Schools ‘must do more’ to help disadvantaged pupils – Are they presently not trying??

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29478935

Schools and teachers are not to blame for social immobility, disadvantage and poverty. This is a grass roots social problem, so blame can really only be apportioned in one direction – towards the Government; past, present and future.

There is an implication here that schools and teachers carry a bias. Teachers want to teach and they want ALL their pupils to succeed regardless of their social status. The suggestion that they can and should ‘do more’ for those with less is insulting to the profession.

The government needs to cut the red tape, unify the system and support teachers better instead of always making them the scapegoats for problems which are totally unconnected to the classroom.

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Academy regulation ‘too weak’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29219757

Unfortunately this is what can happen when you give these schools free reign with their budgets and accounting. The system for non academies where local authorities award funds after consultation creates checks and balances. That system is not perfect, but at least it is fair. In a local authority containing a mixture of academies and local authority run schools funding is not balanced, with academies getting greater sums of money. This system leads to the elitism that the original ethos of academies – to help struggling schools – was designed to prevent.

Top GCSE grade to be given to just 3% in English and maths

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29162249

Just read the table below and wonder at how this is going to pan out. Everybody will be totally confused from students through to employers and universities. Why can’t the government just admit that terrible mistakes have been made and rectify them. A* always was an idiotic idea – basically an admission that exams are too easy. And exams ARE too easy. Does anyone at the D of E understand what the terms ‘Examination’ and ‘Testing’ literally mean? Go back to A-E grades that everybody understands and make the exams hard. Surprise, surprise, only the top students will get top marks.

“The new approach will also mean:

  • Broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a Grade 7 or above as currently achieve an A and A*
  • For each examination, the top 20% of those who get Grade 7 or above will get a Grade 9
  • The bottom of Grade 1 will be aligned with the bottom of Grade G”

Ofsted warning over provision for school leavers

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29145874

We need PROPER vocational skills taught in schools alongside core subjects. Help the less academic gain vocational skills whilst still having the opportunity to study mainstream academic subjects.

Improve Compulsory Education for Future Generations

We are being left behind by the rest of the world because our compulsory secondary education system is confused, complicated and not testing enough.

Standards have been dropping year upon year for decades, reflected in higher and higher ‘pass’ rates and a greater quantity of ‘top’ marks. Look at the attached Graph. O Level & GCSE Achievement 1953 -2009

(Source: House of Commons Library – Standard Note SN/SG/4252 – Social & General Statistics)

This lowering of standards has fed right through to Higher Education. Top Universities are finding that freshers do not possess the knowledge which their high marks should reflect. Mathematically heavy subjects are particularly badly effected. Engineering Undergraduates at top Universities often have to have extra lessons in Mathematics because their assumed and necessary knowledge of Mathematics is just not there.

This is because we have dumbed down our examinations.

There needs to be a revolution in the examination system and it needs to happen NOW.

Through Kensington & Chelsea Tutors I come across students from all over the world. I have been consistently shocked by how we are being left behind by other nations, particularly in the 11 – 16 age range. The difference is particularly noticable in Mathematics and Science where students abroad are tackling far more testing material than students of the same age in the UK.

Unless this changes the future looks bleak; we need reform to keep the UK competitive.

Get rid of GCSEs now and standardise grading!

Hopefully the public at large realise that this is just statistics, although I fear they don’t. Rattling off comparisons with GCSEs’ twenty five year history is nonsense. Things have so often been muddled, confused and changed that making year on year comparisons is meaningless. It’s interesting that the proportion of differing grades is cited but how those grades are arrived at is not. What percentage did students have to achieve to gain those grades? With inflated results and relentless, year-on-year ‘improvement’ people began to grasp the impossibility of what was occurring. Politicians realised that with even a passing glance it was obvious to everybody that this could only reflect a deterioration in the quality of the qualifications set. Lo and behold fewer students are getting top grades to deflect from the real issue – GCSEs need to be swept away in favour of more challenging examinations with all students sitting the same examinations for all subjects.
 
 

Face to face online private tuition that’s NOT Skype!

A pioneering new online tuition service has recently launched in the UK that will revolutionise the delivery of private, personalised, home-based learning for English, Maths, French and many other subjects.

 

Webtutornet.com, established by Nevil Chiles of Kensington & Chelsea Tutors Ltdhas been in development for two years. It allows teachers and tutors to deliver personalised lessons to students using the internet.

 

Nevil, who has worked within education both in the UK and abroad for over two decades, explained: “This is the first online tutorial resource that has been specially designed to exactly mimic the experience of a one-to-one lesson without leaving home.

 

“This is not Skype! We have written the software specifically to do the job. It has all the facets of a live lesson but teacher and pupil could be on opposite sides of the planet! It is the result of two years of hard work,” added Nev.

 

Teacher and pupil can see and hear each other, share and annotate documents and ‘write’ on documents using a specialised mouse. There is a virtual notepad, Open Office to work with popular document formats and a number of other innovations and features.

 

The new site features a number of informative videos that clearly explain the process for both tutors and pupils.

 

Nev went on “Initial feedback from both students and tutors has been immensely positive. Home visits for private lessons will continue but I firmly believe that this offers an excellent alternative for the delivery of private learning.”

 

After registering, each tutor and student receives a set of equipment that includes a headset, a webcam and a mouse pad with specialised mouse that is used like a pen. There is no software to download as the system is entirely web based but files and documents can be safely and securely shared online between tutor and student.

 

Nev added: “The ethos behind webtutornet.com is more than just to provide a way of delivering lessons online, it is also to create a social network for learning.

 

“The tutors set their own rates of pay and you can study their profiles and availability to select the tutor that best fits your needs. It offers all the subjects you would expect but the sky really is the limit, both in subject matter and the location of teachers and students,” added Nevil who set up Kensington & Chelsea Tutors in 2002.

 

One of the first tutors to use the system gave it a definite thumbs up. Angad Rihal, who provides tuition in Maths, amongst other subjects, commented, “Webtutornet offers an innovative method for delivering lessons to students. As a tutor it provides me with unrivalled flexibility and helps to incorporate technology and IT into private teaching.”

 

As Adrian Chiles, who hosts the site’s video content, says, “Learn about anything, at anytime, anywhere. It’s just like having a personal tutor at home, virtually!”

 

For more details visit www.webtutornet.com or follow on Twitter @webtutornet.

http://www.pressbox.co.uk/detailed/Education/Online_Tuition_Moves_Forward_with_Webtutornet_958521.html