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.

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.

Gove exists in parallel universe – stop politicising education!!!

Gove wants tests for four-year-olds

Education secretary Michael Gove strongly indicates that he wants to introduce formal assessments for four and five-year-olds when they enter school in England.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-26008500

 

On what is Mr Gove basing his sweeping self congratulation? Mr Gove appears to live in some fantasy parallel universe.

 

‘State schools will be able to stay open longer, so that there is more time for after-school activities, and the education secretary has repeated calls for tougher discipline.’

 

Has anybody consulted teachers on these life changing statements? How will teachers be empowered to toughen discipline? Will legislation be passed to allow punishments without the possibility of litigation?

 

Regarding the criticisms by Sir David Bell; I entirely agree. ‘Sir David was part of a group of business leaders and academics who published a report last week calling for a more independent, non-political approach to education policy.’

 

At last somebody talking sense. Michael Gove needs to stop looking in the mirror and actually try and improve the education system apolitically.

 

For me what credibility he might have had is now non-existent.

 

Although Tristram Hunt is commenting from a purely political standpoint (always say the opposite of the other side), I entirely agree that there should be, ‘… a qualified teacher in every classroom.’

 

Be interesting to see what happens with that if Labour get in.

A politicised education system will always fall short!

With regard to the recent news that the UK is lagging behind in terms of global education standards I have to say I’m afraid Mr Gove is clutching at straws,

‘Mr Gove told MPs that his reforms, such as changing the curriculum, school autonomy and directing financial support towards poorer pupils, were designed to prevent schools in England from “falling further behind”.

These ‘reforms’ contribute to the problem, not the solution. Standards have been dropping for years at Secondary Level; not the standard of teaching but the ridiculous system teachers are forced to battle with.

We need a standardised, centrally run system with challenging exams and meaningful vocational qualifications running in tandem. If you fill students’ heads with the nonsense that they are necessarily gifted because they achieved a A* (ludicrous idea!) they are naturally going to believe it.

Unfortunately achieving a top score in a less challenging exam is going to leave you lagging behind your piers who were properly tested.

Unfortunately a heavily politicised education system designed to produce results, not education, will always fall short.

These results are a clear demonstration of its failure.

I must reiterate that the hard working teachers on the ground are entirely blameless; they can only deal with what they are given.

Will nobody reverse this obvious downward spiral?

 

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.

 

 

Start education at age 6 or 7 is a good idea!!

Here’s my take on the following story from BBC education

School should start above age five

Children should not start formal school lessons until the age of six or seven, a group of educationalists says.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-24058227

 

I broadly agree with this report. With young children of my own I can see how they would benefit from less formal schooling in the early years. An early start to the ‘three Rs’ also means that the spectre of super competitive parents begins earlier in a child’s, life bringing with it the associated pressures.
Younger children should be allowed to play more; it helps them develop as people and the interaction that it inevitably entails will help to build their social skills.
Perhaps Elizabeth Truss should meet up with her Parliamentary colleagues to discuss how the gap between rich and poor can be narrowed through good governance rather than framing educational issues against a social background.
Talking about testing and evaluating reception age children is truly idiotic – let the teachers teach. Just more political nonsense.

 

 

 

 

Private tuition risks learning gap… cuts take their toll!!!

COMMENT FROM NEVIL CHILES, MD OF K&C TUTORS & WEBTUTORNET

BBC website story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23973213

It has to be true that pupils receiving extra help will be at an advantage.

For almost all students receiving private tuition there will be a cost and so cold hard economics will obviously come into play.

Here at K & C Tutors we were involved with Westminster Council in a scheme called Making Good Progress which gave struggling pupils ten hours of both and English and Maths tuition during school time and funded by the government. Unfortunately the scheme ended with the sweeping public cuts following the recent economic downturn.

Surely this kind of project is the way forward to bridge the gap?

One exam stream for each subject needed!

More pupils taking GCSEs earlier

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-23521378

The fact that students are retaking subjects using different examination boards once again clearly outlines the shortfalls in the present system.

There should be only one examination stream for each subject in compulsory education. Otherwise, how can we possibly compare pier groups accurately?
Taking exams early is often used by schools to attempt to get struggling students through and giving them the opportunity to retake in the year that they really should have been taking the qualification. This is gaming the system but with schools involved in an inquisition-type system with league tables it is a natural thing to do. The only way to prevent this happening is to implement strict age guidelines for taking examinations.

Only in exceptional circumstances should children in the incorrect age band be allowed to sit the exams.

Pupils ranked at 11..disappointing and destructive

Here’s my take on the recent news that 11-year-old pupils will be ranked against peers…

** Pupils face national rankings at 11 ** Primary school pupils in England could be ranked directly against their peers across the country, under plans to change performance measures.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-23334334

Disappointing and destructive is exactly how I see these proposals! Has this really been thought through? Raising the standard to an 85% pass mark of an assessment that hasn’t even been decided upon yet??

As a father of three children I feel strongly that to constantly label younger children is very damaging especially to those that are doing less well.
Surely this measure would mean a huge increase in workload for already overworked teaching staff. Why do politicians keep making new policies which are obviously just measures to try to demonstrate that they are doing something.

Please can we let teachers teach not pile them high with more bureaucracy.