Centralise UK Compulsory Education NOW

Imagine if we had just one body setting examinations for 16 year olds in the UK. The government is constantly looking for ways to save money; printing costs alone would save millions. I don’t think parents and the public in general have any idea of the ludicrous work load put upon Examination Officers these days. At many schools it is a full time job! At many private schools children in the same class will be sitting different exams for the same qualification! Mistakes are often made because of the complexity of so many different papers for the same subjects. Results comparisons are meaningless and standardisation is virtually impossible.

We need ONE body setting the examinations for core subjects at 16 and EVERYBODY should sit identical examinations for each subject. This would save money, raise standards, avoid errors and make statistical comparison of results have some meaning.

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UK education changes cause pupil anxiety

A recent survey of 200 private tutors has revealed a palpable sense of anxiety and uncertainty about the future on the part of many pupils in primary and secondary education in the light of reforms instituted by the coalition Government.

Around 40% of the tutors surveyed stated that their students were exhibiting a lack of confidence in the many changes being announced by central Government to both GCSE and A Level curriculums.

The survey was conducted by online private tuition platform Webtutornet and Kensington & Chelsea Tutors and posed the following question: “How have the changes to primary and secondary education introduced by the coalition government affected your tuition planning and how have they impacted, if at all, on the confidence and readiness of pupils in their coursework and exam preparations?”

Nevil Chiles, who founded Webtutornet in 2012 and is MD of Kensington & Chelsea Tutors, commented: “Since the coalition Government came into power there has been a raft of announcements about radical changes to education and we often forget the impact all of this has on the pupils themselves.

“What we’ve discovered is that it’s all having a negative impact on the confidence levels for a significant minority particularly those considering the humanities as a path forward at degree level.

“There is a lot of uncertainty out there and a lot of mixed messages coming from those in power in this is only complicated by u-turns and amendments to proposed changes,” added Nevil.

One tutor commented: “Whilst students are certainly as prepared as they’ve ever been for exams there is a distinct lack of confidence as it seems that the exam system, with A* at A Level, is increasingly stifling creative thought.

“With the exam system setting out criteria so precisely following the controversies of the past 12 months it seems students are less prepared to demonstrate original thinking because they are tending to become more risk averse.”

Another tutor noted: “Students seem to be more and more confused about their syllabus and this, in turn, affects their approach to exams. They are unsure as to what formats will be in place next year and simply don’t know what is expected of them.”

“Many pupils recognise that the system is a bit of a lottery and they might work hard and think they’ve done well only to find out they haven’t,” said another surveyed tutor.

Nevil continued: “I have personally interviewed over 2,000 private tutors in the past 11 years and the levels of uncertainty expressed by many of their pupils are a genuine cause for concern.

“All private tutors and teachers have to prepare their lessons carefully but they have to be constantly aware of the prevailing zeitgeist in education and curriculum requirements when the goalposts are continually moving as seems to be the case at present,” added Nevil.

For more details visit www.kctutors.co.uk or www.webtutornet.com

ENDS

Make A Levels worthwhile not dumbed down nonsense!

My views in relation to this recent story on A Levels…

A-level plans challenged by school and university heads

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21156370

This is what I have been saying for years. Make A Levels linear and difficult! Universities are not fooled by candidates who relentlessly retake modules. Examinations are about assessing ability not staying power. I totally disagree with Brian Lightman quoted below.

ASCL’s general secretary Brian Lightman said: “The argument that A-levels are not preparing students adequately for university is contradicted by the fact that one in six achieve first class honours – a three fold increase over the last 13 years.”

Achieve first class honours in what subjects at what Universities? ‘University’ entry has exponentially increased over the past decade and not always to renowned establishments providing cutting edge courses. I wonder if Mr Lightman has looked at similar statistics for Oxbridge and the red brick Universities?

The O Levels and A Levels of the seventies are the standards we should be aspiring to.

Hard exams which identify ability across the whole spectrum are a much better reflection of achievement not dumbed-down nonsense pretending everybody is an academic.

VOCATIONAL ELEMENT TO NEW BACCALAUREATE NEEDED!

I think that this announcement is broadly very positive. Getting rid of GCSEs is monstrously overdue. We do need more rigorous testing and we do need single board examinations.
However, extending education for all up to 18 is a mistake. There will always be students who perform badly in academic examinations for a wide variety of reasons. Why is there not a vocational element built in to these changes?
Give academically weaker students the opportunity to study mainstream subjects… they will probably be thankful for it in later life (if not so at the time!). but also let such students study towards skills that will make them employable when they leave school.
Why can’t we have students studying towards being electricians or carpenters alongside the traditional subjects? Let’s not have weaker students ‘catch up’ until they are 18. Armed with a grounding in a trade they could leave school at 16 and find meaningful employment.
Also, why do we have to jump on the Baccalaureate band wagon? Can we not at least be original and not confuse it with all the others?
Follow me on Twitter @kandctutors @webtutornet

Symptoms of a bankrupt GCSE system…

Heads say exam watchdog failed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-19556772

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.