    I'm trying to construct a high school equivalent education for a character in a fictional country in the middle of Europe. Is there anyone who can tell me what various european high school experiences are like? I know, this is very broad, but any amount of input would be helpful for my pretend school. Do they have school dances? Sports? AP equivalents? Cliques? at the European school you are aware of? I understand this will vary greatly from country to country, after all, it varies a ton from state to state in the US. TIA

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dorset, UK
    Posts
    3,175
    What country? UK schools are very different to the USA, and each country in Europe has its own school system which are all very different from each other. Even England and Scotland have significant enough differences between their school system that I'd have to research if I was setting a story in Scotland (I'm English).

    Pretty much all schools around the world will have sports. Which sports will depend on the country. In England schools traditionally will have football (i.e. soccer, but you call it football over here!), rugby, basketball, netball, hockey (as in field hockey) athletics and cricket, but nowadays they offer a wider range and traditional gender stereotypes (football and rugby for boys, netball for girls etc) are actively discouraged by schools and they'll try to get all kids to have a go at as many sports as possible. Also, participation and enjoyment is focused on much more than competitiveness, and while there will be tournaments with neighbouring schools in the more popular sports (football, netball, rugby, hockey) the results aren't seen as that big a deal. And they don't have cheerleaders (or if they do it's a separate club as a style of dance, they don't exist just to support another team). Also, there was a big controversy in the news recently where some people are calling for banning full contact rugby in schools and only playing touch or tag rugby. In other countries, it'll depend on what their national sports and more popular sports are. They'll have their own attitudes, ways of doing things, controversies and everything. This answer is just for England though the other UK countries probably aren't that different. Wales is traditionally much more into rugby than football and PE lessons will reflect that (more rugby and less football and I can't see Welsh PE teachers accepting a ban on full contact rugby).

    I don't have the first idea what an "AP equivalent" is so you can take it that either English schools don't have it or that it's called something radically different.

    Teenagers always tend to have cliques but in the UK it seems to me that schools do more to prevent bullying than in the USA, including the type that excludes children socially. Bear in mind that my view of that probably comes from American books and TV and the news rather than any real experience of American high schools so I understand if that's not a fair impression. Under UK law, schools are legally obliged to tackle bullying through having an anti-bullying policy and dealing with complaints of bullying properly. Depending on the schoool, it's not always effective but there's a lot less bullying now than when I was a kid. This varies from school to school of course so a storyline about bullying in British schools is still very plausible. My kids' schools actively discourage cliques. Cliques lead to a particular kind of bullying that schools don't want happening. They probably still form though. And bullying still happens. My older daughter's just started secondary school (all girls) and the head teacher said nearly all the reports of bullying in the school happen when girls fall out with a group of friends.

    School dances isn't a thing over here. You get school discos but they're not necessarily well attended. Also, there's no pressure to bring a partner to the school disco. They will go if they want to go and if they happen to have a partner, they might dance together. Or they might just sit with their mates and chat and stuff. But it's not a big thing or the highlight of the kids' social calendar or anything. To be honest they're more popular in primary school than secondary school.

    Bear in mind that my answer is just for state (i.e. government funded) schools in England and possibly only represents Southern England (I'm not aware of any major differences in high schools in Northern England though... over the border in Scotland they have quite a number of differences). In private schools it will be different and in public schools (that's a very expensive, very exclusive kind of private school, where the upper classes and mega rich send their kids) it will be even more different but I have no experience of those. And in Welsh schools they speak Welsh. Some kids learn the entire curriculum in Welsh while others have a 50/50 Welsh/English curriculum, and there are schools that teach in English but they will still have Welsh lessons (as in learning the language) and the occasional lesson in Welsh (as in taught through the medium of Welsh). Welsh culture is different to English culture, but the format/structure of the school curriculum is pretty much the same (as in Welsh kids will learn the same stuff as English kids, only in Welsh).

    Also bear in mind that you need to be more specific than "Europe" because each country in Europe has its own distinct culture. Even if they're next to each other on the map they can be very, very different in culture and in the infrastructure, including how schools are run. Germany and Poland are examples of that. Even if you don't want to set your story in a specific country, you would need to decide which European country or countries it's like. For example, in Harry Potter, Beauxbatons is clearly French and Durmstrang is a kind of mix of German and Eastern European. You get groups of countries that share aspects of their culture or may speak the same language or very closely related languages, but there is no such thing as generic "European". So probably your best bet would be to decide which European country/countries it's sort of like, and then research how things are there, and make your school system similar to but not exactly the same as those places.
    my blog - cave people and stuff - an imaginative look at palaeolithic life: http://cavepeopleandstuff.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Both sides of the Atlantic
    Posts
    109
    I can talk a bit about Germany's system. It's extremely different than where I grew up (USA).

    At age 10, kids are tracked into one of three types of secondary school. The lowest type (Hauptschule) tends to have low income or immigrant or problem kids these days, but in general it's for kids who can pull off only the absolute minimum education. They're destined for low-wage jobs. The second track is Realschule -- these are average kids academically. The highest tier is called Gymnasium. This is the college prep school where high performance kids get an Abitur, a diploma allowing them to apply to a university or other post-secondary school. These days, about half the kids go to Gymnasium, a really high rate and not what the system intended. If a kid has parents with uni degrees and have money, they're guaranteed to attend a Gymnasium ( or a private boarding school for the very elite).

    So yeah, you heard me right. Kids are tracked at age 10. I hate the system but unfortunately my kids have to live with it.

    Anyway, it's totally different than the US. Sports are not a school thing at all. Germany has a big and old system of sports clubs all over the country where kids (or families) can become members and train in whatever sport that club offers. It has nothing to do with what school you're in.

    There's no prom or homecoming every year. The graduating class in a Gymnasium usually has an Abitur Ball, a bit like prom (it's getting more Americanized).

    There's no real equivalent to an AP course because testing is different here. Students in Gymnasium have Leistungskursen, these are more advanced courses in the subjects they'll take their Abitur (finals for graduation) in. They can choose which subjects to to test in. These courses don't have anything to do with credits once the kids get to university.

    In general Gymnasium kids finish school later, between age 18 and 20, depending on what courses they have. They're getting done earlier now that boys don't have to do military service at 18. If they go to a university, they tend to be much better prepared than US students are. There are almost no gen ed courses. Students jump right into hard coursework with lots of independent learning and research, not stuff out of textbooks. Oh, and the really ambitious kids can spend their last 2 years of Gymnasium doing courses in English for the International Baccalaureate. This is offered at select Gymnasium. Then they can go to pretty much any uni in the world.

    The kids in the "lower" high school levels finish school earlier, around 15 or 16. They usually end up getting an apprenticeship in whatever career they want, and study toward that career at a Berufsschule (a kind of vocational college). Many jobs that need a Bachelor's in the US, or no degree at all, are apprenticeships in Germany. It's a great system for people who won't go to university.

    Kids don't wear uniforms in school here. Traditionally classes end around 1pm, but this is changing into full day schooling (about 3pm). There are cliques just like anywhere else. There's not such a high identification with the school in the US sense. It's not such a big deal to be an alum of a certain high school, there's rarely all the school paraphernalia. But there are exceptions. My husband's Gymnasium was founded in the year 800 by Charlemagne, and he's quite proud of that! What is completely missing from schools here is the hyper-patriotic American flag stuff. Salutes to the flag and pledges were a communist East German thing and are not done in modern Germany. Also there's no issue about religion in schools because instruction is offered for Catholics and Protestants (separate classes), or there's a generic Ethics class.

    Maybe some of this helps?
    Last edited by Atlantic12; 11-08-2017 at 04:31 PM.

  4. #4
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    53
    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    What country? UK schools are very different to the USA, and each country in Europe has its own school system which are all very different from each other. Even England and Scotland have significant enough differences between their school system that I'd have to research if I was setting a story in Scotland (I'm English).

    Pretty much all schools around the world will have sports. Which sports will depend on the country. In England schools traditionally will have football (i.e. soccer, but you call it football over here!), rugby, basketball, netball, hockey (as in field hockey) athletics and cricket, but nowadays they offer a wider range and traditional gender stereotypes (football and rugby for boys, netball for girls etc) are actively discouraged by schools and they'll try to get all kids to have a go at as many sports as possible. Also, participation and enjoyment is focused on much more than competitiveness, and while there will be tournaments with neighbouring schools in the more popular sports (football, netball, rugby, hockey) the results aren't seen as that big a deal. And they don't have cheerleaders (or if they do it's a separate club as a style of dance, they don't exist just to support another team). Also, there was a big controversy in the news recently where some people are calling for banning full contact rugby in schools and only playing touch or tag rugby. In other countries, it'll depend on what their national sports and more popular sports are. They'll have their own attitudes, ways of doing things, controversies and everything. This answer is just for England though the other UK countries probably aren't that different. Wales is traditionally much more into rugby than football and PE lessons will reflect that (more rugby and less football and I can't see Welsh PE teachers accepting a ban on full contact rugby).

    I don't have the first idea what an "AP equivalent" is so you can take it that either English schools don't have it or that it's called something radically different.

    Teenagers always tend to have cliques but in the UK it seems to me that schools do more to prevent bullying than in the USA, including the type that excludes children socially. Bear in mind that my view of that probably comes from American books and TV and the news rather than any real experience of American high schools so I understand if that's not a fair impression. Under UK law, schools are legally obliged to tackle bullying through having an anti-bullying policy and dealing with complaints of bullying properly. Depending on the schoool, it's not always effective but there's a lot less bullying now than when I was a kid. This varies from school to school of course so a storyline about bullying in British schools is still very plausible. My kids' schools actively discourage cliques. Cliques lead to a particular kind of bullying that schools don't want happening. They probably still form though. And bullying still happens. My older daughter's just started secondary school (all girls) and the head teacher said nearly all the reports of bullying in the school happen when girls fall out with a group of friends.

    School dances isn't a thing over here. You get school discos but they're not necessarily well attended. Also, there's no pressure to bring a partner to the school disco. They will go if they want to go and if they happen to have a partner, they might dance together. Or they might just sit with their mates and chat and stuff. But it's not a big thing or the highlight of the kids' social calendar or anything. To be honest they're more popular in primary school than secondary school.

    Bear in mind that my answer is just for state (i.e. government funded) schools in England and possibly only represents Southern England (I'm not aware of any major differences in high schools in Northern England though... over the border in Scotland they have quite a number of differences). In private schools it will be different and in public schools (that's a very expensive, very exclusive kind of private school, where the upper classes and mega rich send their kids) it will be even more different but I have no experience of those. And in Welsh schools they speak Welsh. Some kids learn the entire curriculum in Welsh while others have a 50/50 Welsh/English curriculum, and there are schools that teach in English but they will still have Welsh lessons (as in learning the language) and the occasional lesson in Welsh (as in taught through the medium of Welsh). Welsh culture is different to English culture, but the format/structure of the school curriculum is pretty much the same (as in Welsh kids will learn the same stuff as English kids, only in Welsh).

    Also bear in mind that you need to be more specific than "Europe" because each country in Europe has its own distinct culture. Even if they're next to each other on the map they can be very, very different in culture and in the infrastructure, including how schools are run. Germany and Poland are examples of that. Even if you don't want to set your story in a specific country, you would need to decide which European country or countries it's like. For example, in Harry Potter, Beauxbatons is clearly French and Durmstrang is a kind of mix of German and Eastern European. You get groups of countries that share aspects of their culture or may speak the same language or very closely related languages, but there is no such thing as generic "European". So probably your best bet would be to decide which European country/countries it's sort of like, and then research how things are there, and make your school system similar to but not exactly the same as those places.
    Thank you. This is enormously helpful. I was purposefully vague because I'm creating a new country inside of Europe and was going to get inspiration from the various existing systems.

  5. #5
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    53
    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    What country? UK schools are very different to the USA, and each country in Europe has its own school system which are all very different from each other. Even England and Scotland have significant enough differences between their school system that I'd have to research if I was setting a story in Scotland (I'm English).

    Pretty much all schools around the world will have sports. Which sports will depend on the country. In England schools traditionally will have football (i.e. soccer, but you call it football over here!), rugby, basketball, netball, hockey (as in field hockey) athletics and cricket, but nowadays they offer a wider range and traditional gender stereotypes (football and rugby for boys, netball for girls etc) are actively discouraged by schools and they'll try to get all kids to have a go at as many sports as possible. Also, participation and enjoyment is focused on much more than competitiveness, and while there will be tournaments with neighbouring schools in the more popular sports (football, netball, rugby, hockey) the results aren't seen as that big a deal. And they don't have cheerleaders (or if they do it's a separate club as a style of dance, they don't exist just to support another team). Also, there was a big controversy in the news recently where some people are calling for banning full contact rugby in schools and only playing touch or tag rugby. In other countries, it'll depend on what their national sports and more popular sports are. They'll have their own attitudes, ways of doing things, controversies and everything. This answer is just for England though the other UK countries probably aren't that different. Wales is traditionally much more into rugby than football and PE lessons will reflect that (more rugby and less football and I can't see Welsh PE teachers accepting a ban on full contact rugby).

    I don't have the first idea what an "AP equivalent" is so you can take it that either English schools don't have it or that it's called something radically different.

    Teenagers always tend to have cliques but in the UK it seems to me that schools do more to prevent bullying than in the USA, including the type that excludes children socially. Bear in mind that my view of that probably comes from American books and TV and the news rather than any real experience of American high schools so I understand if that's not a fair impression. Under UK law, schools are legally obliged to tackle bullying through having an anti-bullying policy and dealing with complaints of bullying properly. Depending on the schoool, it's not always effective but there's a lot less bullying now than when I was a kid. This varies from school to school of course so a storyline about bullying in British schools is still very plausible. My kids' schools actively discourage cliques. Cliques lead to a particular kind of bullying that schools don't want happening. They probably still form though. And bullying still happens. My older daughter's just started secondary school (all girls) and the head teacher said nearly all the reports of bullying in the school happen when girls fall out with a group of friends.

    School dances isn't a thing over here. You get school discos but they're not necessarily well attended. Also, there's no pressure to bring a partner to the school disco. They will go if they want to go and if they happen to have a partner, they might dance together. Or they might just sit with their mates and chat and stuff. But it's not a big thing or the highlight of the kids' social calendar or anything. To be honest they're more popular in primary school than secondary school.

    Bear in mind that my answer is just for state (i.e. government funded) schools in England and possibly only represents Southern England (I'm not aware of any major differences in high schools in Northern England though... over the border in Scotland they have quite a number of differences). In private schools it will be different and in public schools (that's a very expensive, very exclusive kind of private school, where the upper classes and mega rich send their kids) it will be even more different but I have no experience of those. And in Welsh schools they speak Welsh. Some kids learn the entire curriculum in Welsh while others have a 50/50 Welsh/English curriculum, and there are schools that teach in English but they will still have Welsh lessons (as in learning the language) and the occasional lesson in Welsh (as in taught through the medium of Welsh). Welsh culture is different to English culture, but the format/structure of the school curriculum is pretty much the same (as in Welsh kids will learn the same stuff as English kids, only in Welsh).

    Also bear in mind that you need to be more specific than "Europe" because each country in Europe has its own distinct culture. Even if they're next to each other on the map they can be very, very different in culture and in the infrastructure, including how schools are run. Germany and Poland are examples of that. Even if you don't want to set your story in a specific country, you would need to decide which European country or countries it's like. For example, in Harry Potter, Beauxbatons is clearly French and Durmstrang is a kind of mix of German and Eastern European. You get groups of countries that share aspects of their culture or may speak the same language or very closely related languages, but there is no such thing as generic "European". So probably your best bet would be to decide which European country/countries it's sort of like, and then research how things are there, and make your school system similar to but not exactly the same as those places.
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic12 View Post
    I can talk a bit about Germany's system. It's extremely different than where I grew up (USA).

    At age 10, kids are tracked into one of three types of secondary school. The lowest type (Hauptschule) tends to have low income or immigrant or problem kids these days, but in general it's for kids who can pull off only the absolute minimum education. They're destined for low-wage jobs. The second track is Realschule -- these are average kids academically. The highest tier is called Gymnasium. This is the college prep school where high performance kids get an Abitur, a diploma allowing them to apply to a university or other post-secondary school. These days, about half the kids go to Gymnasium, a really high rate and not what the system intended. If a kid has parents with uni degrees and have money, they're guaranteed to attend a Gymnasium ( or a private boarding school for the very elite).

    So yeah, you heard me right. Kids are tracked at age 10. I hate the system but unfortunately my kids have to live with it.

    Anyway, it's totally different than the US. Sports are not a school thing at all. Germany has a big and old system of sports clubs all over the country where kids (or families) can become members and train in whatever sport that club offers. It has nothing to do with what school you're in.

    There's no prom or homecoming every year. The graduating class in a Gymnasium usually has an Abitur Ball, a bit like prom (it's getting more Americanized).

    There's no real equivalent to an AP course because testing is different here. Students in Gymnasium have Leistungskursen, these are more advanced courses in the subjects they'll take their Abitur (finals for graduation) in. They can choose which subjects to to test in. These courses don't have anything to do with credits once the kids get to university.

    In general Gymnasium kids finish school later, between age 18 and 20, depending on what courses they have. They're getting done earlier now that boys don't have to do military service at 18. If they go to a university, they tend to be much better prepared than US students are. There are almost no gen ed courses. Students jump right into hard coursework with lots of independent learning and research, not stuff out of textbooks. Oh, and the really ambitious kids can spend their last 2 years of Gymnasium doing courses in English for the International Baccalaureate. This is offered at select Gymnasium. Then they can go to pretty much any uni in the world.

    The kids in the "lower" high school levels finish school earlier, around 15 or 16. They usually end up getting an apprenticeship in whatever career they want, and study toward that career at a Berufsschule (a kind of vocational college). Many jobs that need a Bachelor's in the US, or no degree at all, are apprenticeships in Germany. It's a great system for people who won't go to university.

    Kids don't wear uniforms in school here. Traditionally classes end around 1pm, but this is changing into full day schooling (about 3pm). There are cliques just like anywhere else. There's not such a high identification with the school in the US sense. It's not such a big deal to be an alum of a certain high school, there's rarely all the school paraphernalia. But there are exceptions. My husband's Gymnasium was founded in the year 800 by Charlemagne, and he's quite proud of that! What is completely missing from schools here is the hyper-patriotic American flag stuff. Salutes to the flag and pledges were a communist East German thing and are not done in modern Germany. Also there's no issue about religion in schools because instruction is offered for Catholics and Protestants (separate classes), or there's a generic Ethics class.

    Maybe some of this helps?
    Yes. Very much! It's all so different and interesting. I can see pro's and con's to it all. Thank you.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Bolero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    982
    Uniforms - I went to a state school in the UK and there was a school uniform. I see uniformed kids around the place at school kicking out time. Navy blue is a really popular colour with uniforms. Not universal, but popular.
    These days it looks like girls can wear trousers with school uniforms.
    Still seeing blazers (which are actually quite useful - all sorts of pockets to stick stuff in).
    Varies between schools as to how strictly uniforms are enforced, whether you have to wear flat walking shoes in black or fancier shoes are allowed, whether make-up is allowed.
    Part of the idea with uniform was to remove visual differences between rich kids and poor.
    My school certainly had a second hand uniform supply to help out those on low income.
    "People don't live on the Disc any more than <....> they live on balls. Oh, planets may be the place where their body eats it tea, but they live elsewhere, in worlds of their own which orbit very handily around the centre of their heads." Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Bolero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    982
    Further thought - cars. US films the older kids at high school have cars. Not ever known it in the UK - and not ever known "student parking" either. Often there is a struggle to have enough parking for the teachers......
    No idea in Europe, but it is something else to bear in mind.
    "People don't live on the Disc any more than <....> they live on balls. Oh, planets may be the place where their body eats it tea, but they live elsewhere, in worlds of their own which orbit very handily around the centre of their heads." Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent.

  8. #8
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    53
    I have come across mention of that in my internet searches. Do parents drive their kids to school? Or do they walk, ride bikes, or take a bus? Or is it a combination?

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Both sides of the Atlantic
    Posts
    109
    At high school level, the kids take a normal public bus (or bike or walk if they live close enough). There are no special school buses like the big yellow ones in the States. At certain times of the morning, the regular buses are full of kids age 10 and up, and a few people who take the bus to work. Kids have a special discounted pass they have to show to ride.

    No one drives. There's no student parking, only for teachers and staff. Driving school costs a ton of money here and kids can't get a license until they're 18, as far as I know.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Bolero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    982
    Parents do also drive their kids to school, but at the High School I went to, they were banned from using the bus pull in as it was too many vehicles manouvering in too tight a space. They'd pull in further up the residential street. It is one of the hazards of living near a school - at school start and end times, there is suddenly no parking as all the parents turn up and park on the road side as near as they can get to the school.
    But most of us were on the bus or on bicycles or the ones living nearby would walk home. I liked bicycles better except in very bad weather - I'd certainly cycle in the rain, waterproof trousers and coat, then change out of them when I got to school. The school did have bike sheds for the kids bikes - open sided, with a roof, and racks you could chain your bikes in.
    With the public service bus - green where I lived - the route was three sides of a square compared to the route I could go with cycling. There was often the same driver on the route so there was a small degree of waiting for kids who were late - but only for a couple of minutes. That was in a rural area - picking up from villages and taking us into the town. In a city I'd be surprised if any bus would do that - but there are much more regular buses.
    Trains can also be used - in my day it was a free ticket, but probably a discount these days. The local authority used to work out the shortest reasonable journey - so they weren't allowed to make you wait for two hours for cheaper transport.
    In rural areas, if there is no regular bus service and only a few kids going in one direction, then a taxi might be used - the parents usually have to pay for that.
    If kids are going off the school grounds to an event - like a music competition - then they might be taken there by a public service bus doing a private journey, or it might be a 52 seater tourist coach. The school might own a mini-bus and if there are few enough kids going somewhere, that is what would be used. But the minibus is a lot smaller than a yellow bus. It might or might not have a school logo on it (more likely if a fee paying school) and it will be whatever colour it was when they bought it. Metallic grey or white seems popular.
    Last edited by Bolero; 11-16-2017 at 07:18 PM.
    "People don't live on the Disc any more than <....> they live on balls. Oh, planets may be the place where their body eats it tea, but they live elsewhere, in worlds of their own which orbit very handily around the centre of their heads." Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Max Vaehling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bremen, Germany
    Posts
    1,079
    In Germany, the legal driving age is 18 when most of us are almost done going to school anyway, so the shools' parking spaces aren't really laid out for too many students. Well, maybe the older ones. Kids who just got their car and license will drive to school if only to show them off, but a lot will just kep cycling or taking the bus. (Germans are reputed to love cars and driving, but not as much as Americans do. Cycling is actually pretty normal here.)

    I'm not sure about dedicated school busses, btw - they are certainly a thing in less populated areas, but in my school at the edge of a big town, we just took the public-transit bus.

  12. #12
    Cat whisperer Mark HJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Cornwall, UK
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    In private schools it will be different and in public schools (that's a very expensive, very exclusive kind of private school, where the upper classes and mega rich send their kids) it will be even more different but I have no experience of those.
    I went to a UK Grammar School, which is sort of a private school, but I had to pass an exam to get in and for clever kids from poorer backgrounds (i.e. like me) there were financial support mechanisms to offset the fees - the better you did in the exams, the better the financial support - they were selecting for the top couple of percent. Certainly in Bristol, the Grammar Schools were very competitive both academically and in sports. When I was there, one afternoon was given over to sports, one afternoon a week was 'free time' and we went in on Saturday mornings.
    This was an all-boys school, although now is co-ed.
    Sports - rugby, hockey (field), cricket, athletics - with a wider range to choose from for the older pupils.
    Transport - I went by bus, with no concessionary fares back then. In later years, a friend's dad dropped us (me+friend+my sister) off and my mother picked us up in the evening.
    Dances? Nope.
    Cliques? You bet. Great divide number one: I hated rugby.
    We were divided into three streams at the end of the first year - the brightest 40%, the middle 20%, the bottom 40%. There was a later reshuffle to shift that to brightest 20% and middle 40%.
    Student cars - no chance. I don't know what the current regs are, but back then I was able to start learning to drive when I was 17, but didn't pass my test until I was over 18 and at uni. Even if I had passed and had a car, there would have been no parking at the school.
    Hell Of A Deal on AmazonUK AmazonUS
    Writing On The Edge
    of Bodmin Moor - a blog of life and writing on a small farm.

  13. #13
    Cantina's Official Doggy Poster Religion0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    On that sandy little pile of darkness and seaweed known as Denmark
    Posts
    1,807
    So I can only speak for Denmark, and not even too much. High school is ages 14-18-ish, right? So that's mostly just school for us, as that ends when we're 16/17. The Danish system is: school 9 or 10 years, optional after-school 1 year, gymnasium/HF 2 or 3 years, university or trade school. After-school is a sort of boarding school for people who want either another year before they commit to the career choices implied in gymnasium/HF or who want to try living away from their parents without the commitment of actually moving out (it's oddly popular with people on the autism spectrum), or who need another year to get into HF (you have to be 18 or older). The 10th year of school is optional and not popularly chosen. I don't think you'd be too wrong to think of the last few years of school as an extended middle-school.
    HF is usually geared towards adults who want a career change but need some more gymnasium level classes to get into their new education, but many teens also go there to get around the debauchery of gymnasium or just really want to streamline their education and only take the necessary classes to get into their higher level education of choice. I personally went to HF, so I got to be in a classroom of mostly adults who wanted to be there (I was the youngest, while the oldest was 30 years older than me), which the teachers were grateful for. HF can, depending on what classes you need and take, last anywhere from 1 to 3 years, half years included. There're almost no school made social arrangements.
    As I said, I didn't attend the much more popular gymnasium, but my brother did and I visited some. Parties are a big part of the students' lives, as they can legally drink and are suddenly viewed as more adult, to the point where the schools try to throw some of these parties to maybe keep a lid on it (I'm not sure, I was very confused when the principal came to tell my tour group about how they would book a club for an annual party for the students). I don't think cliques are really a thing, and they certainly don't have a hierarchy, though there's probably some tendency for people to flock into somewhat similar social groups. Notably, my asocial brother became very well-known around his gymnasium for always wearing a beret, to the point that complete strangers greeted him by name in his third year. There are some more formal school dances in gymnasium aside from the parties, two, I believe.
    In either case, most kids probably transport themselves to school via either bicycle or public transport, unless their parents find it convenient to give them a ride, only the richest of families would splurge on a car for the kid as they are a great expense. Sports are, at this stage, something kids play in their spare time for fun, maybe for junior clubs or hoping to get scouted, but the schools don't get more involved than having P.E., which might include a super informal tournament between classes or another nearby school.
    AP might be something available to individual students based on the school and the student, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the norm for some levels of certain classes, that they dipped into university territory.
    Classes come in three... intensity levels, I suppose, A, B and C. C is the basic level and lasts generally a year or two, to be replaced with another C level in second year or upgraded to a B level. B lasts two or three years, and probably won't be replaced. A also lasts two or three years and might dip into college level in the last year. Danish on A level is mandatory. A second foreign language (besides English) is mandatory in gymnasium but not HF, it's usually German although both Spanish and French are popular options (one gymnasium offered Japanese).
    In gymnasium and optionally in HF classes are sorted into packages, or lines, from which students choose, with only a few subjects undetermined for free choosing (such as second foreign language if the school has more than German). They can generally switch line in the first six months if they find it doesn't work out for them. An option only available in HF is "single subject" HF where you can pick and choose your classes and subjects, although you need a minimum of 23 hours of school a week to get SU (allowance from the government, only available to 18+).

    I hope this wasn't an incoherent ramble, and that it made some sense you could use. It must have been weird to read "gymnasium" so many times and not have it mean "people exercising".
    There is, in all likelihood, a small cuddly dog holding me hostage by virtue of lying on my foot. In a moment, she will clamber up my body and devour my brain through my nose. Please send help.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ Litke View Post
    *dips a bagel into cream cheese Religion0*
    Quote Originally Posted by PeteMC View Post
    Excel has no love for anything. Excel is made of hate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damoclian View Post
    "[Rel is] a rainbow creamcheese mega awesome cereal fish with sweet eyebrows and big eyes and a generally pleasant face to gaze upon on top of having a wonderful personality!"

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Wisbech, Cambs, UK
    Posts
    6
    In our town, the Grammar School is independent and costs about half the average annual income per pupil (ie 11,000p.a. fees against 25,000 income). It is quite good. A real Public School with boarding costs around 35,000 p.a.
    The High School is free and is called a "Comprehensive". There is a lot of fighting and bullying. The pupils do not learn a lot either and their expectations are low. Staff leave in droves. Leaving age is a ridiculous 18, but you can go to "College" one or two days a week instead.
    Boys (mainly) who are naughty in a school dominated by women teachers, are dumped in one of two Special Schools where they learn very little and stand outside smoking quite a lot.
    We have a real Special School for children who are damaged physically or mentally at birth. It is outstanding.
    Several parents do not send their children to school and educate them at home.
    So I suppose it is rather like the German system - but more unfair. And as to sport - it is not there in any of the above except for after school.
    Last edited by borris2017; 11-29-2017 at 01:17 AM.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dorset, UK
    Posts
    3,175
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic12 View Post
    At high school level, the kids take a normal public bus (or bike or walk if they live close enough). There are no special school buses like the big yellow ones in the States. At certain times of the morning, the regular buses are full of kids age 10 and up, and a few people who take the bus to work. Kids have a special discounted pass they have to show to ride.

    No one drives. There's no student parking, only for teachers and staff. Driving school costs a ton of money here and kids can't get a license until they're 18, as far as I know.
    It's 17, but that's 17 to get your provisional license and start to learn to drive. Most people don't get their full driving license that soon after*. You have to pass the theory test before you can take the practical test. Some kids get their license before they turn 18. Personally, I didn't get my drivers license until I was in my 20s because before that I lived in London and there's no point owning a car in London because it's a total nightmare to find anywhere to park or even to drive anywhere**, parking costs a fortune plus there are congestion charges to pay so a car's a liability. London has the best public transport in the world and I lived on a night bus route.

    *kids who learned the basics of driving offroad pre age 17 may pass their tests quickly after they get their provisional license.

    **apparently the average speed of traffic in 1900 was 11mph, and in 2000 it was also 11mph due to heavy traffic.

    With regards to parents driving kids to secondary school, when I was at secondary school, having your mum or dad drive you in was considered shameful and kids who had to be driven in by parents were dropped off far enough away that the other kids didn't see them being dropped off. Most kids got the bus. Those who lived near enough walked to school. Some kids would cycle in.

    Nowadays a lot of kids will ride a scooter (the push with your foot kind, not the motorbike kind) in to school. My 11 yr old daughter walks to school because it's just around the corner but she will quite often take her scooter instead of walking.
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 11-29-2017 at 01:27 AM.
    my blog - cave people and stuff - an imaginative look at palaeolithic life: http://cavepeopleandstuff.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dorset, UK
    Posts
    3,175
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark HJ View Post
    I went to a UK Grammar School, which is sort of a private school, but I had to pass an exam to get in and for clever kids from poorer backgrounds (i.e. like me) there were financial support mechanisms to offset the fees - the better you did in the exams, the better the financial support - they were selecting for the top couple of percent.
    Dorset has state grammar schools - my daughter goes to one. Most counties don't have these and therefore grammar schools are only for those who can pay. I'm a low income single parent so there's no chance of my kids going to any private school, grammar or not.
    my blog - cave people and stuff - an imaginative look at palaeolithic life: http://cavepeopleandstuff.wordpress.com/

  17. #17
    Cat whisperer Mark HJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Cornwall, UK
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    Dorset has state grammar schools - my daughter goes to one. Most counties don't have these and therefore grammar schools are only for those who can pay. I'm a low income single parent so there's no chance of my kids going to any private school, grammar or not.
    And my 'data' is a decade or four old - things have changed a lot as successive governments have used education as a battle ground for differing ideologies.
    Hell Of A Deal on AmazonUK AmazonUS
    Writing On The Edge
    of Bodmin Moor - a blog of life and writing on a small farm.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search