"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mr Gove's School Report

It's not like Elizannie to pass up an opportunity to disagree with Michael Gove. He just rattles me whenever he speaks - largely because whatever he says I find usually 100% opposing my own views. I have tried to be fair and mark Gove's examination paper of the school system which has resulted in the new Education Baccalaureate qualification which will come into force in the next few years impartially. But I can't give it a pass rate and these are the reasons why:

How old do I feel now that the exam system for 16 year old has changed *three* times in my life time? CSEs were brought in whilst I was at school and run concurrently with GCE ‘O’ levels which were really divisive – I went to a [really bad] grammar school and the lower forms were not allowed to take ‘O’ levels however good they were at individual subjects. I was in a higher form but had to take ‘O’ levels even in the subjects at which I was really bad! Then the amalgam of GCEs and CSEs: the GCSEs arrived which were supposed to be fairer although with the foundation paper system they were still divisive especially with schools who wanted their rating systems to be based on the number of ‘successes’ on the A-C passes.

And now this, the ‘Gove Levels’. Michael Gove should write out one million times ‘We must not play politics with our childrens’ futures’.

To be fair, there is one thing that I really like about the new system, that one examination board across the country will result in 'a level playing field' for all students - but maybe getting rid of league tables for schools would have been a help too?

If all the money that all these changes will cost is spent in improving the current system instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, surely this would prove a more effective investment? No scheme will ever be perfect but the current system does seem to favour both those who are good at exams *and* those who work steadily throughout the year.

Having worked for some years in education I can of course point to weaknesses of some areas that need improving whilst at the same time recognise strengths in other areas. One area that does not seem to have been addressed so far in detail in the forthcoming system is in the provision of special educational needs like dyslexia and other learning difficulties and I will be reading any announcements in the next few days with interest on these points.

Two examination questions Mr Gove failed to answer are:
1. Why are these 'reforms' not to come into force until after the next General Election?
2. Since the school leaving age is to be raised to 18 why are the 16 year old examinations the 'target' of your venom?

Mr Gove, take note of all those that are examining your results at the moment, please.

Some interesting articles and blogs on this subject:
The Telegraph
The Spectator:Isabel Hardman
The Independent:Richard Garner

Photograph courtesy of Guardian.co.uk

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