To think that it's time the UK had a GED (High School equivalency) mechanism?

(112 Posts)
Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:11:50

Something similar to the American and Canadian system?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Educational_Development

I've applied for a contract working in an area partly concerned withNEETS (keeping it vague on purpose) so I've been boning up for that interview.

I was also chatting to a Home Edding friend at the weekend about the expense and difficulty of accessing GCSE courses and exams, and particularly about how changes to the GCSE system will make things harder/easier for HEers and the likely effect on the NEET numbers. Then we wandered on to the raising of the participation age and who that might have an impact on.

I've been thinking about it since and it seems to me that anyone NOT getting 5+ GCSEs at 16 (for whatever reason) has an unnecessarily difficult path to 'catch up'. There's absolutely blanket provision for 16-18s and adults to take Maths and English GCSE, but beyond that, it's hard to access Level 2 general education at 16+. Anyone trying is likely to be forced down a vocational route.

So why don't we have a GED-type option? Should we?

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:12:23

(Sorry for all-wikipedia links. It was quickest smile )

froggyjump Sat 21-May-16 12:19:22

so are you suggesting there should be some provision to study, say History, post 16, without having got 5 GCSE's? I'm not trying to be sarky, just understand what you mean.

Don't lots of post 16 provisions still offer GCSE's too? So if they are capable later, they can still study them?

I'm not sure how many young people who are not academically minded would want to continue academic subjects, wouldn't they prefer vocational subjects?

I do think there is a gap there though for young people who want to stop studying - many apprenticeships at this level seem to be mostly college based (or with lots of assignments to do)and it's really hard for young people to get a job

NickiFury Sat 21-May-16 12:26:27

I couldn't agree more. There's many reasons that certain children might not be able to access GCSE's at the supposedly right age and in a mainstream school environment, it should be made far easier to achieve them later and all under one roof so to speak. It's a hell of a lot of work to coordinate and access the five GSE's required though obviously it could be done I suppose but I think a GED type qualification would definitely be more accessible. It should also be available on line too again as it is in the US.

It's a great idea which means it will probably never happen in this country hmm

redexpat Sat 21-May-16 12:30:26

I remember when I think Margaret thingy was education secretary and came up with a plan to scrap GCSEs and develop a new curriculum for 14-18. Nothing came of it but I thought it was interesting.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:30:52

The US GED consists of four papers in Science, Maths, Social Studies and Reading & Writing. So something with that breadth would be good.

Maybe for the UK, English, Maths, Science, Humanities and ICT or an MFL? (top of my head). Just enough breadth to be genuinely equivalent to a broad general secondary school education.

I'm not sure how many young people who are not academically minded would want to continue academic subjects, wouldn't they prefer vocational subjects?

This is true, but there are also academic teens who miss out (or just screw up) at 14-16 due to family problems, abuse, illness, homelessness and that type of issue who would be really suited to get back onto a more academic path but it isn't available.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:32:57

Alison Wolf's proposals red. She made so much sense.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:36:04

It should also be available on line too again as it is in the US.

Yes!

araiba Sat 21-May-16 12:36:31

i just looked at my local college's website and their appeared to be quite a few option available for gcses and alternatives etc

wasonthelist Sat 21-May-16 12:37:25

Does anyone seriously think we should follow anything from the US education system? On the whole I don't see it as a beacon for the rest of the world to follow - Bowling for Columbine is a good illustration.

We used to have a lot of provision for post-16 study, it's been steadily demolished in the name of cost savings. If we stopped pratting about with stuff all the time and just spent a lot more on education, it'd be a lot better.

froggyjump Sat 21-May-16 12:38:48

OK, I get what you mean a bit more, but I think that provision does exist (although it may be patchy) I work with teens with MH issues and have fairly regularly dealt with yr 11's who have not been able to do their GCSE's at the time. So far they have all been able to go on to post 16 education and do GCSE's there - and these are kids from all over the country who return to their own areas.

There does seem to be an issue with school sixth forms, but often these teens want a fresh start in a new college anyway.

Perhaps there needs to be more consistent provision across all areas of the country.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:39:31

Does anyone seriously think we should follow anything from the US education system? On the whole I don't see it as a beacon for the rest of the world to follow - Bowling for Columbine is a good illustration.

I don't think we'd need to scrap gun control to copy a qualification format was grin

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:44:28

i just looked at my local college's website and their appeared to be quite a few option available for gcses and alternatives etc

So far they have all been able to go on to post 16 education and do GCSE's there - and these are kids from all over the country who return to their own areas.

There are some FE colleges that allow 16+ students to take 5 or 6 GCSEs in a year, but it's a minority. I know London HEers following that route tend to flock to just two colleges. There's also a worry that the change to GCSEs will lead to still fewer colleges offering that type of programme (I'm not sure how valid that concern is - I just heard it discussed).

There does seem to be an issue with school sixth forms, but often these teens want a fresh start in a new college anyway.

I think FE colleges are a much more challenging learning environment to sit a whole sheaf of traditional GCSEs in, anyway. Particularly for those still recuperating from something or those with SpLD/Aspergers etc.

NickiFury Sat 21-May-16 12:45:20

I think further education seems to be more accessible in the US in some ways tbh was. I have always thought this. There seems to be a "school" for many career paths and a lot more of them and you don't have to jump through hoops to get into it.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:47:23

I think further education seems to be more accessible in the US in some ways tbh

A lot of US adults seem to be able to do GED by 'night school' too, which would be a good option to have, particularly in this economy.

JinRamen Sat 21-May-16 12:50:15

I think there should definitely be an online option. My dis suffers massively from SEN related anxiety and while he is able to do the work I do not know how he will cope in a massive school hall doing his exams as a private candidate (he is home ed.) we can do equivalences but until they are recognised as such we feel a bit...lost.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:50:26

We used to have a lot of provision for post-16 study, it's been steadily demolished in the name of cost savings. If we stopped pratting about with stuff all the time and just spent a lot more on education, it'd be a lot better.

BTECs seem to grow and grow, though. We can't possibly need that many Music technicians.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 12:52:27

My dis suffers massively from SEN related anxiety and while he is able to do the work I do not know how he will cope in a massive school hall doing his exams as a private candidate

Because as an external candidate that would be a completely unfamiliar environment?

we can do equivalences but until they are recognised as such we feel a bit...lost

Which equivalencies have you looked at Jim

meditrina Sat 21-May-16 13:07:32

Isn't it the US version of old School Cert? Replaced by O levels, then replaced by GCSE.

And OPs suggestion seems to be 'make it possible to take EBACC subjects +ICT at night school'

All sorts of adult courses have been cut from FE colleges in the last two decades it so. It used to be perfectly possible to do what OP describes - take a range GCSEs at college (not a set group of subjects, just whatever you wanted to do). Unfortunately the number of subjects that colleges offer has dwindled in the last 20 years or so.

I'd prefer to see that reversed, rather than introducing yet another whole new qualification, especially if it were to include such a useless and moribund subject as ICT.

JinRamen Sat 21-May-16 13:18:20

It is an unfamiliar environment yes, but he can't cope with being at school either so catch 22 really. We are working through some ALISON certificates as they are free/low cost. We do not have the money to pay for open university, grants aren't available to his age, and we could spread the gsces yes to spread the cost but again we come up against the hall situation. He may at some point be able to go back into mainstream but at the moment he is unable to cope with a small sized two hour class. sad plus he wants to go into an academic field so needs to have something that is recognised. He has a 'diploma' from ALISON already but we have been told by friends it is worthless and he shouldn't have bothered.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 13:18:54

especially if it were to include such a useless and moribund subject as ICT.

grin

It's a fair point; It's not difficult to take ECDL or CLAIT separately if you need it.

Maybe something like Maths, English, Science, Humanities, Social Sciences?

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 13:23:28

He has a 'diploma' from ALISON already but we have been told by friends it is worthless and he shouldn't have bothered.

sad

I've just found this;

www.gedtestingservice.com/testers/locate-a-testing-center?_ga=1.20618104.1379744513.1463831719

So it is possible to take the widely recognised N American GED in the UK (but only in London and again a test centre, although possibly smaller, carpeted, friendlier and the tests are computerised so would that be more anxiety- friendly? Presumably you can schedule whenever you like and dummy runs are possible??)

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 13:24:45

And of course the 'social studies' paper is slanted towards US civics and history.

drspouse Sat 21-May-16 13:27:13

Is this not what Access courses are for? Specifically for those with no formal qualifications who want to go on to HE?

I have no idea how extensive the online options would be but if your DC wants to go to university then it is going to be OU (in which case their starter courses would be suitable and the whole thing is going to be expensive sadly) or else attendance in person, for which a college-based Access course might be a gentle introduction, with more support, to studying in person.

Just5minswithDacre Sat 21-May-16 13:52:53

Is this not what Access courses are for? Specifically for those with no formal qualifications who want to go on to HE?

Access courses are broadly A level equivalent and are only for university entrance, though, I think? So they don't have any status as standalone qualifications (for work purposes for example).

I'm thinking of level 2 rather than level 3 ( I think N.American GED is somewhere between the two). Something that would give access to A-levels and also fulfil '5 GCSEs at A-C' requirements for any job or course.

I think young people who hit a bump in the road after getting their GCSEs have a much easier time of it with far more options available to them. The provision gap is for those who weren't able to get their GCSEs at 16 (and don't want to go the BTEC route).

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