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.
Sometimes reading these stories reminds me of overheard conversations among schoolchildren. What hope have we got if institutions like Ofqual can’t just put their hands up and say they made a mistake; like adults? What they did was clearly wrong; they moved accepted goalposts at the eleventh hour. The reasons are now barely relevant – they just need to re-grade to make it fair for all of last year’s cohort, then learn from those mistakes and plan for the future. The fact that Wales is re-grading makes it doubly unfair on English candidates. Stop the bickering and do what’s right.
From the ridiculous to the back peddling. This whole situation with the grading of English GCSEs is a disgrace. How can there ever be any justification for changing grade boundaries for an identical exam in such a short space of time? This is just another symptom of the bankruptcy of the GCSE system; please let’s sweep it away to make way for worthwhile examinations.
Headlining with the message that top A Level grades have fallen masks the overall trend that we have seen for year upon year. As the article says, “The figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications also show that the overall pass rate has risen again for the 30th successive year.” Apart from the fact that nobody seems to understand what constitutes a pass, can anybody really argue that this trend is not simply a reflection of declining examination standards?
As always politicians jump on figures and talk of what marvellous things they have a achieved. Stephen Twigg says that, “These impressive results are thanks to better teaching, better school leadership and Labour’s relentless focus on literacy and numeracy and record investment in schools.”
No they’re not, they are the result of easier exams. If examination boards have to account to Ofqual, have they done so and what have Ofqual got to say about this year’s results? Almost to a man and woman teaching professionals do an excellent job under often trying circumstances but they can only work with what they are given.
The results also showed that independent schools outperformed the state sector. “50% of entries in independent schools achieved A* or A grade, while 23% achieved these top grades in state schools and colleges.”
When I myself taught in the Independent sector the maximum class size was 8. I was able to give ALL of my students the time needed to maximise their potential. You don’t have to be a Mathematician to see the difference. Achieving those numbers in state education is clearly next to impossible but perhaps more teachers and more teaching assistants might help?
Oh, but that costs money! Perhaps the government can sell off some more sports fields to pay for extra staff?