Last week, the Secret Teacher spoke about discrepancies between how schools in affluent areas assess their students compared to others.

This week, they expand upon that topic and discuss how it relates to the general wellbeing of schoolchildren, as well as how schools equip their pupils for challenges they will face as adults.

When these schools mark prelims they will be extremely harsh, rather than do what we do in my school which is work with the SQA markers and moderate our marking to ensure that there is integrity and consistency, which is not easy to accomplish in a subject like English.

I remember Herald education writer James McEnaney talking about how the system works for who it works for. I see this as a trend that is only seen in the affluent schools, and is hand-in-hand with the national picture of league tables measuring wealth, and the attainment gap being as wide now as it ever has been. 

The Herald:
There’s nothing wrong with showing a young person that your goals are going to be very challenging but are achievable, rather than framing it as this big monster that’s going to destroy you if you don’t sacrifice your social life. 

I would much rather teach young people that with a good bit of planning and scheduling, you can still devote time to preparing for your exams but you can still have a life. You can socialise, and you can be with your family and friends. That’s a skill that they should be bringing into the big, bad world, when they start doing their jobs.

Read more:

The Secret Teacher'Affluent schools can inflate results through fear – it frustrates me'

I worry that otherwise we’re going to normalise very poor work/life balance. The aim for the wealthy schools is to instil this study at all costs culture, but investing in their future mental health and their emotional toolkit to cope with pressure at work when they get older. 

The Herald:
Marking them more in line with the exam way of marking earlier is better. If a child recognises that they are doing really well at English now, it’s just about being honest and telling them to maintain it and not slack off. 

If they’re not doing well, then you can talk to them about pulling their socks up. 

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If you instil a culture of being subjective and not having the same bland, textbook approach to every child, I would not be shocked if the young person feels more valued, because they can recognise that a teacher isn’t just saying the same thing to each student, and that they’re not copying and pasting their report cards. They are actually thinking about that individual. 

Education is a luxury, and we’re lucky to live in a country where we can get it freely to a certain standard, but that doesn’t mean that it should be negligent or half-arsed.