Monday, 19 October 2009

Education in Bristol - a tale of two cities?

This press release on education in Bristol (with links to information on other cities) popped into my inbox over the weekend. Interesting stats, although it should be noted that they're based on current constituency boundaries.

Bristol East currently has the highest number of people with no educational qualifications in Bristol. At an educated guess (excuse the unintentional pun) I'd say that this is largely attributable to Lawrence Hill and Easton wards, which will be going into Bristol West at the next election. The new Bristol West seat will include some of the most affluent/ educated parts of Bristol, and some of the least. Can I suggest that a lad from Hartcliffe with a degree in astrophysics might be well suited to be the next MP?


SteveL said...

1. Nothing wrong with astrophysics, and it's good to see you encouraging science as opposed to arts degrees. In fact, I am disappointed to see that the tables don't actually discount arts degrees entirely.

2. Diract and Higgs, both famous Physicists, grew up in Bristol -we should do more to honour them. Most people haven't even heard of Dirac, let alone know about how he came -through maths- to propose the existence of Antimatter, way before anyone created any.

3. The search for antimatter in cosmic rays is exactly the kind of thing to keep astrophysicists busy.

If we are going to have astrophysicists from Hartcliffe, we have to look at what has gone wrong with Britain's educational system -and those of us in Bristol W. who do have a science degree on our CVs need to get out into the other parts of the city and teach it. As while I love hanging round "Dirac's Quarter" of the city, it aint going to help the Hartcliffe kids who like science to get the local university, is it?

Gareth said...

Interesting that while bristol east is low it also does ok for people with degrees as well - certainly reflects the people I know in the area!

Kerry said...

Interesting comment, SteveL - I know that a while ago one of the South Bristol schools didn't have a single permanent science teacher. I hope that's been resolved now; certainly the (east Bristol) head I spoke to last week said recruitment is much easier now, I guess partly because of economic situation but also because schools performance has gone up, making them a more attractive proposition for job applicants.

I hope you don't think I was disparaging people with astrophysics degrees - it was intended as a recommendation and an exhortation to vote for Paul Smith in Bristol West at the next election! He was also a maths teacher, I believe.

Gareth - you're right. Bristol East is a real mixture, and what's great is that people from different background actually mix with each other, Easton/ Eastville being prime examples.

Anonymous said...

Astrophysicists - we may be in the gutter but we are looking at the stars

SteveL said...

I didn't know Paul Smith had studied astrophysics. I am strongly supportive of more MPs have a maths/science background as it stops the government viewing truth as a malleable item, and will make science and engineering related decisions -including big environmental ones- more aligned with the scientifically perceived truth. Take for example, Mandleson's recent proposed crackdown on copying music and DVD online. Whoever came up with his plan must work for a record company, as it isn't workable from a technical perspective. It's exactly the kind of marketing-driven ideas we don't need.

SteveL said...

As an aside, watching Panorama to see if there is any coverage of my stolen bike, I worry that science isn't the only bit of the curriculum that Southmead's youth are not catching up on. That's Bristol North West, right?

The Bristol Blogger said...

Obviously we need to get kids from South Bristol into schools in West Bristol.

How about 50% of the entrance to Redland Green School to be by lottery open to anyone in Bristol?

seebag said...

Bristol Blogger - do you know the difference between HCF and LCD, and which do you think might prevail after your suggestion ?

The Bristol Blogger said...

Redland Green School's entry already represents the lowest common denominator - ie. money.

I suppose if you wanted the highest common factor, you might introduce entry by intelligence.

I was doing the population of Redland a favour with entrance by lottery.

At least 50% of them get in. With entry by intelligence 90% + wouldn't get in.

seebag said...

BB - I was actually looking a bit further ahead towards the educational outcomes stemming from your suggestion. Will the dimmer kids get pulled up, or will the brighter kids be dragged down - I know which one my money is on.

The Bristol Blogger said...

Why would 50% of kids drawn from across Bristol be dimmer than kids in Redland?

It's already a comprehensive school.

Bear in mind too that parents prepared to transport their kids across the city on a daily basis and commit the time and money to do that are likely to be good parents.

Generally good educational outcomes are based on the quality of parental input rather than the perceived dimness of people based on their postcode.