GCSEs should be overhauled – AT LAST SOME SENSE!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19454838

Has somebody with the power to change our uselsess Secondary Examination system finally come to their senses?

Sir Michael Wilshaw is talking sense. But let’s not just overhaul useless GCSEs, let’s scrap them completely and install a challenging, relevant examination regime with a single qualification for each subject. Let’s do away with the nonsense of multiple exam boards at the same time – PLEASE.

We need to do this NOW so that we have a stable system moving forwards. Perpetual change is also very damaging to students and teachers alike.

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Streaming and Setting. Should we or shouldn’t we?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29051923

Surely this is a sensible policy? By reducing standards and allowing almost everybody to ‘pass’ their exams the government has entered into a world where the difference between students is being masked. Not everybody is an academic and that doesn’t matter. Every pupil should be given an equal chance. Gathering people of similar abilities together is surely going to make teaching easier and more efficient. It also introduces (DARE I say it) competition; something that we are surrounded by every day of our lives. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s hard enough taking my 8 year old son to football tournaments where everybody ‘takes part’ but nobody wins. God forbid that somebody should lose!?

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.

Free School head checks scaled back… unbelievable!

** Free school head checks scaled back ** Documents leaked to the BBC show ministers agreed to scrap pre-appointment checks on inexperienced free school heads despite warnings from civil servants.

< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-24653574 >

Why do we allow this sort of thing to happen? Would companies consider employing managers of any description if they had no previous experience?

And yet the government is endorsing a system of ‘free’ schools where no qualifications are required. Although there are perfectly good teaching staff with no formal teaching qualifications, To base an entire teaching hierarchy on this premise is fraught with potential problems.
As in almost any profession or skill there is no substitute for training and experience. Only with plenty of both can quality be guaranteed.
Unfortunately, perpetual changes within the teaching profession over the past decade or so have made it less and less attractive as a career prospect. Mountains of paperwork, league table pressures and backsliding over pension promises are just a few of the reasons why teaching is not appealing to our talented graduates.
Introducing an easy route in is not the answer. The answer is proper training, proper pay and a clearer, less complicated education system. If we had this, teachers might get the respect they deserve and encourage future talent to lend their skills. Teaching as a career should be in demand, not a last resort.
Headships should be earned through service and experience in the same way that employees in other fields progress through the ranks as their experience and expertise grow.
This is all just more cost cutting in disguise. And as with all cost cutting the victim is quality.

 

 

LET TEACHERS TEACH RATHER THAN FINGER POINT!

Here’s my take on this story that appeared recently on the BBC website…

Schools failing brightest pupils

A culture of low expectations is letting down bright children in England’s non-selective secondary schools, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw says.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-22873257

It’s always wise to be slightly suspicious of sweeping conclusions based on narrow statistics. The advent of League Tables pushes schools to achieve certain benchmarks; these are not necessarily aimed at higher achieving students. The important thing is for the government to sweep away as much red tape as possible and let the teachers teach. There is obviously a need to monitor standards and progress, and students of all ability levels need to be encouraged and given the best teaching and opportunities available.

The problem with finger pointing is that it has a very negative effect on teachers’ morale. It is an inescapable truth that demographics has a significant effect on the personality and ability of a school intake.
Teachers with more challenging students should be encouraged in their efforts rather than pigeon-holed as failing.
We need to encourage our teachers rather than setting them absolute goals that more often than not push them into the middle ground – the more gifted can be left to their own devices because they will pass the ‘C’ boundary and the lower achieving students receive more help to get them to that benchmark. This is an inevitable outcome of the league table system.

 

 

 

 

THE PRIVATE TUTORIAL SET TO CHANGE FOREVER

– Easter is the time when demand for private tuition starts to increase with end of year exams on the horizon

– The number of parents enquiring about online face-to-face tuition is on the rise

– 60% of those taking private tuition are female

– Tuition requests for the 6-11 age group up 20% due to 7+ exam

– Tuition requests from pupils direct doubled in the last year

– Mothers continue to be the main drivers when it comes to opting for private tuition

 

The face of private tuition looks set to change forever according to education expert Nevil Chiles!

 

Despite the economic situation the demand for private tuition continues to rise with a growing number of enquiries from parents and pupils specifically requesting an online variation.

 

That’s the finding of Kensington and Chelsea Tutors, a private tuition agency that’s operated across London and the South East for the past 11 years, and its associated pioneering online platform Webtutornet which allows pupils and tutors to connect for face-to-face private tuition over the internet.

 

Webtutornet, and other online tuition resources, represent the future of private tuition according to founder Nevil Chiles, MD of K&C Tutors: “Delivering private tutorials online will soon become the norm as today’s media savvy Facebook generation recognise the inherent advantages.

 

“The days of tutors travelling through rush hour traffic to deliver a lesson at a pupil’s home are numbered.

 

“Webtutornet is one of the solutions available that offer parents peace of mind with a safe, secure and closely monitored service.

 

“It costs £50 to register with everyone who signs up receiving a pack with webcam, microphone and smart pen and pad to allow for the online sharing of resources. No software is required.

 

“We are approaching the busy period for private tutors. Easter tends to be a watershed with many parents and a growing number of pupils themselves, recognising the importance of topping up their classroom education and preparing effectively for those all important exams in the summer.

 

“We’ve seen a very clear increase in the numbers requesting an online approach and that trend is sure to continue,” added Nevil who has worked within education as a teacher and academic for over 20 years.

 

That trend is one of a few that Nevil and his team have identified. There has been a 20% increase over the course of the last 12 months in 6-11 year-olds opting for extra curricular tuition due to the introduction of 7 plus tests and pupils themselves are increasingly taking the initiative and organising their own lessons.

 

“The number of students contacting us direct has doubled in the last year,” continued Nevil “from one in twenty to around one in ten but mothers continue to be the main driving force when it comes to extra education.

 

“From the start with K&C Tutors in 2002 we’ve seen a consistent 60%-40% split with more females opting for private tuition. Perhaps the girls are more conscientious?” added Nev.

 

One recent convert to online private tuition is mother-of-three Mrs Rifat from Oxfordshire but she had her initial concerns.

 

“The single most important consideration as a parent is that the system is safe and secure and that the tutor involved has been vetted by the tuition facilitator.

 

“You have to have peace of mind if you are to entrust your child’s education into the hands of a relative stranger online and I found it important personally to chat initially online with the tutor that we use. That puts your mind at rest.

 

“Secondly you must be confident that the information shared during the lesson remains confidential and secure and this is very much the case with solutions such as Webtutornet.

 

“Since then each and every lesson has gone very smoothly and it’s a simple and easy way of delivering private tuition,” added Mrs Rifat.

 

Each and every K & C tutor is personally vetted by the company. In fact Nevil himself has interviewed over 2,000 to date with every successful applicant undergoing strict checks and CRB accreditation.

 

There are significant advantages from the tutor’s perspective as Angad Rihal, a maths teacher engaged by Mrs Rifat, explained: “This is a truly bespoke solution that has been developed for the student with teaching in mind. The ease of use clearly shows it has been masterminded by people in the industry and is far superior to just using dabble board or Skype.

 

“This is finally bridging the gap between the internet and private teaching which is long overdue and fitting given the tech savvy zeitgeist.

 

“It also saves a lot of time on travelling to the homes of students which, with traffic the way it is, can be a priceless advantage!” added Angad.

 

Nevil summarised: “Systems such as Webtutornet allow tutors and pupils to be anywhere in the world when conducting lessons. It is inevitable that this approach will become the norm!”

 

The future is here and it’s clear that Webtutornet is in the vanguard of the changing face of private tuition!

 

For more details visit http://www.webtutornet.com

Free school sites…plugging the dam with tissue paper!

** Free schools site rules to change **
Changes to planning rules in England will make it easier for new free schools to open in offices, hotels and shops from this summer, the government has confirmed.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-21197489 >

Just another knee-jerk way of saving money with little or no thought for standards, facilities or conditions. Anybody with any sense knows that devolving the education system makes for a disparate, disorganised system lacking standards and standardisation. Free Schools ‘…cannot be run for profit.’ but charities (as many private schools are) do not make profit. 

However, profit is just the difference between income and expenditure. Salaries of staff in charities are not controlled, increase the salary, decrease the profit. We haven’t made any money again sir…

This is plugging holes in the dam with tissue paper. Cannot any government ever have a decent, sensible long-term plan?