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.

GCSE changes welcome but why tinker with grading?

Education expert Nevil Chiles, founder of online tuition platform Webtutornet and London and South East private tuition agency Kensington & Chelsea Tutors, gives his views on the GCSE changes announced today…..

 

Finally we seem to be moving back towards a system that actually TESTS students’ abilities but why, why, why change the grading system?? Eight to one?? Possibly a reaction against the unwillingness of Wales and Northern Ireland to endorse the changes?

Time and effort should be employed to make universal changes rather than creating a new grading system and a splintered infrastructure. Should we not be making the system simpler?

I wholeheartedly agree with a move towards more rigorous courses based on end of course examinations; it has been needed for years. Scrapping coursework is also long overdue.

As a History graduate I am delighted that pupils will be required to write essays instead of the nonsense short, pre-structured questions we have become used to.

Actually making pupils think instead of just pass is a giant leap forward if they are true to their word.  Just reading that students will be required to read WHOLE books as if that is something of a move forward is an unbelievable indictment of the present system.

I praise Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss for finally telling the truth and echoing what I’ve been saying for a long time:

“But we do need to start competing against those top performing countries in the world because for too long we’ve pretended that students results are getting better when all that’s been happening is the exams have been getting easier and it’s been a race to the bottom between the exam boards and we need to stop that happening now.”

What needs to happen is that the planned changes need to be implemented as soon as possible but PLEASE with an alphabetic grading system and let’s wave goodbye to the nonsense of A*.

We then need to go further and do a wide-reaching review of course content and sweep away the multiple exam board system. One subject, one examining body. Only then can we have a meaningful comparison of standards within a given pier group.

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

Schools need good wifi access!

Schools lack adequate wi-fi

Only about a quarter of schools in England have good enough wi-fi to get the best out of digital technology, figures suggest.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-21476385 >

Schools obviously need to provide high quality broadband wi-fi to their students but let’s not be too critical. We’re coming out of the worst recession in a generation and many schools are lacking far more than fast broadband. Playing fields for example?

The internet is obviously rapidly becoming an integral tool in education. As MD of http://www.webtutornet.com I obviously have a vested interest in this but I am concerned that the education system needs funding root and branch. Let’s not forget the fundamentals of our schooling whilst continuing to look to the future.

Security is also important. With growth in internet access in schools comes the increased risk of exposing children to unsuitable material.

I love the D of E spokeswoman’s comment, “Head teachers manage their own budgets and are best placed to decide the extent to which they make wi-fi accessible in their schools.” i.e. whatever the issue it’s not our fault.

Total shambles on GCSEs u-turn!

Planned switch from GCSEs to Baccalaureate in England ‘abandoned’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21363396#

I think ‘total shambles’ is an apt description for this!

An exam based system with rigorous testing is what we need but it was a typical political move by Michael Gove to come up with sweeping (Baccalaureate) changes based on little or no consultation.

Once again time and money is wasted without being any closer to an examination system worthy of our nation. JUST MAKE THE EXAMS RELEVANT AND DIFFICULT so that we can properly assess future generations and provide them with a solid education (i.e. one with content that it is relevant for all and stretches the gifted).

Let’s also provide vocational qualifications in schools alongside mainstream academic subjects in the compulsory years. Give everybody the ability to learn and help the less academic to find their path in life without labeling them because they cannot achieve top marks in examinations. Well, we can dream…

Follow on Twitter @webtutornet / @kandctutors

GCSE row just like playground bickering!

Heads warn GCSE battle goes on
Head teachers say they remain committed to legal action in the unresolved dispute over GCSE English grades.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-19891352
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.

SCHOOLS NEED SPACE TO PLAY!!!

New playing space rules opposed
Critics warn new rules on outdoor space for pupils in England to do PE will make it easier for schools to sell off playing fields.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-19263693
In a country with a growing population it is difficult to see that any selling off of school sports facilities is justified. Surely schools should be allowed to expand existing facilities through government funding? Obviously there will be some exceptions where schools are closed or moved to a different site but the whole concept of selling any sports fields seems to me to be absolute nonsense. Changing labels to talk of ‘outdoor space’ is just another way to make them fit for sale. If the statistics below are correct then this situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency:

  • ..an estimated 10,000 playing fields were disposed of between 1979 and 1997 when the Conservatives were in power.
  • 213 playing fields were approved for sale between 1999 and April 2010, under the last Labour government.
  • The education secretary had approved the sale of 21 school sports fields in the past two years.

“Government needs to find a way of making these inspections seem less of a witch hunt”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18255040

Ofsted’s one-day school inspection warning

Education watchdog Ofsted is to introduce “almost no notice” inspections in England, calling head teachers the day before arriving.

In a world where Ofsted inspections are an accepted norm, ‘almost no notice’ inspections are clearly a good idea. If you are going to inspect and judge you need to see how things are, not how things are after frantic all night preparations. That said, just the word Ofsted brings the fear of God into the heart and mind of any Head Teacher. Nobody would refute that inspection and quality control are an essential element to the education system but the government needs to find a way of making these inspections seem less of a witch hunt and more of a way to encourage and support.