Gove to announce scrapping of GCSEs

(592 Posts)

But before anyone is taken in by the leak announcement in the Daily Hate Mail here, take the time to then read this for a more informed version.

With any luck they'll be out of a job in 2015 when this is sposed to be brought in, but there's no doubt GCSEs will be scrapped. What I woud hope is that Labour will get is finger out and propose a system that has had full consultation with schools, teachers, employment agencies, industry chiefs and unions.

It will change how every child is currently taught at secondary school. And I hope that doesn't mean some children's futures are determined by the age of 11.

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 10:18:12

According to the BBC version, Labour do not oppose this, as long as it is "not a cap on aspiration" (whatever that might actually mean). So I think we can take it as read that it will happen. Detail to be announced on Tuesday.

Thanks, have read BBC story now. Labour's comment is referring to two-tier system Gove originally liked (like O levels vs CSEs) but he has gone back on this now.

We do need change. But what object to is: lack of consultation; leaking to right-wing press (esp as Gove was challenged about this in font of the select committee on Tuesday), but most of all the DM take on it, which will mean that people like my PILs will read and believe.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Sun 16-Sep-12 10:29:41

I feel sorry for the children caught up in the changes. Which current year groups will be affected?

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Sep-12 10:32:44

I have a horrible feeling that it will be current Y7's if they start their GCSE's in Y10 which will be 2015? But DC's school start GCSEs in Y9, so maybe they will be the last of the old-style?

flatpackhamster Sun 16-Sep-12 10:33:05

He's also planning to scrap the competing exam boards.

New qualification will be introduced 2015 with first exams taken in 2017. But the ks3 curriculum will have to change somewhat too, to accommodate change Ofsted kills emphasis.

My dd1 is just 11 so she will take the 2nd year of these exams.

Exam board scrapping will happen earlier than this I think. And without a doubt all exam board marks and boundaries will be forced to standardise and have the same by end of this academic year.

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 10:36:03

I think scrapping competing exam boards is definitely a good thing.

What, if any, will be the effect on IGCSE? Or will this continue much as it is, and the GCSE become much more like it?

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 10:41:17

How will this affect Secondary choices for those currently going through the application process, with DC's in Y6? How can you choose a Secondary for your DC if you have no idea how they will manage the new system?

And if marks are standardised across exam boards for this/next year, will that be a good or a bad thing for someone with a DC currently in Y10?

Too many questions...

no plans for iGCSEs at the moment, or none that ive heard.

But read this re. Grade standards compared : here

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 10:42:59

What about late developers? Will a two-tier system allow for movement? Or is it strictly tied to their academic achievements at age 11?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 10:44:40

So, Science GCSEs changed for 2011, and then again for 2012, and now again for 2015. I am so weary of it all....

MyNeighbourIsStrange Sun 16-Sep-12 10:45:06

So will current Y10 be the last to take GCSE's? current Y9 be the first to take the new exams? One exam board sounds like a good idea.

So my dc who has just started secondary, along with thousands of other y7s are guinne pigs. Not good for dcs like mine who had sn sad

Well if your dc is in y10 now, the only difference really is that the old C standard would now be classed as a D in reality. Whatever their predicted grades are up to now need to be adjusted up to adhere to the new boundaries.

It also means that a C grade for AQA is in line with a C for Edexcel.

But we're worried about Welsh Board because of the re-grading confusion. Gove has thrown his toys out of the pram after being defied by Leighton Andrews last week and threatened to ban English schools using them Welsh Board have said they will fight this in court. But in the meantime, I worry that a Welsh Board qualification, esp in English, will be devalued.

Gove favours the systems in both Finland and Singapore

The Singapore system also worries me with a high emphasis on tutoring students within an inch of their lives not to mention teachers being placed on suicide watch at exam results time.

My post of 10.33 should have said 'the change of skills emphasis' !

edam Sun 16-Sep-12 10:57:27

Gove is power-crazed.

Someone on the News Quiz said, Gove thinks it's a bad thing if kids get better exam results. So, if we ever got to 100% literacy, he'd make it harder to qualify, and insist every child reads Ulysses before it counts...

MyNeighbourIsStrange Sun 16-Sep-12 10:59:36

Will Uni's and employers know which kids had the harder exams?

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 10:59:46

We have already noticed the grade change (which is even worse further down the grades) - DD had to sit her RE GCSE at the end of Y9, was predicted an 'F', got a 'U'. On marks that her teacher (also her form tutor) said WOULD have got an 'F' last year.

DD bitterly disappointed, she worked her chuffing socks off for an 'F', only to be given no mark at all. sad

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 11:02:16

BBC article here, the Labour comment is in relation to the proposals to be announced on Tuesday and appears to support greater rigour (again, whatever that Actualky means). The longer quotation from Labour at the end is critical of the process, but says nothing about the substance (which is what really matters) other than it's not yet clear (which of course it won't be until the unveiling).

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 11:07:20

MyNeighbourIsStrange universities will, for education is their business and they are dealing with close cohorts. Employers probably won't, but they are looking in less detail, so the important issue at GCSE is the C grade in key subjects.

It absolutely stinks, Couthy, especially for lower ability kids, those who are EAL, SEN or on free school meals. (My blog about it here but don't feel obliged to link, it's just a particular bug-bear of mine).

I do think that, for the 2012 cohort, there will be a general understanding of the chaotic mess that was created and not rectified satisfactorily.

And it will be evident that exams taken Nov 2012 and all those after will be tougher. The new exams will be called something completely new (although not 'Gove levels' as the DM gushed hmm)

BrianButterfield Sun 16-Sep-12 11:22:59

CouthyMow - the main problem with a lot of these reforms is that people object to anything below a C being a GCSE pass, which it is. Of course that overlooks the fact that many, many students work damn hard to the best of their ability to get E, F or G grades. Apparently they deserve absolutely nothing. Just a blank piece of paper. As a teacher in a comprehensive school it makes my blood boil.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 13:08:00

Glad it's not just me looking like
----> angry about this!

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 17:10:28


"What about late developers? Will a two-tier system allow for movement? Or is it strictly tied to their academic achievements at age 11?"

It means that as per 'O' levels and CSE a decision will be made about your child's ability at the age of 13 and (if gove has his way) they will be put on a course/curriculum to suit their level.

madhairday Sun 16-Sep-12 17:15:02

It says in that report the first exams will be in 2017, so next year's year 7 cohort? <may be wrong>

DD is y7, so if it is her year she is a guinea pig just as I was for the first GCSE year, fabulous, and she has sn and does much better with ongoing assessment than one off exams angry

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 17:16:57

Its just more battles for teachers to face.

The Singapore system divides children at 10.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 17:31:58



Just realised one of my links doesn't work. Try this one re. Singapore. (it's not the most positive though sad)

happybirthdayHiggs Sun 16-Sep-12 17:39:22

I thought I'd read that rather than have separate OLevel/CSE type exams, all kids will sit the same exam but will be able to answer questions of varying value, thus allowing all abilities to complete the exam?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 17:42:21


What worries me most about the separation at 10 yr old is that around here the primaries are very good at teaching to the test.

We get pupils that are 2 or even 3 levels higher than they really are. If that locks them into a higher teir test the connotations are going to leave a reaaly bad taste in the mouth.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 17:44:05


Until the actual reports are release it is all rumour.

but it will mean yet another OFSTED change and yet another exam change.

alistron1 Sun 16-Sep-12 17:50:51

I think that the system does need a change - scrapping competing exam boards is a good thing IMHO.

I also welcome a move towards linear courses/terminal exams.

HOWEVER - governments and groups like OFSTED are going to have to accept that grades will go down. Instead of adherence to the current 'one size fits all' system there needs to be an acceptance that for some kids - no matter how much 'value' you add, or how excellent the teaching is - rigourous academic qualifications are not appropriate and that meaningful alternative routes need to be provided.

I would also welcome a move away from league table mentality. This, more than anything else, has damaged the UK education system over the past 2 decades.

A functional skills diploma in english, maths, science, ict is surely more use to kids than a clutch of E's/F's at GCSE/GoveLevel.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 17:54:52

The problem is that gove hasn't indicated a move away from league tables

and with the guaranteed drop in results it means that gove will be able to force more schools to becoming academies.

gelatinous Sun 16-Sep-12 17:57:32

I think this is ridiculous, GCSEs are good qualifications. Yes they can be improved: one (or maybe 2) exam boards is not a bad idea; moving to linear is probably quite a good idea too (would end the sort of issues we've had this year for English for example); and controlled assessements could probably be reduced in number or improved on a bit too, but having a single tier isn't a good plan at all imo.

Before I've even seen the details of these proposed changes I'm just so relieved my dc are old enough to be unaffected.

SomePeopleSayImBonkers Sun 16-Sep-12 18:03:06

madhairday I'm in the same boat as you. DS just started Y7, SN and suits ongoing assessment. All of this not only angers me, but scares me. The only thing that I hang on to is the fact that, at current time, I cant see them being re-elected (although, the may use their secret weapon....Boris). If they are not re-elected, I hope that it slows down the process.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 16-Sep-12 18:08:38

Can't see what this two tier system fuss is all about. The current GCSE has three levels (foundation, intermediate, higher). I think it is wonderful that course work and modules are going. Not that it effects me, my youngest is going into her final year at University.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 18:09:14

Linear exams AREN'T good for everyone! My DD was predicted borderline C/D grades for modular exams, with maybe a couple of retakes in Maths and English.

She is going to leave school with a clutch of 'U's' because of the change to linear exams for the current Y10.

No school in my town offered an APPROPRIATE vocational option for her - the offers town wide were Hair & Beauty, Childcare or Mechanics. DD wants to be a chocolatier.

Does she need to be able to discuss Shakespeare to design her own range of Chocolates? No. Does she need very basic Maths and an excellent range of Catering skills? Yes. Can these skills necessarily be tested in a one-off Catering exam? No.

I am saddened by the disappointment of my DD, and angry that she has been taught through the SEN help she has had over the last 3 years to pass MODULAR exams, and then this change to linear basically rips away her only chance if gaining meaningful employment as an adult.

These changes will benefit those in the top streams the most, the middle streams not so much, and will be frankly DEVASTATING to the lowest streams.

There is never any mention of decent skills based vocational courses in this.

These changes are going to consign a sizeable portion of the next generation to the scrap heap.

I can't begin to express my dismay at this.

One wonders if Sarah Teathers was removed from her post as she was being relatively vocal about the needs of DC's with SEN. Gove does not give two shiny shots about DC's with SEN, or how this new system will negatively affect both their lives and the lives of their parents, who will be forced to support them for ever if they remain unemployable due to the 'bright shiny new' education system failing them even worse than it already does.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 18:12:49

<<Sigh>> Bloody Autocorrect. Gove doesn't give two shiny shits about DC's with SEN. Not shots. Though I fear he would if he could.

SomePeopleSayImBonkers Sun 16-Sep-12 18:13:27

CouthyMowWearingOrange "Gove does not give two shiny shots about DC's with SEN"

spot on

SomePeopleSayImBonkers Sun 16-Sep-12 18:13:58

lol hadn't noticed that myself!

SomePeopleSayImBonkers Sun 16-Sep-12 18:14:29

Gove can jog on

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 16-Sep-12 18:17:47


I doubt that Technology subjects will lose the controlled Assessment aspect as the pupils will need to prove the skills to gain the marks. I am concerned about trying to get pupils to sit 3 hours exams at the end of the course.

wigglybeezer Sun 16-Sep-12 18:26:01

Scotland has just brought in a system which is effectively a two tier system, my DS1 is in the guinea pig year. The lower tier exams are marked in house by the school and only graded pass or fail.

The new curricullum in Scotland is a exploring some of the ideas that gove is talking about but is much nearer the Finnish than the singapore model (no league tables etc, autonomy of schools)) and is "enjoying" a controversial implementation period.

It has some good points but as usual bright but dyslexic pupils like DS1 fall between two schools (he has been put in the lower tier for core subjects and feels the stigma).

wigglybeezer Sun 16-Sep-12 18:26:51

We only have one exam board too, by the way.

happybirthdayHiggs Sun 16-Sep-12 18:32:15

Coming from the era of O'Levels I was very skeptical of the modular way my DC's were taught, but having had 3 DC's go through the education system I have come around to thinking that it's fine. It really isn't that different to having tests at the end of each term in the old manner. And as many university's don't accept resit grades anyway, it really is in the students best interest to do the very best they can first time.
I don't see why a three hour exam should be problematic, if it's what you're prepared for all along you see nothing out of the ordinary about it.
I'm afraid I'm also of the opinion that something seriously needs doing about our exam system. I'm also concerned that with my third (and last) DC taking exams in the last of the GCSE cohort, his results will be dismissed as inferior to the new ones.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 18:39:02

I hate the fact that the frankly brilliant Scottish education system is being messed with too.

I attended schools in both England and Scotland, did Y10 & the start of Y11 in 3 different schools, FC. England, then moved up to S4 in Scotland, asked to be moved down, as I would have been able to defer at P1 stage, wasn't the oldest in the year either, and did Standard Grades.

IMO, Standard Grades were taught to a FAR higher level than GCSE's, the sciences were especially rigorous, and far more in depth than GCSE's. The SG's I took taught to what would be AS level in England, in the same time as GCSE's are sat.

Having experienced exam years in both Countries, (I left in 1999), I feel that the Scottish system was what England should aspire to. To see it being dismantled for 'Curriculum for excellence' is saddening me.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 18:42:46

I'm trying not to even THINK about the 3 hour exam tbh. I don't think DD has been told yet.

How will a 3hr exam in a technology subject work if the DC requires a scribe and a reader and 25% extra time? That will make the exam 3hrs45mins for her...surely that's unfeasible for a DC with SN's?

wigglybeezer Sun 16-Sep-12 19:19:01

Yes Couthy, the Scottish system always seemed simpler and more straight forward than the English system now nobody seems to understand it!

I read in the TES that Singapore are planning to change their system to a system not dissimilar to the new Scottish curriculum, moving away from their very linear/rote based exams.

slipslider Sun 16-Sep-12 19:58:04

He likes the system he wants to put in place as it was how he was educated back in the day. However, as my mum has always told me - she felt inferior to her siblings who were able to take the higher exams. She was a late developer due to ill health and so her grades weren't as they should when needed so she had to access the lower while her elder and younger sister were able to take the higher. She said this hampered her esteem to go onto complete her degree and she always felt like the 'thick' one out of the family. She said it was as if their lives were destined from 11 as to what they would be or achieve and it reflected in the lessons. She is a lot brighter than I am and I have been to uni twice so had she been given the opportunity I am sure she would have flourished in time. It is sad that this is what we potentially are going to do to the future generation and which are going to be the children who are pigeon holed into the lower tier which will impact on their lives forever. Gove was ok in this system as he was obviously in the higher tier and had no understanding of how it felt to be labelled as lower. Get this man out for the sake of all children in education at the moment!

sunflowersfollowthesun Sun 16-Sep-12 20:21:57

With the greatest of respect, slipslider, my exam era was the same as Gove's.. I had three siblings. No I wasn't the smartest, but I was as smart as I could be. Didn't make me better or worse than any of my siblings. My family were just as thrilled with my average results as they were with one of my brother's flying colours, self esteem didn't come into it. Kids know who the smart kids are. They know where they fall in the ranks of their peers now, just as we did then.
I have DC at various stages of education, they differ hugely in subject ability but none them feel inferior/superior to any of the others. Why should they? Surely the deal has to be you do the best you can and that's good enough.
This being the case I don't understand how making the exam system more rigorous makes the slightest bit of difference.
I'm prepared to hear what the man has to say before I dismiss him out of hand. Something needs to be done to restore faith in our children's qualifications.

sunflowersfollowthesun Sun 16-Sep-12 20:23:50

Oh, and meant to say, kids take different levels of the same exams now anyway.

LaQueen Sun 16-Sep-12 20:28:39

I'm all for them.

A genuinely, rigorous exam for all, that tests the academic capabilities of everyone.

I really don't see the point in exams that you can re-sit, several times. Or exams that can be broken down into bite-sized, easily digested elements.

Not everyone is academic. And, having a series of exams created to allow as many non-academic students to pass them as possible, has always seemed a bit pointless to me.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 20:42:11

What we have with the GCSE is an exam for everyone. And from 2014 (so this year's year 10) there is no modularity. The linear exam is what is being replaced here, not the modular route.

The O level was not an exam for everyone. It was an exam for 25% of children. And the CSE was an exam for the rest.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 20:44:09

"Rigorous" is the word of the moment, isn't it? I mean, you just can't argue with it. I wonder what rigour the new qualifications will have that the 2012 specs don't.

slipslider Sun 16-Sep-12 20:47:11

I don't see how the exam system today differs from the uni system whereby you take modules and then have assessments over the duration and/or exams at the end of each. The resetting differs slightly but it is unfair on those who have knowledge but buckle under pressure from exam stress etc. I sat a system where it was all or nothing on an exam and so know the pressure. Surely it is not a true reflection of all children's capabilities and knowledge on that one day. I feel there should be ways to make the most able get an A* like it was in my school - I think only 3 or 4 from my year group did. I feel that those who are not academic will not achieve the grade anyway as the exams are not given supported like in uni where u can take notes in or get given seen questions! I am not against making them more rigorous but I feel those who can, will do and those who can't cope will not.

alcofrolic Sun 16-Sep-12 20:49:29

How will they deal with subjects like tech, art and photography, where over 50% of marks were based on course work?
Hours and hours and hours of toil and tears (mine, I might add grin) went into the 32+ A3 pages of ds's design tech GCSE.

GetDownNesbitt Sun 16-Sep-12 20:52:33

I have forgotten more about education than this twat knows.

I teach English. How the fuck does a single exam assess skills of analysis, composition, deep thinking? Even at degree level we had the chance to do dissertations, three day papers, assessed essays.

Despairing here.

Abra1d Sun 16-Sep-12 20:53:09

The Scottish system isn't that hot. Students have to do four years at university because Highers aren't equivalent to A levels.

Michael Gove is only doing what everyone knows needs doing but which nobody else would have the balls to do. As usual on MS there's a whole lot of indignant spluttering.

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 20:54:54

Children are of course currently tiered for a number of GCSEs, and the way the grade ceiling work is the same as the O level /CSE equivalence cut off. So the pecking order in schools and the early streaming/selection never really went away.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 16-Sep-12 20:55:56

I'm depressed. If DM is to be believed then dd who is now in yr7 will be the first year to do the new exams.

Don't want her to be a guinea pig.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 20:56:20

What is he doing? I genuinely want to know how the new "rigour" is going to manifest itself.

As I said, the GCSE courses starting this September will not be modular, so that will not be a change. Is it really just the removal of controlled assessments (which in Science would remove the practical component of the course)?

LaQueen Sun 16-Sep-12 21:13:14

All children aren't academic, in the same not all children are muscial or artistic.

All children should be given a solid, sound basic education. But exams should test for those whose brains have that peculiar quirk that makes them academically inclined.

Doesn't make them better. It just means that their brains have that quirk -so they can retain information, process it faster, analyse it more accurately etc, etc.

Obviously, all useful skills to have...but, certainly not the only useful skills to have, not by a long chalk.

As for it being fair...? Is if fair that certain children are creamed off, and sent to elite sport academies? Is it fair that certain children are creamed off and sent to elite music schools?

I don't think the concept of fair comes into it.

Making exams more digestible...allowing several re-sits...I don't think that's especially fair because it's just briging levels down to a lower common denominator.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 21:17:07

So, bearing in mind that anyone starting a GCSE course this year will not be able to re-take anyway (unless they re-take the whole shebang, which was always the case!), how are the new qualifications going to be different?

ravenAK Sun 16-Sep-12 21:21:17

Agree with GetDownNesbitt.

From a selfish POV, as an English teacher, I'll presumably have loads less marking to do. Rapidly losing the will to fight for my students who'll be cheated by this, tbh.

Hoping very hard the damage the mad fucker's doing will be at least partially reversedby the time my own dc are at secondary.

BrianButterfield Sun 16-Sep-12 21:31:40

I'm sure my fellow English teachers were as amused as I was at the revelation that they're going to "reintroduce essays to English Literature exams".

bochead Sun 16-Sep-12 21:54:20

The International Bac looks more & more appealing by the minute. This is creeping into the state sector by the back door thank goodness.

I intend to move to the same flipping street as a state IB school, it seems to me to be the only way left to ensure our offspring are able to compete in a global economy. British education used to be respected the globe over, the GCSE debacle this year was just yet another nail in the coffin.

I can't wait for the day when legislation is introduced to permantently remove polictians from any day to day influence over education, and instead we can concentrate on proper evidence-based pedagogies, methods and assessments for learning; instead of our teachers having to constantly adjust to the latest vanity project of the stuffed shirt of the day.

Agree wholeheartedly that most teachers (inc here HT's etc) have forgotten more about education than Gove will ever know. The worry is that even if he is replaced, the new incumbement will have a totally opposing ideology based on his/her wishlist rather than the needs of our children to screw things up even more. At a time when we are at risk of producing a whole "lost generation", unable to compete for what little work is still available locally against their foreign competitors, Gove is massaging his own ego constantly.

I'd love to see a real apprenticehip programme introduced for young people such as we see in countries such as Germany (not their economy esp in manufacturing puts ours to shame). Instead huge swathes of young people will be written off an early age - fit only for a dole that will no longer exist.

I'm so disapointed with this Governments whole approach to education, from the removal of proper protections for SN pupils, to the exclusion through funding of Uni places to English students (Welsh and Scottish students weren't impacted in the same way by tuition fee rises), to the back door privitatisation that free schools and the academies programme implies.

ravenAK Sun 16-Sep-12 21:57:06

Indeed BrianButterfield. Not sure wtf I was examining all July.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 16-Sep-12 21:57:58

I agree with Lequeen.

I was from the lower tier, not too bright at school (have come a long way since). I think it helped me to decide what I wanted to do with my life far sooner than if I had more opportunities. College and Uni for academic subjects were completely out of the question, so was a job with the Civil Service. I could have chosen any trade, craft etc I had a talent for and I did.
What I will say though its ok making whatever academic qual gov decide on more rigorous as long as there are as many opportunities for the none academic, to progress and gain relevant quals and work experience.

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 21:59:04

Interesting that such a high performing and oversubscribed IB school as St Pauls is reintroducing A levels (as well, not instead). I don't think it's necessarily a silver bullet.

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 22:00:59

I think the thing to watch out for in these proposals is not what the academic O levels might look like, but what the vocational programme will be. Historically the Cinderella, it's actually the thing that most needs attention.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 16-Sep-12 22:06:32


Do you mean A levels introduced as an alternative to GCSE's at 16. I'm sorry I'm not familiar with these schools? Can you elaborate a bit please?

alcofrolic Sun 16-Sep-12 22:08:52

We looked into the IB at our primary. I'm afraid the training in Turkey and Bern was beyond our rapidly decreasing budget!

amicissimma Sun 16-Sep-12 22:12:05

I don't understand the need for 'grades' whose boundaries seem to move about more than the 'Strictly' dancers. Why not simply award the percentage marks? Unis and employers will soon get the hang of the implications.

Then the challenge will be to keep the level of the questions similar year on year, but at least it's only one issue.

I think for much less academic pupils a really good grounding in maths, english and IT, possibly a bit of finance, with a certificate of achievement, would be more useful than low grades in a whole range of less relevant subjects.

I'm not convinced of the usefulness of modular exams, apart from making it easier for pupils who suit them to get higher grades. It's rare in adult life that you need to learn a skill or information for a few weeks, then test it and never use it again. (Not unheard of, before there's a bombardment of examples, but comparitively rare.)

The problem is that our children are getting higher and higher grades but educational standards are getting lower and lower compared to international standards. Our children will be competing against people educated elsewhere, so we need to keep the standard up.

From the 'fair' POV, it's no less fair to be subjected to tougher marking in 2012 than it was to be subjected to tougher marking in 2002. If they look at GCSEs, employers and colleges will have to take the year into account.

meditrina Sun 16-Sep-12 22:13:26

Sorry, no I meant IB at A level. They do IGCSEs (I think) at 16.

Narked Sun 16-Sep-12 22:18:48

Let me guess. They're going to introduce something to stretch the more academically able, whilst making sure that all children can show they have a solid grounding in core subjects. And introducing courses for those children who are interested in more practical subjects, to give them the skills they need to compete the modern economy.

That's O-Levels, CSEs and Technical Colleges back then.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 22:23:25

Modular GCSEs are out. This is not a move to replace modular GCSEs.

<deja vu>

cinnamonnut Sun 16-Sep-12 22:31:30

It's a good idea.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 16-Sep-12 22:43:12

Narked. I don't think that would be a bad idea. I would hate to be young now and know there was not only no chance of gaining a GCSE grade C in Maths but leave with nothing in the subject. Well, that was recognised anyway. At least my CSE was accepted by employers way back then.

bochead Sun 16-Sep-12 23:05:21

In this context, I'm not sure that the 18+ exam of A-levels is particularly relevant. St Pauls & other public schools are not subjected to the same mangerial interference & micromanagement of the curriculum from politicians that state schools are for children up to 16. Unlike state schools they aren't required to adhere to every silly diktat on the NC that whitehall imposes on the state sector for KS3 & 4.

They also have a VERY restricted ability intake and cannot be considered representative of the population as a whole at all. There is an interesting thread at the mo, on special needs, concerning the options available to a child on the ASD spectrum with an IQ of 200. State schools need to cater for everyone, not just the select few if we are to compete in a global economy as a country. For the last decade or so we've increasing been importing the key skills our country needs instead of training our own population. This situation is not sustainable long term.

The IB middle school curriculum (to age 16)at least promises to remain fairly stable, with no goal post moving for the length of time it will take a child to get through the course. Teachers and children can therefore get on with the often tricky business of learning. My son's SN's give him enough barriers to learning without being used as a political guinea pig by some arrogant misguided social engineer at Westminster.

I don't think the IB curriculum is a silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination, especially for SN kids like my own. One of my key concerns is that politicians look for a silver bullet, majic formula etc when actually learning & education is and always has been a cumulative, long term, effort inducing activity. Education is about children, with all their wonderful quirks, & foibles not soundbites or quick fixes.

I just think that at this point in time the IB middle school curriculum looks better than the mess Gove is busy creating, given that our kids will be competing for jobs with everyone from the Poles to Singaporeans. The lesser of the evils currently available to a family with the limited opportunities we have. What I want is a decent sustainable roadmap for learning for all 11-16 year olds.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 23:09:13

But NOT all children CAN show useful grounding in the core subjects. My DD will make an excellent Chocolatier, but asking her to dissect a book an examine motives behind it? NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. Mostly because of her particular combination of SN's, she doesn't fully grasp the emotions of the writer, or philosophical writings. Unless it is factual, like a recipe, she frankly doesn't give a shit that she doesn't understand.

The only thing my DD reads for amusement is the Argos catalogue and Recipe books. And maybe a poster book of Dustbin Beaver.

ALL she wants to be able to do us train in Catering, then in Patisserie work, then get an Apprenticeship with a Chocolatier. She would find it so much easier to be able to start at a Technical College now, at 14yo, and start on the road to where she wants to be.

But right now, while we are hearing plenty about what is going to be done for those who will be in the top 25%, and sitting a modern form of O-Level, there is NOTHING being said about provision for those more suited to a CSE style qualification, or a Vocational qualification.

Right now, my DD is facing the very real possibility of being unable to even get INTO Catering college, because she is in the first cohort sitting linear exams, which is pulling her down to 'U's' only.

Due to her SN's, she cannot retain facts for long periods of time - only things that she has physical, practical experience of. so a final exam that will be 3hrs45mins log due to her extra 25% time, will just be unmanageable. She will go into meltdown due to being overwhelmed after 2hrs max (generous estimate tbh), and not complete the exam.

Thus meaning that there is now an almost certainty that she won't reach the C/C/D she needs to get into the Catering course. Which has been confirmed to me by Student Support there that they won't be changing that offer for her year group, only for the year below, as they want the first year to 'see how the change pans out'.

Which is just fucking wonderful.

So if any of you that support Gove's idea to righteously fuck up the entire life of those DC's currently in Y10, who have SN's, and now have their future aspirations shut off to them, shame on you!

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 23:14:52

No, modular GCSE's are gone. To the dismay of parents of SN DC's currently just starting Y10, who have had all their SEN help geared towards helping them pass modular exams for the last 3 years, not Cunting linear.

My DD, and the thousands of others like her now in Y10, are the forgotten casualties of Gove's thwarting around with the education system.

And it won't just affect my DD's life - it will affect my life and the lives of her siblings too. Because she will not be able to follow the path she has been treading for the last 10 years of her education, with every forward step fought ten times harder than the average pupil due to her SN's.

These changes might be excellent news for the top 25%, like my DS1, but for my DD, and probably my DS2 (also has SN's), it is fucking devastating.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 23:15:58

<<Huff>> Bloody Autocorrect. Thwarting = twatting.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Sun 16-Sep-12 23:16:38

Oh Lord! Dd2 is in Year 7. I don't want her time at school shrouded in uncertainty and topped off with being a guinea pig. Remind me again - did they mention Gove's brilliant plans in the election?

ravenAK Sun 16-Sep-12 23:17:55

Good post CouthyMow.

I taught a couple of students last year who had similar issues to your dd. One of them is indeed unable to get on to the college course which he was desperate to study, because a C in English Language was always going to be hugely difficult for him - he worked his arse off, he should have got it, & then they moved the boundaries.

He's no less capable of managing the course he had a conditional offer for, than he was back in June when he was confidently predicted a hard won C. Then the boundary shift meant he was one mark off. But college's response is 'sorry, he'll have to do something else'.

Disgusted by dc being used as guinea pigs in this way.

bochead Sun 16-Sep-12 23:18:32

And here's the kicker for all those DM supporters - thousands upon thousands of kids like CouthyMow's will now be assigned to life on the dole, when they could have been tax paying productive citizens. This really annoys me.

The UK isn't rich enough to just write off 25-50% of every generation. We need as many hands at the pump of economic growth as possible to support our debts and aging population.

Daily Mail readers all assume that their offspring will be in the top tier, statistics should tell them they won't lol! I do want to know what's planned for the 75% of children who don't meet the criteria to be in a traditional O level cohort. It's this 3 out if 4 of all our young people we need Gove to focus on for all our sakes.

seeker Sun 16-Sep-12 23:24:57

And for those of us in grammar school areas, guess which schools will be doing the higher tier exams and which the lower.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 23:34:36

Michael Gove has I think said that the new qualification will be for 75% of students.

So perhaps he is acknowledging that standards have risen since 25% of students did O levels back in the day...

morethanpotatoprints Sun 16-Sep-12 23:41:00


I just wanted to ask if the course your dd wants to do is a level 3 course and if a level one or 2 are offered. I ask as catering was alongside the subjects I taught at college and several of my students and those in catering had no GCSE's they just had to start at lower level and do Maths/Eng key skills. It may be worth speaking to them again. My apologies if you have already exhausted this avenue.

claig Sun 16-Sep-12 23:44:45

In the days of O levels, children who didn't pass or who did CSEs, still got jobs.

I heard Estelle Morris a few months back saying something like she might support Gove's changes to GCSEs if they led to an exam at 14 instead of 16, given that children have to stay at school till 18.

We don't yet know what 'Gove-levels' will look like. We do know they will be more rigorous and there will be fewer A* grades.

It wouldn't surprise me if Labour don't oppose the changes too much. They have probably all agreed on the way forward.

claig Sun 16-Sep-12 23:47:07
CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 16-Sep-12 23:48:44

Finances don't allow for her to do the level 2 course first, and seeing as everything in the level two course will have been covered in her catering GCSE (probably the only one she'll scrape a C/D in now), it is a bit pointless.

Finances will just about stretch to 4 years in college. Then DS1 will be starting college for his A-Levels (no 6th forms), I can't fund two at once when I'm disabled.

<<Long explanation about benefit deductions for DC's not in work or claiming JSA after 19yo and no EMA...>>

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 23:49:07

Ah yes. Rigorous again...!

claig Sun 16-Sep-12 23:52:26

Rigorous is a Tory leitmotif, it represents traditional standards and contrasts with progressive.

claig Sun 16-Sep-12 23:54:55

The bigger the rigour, the more the Daily Mail reader supports the policy. Gove is being mentioned as a possible Tory leader and the Daily Mail seems to like the cut of his jib.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Sep-12 23:59:02

Contrasts with progressive.

Thank you. That makes it much clearer.


ravenAK Mon 17-Sep-12 00:01:15

No, it doesn't Claig.

It's a buzzword which actually signifies nothing, but makes DM readers think they've grasped the issue.

Rigorous just means 'extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate'.

So my O Levels rigorously tested my short term memory & ability to bullshit under pressure, for example. I did very well.

'Traditional standards' is another example.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:03:29

to make it clearer, rigour contrasts with progressive dumbing down.
The Daily Mail headline is 'At last, dumbed down exams are axed: No A* grades, endless re-sits or marks for coursework in new 'Gove-level'

It's rigour vs dumbing down, Tory vs Labour.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 17-Sep-12 00:07:05

I would say the Daily Mail headline lacks rigour.

There is no coursework any more. And, as I have said three times on this thread, neither is there the opportunity for re-sits for the 2012 GCSE specifications.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:08:25

Is that the case for all boards?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 17-Sep-12 00:10:44


Really sorry about your plight. Just thought it was worth a mention. Do the college not offer free courses up to level 3 anymore? It used to be if under 19 and you didn't already have a level 3 it was free. I feel so sorry for you all and wish there was something I could suggest. Education for all is something I am really passionate about. sad

nailak Mon 17-Sep-12 00:15:45

i dont get it, what are they replacing gcses with?

TheFallenMadonna Mon 17-Sep-12 00:19:33

Yes, it is claig.

If you are going to criticise the status quo, you should know what it is.

Controlled assessments are the new coursework. They are, however, quite different. In Science the marks come from two written exam papers.

And no re-sits from 2014 (first teaching this September).

ravenAK Mon 17-Sep-12 00:20:20

Yes, Claig, TFM is correct.

Honestly, you need to read a bit more than your beloved Daily Heil to get your head round this one!

GCSEs haven't got dumbed down - we've just got better at teaching to the test. Some half-arsed O Level revival will probably be less work for teachers - but not as good in terms of kids actually learning useful stuff.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:22:04

'If you are going to criticise the status quo, you should know what it is.'

I don't know what it is, that is why I asked you, a teacher.

Then you are right that the Daily Mail is throwing a few bones to their readers and pushing their buttons.

sunflowersfollowthesun Mon 17-Sep-12 00:22:27

We have no idea what they are going to announce yet!
With the greatest of respect, academic qualifications need to be suitable for the majority of students. No system is going to be ideal for all.
The current system certainly isn't.
Couthy if a Btec (or whatever) level 2, which is still modular, how can it be a waste of time for your DD if it gets her what she needs to progress in the manner that suits her?

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:23:48

ravenAK, I agree that teaching to the test has improved greatly. But there are also many stories of easier questions than in days gone by.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 17-Sep-12 00:30:33

Are the stories in the Daily Mail?

There are questions that distinguish between a G and a U. Obviously, these are pretty basic, and, equally obviously, they wouldn't have appeared on an O level paper, as discrimination at that level was not required.

I don't know about CSE papers. I haven't seen one.

I'd recommend reading the 2nd link in my op to see just how insulting and warped the DM's take on this is.

I see the announcement has been brought forward to tomorrow, not Tuesday, because of speculation about the leak which Gove endorsed.

Ironic that Singapore in conducting their own review of their education system is looking to the UK for ideas on teaching thinking skills and a more creative curriculum, just as we take backwards steps away from this. Why is 'progressive' treated by DM readers & politicians to mean 'left-wing farty claptrap' hmm? <waits for someone to wade in with generalised, ill-informed nonsense about '80s trendy teaching' that bears no relevance to the current argument and is based on hearsay>

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:34:11

'Are the stories in the Daily Mail?'

One or two have appeared in that newspaper, yes.

Good point about the differentiation of grade levels being more explicit in GCSEs, which is why some questions can appear easier.

ravenAK Mon 17-Sep-12 00:38:39

& 'stories' is what they are, Claig.

You can't compare like for like, as the GCSE has changed so much.

Eg. in English Lit (which I examine):

-the O Level was closed book. Learning a few dozen key quotes & having practised stringing them together into a coherent essay was fine.

- GCSE is open book. There is a requirement to analyse the text in great detail to attain a high grade.

I still have my old exercise books, with my practice essays.

I got the top grade, at O Level. I now teach young people who are aiming for the top grade at GCSE.

The skills required are totally different; but they centre on understanding, not recall. I know what I consider to be the higher level skill.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:42:53

Yes, I agree understanding is a higher level skill than recall.
But the Daily Mail says that some English literature exams did not require essay writing. Was that the case?

Themumsnot Mon 17-Sep-12 00:51:36

No Claig, that is not the case. English Literature GCSE exams are essay-based. Controlled assessments are essays written under timed conditions. The Mail on Sunday is talking shite as usual.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 00:56:36

'The Mail on Sunday is talking shite as usual.'

I think that is a grossly unfair generalisation. But, in this case, it does appear that the article may not be as rigorous as the norm.

ravenAK Mon 17-Sep-12 00:57:52

No, it wasn't. I spent all July marking the damn things for AQA, so can claim confidently that neither Gove nor some Daily Fail hack know wtf they are talking about.

Eng Lit for AQA.

* one long Controlled Assessment, completed in classroom under exam conditions & marked by teachers. We compare Romeo & Juliet to To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell. I wrote the teaching scheme. Extended essay. 30% of the marks.

* one external exam on two prose texts - a modern novel & one from another culture (everyone did 'Of Mice & Men') - two essays. 35%

* other external exam on a selection of modern & 'canon' poetry, plus an unseen poem. Two essays, 35%.

So it was examined via no less than 5 essays in total. One of them a sustained piece completed over 3 hours, the others approx 45 minutes each.

PLEASE stop believing what you read about education in the DM...

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 01:01:26

Yes, that sounds tough and rigorous. We didn't do poetry in my day, and we didn't do 5 essays.

ravenAK Mon 17-Sep-12 01:09:01

So maybe you can understand why the teachers on this thread are ever so slightly irritated at people complacently telling each other that everything they do is a bit shit, has been for years, & isn't it lucky that nice Mr Gove is sorting it all out?

This is a NEW specification by the way. The kids who have just left were the first to do it. I wrote/created two of the schemes of work/sets of resources for our place - each took a couple of weeks of my holidays to develop, not to mention untold hours in school. Colleagues wrote the others - I make it around 10 in all, for all controlled assessments & exam tasks.

All to be scrapped now, apparently to further the shitweasel Gove's career & to please people who read the DM uncritically.

& to devalue our students' achievement for the next few years so the last remaining state schools can be Cackademied.

I am a bit pissed off about it, frankly. In case you couldn't tell.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 01:15:31

Yes, education is not as bad as it is sometimes painted. But that doesn't mean that there is no room for improvement. The competing exam board thing and the seminars giving information on possible exam topics etc. have contributed to some decline in standards. Some changes have to be made, but I see your point that some of it may be about academisation etc.

ravenAK Mon 17-Sep-12 01:28:17

Competing exam boards was Kenneth Baker under the last Tory govt. - it always stank.

& the seminars thing - well, I need to be up in 5 hours to go & teach, so I'll just say that it applied to 3 rogue examiners, on 2 exam boards, behaving completely unprofessionally.

Scrutinising past papers to guess at likely questions is something all teachers & more clued-up students have always done. Likely to be far more widespread under Gove's proposals for all terminal exam - just as it was for O Level.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 01:34:23

Yes, you are right. I agree with you. Get some kip. Good night.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 02:28:05

Sunflower. It's finances. Or rather the lack of them. I can't afford to pay bus fares to college for DD AND DS1 at the same time. Not if I wish to actually feed my DC's too.

The lack of EMA is really going to hurt me!

It's also to do with Housing Benefit and Council tax Benefit rules, but if she has to do the 1-yr lvl 2 course, the 2-yr catering course, then the 2-yr Patisserie course, my money will run out when she starts the second year of the Patisserie course - no CTC, no ChB, HB won't cover all the rent, lose my 25% single person discount on my CT, no CTB to make up the shortfall.

I didn't plan on being dxd with a disability. I didn't plan for having my DLA and ESA stopped, and having to fight an indeterminable length fight to get it reinstated. I didn't plan for Gove to change modular exams to linear.

And where is the money to support my DD going to come from? My Neuro won't sign me as fit for work, do that's a no-goer. £75 maintenance a calendar month won't even cover her bus fares. She won't get HB to move out until she is 25 - so if she can't get a paid apprenticeship at the end of the 4 years when she will be 20, then I will have to feed and clothe her on fresh fucking air.

DS1 is clever enough to get bursaries etc when he gets to 16, due to how poor we are. DD - FUCK ALL AVAILABLE.

She won't be able to claim JSA because she won't be available to seek FT work because she will be a student, she won't get ESA if I do, because a parent and a child in the same Lone Parent household aren't 'allowed' to both be disabled. You are allowed to have a disabled parent AND a disabled child IF you are a healthy parent in a relationship with the disabled parent, but you aren't allowed to be a disabled Lone Parent with a disabled DC (or two in my case.

DD has had her only real chance of gainful employment snatched out of her grasp, and won't even be afforded benefit help to survive.

I can just about do it till the end of her 4th year at College, but tbh the period from her 20th Birthday in March to the end of that Academic year in July will be hard enough.

And as soon as she finishes, DS1 will need that money for bus fares to get to the 6th form college to do his A-levels. Local schools have no 6th forms.

DD NEEDS to be working even on a pittance wage by the September after the end of her fourth year in college.

And then just as DS1 heads off to Uni, I'll have the stress of trying to find a college course for DS2, who also has SN's.

Gove's a disabilist bastard IMO. angry

nooka Mon 17-Sep-12 05:59:56

I don't understand the objection to retakes. You could always do retakes for old style O and A levels (my big sister went to a crammer for A level retakes in order to get into Oxford and that was 30 years ago) and they are very very common for professional exams. It's considered a sign of the rigour of the exam, whenever I've worked with accountants it's almost expected that they will fail at least one of the accountancy exams, and like a driving test it doesn't really matter (just costs more and takes longer).

Couthy I'm so sorry about your dd, it really sucks that even though she will have demonstrated competency in what she wants to do she has been stopped from progressing. I suspect she's not the only one caught in this trap.

Ouluckyduck Mon 17-Sep-12 06:41:19

From what I've seen the problem with modular exams and controlled assessments is that so many many lessons don't involve any actual teaching but only preparing for these assessments. So for example in Modern Languages many lessons are spent drafting then redrafting a piece for a controlled assessment in speaking, then the students learn it off by heart and then they regurgitate it in the CA. But in actual fact they can't string two words together spontaneously in the language.

nooka Mon 17-Sep-12 06:46:24

That does sound a little excessive, but then I spent weeks before my A levels taking past papers repeatedly in order to get a good A level result. Surely one of the things that you should expect from a good teacher is to coach you in passing exams? The more all or nothing they are the more teaching to the exam is likely IME, as the grades matter so very much to both teacher and student.

Ouluckyduck Mon 17-Sep-12 06:49:51

I can only speak for languages but there too much is put into teaching how to pass the exam and too little into actually learning to speak and manipulate the language.

KinkyAllTooOrangeDorito Mon 17-Sep-12 06:51:19

I often teach GCSE bottom sets (English - judge not my spelling). This all makes me incredibly sad.

the main problem with a lot of these reforms is that people object to anything below a C being a GCSE pass, which it is. Of course that overlooks the fact that many, many students work damn hard to the best of their ability to get E, F or G grades. Apparently they deserve absolutely nothing. Just a blank piece of paper. As a teacher in a comprehensive school it makes my blood boil.

YY BrianButterfield spot on for me.

The point of CA is that you can't redraft - it is a one shot deal. The most they can do is plan a sheet of supporting notes.

I also agree with the dismantling of exam boards. These have been problematic for years.

KinkyAllTooOrangeDorito Mon 17-Sep-12 06:55:50

It is one huge thankless task already, and it is getting worse.

Am getting sorely tempted to leave. The hoop jumping was bad enough when I started a decade ago.

meditrina Mon 17-Sep-12 06:57:10

"So perhaps he is acknowledging that standards have risen since 25% of students did O levels back in the day..."

No, it means it is unlikely that a return of bell curve marking is on the cards. 25% (or whatever) passed O level because the pass mark changed each year so only the top 25% passed, and there was no grade inflation. Your number of marks was irrelevant, and you were graded on your performance relative to everyone else sitting the exam that year.

I think there may be a generational issue here. If you went through school on CSEs and O levels, then you are likely to be less worried about what all of this will mean.

Especially as the proposals haven't been announced yet, and frankly Labour opposition to them is next to non-existent now. Or have they a different vision of what 16+ assessment should look like? If so, now would be a really good time to unveil it?

Or is this yet another topic (like ever more of the economic policy, given Balls at TUC last week) on which they indulge in a bit of cat calling from the sides but say they won't change? That is, they privately welcome others making the changes in areas they know they know are needed but never had the nerve to carry out.

meditrina Mon 17-Sep-12 07:08:51

Just seen on the news: Labour 'haven't decided yet' if they support these reforms. Now that is wetter than a fishes wet bits.

mumzy Mon 17-Sep-12 07:46:20

I'm of the Olevels/CSE era so much more au fait with this system than GCSEs. fWIW CSEs didn't mean you were consigned to the dustbin. My cousin was in the CSE stream then did an HND at college in computing and did his degree at a poly. All his courses had a large practical/ work experience module and today he is a very successful businessman despite not being very academic at school.

flatpackhamster Mon 17-Sep-12 08:20:45


No, modular GCSE's are gone. To the dismay of parents of SN DC's currently just starting Y10, who have had all their SEN help geared towards helping them pass modular exams for the last 3 years, not Cunting linear.

My DD, and the thousands of others like her now in Y10, are the forgotten casualties of Gove's thwarting around with the education system.

And it won't just affect my DD's life - it will affect my life and the lives of her siblings too. Because she will not be able to follow the path she has been treading for the last 10 years of her education, with every forward step fought ten times harder than the average pupil due to her SN's.

These changes might be excellent news for the top 25%, like my DS1, but for my DD, and probably my DS2 (also has SN's), it is fucking devastating.

A theoretical question for you then. If one group has to be failed by the system, should it be the top 25% or the bottom 25%?

M44 Mon 17-Sep-12 08:30:42

I have a child in yr 10 and a child in yr 7- I am so worried about it all. My guess is that primary schools will have to change slightly to- ours has emphasis on topic work to lay foundations for modular courses at secondary school- oh I have two children in primary too.......great. Large sigh......

LaQueen Mon 17-Sep-12 08:47:38

Meant to add to my earlier point - academic skills are useful, but are roughly only possessed by 25% of the population.

There needs to be far more provision made for the othjer 75%, who have skills that lie in other directions.

It's just been a nonsense these last 20 years, trying to pretend that just about everyone is academically inclined, and then dumbing down exams, making them bite-sized and allowing numerous re-sits in order to prove this hmm

Abra1d Mon 17-Sep-12 08:54:58

Trouble is, we can't hold back the top 25%. We need them. That cohort are the future scientists, doctors, teachers, etc. They need to be academically stretched and stimulated. GCSE does not do that.

Lots of my cohort in the early eighties did CSEs. I can't see that their lives are the empty, barren economic wildernesses some of you are implying they are. They seem, in many cases, to have done as well as the O level cohort.

LaQueen Mon 17-Sep-12 08:57:00

"The point of CA is that you can't redraft - it is a one shot deal. The most they can do is plan a sheet of supporting notes."

A planned sheet of supporting notes? What's the point of that, then? Why can't a student just access the required information stored in their memory and quickly draft the essay in their heads before writing it down?

I recall walking into many, many exam rooms, facing a 3 hour exam, armed with just a bleddy pen and a sense of foreboding grin

seeker Mon 17-Sep-12 08:57:26

We need the top 25%, but my God, we need the "bottom" 25% to be educated and engaged and not feeling like second class citizens.

Abra1d Mon 17-Sep-12 08:58:21

* Amended to add: should have said, not ALL GCSEs do that. Clearly some are challenging (such as the Eng. Lit GCSE referred to above).

LaQueen Mon 17-Sep-12 08:59:15

Agree Abra - it's hardly likely, that only the 25% of academic students will get jobs when they leave school, college etc.

LaQueen Mon 17-Sep-12 09:01:41

Absolutely agree seeker the bottom 25% need to be given as solid, basic education as they are able to take in.

My MIL was in the lowest stream at her school, and took some remedial classes, as they were known at the time. But, her basic literacy and numeracy skills are easily as good, if not stronger, than quite a few GCSE students I have worked with, who are supposedly in the top sets hmm

HiHowAreYou Mon 17-Sep-12 09:11:53

I used to work planning a professional exam, where only the top 40 percent passed, whatever the marks they happened to get.

So, there were no agreed grade boundaries, it all depended on your cohort.

I always thought that it was slightly cruel. But on the other hand, it did make everyone try their absolute best, I suppose.

bruffin Mon 17-Sep-12 09:28:58

i'm of the Olevels/CSE era so much more au fait with this system than GCSEs. fWIW CSEs didn't mean you were consigned to the dustbin.

Agree. Dh was undiagnosed dyslexic, ended up doing CSE although was intelligent enough for o'levels. Being an august baby left school at 15 went straight into an old fashioned apprenticeship and got his qualifications that way. He is a professional engineer, but would need a degree to get those letters after his name nowadays.

I dont necessary think modular work is good for all children either. My DS has a sld and just finished his gcses. He has struggled with course work and has done much better with straight forward exams.

ShobGiteTheKnid Mon 17-Sep-12 09:40:00

Not sure if it's already been mentioned but you might want to edit - current GCSE does not include English to MFL translation.

OBface Mon 17-Sep-12 10:01:05

This is a tricky one.

I agree with Bruffin that modular work is not the best for all students - I for one would do much better with a single 3 hour exam at the end of a course. So as one type of assessment is never go to suit all children I'm not sure that it's right that those who perform best under pressure are disadvantaged.

To go back to a system which purely tests by rote would be a backward step however, surely there is a middle ground where by English exams, for example, assess understanding and interpretation alongside grammar and writing style (which I understand has been lost in recent years) in 3 hour exam conditions?

100% agree with Couthy that there is a massive gap in qualifications for children wanting to pursue a vocational path. Not all children are suited to university and alternative routes should be awarded equal value/investment by society/government.

animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 10:05:41

Another one who was in the system when it was CSEs and GCEs.

CSEs did not condemn a child to stupidness smile

A CSE grade 1 was fully accepted as equivalent to a GCE pass.

Many of my contemporaries with CSEs went on to university/polys and have extremely successful careers.

It was slighly disappointing to some to be taking CSEs, rather than GCEs, but those who were genuinely bright certainly were not held back, and those who were not 'academic' and actually didn't want to take GCEs (and there were some, myself included in a couple of subjects ) were in an environment that was entirely suitable for them, i.e not struggling to keep up with those more able and were taught by teachers who understood that.

We all came out of that system pretty well I think.

sunflowersfollowthesun Mon 17-Sep-12 10:09:56

Wait, Couthy , just let me make sure I've got this straight. Gove is being disablist because you don't think you'll be able to run to DD's bus fare... in four years time?
I sympathise, but really, you have to look at the bigger picture. The fact that your DD has an alternative route surely proves the opposite to be the case.

MySpanielHell Mon 17-Sep-12 10:20:25

I'm annoyed that they are changing the nature of the exams again.

I have one child in year seven who will be the first year to do the new exams and another in year ten who is doing the new, different GCSEs. The year 10 is also doing a number of Welsh GCSEs, so I also worry about that. What happens if the Government decides that Welsh GCSEs are now invalid in England? Will DS now have to start on a different curriculum half way through his courses? He started triple Science a year ago, so that would all now be invalid.

I wish they would just start changing things. If the new exams are supposedly changing the content of KS3 to prepare for the new exams, where does that leave DD who has already started the old KS3?

I was at school during the transition to GCSE, and it was an utter shambles in my school. We completed course work one year that was then found out to be the wrong work the next year, so had to redo it all. I just wish they would leave the education system alone or do things in a more rational manner.

If they want to bring in a new exam, they should start by bringing in the new KS3 first and have that up and running really well before they change KS4.

MySpanielHell Mon 17-Sep-12 10:22:02

That should have been: I wish they would just stop changing things.

LaQueen Mon 17-Sep-12 10:30:05

"but those who were genuinely bright certainly were not held back, and those who were not 'academic' and actually didn't want to take GCEs (and there were some, myself included in a couple of subjects ) were in an environment that was entirely suitable for them, i.e not struggling to keep up with those more able and were taught by teachers who understood that."

Exactly animal - that seems a far more sensible approach. Certainly better than the silly approach over the last 15 years of constantly telling just about all students that they are academic..when, in reality they're leaving school with a clutch of poor grades, in spurious subjects - but, because they've been told they're academic, they then think university is a good option.

And, then they sign themselves onto a degree course, which in all likelihood isn't that respected by potential employers, and they get into huge debt for the privilege hmm


MarysBeard Mon 17-Sep-12 10:33:47

Being as the Govt are planning to make staying in school to 18 compulsory, it begs the question whether any national assessment in year 10 will be neccessary.

MarysBeard Mon 17-Sep-12 10:37:51

Students go onto uni because so many employers require it as a bare minimum. For most jobs you shouldn't need a degree. It isn't the students being ridiculous in continuing into higher education, it's the employment market.

MySpanielHell Mon 17-Sep-12 10:44:39

I think that the curriculum up until 16 should remain academic, but the actual results you get at 16 shouldn't matter as much, or perhaps shouldn't matter at all.

The level of knowledge and understanding to get A*-E in History, Geography, Science etc isn't that great. But people do need to know it. It is part of living in and participating in a democratic society that you have a basic understanding of the world around you.

If we continued to teach that, but worried less about the results, people could then move on to either A levels or vocational courses at 16. If people who are perfectly capable of doing a catering course can't get a C at GCSE, then the issue isn't that they shouldn't study Geography if they can't get a C, but that catering courses at 16 shouldn't be asking for C grades.

animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 10:51:01

Yes, I agree isn't the students being ridiculous.

It is ridiculous, however, that one needs a degree now to do a job that, in my generation, one could do at 16, leaving school without A levels even (e.g nurse, secretary, clerk in a building society/bank/insurance company). Many of my contemporaries left at 16 with 3, 4, 5 'O' levels and just went to work.
Then there were careers that one did with only usually not very good A levels like physiotherapy, radiography, surveyor, that sort of thing. Didn't need a degree for those either.

meditrina Mon 17-Sep-12 11:12:20

"Being as the Govt are planning to make staying in school to 18 compulsory, it begs the question whether any national assessment in year 10 will be necessary"

It's not a plan, it's the 2008 Education and Skills Act. And it doesn't exactly raise the school age; 16-18 year olds must be in education, on an apprenticeship, or in work with a minimum specified training component. So it doesn't clearly obviate the need for 16+ exams, as there will still be school leavers at that point.

The more trailing I hear of this on the news, the more there seems to be a fair amount of re-announcement of earlier plans.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Mon 17-Sep-12 11:31:17

I regretted not continuing with my PGCE, until Gove came along.

catinhat Mon 17-Sep-12 11:57:50

Read about this in The Times.

Gove is saying the exams and standards will be higher, but if they're are too difficult for pupils, then said pupils can take them at 17 or 18. That bit concerns me - would a less academic student really want to carry on with English and Maths to the age of 18 in order to get a qualification in it.

Do you know what I think the problem is, these politicians didn't do well at school (Cameron got lots of Cs at O-level.) They think they're clever and therefore assume that there has been tons of grade inflation, not realising that others of their era got all As at O-level.

Anyway, let them fiddle - they can then deal with the consequences. I do think just one exam board is a good idea, but then they need to be held carefully to account.

Xenia Mon 17-Sep-12 12:58:31

No change and some stability would be good once these changes are in.
My youngest will mostly do IGCSEs anyway which I think will be like the O levels I did. i remember the school forced everyone to do a CSE (English) as well as the O level (sensible precaution). I remember going to see the Hwead to ask for permission not to sit it (as I got the best exams in the school etc in due course) as I did not want my academic record sullied with a CSE. I still had to take it. It is probably right that we moved to a one tier system but the difficulty for employers and graduates is when results differ over the years.

Was AAA in say 84 better than AAA 10 years ago and AAA now in A level and how is an employer to know? Was my 2/1 degree when one person got a first that year and only 15% of chidlren went to university and only a third got 2/1 or higher better than the 2/1s of my off spring? Doesn't matter at all until young people come to apply for jobs when recruiters are not likely to say ah yes 2012 I know it well - the year English results went wrong or ah 2006 before grade inflation took off your ABC is really good for that year? No they don't study grade issues like they might fine wines and graduates lose out through the inconsistencies over time.

mam29 Mon 17-Sep-12 13:25:53

Im not sure what I think.

I struggled in large comprehensive where apart from english was in mostly bottom sets.

I sat mine 1996 and passed all but only 3 at grade c rest were ds and 1 e for maths.

I remember how crap I felt gcse result day.

I got c in english
c in french-as had french tutor
c business studies.

failed maths with e dd -science. d geography, d history.

went to head 6th form as wanted to stay on with my freinds
couldent get onto alevels.

was steered towards advanced gnvq similar to 2alevels but could tell school and others dident take it too seriously.

In lower 6th resat english lit and history.

got c for lit and b for history-worked so hard for that b.

so i least had 5 good gcses

my freind who did worse than me 1 c in art was streered towards intermediate gnvq in health and social care worth 4gcses for a year then left for college to do advanced level.

Upper sixth as know then considered nursing but that needed grade c maths, english and science- i had only english, diplomas were competative and most needed degrees.

Teaching again has same problem had to have magic at all all 3.

school kept telling us go to uni.

I applied but my offers seemed much higher than alevel students.

i was asked for distinction.

I struggled with gnvq as sheer amount of coursework was too top heavy on coursework and yes sadly did do it myself not the parents.

I dont belive employers or uni value them as much as alevel.
As I applied to unis 2diffrent years once with gncq and once with alevels the offers were unfair was easier to get in with low grade a level.

I grew up in single parent family dont think mum got income support she got cb and old family allowance if stayed in ft education until 18.
So I like many other 6th formers worked part time in local supermarket which is why i struggled.

Passsed gnvq not with distinction.
failed 2nd maths resit
went to college opted to do 2alevels a in year law and sociology and have 3rd go at my maths.

Got dd alevel was quite pleased as thats what most of my 6h form left 6th form with and got me a place at uni to do bsc business and legal studies which In passed.

I then after graduating ended up in low paid retail job managing cash office-ironic forb someone who was crap at gcse maths,
went on to work my way up to store manager so doing things like profit and loss balance sheet. stock takes, managing wages-all maths.

needless to say could have done this with degree.

Most of my freinds who did degrees unless very vocational ended up in low paid jobs could have done without alevels or degree.

Those who stayed small rural town could only find low paid or part time unskilled work or had kids early.

I must admit part of my drive to go uni was

to prove people wrong -I wasent thick.
to get away from my mum who drove me mad and move to a place with more going on.

I dont regret going to uni as made good freind but wish I had done more vocational course. i know many who on 2nd degrees as now know what what to do but looked into social work degree no funding now for 2nd degrees and 9grand a year tutions plus childcare.

my hubbys high earner just got better gcses than me -dropped out alevels.I would says hes equal inteligance than me hes 8years older not sure alevels harder back then, he was 1st year gcses.

dad-grammer school, did alevels but went onto college and ploy is a qualified structural engineeer and says hes way better than hsi degree counterparts in the office.

Mum -secondry modern cse-more intelligant than she lets on just wasent ambitous-some of her freinds done very well for themselves

fil-carpenter said apprenticeships were even shortened and dumbed down an apprenticeship used to be 5years long and highly respected.

I have 14year old stepson-hoping he learns a trade but demand for sparky/plumber courses high and think you need c for that now.
Sadly cant see him getting an c grades despite him being steered towards softer gcses and manipulating school league tables.

When you 13-starting gcses sometimes doesnt seem that important think its too young everyone in until 18 and doing exams at end of international bac be better.
Also our school pushed academics.

remember one freinds mum asking me if was doing beauty at college in really nasty way and I was like no alevels actually.

Maybe they need to also look at amount of kids leaving primary not being able to read or add up as they only have 3years to catch up before starting gcses so would always be on teh backfoot and most secondrys stream into sets from year 8 and 9 and the bottom sets are very disruptive and not nice places to be,

mumutd Mon 17-Sep-12 13:58:25

I was the first year to sit the GCSE in 1988 and remember only being given the 1 year lead up so as guinea pigs we were definitely disadvantaged to the pupils to follow on from us.

My eldest son has just started yr 7, I do not want him to be a guinea pig. I really am worried about these changes.

loup67 Mon 17-Sep-12 14:09:24

Does anyone know how this will affect the 4 years currently doing GCSE's?
I have 2 children in Year 10 and year 8. My DD in year 10 has obviously already started her course,but will these next 3 years carry on with modules?
It seems unfair to not have mentioned the impact it will have on current students. As far as I was aware,they were already changing it to linear exams for 2014, is that true?
If so,we'll have 3 different styles of exam over this 5 year period,if the new changes happen.
Can anyone enlighten me please?

bruffin Mon 17-Sep-12 14:13:36

My DD is in year 10 and when she was choosing her options earlier this year we were told that she would not be doing any modular courses, just linear.

hoodoo12345 Mon 17-Sep-12 14:13:36

As i feared my daughter will be the guinea pig for the new system,quite depressing.

ATailOfTwoKitties Mon 17-Sep-12 14:20:24

So... I'll have had one child the guinea pig year for modular exams; one the first year to switch back to linear; and one the guinea pig (or near-guinea pig) for Gove's New Toy.

hey ho.

MordionAgenos Mon 17-Sep-12 14:25:15

My 3 DCs will all be in different groups - DD1 taking her GCSEs next year, her school does as much linear as possible but she did do one module this summer just gone, plus controlled assessments have already been done. DS, currently in Y8 - he will be fully linear I suppose. DD2 is in Y5 - so she will be under the new exams. sad

niceguy2 Mon 17-Sep-12 15:27:05

Personally I think such a change is long overdue. Over the last decade or two standards in real terms have dropped. Anyone saying otherwise is simply not looking at the facts.

Our rankings in the international league tables have dropped and employers are all saying students are ill prepared for the modern workplace. My half-sister had to do summer catch up sessions to prepare her for the jump from GCSE to A-level maths. Such was the difference! I had no such need back in my day.

I do think that we should have harder GCSE's for the academic and another qualification which is more vocational based. But they shouldn't be linked. One of my pet hates is the whole 'GCSE equivalent' grade system. How on earth can a qualification in say Construction be the equivalent of 4 GCSE's?? Which ones!!?!?!

Let's make our tests harder. We're doing all our kids a real disservice by lowering the bar. The brighter ones come out with meaningless A*'s thinking they are shit hot the finding out that in reality they're not. The less academic ones work their arses off to get a D/E only to find they may as well have not bothered since the qualification is about as useful as a chocolate teapot in the real world.

Meanwhile our international competitors are miles ahead of us and pulling away from us whilst we all remain too politically correct to admit that in order to succeed we need our best & most able to shine so that they can go on to create the wealth our country so desperately need.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Mon 17-Sep-12 15:39:28

Niceguy, have you read the link in the OP? This is linked to also; it makes interesting reading.

Xenia Mon 17-Sep-12 16:04:27

SO if we compare say mam (good post above) and me. What are the reasons I did better in exams? Is it parents' IQ or child's IQ or type of school or high expectations?

OddGoldBoots Mon 17-Sep-12 16:24:13

If exams need to change then they need to change but mucking about with GCSEs then scrapping them is disruptive to so many year groups of children and employers won't know what to make of the last batch of GCSEs.

OddGoldBoots Mon 17-Sep-12 16:29:14

And I failed to mention the poor teachers having to chase their tails trying to keep up with the changes.

OddGoldBoots Mon 17-Sep-12 16:31:22
claig Mon 17-Sep-12 16:37:54

Watching it live. Gove is an excellent speaker and performer. He is wiping the floor with the progressives.

MrsjREwing Mon 17-Sep-12 17:00:44

So is it Y7 downwards that are no longer studying for full GCSE?

aabb Mon 17-Sep-12 17:19:26

Continuous assessment is more like the real world so it's a good test of application and ability - who writes a novel for instance in one hit? The problem with continuous assessment came because work being assessed wasn't always done in school (so you couldn't prove it was their work), and most often the pupil's own teacher assessed it, so it wasn't impartially marked. As usual with this government, they've thrown the baby out with the bath water.

bigTillyMint Mon 17-Sep-12 17:28:07

I'd like to know that too MrsjREwing - are the current Y7's going to be the guinea pigs? And what if the school currently does KS4 over 3 years?

I don't expect anyone will be able to answer these questions with any certainty forquite some time, as the government like to rush through all changes in education so that the teachers don't have time to get fully prepared angry

babybythesea Mon 17-Sep-12 17:34:15

aabb - that's something I was going to say.

Coursework, to me, sounds like a brilliant way of preparing someone for work - carefully researching a topic, drawing information from a range of sources, working out what bits of information are relevant and not relevant, and putting it all together into a coherant whole. Don't most people have to give presentations etc where they use exactly these skills? Compared with passing exams where yes, there are some careers you might have to, but most where you don't?

My Dad tells of not working at all for two years for his A'Level English, spending two weeks before learning quotes and getting an A. More rigorous than my GCSE English where I had to prepare three essays (or five essays - can't remember now) , across a range of genres including Shakespeare, and poetry? I don't think so, and neither did my Dad. I will accept that I sat the exams near on 20 years ago but even so, the idea that coursework is the easy option is a joke. It means you have to stay focussed for the entire period and develop a whole different skill set, rather than tuning out for most of the time, memorising stuff for a few weeks and then forgetting it straight after. Which, if you have a good memory, is perfectly possible and is not necessarily a sign of rising standards.

Am I right in thinking he's getting rid of GCSEs in English, maths, the sciences, history, geography and languages for the current year 7? Students will still be sitting GCSEs in RE, DT, Art, Music, Economics etc in 2017? Ofqual will develop a new set of qualifications (along the lines of EBCs) in these subjects. How'll that work for students?

I have a DS in Yr 8 so probably the last year of GSCE which I really don't like - they aren't going to be worth the paper they are written on really. At least those sitting the new exams will have everybody's sympathy!

I know somebody has got to be the last but it is a shame it has to be him and his year! That is a purely personal perspective of course and if you have a child in Yr 7 you will completely disagree.

I disagree about coursework - I am very glad I didn't have to do it in the early days of my education. It wouldn't have helped me at all. I have done coursework at a higher level (post grad) and it doesn't test you like an exam. You don't have to know your stuff, just be able to write a piece of work which you promptly can forget. You don't have that with exams. You are forced to work in such a way that you remember what you are doing. I don't want a doctor who has to take their time researching and working their on diagnosis. I want somebody who will do the tests and give me an answer. Same with any professional - accountant, lawyers, dentists etc. Or even at the other end of the scale with more vocational jobs, like a hair dresser or a car mechanic. I don't want to have to go back to a salon or the garage over a number of days whilst they work out the best way of doing the job. I want them to know when I turn up, what needs to be done and get on with it.

breadandbutterfly Mon 17-Sep-12 17:54:57

I'd agree with getting rid of coursework - when that was devised as central to GCSEs, the internet had not even been invented. Now, the opportunities for cheating/plagiarism ranging from simple cut-and-pasting to paying people to write your coursework for you - numerous sites/individuals on freelance sites happy to do this for a pretty small fee - mean that coursework is simply not viable any more as part of any meaningful qualification (arguably it never was,as the opportunity to get your mum to do it/copy your friend's was always too great).

But a change of this magnitude needs a much larger lead-in to avoid chaos.

The major flaw, though, is that it seems to lack any signs of overall strategy. So no clear understanding what will happen to all those for whom the new exams are too hard,except being told to stay and repeat them, which will hardly prove a useful exercise for the unacademic or those of a practical bent. (Or an easy exercise for their teachers.) No alternative vocational routes suggested at 16 or older. So all those who claim that CSEs were fine because they know loads of people 30+ years ago who did them and had successful careers miss the point that in those days there were good vocational carrer routes - training on the job for many jobs (like nursing) that now require degrees, apprenticeships etc - but Gove has not suggested removing the need for degrees from nurses etc, or introducing apprenticeships etc.

I suspect Gove's real aim in this is to ensure the numbers going to uni are drastically reduced as fewer get minimum qualifications. Jobs like nursing will be reduced by reducing the NHS. Middle class/lower middle jobs will generally be removed as much as possible and the working classes deskilled entirely by these new exams, to ensure that our workforce becomes as 'competitive' as China's, India's etc - ie prepared to work for starvation wages for big corps that back the Tories, because they have no choice.

babybythesea Mon 17-Sep-12 17:56:28

BBB: I don't want a doctor who has to take their time researching and working their on diagnosis. I want somebody who will do the tests and give me an answer.

Which is fine if all combinations of all symptoms are known for all conditions.
If you present with something unusual, which your GP has never come across before, do you not want someone who knows how to correctly research something?
I have more faith in people who don't automatically say "Oh, yeah I know what that is" but admit to being a bit unsure and asking for time to work it out.
Maybe not with a hairdresser - but then how many variations on cutting hair are there? Or similarly a car repair - it's fairly finite, what needs to be done.

But in my job where there is definitely more than one way to do something, I would prefer someone who can research, rather than someone who has learnt a few facts in order to parrot them back but forgets them shortly after.

I think the complete opposite of you, Bertha. I have a good memory - I can remember things quite quickly and remember cramming hundreds of 'facts' in, for exams right through from GCSE to degree level, which I forgot days later. Coursework, which took several weeks to complete, needed analysis of information from a range of sources, and a coherant synthesis, with correct referencing, even at GCSE level, and because of that tended to stick far more than short-term cramming of facts.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 17:59:32

Bruffin - YOU might have been told, but no-one in my DD's school was. We chose the options, got given the timetable, and THEN got told. So we were making the decision blind, so to speak.

Not that it would have made much difference to my DD - there is no other pre-16 route into her chosen trade in my town other than GCSE's, as not one of the accessible Secondaries offers a vocational route into Catering.

So it was GCSE's or nothing, and a College that will not drop their entry requirements for the current Y10, but have plans to change them for the current Y9.

Doesn't help DC's like mine who are on a limited time scale due to lack of parental finances and the removal of EMA.

breadandbutterfly Mon 17-Sep-12 18:02:44

Forgot to say that in the current lunatic plans, current year 7s will be doing the new quals in only a handful of core subjects - the other subjects will still (presumably, swept this bit of complete disorganisation under the carpet) be GCSEs.

So what will that look like, then? Students with a mish-mash of different qualifications?

And if the Ebacc is only to contain 5 'core' subjects ever, what kind of qualification will students ever get in these (presumed les important?) qualifications?

Currently, students do 2-3 sciences;the Ebacc only has 1. Most people do 2 X English - rhe Ebacc only 1. What about people who do 2 or more languages, etc??

The whole thing is complete back-of-envelope, dog's dinner stuff.

Who thought of it?

Oh, of course, that man with no experience of the educational system outside of having once been a pupil; no teaching experience or professional knowledge whatsoever. sad

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 17-Sep-12 18:05:51

It does seem to me that a major element of who likes gove exams and those that don't depends on whether they where good at the end of course exams or not.

In all of my years working in the "real world" I was only asked once to give an answer straight away by a top exec who new jack shit about the proffession.

The majority of jobs require some form of research based on existing knowledge.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 18:11:31

Gove has spoken to head teachers. He was extremely well-briefed in the House of Commons and the Labour opposition was totally ineffective, because he knew his stuff.

My guess is that the EBacc will be the core requirement and pupils will be able to resit it at 17 , 18 , 19 etc. Other subjects will probably follow a similar formula, but they will be additional to the core.

Current GCSEs won't be devalued, just as O levels weren't devalued by teh introduction of GCSEs. Employers will have some sort of equivalence ranking for exams taken in different years.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 18:12:35

Catinhat - My DD could carry on learning English until she was 30 and still not receive a basic qualification in it.

I will feel more magnanimous towards Gove when he actually explains what he is doing for the 75% that an O-Level qualification won't suit. And what he intends to provide for those who are more suited to vocational training.

Low-income families (be they unemployed or employed on NMW) just CAN'T support their children much past 19, unless they are clever enough for Uni, when they get extra help to go.

So if they were forced to stay at school studying for Maths and English qualifications that they still may not receive, that only leaves them one year to train in something before they HAVE to be in employment.

Surely accepting that they just aren't strong academically, and finding an alternative route to employment, like vocational training, would ensure far greater employment.

And whoever said it was a cynical attempt to create a workforce that was competitive with China and India, having to work for starvation wages because there is no other choice (think about the Welfare reforms), has hit the nail on the head IMO.

Keep the top 25% in decent paid employment, turn the 75% into a 'competitive' workforce by not providing them with any alternative education to earn anything above a subsistence or starvation wage.

Cynical? Moi?

GetDownNesbitt Mon 17-Sep-12 18:15:28

I didn't hear all of the statement, but he keeps referring to English. At the moment, there are three versions - English Language, English Literature (which have to be taken together to count, but are two separate GCSes) and English ( which is a combined single GCSE - not really preparation for A levels in Lang/ Lit but fine if you are going on to do, say, Maths and Science.

I am concerned about what GCSE English will look like under all of this. Maybe a précis and a proof reading activity? Discursive essay? Translation of Anglo Saxon? Who knows?

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 18:15:58

In the early parts of Gove's speech, he repeatedly mentioned the "corruption" of the exam system. He mentioned that it was teaching to the test and favoured middle-class children via the coursework and controlled assessments.

It seems that the government is determined to reverse the dumbing down and devaluation of our exam system, by instilling rigour and tackling what he seemed to say was "corruption" of the system.

GetDownNesbitt Mon 17-Sep-12 18:17:50

Eagerly awaiting the new league table proposals, too - about 35 - 45% of the kids I teach are likely to 'not be ready' for the new quals when they leave us at 16. How will their success be measured?

x2boys Mon 17-Sep-12 18:20:39

for those worrying about kids in certain years being guinea pigs someone has to just as my sister was for the current gcse,s in 1988.[ she,s a primary school teacher so not done to badley] Also fior those worrying that the last of the pupils sitting current gcse,sthat their qualifications will be worthless i have plenty of friends who sat the last of the o levels, their qualifications are nt worthless, and for the person who said her daughter was predicted c/d,s with modular exams but with linear exams will leave with u,s with all due respect what does that say about the standard of modular exams?

goingtoofast Mon 17-Sep-12 18:22:20

breadandbutterfly you make a good point re the science qualifications.

DD1 is currently in year 7 and in the top set for science. Students in the top set in her school do triple science at GCSE. I wonder if the new qualification will cater for her or for the students who would have done double science.

clam Mon 17-Sep-12 18:23:22

Shallow, I know, but I wish I could watch Michael Gove speak without itching to punch him in the face.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 18:24:39

Actually, I did GCSE's that involved coursework, hated it, and would have been FAR better off sitting a linear exam.

However, two of my 3 school age DC's just won't achieve ANY grades in linear style examinations.

Hence my ability to see that this will be disastrous for the vast majority of pupils, and that something else, i.e. a more vocational based training, in a decent choice of trades, would be more appropriate for most of those.

Just because terminal exam-style qualifications will suit my DS1 and would have suited myself, doesn't mean I can't understand how useless they are for my DD or my DS2.

I still think Gove basically doesn't give a shit about anyone outside that top 25%, as he hasn't made any announcements on what he will provide in the way of appropriate, achievable qualifications for the other 75%.

He is basically writing off 3/4 of a generation.

And people think the change to the system is a good thing?

I would only agree if ALL pupils needs had been thought about.

A previous poster asked me whether a single qualification route should ignore the top 25% or the bottom 25%, as we need the top 25% to be competitive on the world stage.

My answer is that life, and qualifications, are not 'one size fits all'.

If it was, then everyone would pass a PGCE, or the bar exams, or a plumbing course, or medical school. It is folly to think that one size fits all can ever work in a sensible education system.

NO ONE'S needs should be ignored, there should be sensible provisions made for ALL pupils. Not a proposal that ignores the needs of the majority in favour of a minority of people suited to academics.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 18:27:08

x2boys. It says NOTHING about modular exams, and EVERYTHING about my DD's specific SN's, that mean that she cannot retain large swathes of information that has no relevance to her day to day life for two years plus, as some of her GCSE's are started at the end of Y9...

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 18:31:40

Couthy, exams are there to test for a certain standard. They are not a hoop jumping exercise for everyone to pass.

Gove expects the majority of pupils to be able to pass these exams, but there will be far fewer receiving A*s etc., since the dumbing down will come to an end. He said it will favour poorer children, who don't get all the help for coursework from their parents and tutors. It will be a one-tier system, not a ywo-tier system. So every child will be taking the same exam, devised by teh same board. It won't be easier for some than others.

x2boys Mon 17-Sep-12 18:34:43

but thats your daughters specific needs though not alll those who sit gcse,s if somebody gets an a star in modular but a d in linear verxams than thbe standard of modular exams must bu substandard your daughter aside

x2boys Mon 17-Sep-12 18:35:26

exams even

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 18:42:54

That's the point - most people ate going to drop one grade at most. My DD will drop 2 grades OR MORE.

It is precisely BECAUSE of her SN's that she will drop so many grades - some subjects FOR HER that were predicted C's on modular will become U's on linear.

Why should MY DD become a casualty of Gove's vanity project?

If it was YOUR child, who had already faced an uphill struggle to achieve even half of what their peers will, had the rug pulled out from under them, YOU'D be pretty pissed off too.

Most pupils will drop maybe one grade on linear. My DD won't achieve grades at all. And that has nothing to do with the exams, after all, if it was just one grade she would drop, and that was the same for her whole cohort, then fair enough.

But the difference between modular and linear for someone with my DD's SN's is the difference between getting a C/D and a U, not an A* and an A.

Are you that blinkered that you can't see how this could ruin the lives of many families with DC's who have SEN's, and the worst affected, with the least time to prepare, are those currently in Y10 like my DD?

What did SHE ever do to Gove, except have dreams of ACTUALLY GAINING EMPLOYMENT?!

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 18:44:48

x2boys - so what is Gove proposing FOR DC's with SN's like my DD then? Especially those currently in Y10, who will be worst affected and have the least time to prepare?

That's right. NOTHING.

Copthallresident Mon 17-Sep-12 18:44:50

CouthyMowWearingOrange These proposals won't identify the 25% brightest either, they will identify the brightest who are good at exams. How do we in unis identify the brightest who for whatever reasons do not show their potential in a 3 hour exam on a given day? And how do we ensure that students have the skills in researching and assimilating facts and really understanding their subjects rather than just rote learning and regurgitating knowledge? There was a need to introduce rigour and differentiate the brightest but that wasn't mutually exclusive with the best aspects of the current system. Gove is throwing the baby out with the bathwater and there has been insufficient consultation with the professionals who will be teaching these qualifications and the institutions and employers who use them to evaluate students. At higher level evidence of the ability to go beyond exam passing, coursework, the extended project qualification etc are becoming ever more imporatnt as tools for assessing candidates. So he really is taking things backwards for pupils from the whole spectrum of ability. And the irony is that the shortcomings of these qualifications will become as apparent as they did for O levels, when Goves Conservative predecessor did away with them in the first place, and indeed as they are for the Singaporeans now who are looking at ways to better encourage creative and crtical thinking in their exams, and it will be all change again....

babybythesea Mon 17-Sep-12 18:47:49

I think we need to ask what skills we want though.
As I said above, in my experience (and this is not about modular, it is about the emphasis or otherwise on coursework produced through the two years), coursework requires a different set of skills.
Being able to sit an exam and do well is a test of memory.
Being able to produced a good piece of coursework should show skills like sourcing information, selecting it, and correctly referencing it.
All of these are useful skills in the workplace.

If coursework doesn't work well at the moment, surely it is the methods and not the theory that is at fault.
It is perfectly possible to sit an exam with a list of facts memorised earlier that day and do well, if you get lucky on the questions - it doesn't necessarily lead to higher standards, or an indication of greater abilities.
In fact, in veterinary science a few years ago, there was a move to look beyond exams as an indication of suitability for the Vet Uni courses, because they were getting candidates who were brilliant at remembering things for exams but crap at actually handling animals - now you need a bank of work experience as well!

If the exam system is designed to cream off the top 25% who can sit in an exm situation and recall perfectly, then fine - what will the other kids be doing? And what will we do in a few years time when the jobs which currently ask for exams and degrees don't have enough people to fill them (jobs like nursing which didn't ask for this level of qualification until recently), and the 75% of kids who didn't do well in exams can't get jobs because nearly all jobs seem to want one?

It's got to be much more carefully thought through.

GetDownNesbitt Mon 17-Sep-12 18:49:36

I take it this also means the end of Speaking and Listening assessment in English? Or maybe we will have public speaking exams.

Tressy Mon 17-Sep-12 18:51:28

I did O levels and CSE's. Back in the day a good solid secondary education consisted of 5 O level grade C and above passes in traditional subjects.

I was a bit wayward and didn't do any work in the 2 years until 2 weeks before the exams. Ended up with only 3 grades C's the rest were level 2's or D's. I thought I would get the 5.

I went to college and took the missing 2 over the one year, alongside a vocational course and because the teachers had more time and I wanted to do better I ended up with A's at O level!! Went onto do an A level in a year and got a grade B. Really made me wonder how I would have fared had I been at a school where the teachers gave a shit and had been monitored by way of module exams.

O levels aren't all they were cracked up to be. Also agree that continuous assessment/course work is a more relevant to the world of work.

I do think that the current government are wanting to go back to the days when a smaller percentage of pupils went to university. Maybe turning some of the ex poly's back to vocational colleges will be next on the agenda. They want to keep the top jobs for their own.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 17-Sep-12 18:51:55

The problem is thatooften those that are asked for (or put forward) their opinions about what they want the youth of today to leave school with are those that want to pay peanuts but want more than the proverbial monkey.

x2boys Mon 17-Sep-12 18:53:25

actually no i.m not blinkered i,m a great beleiver in everybody being given the same chances in education just remember eduacation is for life gcse,s are nt th b all and end all i should know i did nt do great in mine but was determined to succeed atn present i think our present system is crap and it needs to change we are well down the world league when it comes to maths english science and we used to be near the top prhgaps its not the government you need to be angry at but colleges that cant see your daughters potential

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 17-Sep-12 18:55:29


I would say that the reason you did better the second time around was more down to "I wanted to do better" than the staff.

A collegue of mine said that often students felt that the only thing valued was that being assessed.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 17-Sep-12 18:58:52

I really want to know where this "world league table" is.

The only group that I know of that is often quoted as this table has stated that creating a league table is not what the results are for.

They don't even test the same skill sets year on year.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 19:02:11

What relevance does a 'world league table' have to real life in the UK? We don't have the manufacturing industries that developing nations do, so where do these DC's go? Won't be the dole, because of their PARENT'S are already claiming over the new benefits cap in support for low paid jobs, they will be unable to claim anything.

They won't be able to live independently as there will be no job for them with no qualifications, and no Housing Benefit help with rent until they are 25.

How is a low-income family meant to support an ADULT child, possibly with SN's, with no money?

THAT is the issue, and the Government IS at fault.

Tressy Mon 17-Sep-12 19:06:19

I know that, but teachers at my school did leave pupils who didn't work to their own devices. Had we had to sit modular exams I might have pulled my socks ups sooner. But that was just me and my way, I suppose.

BonyBack he's referring to the OECD's PISA rankings.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 17-Sep-12 19:15:33


Yup they would be the ones that said their methods where never meant to be extrapolated in to a league table.

They where formed to monitor trends in education, they test every three years on a different subject.

pointythings Mon 17-Sep-12 19:33:01

What I don't get about all this (and about any of the previous changes to exams) is why no-one appears to have asked the essential question: What do we want our school leavers to be able to do at 16/17/18? What skills will they need, depending on whether they're going into work or further education?

I can think of a few:

- Recall of key facts needed in everyday life
- The ability to research independently and reference said research correctly
- The ability to organise and present information in a format that meets the intended purpose, such as: writing a CV or a business letter, writing an informative article on a subject for a lay person, writing instructions for the use of a piece of equipment. These are all useful skills in the workplace.
- The ability to speak fluently and coherently, demonstrating the ability to build an argument, adjust flexibly to disagreement or unexpected interruptions - this prepares one for interviewing, whether for work or further education.

No doubt there are more.

Then the question arises: Does a three hour end of course exam rigorously test all of the above?

Of course it doesn't - it's all about recall, which is only one facet. I agree that it is an essential one, but it's only one of many essential ones.

So why are we throwing out essays/business letters under exam conditions? Why are we throwing out spoken exams?

The proposed 'crammer' style of exams will do no-one any favours - as always, teachers will teach to the test (driven by league table pressure and academy nonsense). This will mean children not being taught any of the other skills they will need in future employment or education.

TunaPastaBake Mon 17-Sep-12 19:33:24

Sitting on the fence on this at the moment as need to read up more about it - DS just started secondary and another will start next year - however am glad to see that it will be the end of the constant A* etc that seem to be coming out of schools - just the rise in grades must say that something is wrong -whether this is the right way to fix it I'm not sure as yet .

BonyBack the one and same. Also the ones who point out that some of their results are not statistically significant...

animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 19:59:14

Well hopefully it will result in only the top 5% or whatever going to university which will give a knock on effect of everyone else also having a decent education, because it will be the majority who don't go and who are deemed averagely intelligent and so resources will be aimed at them.

Everyone should be given the opportunity of going to university but that is different to everyone should go. This seems to be where it all went wrong. Hopefully, it will end up with people who become nurses etc not needing a degree to do it. Presumably all these professions which now need a degree became thus because the education at schools was so lax that they needed a bloody degree to get up to the level to be able to understand basic stuff. Once it is sorted that all children get a decent grounding and fairly rigourous education then they will not need a degree to do a normal job.

But the real elephant in the room is the difference between the results of private and state education (bar grammar schools). Averagely intelligent children at private schools, on the whole, gain much better results than those at a not particularly good state school, which is the really big problem.
Strikes me if they make everything harder there may be quite alot a few in the private system who suddenly don't get a string of As. and it will actually make things fairer. Only the really bright will be able to attain those grades, which is quite right.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 17-Sep-12 20:17:19


"Presumably all these professions which now need a degree became thus because the education at schools was so lax that they needed a bloody degree to get up to the level to be able to understand basic stuff"

LOL, the reason why these professions know need a degree is because the government says so.

BoffinMum Mon 17-Sep-12 20:17:22

Great for people like me and Gove, who do exams easily (and forget a lot of the things they learned immediately after sitting the exam). More prizes! More awards! More gongs!

Crap for anyone who likes to spend time on lengthy investigations and projects, like, er, scientists, artists, musicians, engineers, mathematicians and so on.


animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 20:28:33

BoffingMum, I doubt that you (or Gove ) do actually forget everything you have leaned immediately after sitting the exam somehow.

I don't expect many successful scientists, artists, musicians, engineers, mathematicians do either.

animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 20:29:25

BoffinMum (sorry, not BoffingMumsmile)

animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 20:32:16

Yes, I agree BoneyBack, it is the govt that says so. I am not blaming the teachers, just the system.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 20:36:48

Asking for degrees is really a supply and demand thing. If there is a shortage of labour, then employers won't ask for degrees. If there is an abundance of labour and 50% of applicants have degrees, then employers will probably ask for degrees.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 20:38:35

It5's teh same with GCSEs and EBaccs and everything else. If there is a shortahe of labour and lots of jobs are avaialable, then employers will not stipulate that you need an EBacc etc.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 20:42:30

I think that GCSEs and even A levels are probably on the way out long term. I think there is a drive towards European standardisation in an EUtopia and the EBacc may only be the start. The grade inflation and dumbing down has served to discredit our system, and this helps teh drive towards a Bacc standardisation.

muminlondon Mon 17-Sep-12 20:44:36

Gove wants to label a whole generation of children as failures. His revenge for the rough estate kids of his childhood who dared to call him 'swotface'. He's only interested in the top 15%. Or maybe just the 5% who will go to university straight from private schools. Who look a bit like him. In fact, he is only interested in himself.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 20:45:22

I think it was a union official on Channel 4 News that wondered why the word "baccalaureate" was chosen.

SomePeopleSayImBonkers Mon 17-Sep-12 20:46:04

Thank you Mr Gove. After today's announcement, I now know which two political parties I will not be supporting in the next general election. not that I ever thought I'd vote tory...although Boris is good fun

Tressy Mon 17-Sep-12 20:47:38

animaltales, if it gets to only 5% going to uni, then what will happen to the universities and courses that are in existence now? Also the economies of the university towns. Will they be filled by international students? Also will there be plenty if jobs/apprentices for the other 95%. I know the current government is setting up schemes at £2.50 and hour but the uptake is low atm.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 20:52:23

'Thank you Mr Gove. After today's announcement, I now know which two political parties I will not be supporting in the next general election.'

I agree with you, SomePeople. I too won't be voting Labour or LibDem.

TunaPastaBake Mon 17-Sep-12 20:56:19

''what will happen to the universities and courses that are in existence now?''

Media studies out the window then ! grin

Perhaps a return to Polytechnics for the vocational courses.

Tressy Mon 17-Sep-12 21:00:22

That's what I was thinking might happen. However, the polytechnics still needed funding and students.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 21:07:05

There'll be lots of acting from Labour, but I doubt they will pose an effective opposition to Gove. He wiped teh floor with the progressives in parliament today, and that shows that Labour are not really up for it. Very few of their bigwigs were present for such a mjor announcement which will affect millions of children and shape the country's future. A "baccalaureate" is probably right up New Labour's street.

TunaPastaBake Mon 17-Sep-12 21:10:31

I'm sure they will still get the students - grades may be 'dumbed' down in comparison to the grades we have been seeing over the last few years but further education will have to reflect those changes .

I certainly agree that school leavers shouldn't expect to go to university which seems to happen. Because there is currently very little alternative on offer - apprenticeships, vocational courses people seem blinkered into university.

mumzy Mon 17-Sep-12 21:14:26

The countries we should model ourselves on are Germany and Japan. Their education systems nurture the academically able but also provide high quality vocational education for the more practically minded. As a result they produce and export innovative high quality products which people around the world aspire to own. Their populations enjoy a high quality of life and everyone makes a valuable contribution to the economy and society.

creamteas Mon 17-Sep-12 21:16:15

Thankfully my DC will all escape the 'gove' level, but I hope to help that some of the points made today will get knocked into touch during the consultation.

One important point not mentioned yet, I think, is how they can reasonably adjust three hour exams? My DC have SEN and are entitled to 25% extra time, But it is not unheard of for adjustments of 50% or more extra time. A three hour exam is bad enough, but some kids could be faced with exams of 4 hours or more. hmm

Presumably Gove thinks that we should return to the O level days when kids with SEN were not allowed to take qualifications. It certainly looks like he wants to move in that direction. angry

pointythings Mon 17-Sep-12 21:40:19

mumzy I agree with Germany, but Japan - the suicide rate among school age people is staggering because of the pressure and the amount of work they are expected to do pretty much 24/7.

Germany does stream at an early age, with children deemed to be 'not academic' forced into vocational schools. The Dutch system is very similar. Neither system really allows late developers to blossom.

MrsjREwing Mon 17-Sep-12 21:53:37

My DD watched a recent programme about the youth in Japan, she said they were under huge pressure to perform well in interviews.

MrsjREwing Mon 17-Sep-12 21:54:16

job interviews

BoffinMum Mon 17-Sep-12 22:01:09

Animaltales, test me on Biology then. For I have an A at OL. wink

animaltales Mon 17-Sep-12 22:09:08

I still bet your Biology is better than my DS1 who got an A in Biology in 2005. (sets up quiz between BoffinMum/Michael Gove and DS1smile)

MrsjREwing Mon 17-Sep-12 22:15:37

I took GCSE Maths in 1990, 1991 and got D each time. I took GCSE Maths again in 2002 and got a B. I thought the third exam was easier than the previous two, so I am in the camp that exams got easier. I think had standards been kept GCSE's would have stayed.

mam29 Mon 17-Sep-12 22:26:10

Im not sure if was overdue to.

we have employers saying kids not ready to work.poor numeracy, literacy and interpersonal skills- not tarnishing youth but had some pretty dire teenage shop assistants/cashiers unable to even greet a customer and lacking confidence.

I do wonder if private schools do better as they do instill a confidence and wider skill set than state schools not just the academic side of education.

we have uni lectureres saying they have to spend 1st year degree going over stuff students should have learnt at alevel.

we live in global market places now.
we have high unemployment and high youth unemployment which was also bad in boom years.

we have lots of older more mature students applying for jobs they overqualified for.

Its a currently an employers market as lots of people with good interpersonal skills, qualifications and work experience from with uk and abroad.

This makes it even tricker for school leavers who leave at 16, even 18.

Most jobs they can get are low skilled retail jobs with cheaper min wage , sometimes temporary mostly part time.
Some employers do in all fairness after being in retail management for many years offer nvqs but these are not challenging and pretty much no better than the gcses and alevels they may have done.

when i was 16 a lady from yts came in and tried to sell the scheme it was awful low paid seems really rubbish-not sure if still exists.

unless we have credible vocational courses and options to go too then what do they do? often think staying in education until 18 way to fiddle unemployment figures.

My 1st job was sat job-pound shop £1.05 an hour in 1995.

Like I said think fe colleges better than my 6th form and give better options for late bloomers.

I think changes need to be phased.

I like idea of bac as means even mix of subjects rather than drop one and realise you needed it later, schools steering kids to easier topics to manipulate results and maybe higher uptake of modern languages.

Personally I think we have a cultural problem within uk.
A reasonably percentage just not bothered.
we see the news the happy smiling youngsters clutching their a,s but they just small percentage.

some schools in my city less than half achieve c pas rate.

so 50%of every year group-what happens to them?
they cannot move onto alevels.

some schools here and few private chosing igcses and international bacc anyway as lost faith already in current system.

As for academic requirements going backwards cant see that happening.

we seem to have lots of people moving here to do jobs that no one wants here. theres far too much snobbery about jobs.

But as a parent we just want the kids to achieve their potential and what rest of the world consider as done good.

its a hard sell to convince parents on vocational streams.

breadandbutterfly Mon 17-Sep-12 22:45:52

mumzy -agree absolutely.

claig - this plan is only good if your priority is not with the future of the country, or 100% of the children, but only with the top 25% of the children.

And no, to whoever said that this change was only disliked by those who performed badly in traditional exams,I was in the last year doing O Level and did v well, and personally find exams easy; but object to the current proposals because they really do not seem to offer much to the 75% of less academic students, nor provide the country with the varied skillset it needs. We need mechanics, plumbers, creatives, nurses, not just bankers, lawyers and doctors. We need people doing those jobs to be able to access appropriate vocational training. To do this we need to provide the training,and if, as for nurses,it is going to be degree level entry only, then we need to ensure that the entry qualifications to university are no so onerous that it excludes most of those who would to be nurses (and who would make perf

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 22:54:55

Gove cares about the whole country. He wants teh country to be rich, he wants business to flourish, he wants children to be educated so that they can invent new things and create new products and artistic creations. He wants freedom for teh people and prosperity. That is why he is changing the system. He wants to improve standards, raise the bar, raise the game and reverse dumbing down and grade inflation which has harmed education.

Schools are not there to train plumbers, car mechanics and nurses. They are to provide a common educational curriculum to all children. You can learn how to fit pipes on the job. Employers won't introduce you to Shakespeare, Dickens or algebra. That is what we pay our taxes for schools to do. Schools provide teh broad common base that our society thinks is important for every citizen. People can specialise out of school. School is not to train hairdressers; it is to broaden horizons and pass down our common cultural heritage and acquired knowledge.

aabb Mon 17-Sep-12 23:05:27

A modular approach in Languages was insane - how can you possibly do an assessed subject in the first three months of a course to equal the standard you will achieve after you've been studying the language for 2 years?

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 23:08:29

If Gove really didn't care about 75% of children, then he would allow the New Labour dumbing down to continue, because you don't need to write essays about 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in order to stack shelves or cut hair. But he refuses to lower aspirations and lower the bar. Instead he is fighting tooth and nail, against New Labour opposition, to raise the bar, to introduce rigour and to reverse dumbing down, so that all children will receive a high quality education. He said he will stop controlled assessment and coursework so that middle class children no longer have an advantage over poorer children. He wants everybody to take the same exam devised by the same single board. The reason he is doing all of this is to ensure that everybody gets a better education and where their grades and achievements have not been devalued by grade inflation.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:11:26

It's not that hard a sell for those of us whose DC's WOULD do better with a rigorous vocational system. Instead we have a laughable system where those more suited to vocational training are offered a choice of just 4 courses in my town at 14yo - Hair & Beauty, Childcare, Mechanics or Basic Life Skills (which consists of no formal qualification, just teaches them how to make a sandwich, ride a mountain bike, contraception, and basic Numeracy).

If your vocational skills lie in a different area, then you cannot do anything about it until post 16, and even then it is dependant on C/C/D at GCSE.

If these proposals included a sensible, well thought out plan for good quality vocational training, so that NO ONE was left having to 'kill time' at school, or do an irrelevant course, then fair enough.

Why make someone who wants to be a plumber continue to learn French after 14? NOT everyone can learn a MFL, my DD was allowed to drop MFL at the end of Y7 - her school had persevered for a year, and accepted grudgingly that pushing a DC with SN's to attempt to learn a MFL when they don't have a great handle on English (their first language btw) is a pointless waste of everyone's time, and a far better use of that time would be to try to get her English and Maths advancing to something approaching a basic level...

That took almost a whole year of fighting, but it has paid off. My DD got far more SN help from the LSA Dept by being available when her MFL lessons were timetabled.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:18:29

But Claig - learning about Shakespeare is not going to help my DD to learn to make chocolates, is it? What relevance will that hold to her life in years to come? None. What help will it be to her? None. Far better for her to spend those two years doing an NVQ level 2 in Catering, and the first year of her NVQ level 3, so that by 16yo, she has a decent basic Catering qualification under her belt, and half of a higher level. Then she would just need to complete the second year of her NVQ level 3 post-16, then specialise by doing a 2 year Patisserie course. Which would significantly rise her earning (and tax paying) potential.

Far more than Shakespeare ever will FOR HER.

If this was an option for DD at 14, to do NVQ level 2 in Catering, I would start her tomorrow!

A pass or distinction in that qualification means far more to my DD's future than a 'G' or 'U' in English Literature GCSE ever will.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 23:22:01

After 13 years of New Labour grade inflation and dumbing down, with approx a quarter of pupils now getting A and A* grades, Gove has had the courage to grab the progreesive by the horns and say "Halt! Enough! So far and no further' He has raised the bar, removed the limbo, and given the dumbers down an asbo.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:23:39

And the issue is, that though Polytechnics will eventually catch up to the new system and start offering a better choice of vocational courses, what about the first few years of DC's, like mine, that won't have that option?

The Polytechnic system isn't going to catch up quickly enough for the current Y10's.

Are their lives just collateral damage? It's a phrase this Government seem all too fond of, and being 'collateral damage' is going to affect my family in so many ways, this is just one facet of it.

Copthallresident Mon 17-Sep-12 23:28:37

claig Are you Gove posting undercover? ^ Schools provide teh broad common base that our society thinks is important for every citizen. it is to broaden horizons and pass down our common cultural heritage and acquired knowledge. ^ Because Gove is just about the only person in the world of educational professionals and employers who is spouting this guff. Broad horizons don't come from rote learning a common view of our society and our past, quite the opposite! What we in elite universities want, I am an academic in an institution rated second in the country for our course, is young people who are open minded and curious, able to research and assimilate information, analyse and reach opinions of their own adopting an objective perspective. That is what even Gove's beloved Niall Ferguson has done, he has one perspective but our students are expected to study all perspectives and reach their own conclusions. We are training minds that can go into education, government and commerce and apply those skills in competition on an international stage. Education professionals in Singapore were highly amused at Gove falling for their confuciam traditionalists' brain washing because they believe that to compete on the world stage they need the rigour, yes, but also the creative and critical thinking that the US system is so good at delivering. As I posted below what we do not want is an exam that merely points up the brightest who are good at exams, and makes it harder to identify the brightest who for whatever reason do not perform to their best potential in a three hour exam on a given day. Some of our brightest and most talented students on my course have SLDs but with support they contribute ideas and perspectives that really enrich our studies.

And employers, most especially these days, want employees at all levels with thinking skills, 21c economoies don't need automotons that calculate and process, we have computers for that. They need employees who will deliver value added, think for themselves. There are some seriously ignorant comments on the nursing profession below. 21c nursing is a world away from nursing in the past. Increasingly nursing assistants do the clearing up of poo etc. but if your neo natal baby needs nursing care or you are being treated by a chemotherapy or paliative care nurse I think it would be reassuring to know that they had the intelligence to have gained a degree in the science and skills required.

What Gove is not doing is listening to the professionals who work in our schools, universities and industries about what is needed at 16, an educational strategy aimed at the skills that Britain will need in the 21c. Instead we are going back to the system that universities and employers convinced Sir Keith Joseph was not fit for purpose thirty years ago!!

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 23:29:53

Your DD's years at school are not intended to train her to become a chocolatier. They were intended to introduce her to Shakespeare and French and history and art and maths. It doesn't matter if she never uses any of them again. I learnt Latin and have never used it again. But these subjects are all part of our common cultural heritage and may lead us on to expand our sharedheritage in the future. Learning Shakespeare makes her educated, so that she shares the same heritage as children at Eton. Learning to become a chocolatier should be done outside of school.

It is teh right of every citizen to get the same education as all other children. It doesn't matter if they get lower grades; they have been exposed to the same common core that our society deems important.

There needs to be better vocational training after school and there should be more collaborative apprenticeships, but school should not become a feeder of teh local plumbing company.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:29:57

Oh, FGS Claig, you really can talk rubbish sometimes.

So changing the system for something that ignores those who are not in the top 25% is fine in your eyes?

Not providing meaningful vocational routes into employment AND PAYING TAXES for the 75% is sensible, is it?

Ignoring the combined effect of an educational system offering them NOTHING, no prospects AND the changes to the Welfare system meaning that they will be put to work for their benefits is hunky dory is it?

Ignoring the fact that they are spending time at school just to become fodder for 'workfare' or slave labour, as I prefer to call it, is ok then?

Do you have a way out of your ivory fucking tower, Claig?

MrsjREwing Mon 17-Sep-12 23:32:01

I can't think of a worse insult than be called Gove undercover.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 23:36:37

Copthallresident, do you really think that all the brilliant minds who passed O levels, when standards were higher, couldn't think creatively. Do you think that all of thoise people who went on to become professors were any less capable than the products of a New Labour education system, a system which even some New Labour ministers have admitted suffered from some mickey mouse courses and some dumbing down and grade inflation.

Gove has got a job to do. He has teh responsibility for teh whole education system. He hasn't drawn these ideas up on teh back of a fag packet. He wants to reverse teh decline - not for himself, but teh children of teh country.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:37:20

I feel that giving DC's a well rounded education is important until 14. If Society didn't agree, then DC's the country over wouldn't be dropping some subjects in favour of others when they choose their options at 14.

I don't WANT my DD to be further educated in Shakespeare, I WANT her to have a chance of gaining employment appropriate to her skills, and paying taxes. hmm

Shakespeare will NOT help her to do this.

Gove is trying to fit square pegs into a round hole.

What possible use will English Lit be to her career? An education isn't THERE to impart every person with exactly the sane knowledge, it is there to enable people to become employed.

If EVERYONE was able to learn exactly the same skills, then EVERYONE would be capable of going to Uni and passing a Medical Degree. They aren't.

Because somewhere on the ground, in the REAL WORLD, rather than Gove's fucking utopia, PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT SKILLS.


CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:39:36

And yet, Claig, you apparently passed O-Levels despite being unable to type the word 'the' correctly consistently. hmm

Would that be because typing isn't one of your major skills? Well English Lit isn't one of my DD's skills. But she could bake you under the table...

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:41:12

No, Claig. He is doing this for the top 25% of children in the country.

But never let a little thing like facts get in the way of a blinkered argument, eh.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:43:02

But the 'Mickey Mouse' courses that people keep spouting about WEREN'T. They were just higher level vocational qualifications that you had to pay tuition fees for...

niceguy2 Mon 17-Sep-12 23:44:10

employers, most especially these days, want employees at all levels with thinking skills

Many would settle for employees with a good work ethic (Another topic in itself) and the ability to spell & perform basic arithmetic. From this point of view we seem to have failed abysmally. We see employers complaining all the time that we're churning out school leavers who cannot do the basics.

And in the modern world we do need employees with thinking skills. Our economy, now more than ever is a knowledge based economy. One of our most successful and profitable companies in the UK makes absolutely nothing. Not one widget comes out of their doors. What they do is design computer processors which other companies must license and make. Do you think they are interested in the poorly qualified? They want the creme de la creme.

And what about our competitors we keep talking about like Germany & Japan? What has made them so successful? Well they have good high tech manufacturing industries. Think Bosch, BMW, Toyota, Sony etc. Do you think their engineers stopped at GCSE level?

We do need thinkers but highly qualified thinkers.

We do still need those who are less able to work in other industries but even there we're failing them. How the heck can we have lowered the bar so much that GCSE grades are practically meaningless yet have 40% of kids leave without 5 good grades?

How is it that at my partner's company, they have people coming in for interviews who cannot answer a simple question like "How much change would you get from £20 if you buy something for £18.42"....even with a calculator!

We do need to raise standards. To say we don't is simply sticking your head in the sand.

But raising standards cannot be done simply by making exams harder. It can only work if other steps are put into place to ensure our kids get a better education all round. That means better teachers, better resources, better discipline in school. More parental involvement etc. etc.

I support the changes as long as it's part of a bigger plan. Otherwise we're just pissing in the wind and we may as well just not bother to start with.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:44:18

Calling them degrees didn't change the fact that they are higher level vocational qualifications.

Doesn't make them 'Mickey Mouse' courses. Just makes them a sensible route into certain trades...

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:47:09

NiceGuy - Someone with severe dyslexia or other LD's may NEVER be able to spell. But they might have a very good work ethic, honed on attempting to pass GCSE's which is considerably harder for them than your average pupil, where they have had to put in four times the effort that an A* pupil has had to, just to achieve a 'G' grade.

Doesn't mean that they can't cut your hair, or decorate your 3-tier wedding cake beautifully.

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 23:48:15

'Oh, FGS Claig, you really can talk rubbish sometimes.'

I defy you to find a single example of that.

'So changing the system for something that ignores those who are not in the top 25% is fine in your eyes?'

He is not ignoring 75%. He is demanding that they take more rigorous exams, that they are stretched more to achieve their potential.

'Not providing meaningful vocational routes into employment AND PAYING TAXES for the 75% is sensible, is it?'

I don't think school is about 'vocational routes into employment'. If employment was what it was all about, then they could go back to a school leaving age of 14.

'Ignoring the combined effect of an educational system offering them NOTHING'

An education is not NOTHING. There are children all over the world who would be very grateful to receive th eeducation that we receive. Education is not about employment.

'Ignoring the fact that they are spending time at school just to become fodder for 'workfare' or slave labour'

School is not a waste of time where children just hang around before becoming fodder. It is about learning and thinking and developing a lifelong love of learning so that children can develop in all sorts of directions that interest them. If it was just a waste of time before they become fodder, then there would be no point being at school at all, and it would make sense to get any employment earlier. But school is valuable and that is why there is a law about school leaving age.

'Do you have a way out of your ivory fucking tower, Claig?'
I guess I could always jump.

Copthallresident Mon 17-Sep-12 23:52:08

claig Some of those people who passed O levels may have been able to think creatively but they certainly didn't need to do so to pass them!! I can say this authoritatively having got Grade 1s in 8 in 1973. My DDs both worked harder, had to have a deeper understanding of their subjects and a better grasp of the skills required than I ever did at 16, or even 18. History was a soul destroying vomiting of facts and dates, and I did not get to really think and develop skills in research, critical thinking and developing arguments until university. They already had started to do all this at 16. Gove hasn't put this together on the back of a fag packet, it is the product of is own subjective attitudes, tory and daily hate mail dogma, politics and stereotypes. I do not want my DDs education dictated by politics, I want it to be determined by those who best understand what skills they will need to have happy and fulfilling lives and really make a difference in future. On that I am right there with CouthyMowwearingOrange

claig Mon 17-Sep-12 23:58:29

'claig Some of those people who passed O levels may have been able to think creatively but they certainly didn't need to do so to pass them'

I had to do some quick thinking to answer essay questions that summed up 2 years of knowledge. A one sentence question could spell pass or fail.

' History was a soul destroying vomiting of facts and dates'
I don't remember that at all. Has anybody got an example of an essay question from O level days. I don't think it was as simple as 1066 and all that.
Gove is not an idiot, he went to Oxford, he doesn't want children to remember dates. He wanst mnore rigorous exams with fewer A* grades. If it was about 1066 and all that, then there would be lots more A* grades.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 23:59:29

And the issues with basic literacy and numeracy are not a Secondary school issue.

By the time a DC gets to Secondary school, the damage is already done. Which is what Labour realised when they implemented the literacy and numeracy hours in Primary school.

If they would just write clearer policies and provide more funding for LSA's and TA's and early intervention and SEN help at Primary school, then there wouldn't be so many illiterate and innumerate Secondary school leavers. By 11yo, the damage is done.

What the education system needs is an early screening test (that'd be the new Y1 phonics test then), FOLLOWED BY good quality interventions.

As it stands, your DC can fail the Y1 phonics test, not achieve a level in the Y2 SATS, and STILL get no help to stop them from falling further behind and to catch up to their peers.

Putting all your eggs in the basket of a new Secondary qualification is a doomed experiment unless there is more readily available help and funding at Primary level.

My DD, had she been given the level of help in Primary that she has had for her first 3 years of Secondary, would not be leaving school with a handful of 'U' grade GCSE's, and she would have had a far better chance of catching up with her peers.

Starting this help at 11yo rather than 6yo meant that the attainment gap had widened too far for her to bridge in just 3 years. At 6yo, she was just 18 months behind her peers. By 11yo, she was 4 years behind her peers.

That gap widened because not enough was done by the education system wrt SEN help between the ages of 6yo and 11yo, despite me doing everything bar taking my illegally acting LA to court. Which frankly, had I been able to financially, I would have done.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:01:29

But what if their potential is such that they won't achieve a grade at all in an academic based qualification.

Life isn't one size fits all.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:02:57

Sits on hands and tries to resist the impetus to type "well go on then".

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 00:04:21

niceguy2" I absolutely agree we needed change and to raise standards. I am not against rigour but setting a 3 hour exam at the end of two years is not the only route to rigour, in fact it may mean less rigour since you can test less than in a series of modular exams and CA (and DDs being at a selective did do all their modules at the end of two years so I know how much more was tested in those exams than the linear IGCSEs, indeed how little was tested in the English lit / lang IGCSE). There was a lot wrong with the current exams but Gove is throwing the baby out with the bathwater purely in the service of politics and dogma.

And you rather contradict yourself, do we need people who can just spell and add up or do we need thinkers? And you know we can teach people a work ethic, a service culture etc. within an education system, and society, that actually recognises and values that some people will contribute to society as waiters, chocolatiers etc. I personally like to be served by someone who thinks and gets personal satisfaction from going that extra mile in whatever they do.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:04:24

An irrelevant education that is unintelligible to them and bears no meaning on their future IS NOTHING.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:05:49

I assume all of that lack of help happened under New Labour. It is not Gove's fault. He has a budget and he can't change everything overnight. He is concentrating on reversing dumbing down at GCSE level. But Gibbs did introduce teh phonics test as well. If Gove remains in charge of education and does not become Prime Minister, then I expect that he will sort out other areas of education.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:09:48

'But what if their potential is such that they won't achieve a grade at all in an academic based qualification.'

I don't think it is about achieving grades, it's about learning something. What is the alternative? A two tier system where they don't study academic subjects?

Darkesteyeswithflecksofgold Tue 18-Sep-12 00:11:06

Couthy i share your suspicions on this. I think they are rubbing their hands in glee and thinking "more fodder for workfare"
Im appalled at how its going to affect your DD.
I also thought that the whole point of school was to prepare young people for future employment too. In fact i was actually TOLD that at school.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:16:42

And who is going to work in the service industries that the money from the 'thinking skills' occupations wages are spent on?

Workfarers? Or people who actively choose those service industry jobs, and have trained to know their jobs?

Education can be there to attempt to impart a good, well rounded knowledge of different subjects, but at some point, we have to accept that not many people are equally skilled in each area, and say that it is time for people to specialise.

The issue is, really, whether that is to be at 14, 16, or 18 years of age.

IMO, starting to specialise more at 14 has been happening for generations - first with the school leaving age being at 14, and people going on to either take an apprenticeship in a trade or going on to further training, choosing which O-Levels or CSE's to sit and which to drop, or choosing your GCSE options.

Why is it suddenly not acceptable to start the specialisation process at 14?

If there were more vocational options available at 14yo, I would think that there would be far fewer NEETS aged between 16 and 24.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:21:32

If that two tier system offered employer accepted vocational qualifications like NVQ's or C&G qualifications, then I for one wouldn't have an issue with it.

What I DO take issue with is a two-tier system that makes no provision for the pupils with vocational skills rather than academic ones.

Having DC's at either end of the scale, and one in the middle, as a parent, I want an education system that works effectively for ALL my DC's, and gives them all their best chance of both 'achieving their potential', AND gives them employer accepted qualifications that are relevant to their chosen career paths.

Neither the current system nor Gove's tinkering offers that.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:24:10

What I want is for all of my DC's to be able to live independently, work and pay taxes, be contributing members of Society.

The modular system of GCSE's offered that to a point. The linear system doesn't. And going back to O-level style qualifications without a sensible, meaningful vocational alternative won't either.

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 00:26:07

claig I suggest you go away and study Goves ideas on the teaching of History. It couldn't be further from how History is taught in universities now including Oxford. It has struck terror into the hearts of academic historians. He really does want to stuff our children with a predetermined body of knowledge taught from the perspective of the way in which Empire changed the world. You know what holds us back in the contemporary world above all? It is our sense of entitlement, something this government suffers particularly from. Perhaps we would equip ourselves for the global marketplace if we actually understood a little of other perspectives on global history?

What you did in answering your O level question was to summon into a order a sequence of events in answer to a question such as "The first Corn Law was the thin end of the wedge" Discuss (actual question 1973) . So you listed the Corn Laws, when they were passed, and how they evolved in terms of widening reform. Now my daughters need to have a much fuller understanding of all the forces that shape history, and it is taught in a totally relevent and fascinating way, from a variety of perspectives eg on the devided union in the USA they need to understand the perspectives of black and whites, and women, as well as sucessive governments. As well as developing arguments in answering more demanding essay questions they have to comment on original sources, demonstrating their skills in evaluating sources as well as all their background knowledge in highlighting it's relevence and usefullness. I suggest that as well as looking at Gove's vision, you look at a GCSE History text book.....

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:26:36

I think it is because Labour have been against two tier systems and separation of academic and vocational. They are against separation of children based on ability at 11 and up to now, I think, they have been against it at 14. However, that may be changing since quite a few Labour people are now in favour of exams at 14 instead of 16, which implies that a divide may be made based on those exam results.

Labour were against a split at this age, and I think tehy were right, because it is too young to make that divide. I think that 16 is probably teh right age, but it looks like 14 is again gaining favour with Labour. I am not sure if taht is also teh cae with the Tories. listening to Gove today, I understood him to say that he does not believe in exams at 14, as studies in Europe have shown that it is not optimal. Gove wwanst a one-tier exam system, not a two-tier system it seems, so for the time being I don't think there will be a major divide at age 14. But I don't know, I am only guessing on limited knowledge.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:33:35

There was a reason there were O-Levels AND CSE's. There was a reason GCSE's awarded marks right down to 'G', and had Foundation tier and Higher tier.

Did you that you have to get a percentage approaching 98%+ to get a 'C' grade in a Foundation GCSE? No mean feat for someone with LD's, and to me is as hard won as an 'A*' on a higher paper, for equivalent effort and application.

Why people can't see this is beyond me.

You may not have personal experience of having a DC with SN's, but I'm sure that by using the superior thinking skills that O-Levels taught you, you can imagine the difficulties that people with certain disabilities, SEN and LD's could have in just being able to become productive members of society...

To make that even harder is frankly abhorrent.

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 00:33:56

CORRECTION The first REFORM ACT was the thin end of the wedge, but it could have been the Corn Law for all that I remember ...

Mumfortoddler Tue 18-Sep-12 00:35:51

Did they just mess up the GCSE gradings so that they could slip this one in more easily? hmm scratches head. Suspiciously close together. IB's aren't too bad but they are hardly universal. But you have to question a system where over 60% of pupils 'fail' to get 5 a-c's, the basic minimum required for workplace training, apprenticeships or F.E. colleges as well as to move on to AS Levels. A overhaul is needed, however this, perhaps is not the solution.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:37:32

Unlike you, I don't think that certificates and grades make people productive members of society. We have lots of entrepreneurs who got no O levels or GCSEs. It is not the be all and end all. What is important is to create more business and more jobs so that lots of different avenues are open to people.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:41:51

'And yet, Claig, you apparently passed O-Levels despite being unable to type the word 'the' correctly consistently.'

I know and I lost a lot of marks because of it. They were absolute sticklers in those days.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:48:17

I can tell you that passing was no cinch, they never gave you a flipping inch, I only made it a pinch. That was in the good old days.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:51:46

They called them O levels, we called them Oh levels.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 00:54:19

The problem is that a single tier system that is purely academic based will not prepare 75% of pupils for work because it will not be relevant to their career.

When was the last time we had a single tier system? Even my Mother was educated in the O-Level/CSE period.

How well did it work? And what studies have been done to see if that can be replicated in an economy that is based on 'thinking skills' and the service industry, with very little manufacturing industry left.

I would like to see evidence that Gove's single-tier system will work as well in the 21st Century economy of the UK as it did the last time we had a single-tier system when manufacturing jobs were ten a penny.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 00:57:35

And when people say that it was all about remembering dates and that was easy, they haven't got a clue. I have trouble remembering my pin number, imagine what it was like cramming a list of 100 dates at the last minute and trying to work out which date you had written on the back of your hand fitted which situation. I earned my A grade, I know the price I paid.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:02:54

Someone with no qualifications and no financial help available from their family is hardly going to be able to get a start-up loan for a business from a bank, are they Claig?

And if they have an NVQ in the industry they wish to start up their business in, that will be looked on far more favourably by the bank.

The bank isn't going to care if they hire an accountant to keep their books because they aren't great with numbers, are they? But relevant qualifications in the industry they are looking to start a business in, along with a good business plan - which you can pay someone else to write for you, or you can use Voice Transcription software to spell and lay out for you, as my Dbro at Uni uses for his Essays, (and despite his particular SN's he's on course for a First), are far more relevant to being lent start up costs.

Do you think my DD doesn't have long term plans? She is working towards opening her own, high-end specialist chocolate shop, with unique combinations being her selling point.

Just because she can't personally use a pen and paper to write her business plan, and her 5, 10 and 15 year goals, doesn't mean that she has no entrepreneurial spirit!

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 01:09:01

'Just because she can't personally use a pen and paper to write her business plan, and her 5, 10 and 15 year goals, doesn't mean that she has no entrepreneurial spirit!'

That's what I said. Most of the successful entrepreneurs did not do very well at school. Passing exams has got nothing to do with business acumen. Lots of millionaires left school at 16 or earlier or were even expelled from school. But when they look back now, lots of them are glad that their teachers taught them Shakespeare rather than an NVQ in car mechanics.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 01:13:40

Education and school years are priceless. You'll probably never read anything like 'Of Mice and Men' ever again, but at least you have read it once in your life. You can learn to fit pipes or fit carpets any old day.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:14:16

No one is saying that you found that easy. But how easy would you have found it to describe how an author was feeling if you had a specific SN that meant you couldn't describe your OWN feelings, much less a long-dead author's?

Just because YOU, with your specific difficulties, were able to get an A grade, it doesn't mean everyone can, or even that everyone can achieve a grade at all in an academic based qualification.

Two cases : My Dbro. Has Aspergers. Gained 9 A*s, 3 A's and a B at GCSE. Now on course to get a First at UEA in Environmental Sciences. Has no idea what to do post Uni for work whatsoever.

My DD : has HFA (High Functioning Autism), Hypermobility Syndrome, Epilepsy, is partially deaf, has LD's, Has cardiac issues requiring surgery post 16. Has known for years what she wants to be, had secured relevant Work Experience for Y10 by halfway through Y9, and has 5, 10 and 15 year goals, and has researched the most viable routes for her into that career already at 14.

Does that tell you how two different people with SN's might be affected differently by their SN's?

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:20:20

My DD hasn't read 'Of Mice and Men', and even if she did, it would be taken far more literally than it was intended.

(As an aside, is that still on the GCSE curriculum?! I remember reading that for my GCSE's. And it was the first time I had examined the crushing responsibility it is to be caring for someone with SN's, and trying to steer them to keeping gainful employment, as Lenny's obvious SN's made that difficult for both him and his carer...)

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:25:05

I wonder how much of 'Of Mice and Men' might be based on John Steinbeck's personal experience of having a relative with SN's? If it wasn't, then he was extremely empathetic to the trials faced by both those with SN's and their Carers.

My DD IS Lenny. She wouldn't understand all the meanings hidden in the text. She would take it at face value. Reading a book like that is not going to give her the insights it gave me.

That in itself is proof to me that a single-tier education system won't work for everyone.

How to temper chocolate? DD can understand that. The hidden meanings in literature? Not so much.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 01:25:18

Your DD sounds very committed, focused and dedicated and I am sure that she will succeed in her wishes.

I got a B in history, I mixed my dates up. A grades are not the be all and end all. I think it is beneficial to try and understand what an author is portraying. Just discussing what it might be is enlightening. Sometimes there is no correct answer, it is a matter of interpretation and exploration. It can also be a lot more interesting and stimulating than learning how to fit pipes for some people.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 01:27:33

I have to get some kip, good night.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:31:31

And no, actually Claig, if your parent's finances aren't going to cover your living costs, as they rely on CTC and Child Benefit, and they need you to be working by 19/20 at the latest to cover you food and clothing, then no, you can't 'learn to fix pipes or fit carpet at any time'.

By 19/20, my DD will have to be in employment IF SHE WANTS TO FUCKING EAT.

So no, she can't learn to do those things at any time...

Do you REALLY not get that lots of people cannot afford to feed their adult offspring? Yet their adult child cannot move out of the family home until 25+ because there is no Housing Benefit help for under 25's now, and rents even for a room in a shared house are more than NMW for that age group...

It's a case of education or starve. Because without the education, they can 't get a job. And without the job they cannot eat...

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:34:36

Claig, the last sentence there in your post is the important one 'For some people'.

And that is the issue, in a nutshell. While the ability to examine literature like that is important 'for some people', it is not important to ALL PEOPLE. While the ability to perfectly temper chocolate is important 'for some people', it is not important for all people.

You have just proved my point for me there...

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 01:35:15

'It's a case of education or starve. Because without the education, they can 't get a job. And without the job they cannot eat.'

Come off it. So everyone who leaves school with no qualifications starves, do they? There are people with degrees who can't get jobs. An NVQ may not be the ticket to employment.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:36:15

One size doesn't fit all in clothing, and it certainly won't fit all in education!

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 01:37:11

But Couthy, they don't teach how to be a chocolatier at school. They teach English literature at school. They can't teach everything, they have to teach the curriculum that they think is most valuable.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:54:27

No, not everyone who leaves school without qualifications starves. Not if their patents can afford to feed them. But if the parent/s are unemployed, or working for NMW themselves, they cannot afford to feed an Adult Child that they get no financial help with feeding, and they even lose financial support they were receiving while that child was still under 19/20.

But far more will starve once Universal Credit rears its head - because under UC, a HOUSEHOLD income that hits the cap due to younger siblings/disabilities in the family will mean that they are unable to claim ANY benefits for themselves, and their parent/s might already be stretching things if they have lost a significant amount of financial support as it would take them over the cap.

And the local shelf stacking jobs in my town ask for a minimum of Grade C English and Maths GCSE. They can afford to be that picky with 200+ applicants for every job.

I just WISH I could make you understand, Claig. I wish you could walk a mile in my shoes, and then maybe you would understand why I so vehemently oppose a one size fits all, single tier education system.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 01:57:30

I'm not asking for them to teach how to be a chocolatier at school. I want them to offer a sensible entry level Catering qualification like an NVQ level 2 in Catering, which would lay the groundwork for many different jobs in the Catering industry, allowing further specialisation post-16.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 02:08:19

Ok, Claig. If my DD does not get a job by 19/20 that covers the loss of the Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits, 25% Single Person Discount on my Council Tax, and the portion of HB I will lose at the end of that Academic year, where, pray tell, is the money to feed and clothe her going to come from? The tooth fairy?

We will be over the cap anyway if my disability benefits are resinstated, I live in the SE and rent on my HA shoebox is £800 PCM. I also have 3 younger DC's to feed and clothe. Do I take the food from them and the money I would get given to feed them to feed DD?

Once she has left education, until she is at least 25, either I feed my younger DC's and myself less (though that would mean eating one meal in 6 rather than one meal in 3 as I do currently, so not exactly sustainable and compatible with good health...) in order to feed her, or she has to get a job that covers her living expenses.

There's no proverbial money tree in my garden to provide for her once she is an adult.

BrianButterfield Tue 18-Sep-12 06:58:58

Couthy, sorry if you've explored this already, but have your dd's school mentioned an ALP (alternative learning package)? At my school students who find school is not working out at 14 can go to college or onto apprenticeship type courses. Technically they are still on the school roll I believe but are not doing GCSEs. We send about 3/4 children a year on one.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 18-Sep-12 07:07:45


"do you really think that all the brilliant minds who passed O levels, when standards were higher, couldn't think creatively."

Those in MENSA are not known for there creative thinking capabilities.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 07:08:56

The schools here don't do that. Only the PRU. And you have to have behavioural issues and have been permanently excluded from school. DD behaves at school, she saves most of her meltdowns for home.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 07:51:57

'Those in MENSA are not known for there creative thinking capabilities.'

But I'm not talking about New Labour style 'creative thinking', which plays fast and loose with ps and qs and other aspects of spelling, I'm not talking about creative light touch regulation, I'm talking about the inventive thinking of former O level candidates like Sir Clive Sinclair, a former Chairman of British Mensa.

merrymouse Tue 18-Sep-12 07:53:14

It would be quite funny if Polytechnics were reintroduced by the Conservatives, seeing as they were responsible both for converting Poly's to Uni's and introducing GCSE's.

I think for a hat trick, Gove just has to bring back school milk.

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 08:10:25

claig I think it is beneficial to try and understand what an author is portraying. Just discussing what it might be is enlightening. Sometimes there is no correct answer, it is a matter of interpretation and exploration. It can also be a lot more interesting and stimulating What do you think that current students study for their English Literature GCSE? You might like to read this, it might perhaps enlighten you. You might do a bit of research before you form your opinions, balancing all the factors in order to reach your conclusions but then O levels would have left you poorly prepared with such skills.....

That is the problem with these proposals, they aren't driven by consultation with teachers, university and employers and sound academic research but by political dogma which panders to the prejudices and stereotypes of people who haven't the slightest clue what is really happening in our schools and universities and have a rose tinted perspective on an education system that didn't meet the needs of the 70s and 80s, let alone 2015.

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 08:14:43
claig Tue 18-Sep-12 08:18:46

And I haven't even mentioned the legendary island owning, island hopping, former O level candidate known as Xenia. She will be able to tell you of the days when children stood up when a teacher entered the room and called them Sir or Miss with an enunciation that was so correct that it was almost painful.

There were no baseball caps round the wrong way in those days; Thatcher would have chucked William Hague out of the Cabinet room, and people still insist that standards haven't declined. Ask Xenia, she will tell you stories of the good old days.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 08:23:28

CopthallResident, I agree with you. I am not saying that GCSEs are bad. As RavenAK said, they are of a high level and require critical thinking.

OddGoldBoots Tue 18-Sep-12 08:58:42

Couthy, I can totally see your point of view with "I want them to offer a sensible entry level Catering qualification like an NVQ level 2 in Catering" but that is and option in my area (very large town) so it must be down to each LEA what they offer, I am sure you have already asked them about offering it but I really hope these changes strengthen your case in asking them to think again.

seeker Tue 18-Sep-12 09:01:39

You know, of all the myths I'd like to bust it's the "most entrepreneurs had no formal education/were expelled from school/have no qualification" one. Shortly followed by the "X hasn't got any GCSEs and she's a millionaire pop star/actor/model"

Yes there are examples of both. But the overwhelming majority of people who do well in life do have an education and qualifications. And the majority the people who don't have an education and qualifications are condemned to a life of boring low waged jobs and a pretty tough life all round. For every Alan Sugar there are thousands of shelf stackers.

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 09:17:32

seeker And a higher proportion of entrepreneurs and CEOs have SLDs than the general population. That is part of the reason that such a high proportion left school without O levels. This is just one article on the phenomenon, plenty more on the relevent research. One huge educational advance has been in the way that those with SLDs are facilitated to achieve their potential at GCSE, I really can't see anyway that this isn't a retrograde step in provision for learning difference, just the fact that all incluidng the very brightest will have to write for up to nearly four hours, sometimes twice in a day, let alone the way that modular assessment and CA helped people with a range of SLDs and ability levels to show their potential. I doubt any of those entrepreneurs would argue that they wouldn't have benefited from the access to higher education and training a chance to demonstrate their potential at 16 would have gioven them.

flatpackhamster Tue 18-Sep-12 10:00:43

If that's the case then how will those entrepreneurs benefit from being 'facilitated to achieve their potential at GCSE'? The article suggests that the failure of the education system to cater for their needs is what made them successful entrepreneurs.

And why would entrepreneurs benefit from a university education? Most of them start work at 16 and prove themselves very early on. By waiting until they leave university they're missing out on 5 years of work experience.

NopofacehaveI Tue 18-Sep-12 10:01:16

Can someone please help me in basic terms.

I have a dd who is current year 5 and SEN with no statement, she is suddenly progressing but slowly.

Gove said no two tier system didn't he [hopeful] so dd will take the same the same exams as everyone else? What age will they determine courses? (like year 9 options now)

Will there be grades like A/B/C, what subjects will you take for English Bacc, what if you pass English and Maths but not the others.

Please help as I am going to have to decide if I would be better moving to Scotland or Wales, putting her in a non selective private school with support or home ed or state.

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 10:10:49

Toby Young said on Newsnight last night that the EBacc won't be mandatory. I don't really understand that. What will the alternative be?

LaQueen Tue 18-Sep-12 10:15:01

Agree with seeker DH was an entrepreneur - he started his first company whilst still at university. But, he was also formally educated to a high standard.

In his last 20 years as an entrepreneur/company director, he has come into contact with 100s of similar self-made business people. But, overwhelmingly they are also formally educated.

The small few who left school with no qualifications, wasn't because they had SENs, etc. Quite the opposite - they were probably sharper than the people trying to teach them, certainly more focused and driven. And, they couldn't wait to get out in the world and make their first million.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 18-Sep-12 10:15:38

Nothing, I should think! Do it or fuck off, there's your options!

merrymouse Tue 18-Sep-12 10:19:33

"do it or fuck off"

But aren't they making education mandatory to 18?

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 10:20:05

Animaltales, I am extremely good at drawing birds' beaks and feet. In fact I spent two months getting up at 5.30am teaching myself in order to do this for the exam, having little ability to draw in general. I used to be able to draw the inside of an eye and an ear, and label them, but I would be buggered if I could do that now.

Not much has changed. They are still the only things I can draw, apart from stick men, and as I didn't go down the ornithological illustration career route (where there are probably about 2 jobs a year coming up) it was a complete and utter waste of time.

Bet Govey-boy can draw birds' beaks as well, though.

Everything I needed to know about REAL science I learned at university from other students doing PhDs, and from colleagues, while I was on a completely different course. That says something.

NopofacehaveI Tue 18-Sep-12 10:20:30

My worry is if it is not mandatory then what happens with a child with sen who is not showing capability to pass the exam when they are 14? The way they said it last night sounded as though they would have to leave the school. I hope not sad

meditrina Tue 18-Sep-12 10:27:49

The good old days of Thatcher have a particular resonance in this debate. For it was she who brought in the GCSE, following years of planning and trialling, all within the term of her Government. Nice to see such enduring support for one of her reforms.

merrymouse Tue 18-Sep-12 10:28:41

But the education system of 70's and 80's arguably did meet needs because far more manual workers were required back then... (plus until 70's half work force expected to give up work on marriage).

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 10:35:48

I wonder ...
What would happen if we actually got rid of most exams altogether?
They never used to feature so prominently in education, before credentialisation took over. And people still were able to do skilled jobs a lot of the time.

Ouluckyduck Tue 18-Sep-12 10:41:55

In the Times today they are commenting that the hope would be that less modular exams and controlled assessments would give teachers more time to actually teach the subject - if so I think that would definitely a good thing. I am from Germany and this is something I have never understood here - this spoon feeding of pupils to guide them exams. It just doesn't (or didn't) happen when I was at school.

merrymouse Tue 18-Sep-12 11:05:29

boffinmumI think the difference is that people were more likely to start an apprenticeship at an earlier age, often because they had a contact in that industry, or they were able to join the family firm/trade. I am not convinced that the job market was more open..

seeker Tue 18-Sep-12 11:11:00

It is interesting how people assume that it was Labour who introduced GCSEs.

The same people I suspect think that it was a Conservative London Mayor who won the Olympics bid.......

THERhubarb Tue 18-Sep-12 11:13:09


What a bloody disaster!

Do the government actually give a shit about what we think any more?

This is shit on so many levels it's hard to know where to start. It lets down children with special needs, children who are struggling and well, every single child apart from those who are in private education or whose parents can afford extra tuition.

I've seen bright, intelligent kids produce the best coursework, who fail every single exam because they crack under exam pressure.
My own dd has never finished an exam or test yet but she's in the top set for everything bar maths. That won't count at exam time though will it?

Every child deserves to leave school with something - just like in the US where they all graduate with a diploma.

This new system is appauling. It's only purpose is once again to throw the poor, struggling students onto the scrapheap to make way for the rich and clever. No doubt colleges and Universities will raise their criteria too.

The Tories think higher education should be reserved for the stinking rich. I've not seen this much inequality in a single government since Thatcher. If they want to tear this country apart they are doing a bloody good job.


seeker Tue 18-Sep-12 11:13:27

T was also the conservatives who scrapped home economics and introduced the abominationnthat is Food Technolology - with its emphasis on Market research and packaging- designed to produce the factory workers of the future.

bruffin Tue 18-Sep-12 11:16:52

I was in secondary in 1970s and learnt to make rock cakes in HE that was all. I did make a few things in sewing

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 18-Sep-12 11:28:46

Last Friday, in her practical catering GCSE lesson, DD had to show that she could prepare carrots as small diced, julienne, slices and crescents. She then had to cook a stir fry - having researched recipes for oriental sauces - and prepare all the vegetables and cook a stir fry.

Her Cookery lessons have been excellent. Since Y7, she has taught ME how to make a risotto, she has baked cakes, she has advanced that to making and decorating a heart shaped Red Velvet cake for Valentines Day, she has learnt to make puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, sweet shortcrust pastry, a basic Bolognese sauce, that she then had to add her own choice of ingredients to, and far far more.

She has learnt SO much more than I ever did. Macaroni cheese FROM A BOX, and fruit salad is all I remember from 4 years of English Home Ec lessons. I got taught more cookery in 18 months in Scotland than in 4 years in England.

But DD's school teaches them very in depth, proper home cooked food, expects them to research recipes and adjust them, be able to correctly prepare every item they use, be knowledgable about food hygiene regulations, have excellent knowledge of food safety.

You can't compare a modern Cookery lesson with the crap ones we got in the 90's!

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Tue 18-Sep-12 11:35:32

Claig well said. And no, I am not Michel Gve undercover either, just dperessed at teachers' knee-jerk visceral rejection of anything other than wallowing in self-pity and maintaining the abysmal status quo.
As it happens, my DC will also be the 'guinea pigs', but since someone has to go first or nothing never improves, we will support it and any other efforts to stop the rot in edycation in this country.

meditrina Tue 18-Sep-12 11:38:19

Home economics GCSE wasn't scrapped. It's still available now. It must be up to individual schools/colleges which they offer and why.

Interesting analysis of the Daily Mail's report here

niceguy2 Tue 18-Sep-12 11:44:09

And you rather contradict yourself, do we need people who can just spell and add up or do we need thinkers?

No I'm not. We need both. We need the elite, the best & brightest to thrive in our knowledge based economy. And those who are not shouldn't be left abandoned. There's simply no excuses for perfectly able children to leave school unable to work out how much change they get or spell.

THERhubarb Tue 18-Sep-12 11:50:46

In the good old days, University education was free. The government all got their tuition for absolutely nothing - yes that's right, nothing! And yet Universities got along just fine. In fact the poorer students were able to get grants, imagine that! No, you didn't have to pay them back. It was money given to help you study. Yet there was no mass influx of students into Uni because what was also on offer was an apprenticeship.

In the good old days you see, industry was still very much a part of this country and so young people could get an apprenticeship in car mechanics or welding and they were offered jobs at the end of it. Good eh?

Only for some reason, oooooh the reason escapes me now, industry has all but collapsed in this country. For some reason that only Osbourne can answer, most of the big industries have relocated to offshore factories.

Oh and do you remember Remploy? The largest employer of people with special needs? So every child actually had a chance to leave school and get a job. The skilled ones could get an apprenticeship, the clever ones could get grants to go to University and the ones with special needs could get jobs with Remploy.

I'm not saying the country was perfect. Far from it. But there was hope. There were opportunities and that is something that seems to be lacking today. Kids will wonder why they should even bother trying. Why work hard when you will leave school with nothing to show for it? Why aim high when you can't afford to go to University? Why try to get a job when unemployment amongst school leavers is the lowest it's ever been?

As for kids with special needs, well they end up at the bottom of the pile don't they? Not only have most special needs schools been shut down, forcing some kids who can neither read nor write into mainstream schools to learn about Shakespeare when Life Skills would actually be more useful to them, but when they leave school they may end up with absolutely nothing to show for it and no job to go into because Remploy will no longer exist.

Yes, actually the good old days were bloody good. I envy my parents the opportunities they had. Shame my kids won't get them.

Why bring Xenia into this anyway? Has she a devotee?

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 11:58:10

'Why bring Xenia into this anyway? Has she a devotee?'

She's got thousands!

THERhubarb Tue 18-Sep-12 12:00:56

Lucky old her.
It must be fun to be worshipped.

LaQueen Tue 18-Sep-12 12:02:08

Frankly, something had to be done.

Because, despite the rise, rise, rise and rise of exam results over the past 15 years...we have fallen lower and lower in the global literacy/numeracy league tables.

Funny that hmm

claig Tue 18-Sep-12 12:02:14

'It must be fun to be worshipped.'

It's not all it's cracked up to be.

THERhubarb Tue 18-Sep-12 12:16:50

LaQueen - that is because of the lack of quality TAs at primary level. Children were going into secondary school lacking basic reading skills because they had been let down at primary school.

So what we did at secondary was to allow them to verbalise their answers which would be written down by special TAs (of which I was one). We'd often read out the questions too.

We had to write it all down vertabim.

If you want to improve the system you employ better trained teaching staff at primary level. Many primary school teachers have left Uni having just scraped through their degree. That is not good enough.

Hello Xenia, I did wonder where you'd done. How's the island?

JugglingWithPossibilities Tue 18-Sep-12 12:38:18

My thoughts on this having picked up the basics from the very useful "Newsround" that basically there'll be less emphasis on course work and more on a final exam. Well, I'm glad that my DD who has mild dyslexia but is very bright, will be under the existing system where her excellent course work will be taken into account, and hopefully some stress can be taken off those final exams. My DS who has a more sanguine disposition is currently in year 6, so I gather may be the first year heading towards the new EBacc. I'm hoping that he will cope quite well with the new system compared to others but I feel it will still be more stressful for him and for us all. Like most families we could do with less stress not more confused

Basically I feel it is unfair on any children with SEN and their families. A very retrograde step.

I hope I'll be forgiven for thinking first how it will affect my two - I'm guessing most other mothers will understand that. But I am thinking of everyone too - such as the young children that I work with, and the children of friends and family.

Matsikula Tue 18-Sep-12 12:44:33

I'm a but late to the discussion here, but why are we calling this the English Baccalaureate when it is not a school leaving qualification? Seems to me like trying to get a continental style well respected and well rounded system on the cheap. I think a true reformer would go the whole hog and say that in academic terms the gold standard for school leavers is to study English, Maths and at least 3 other subjects to 18.

Secondly, I find the assumption that continuous assessment and coursework is a bad thing is simplistic. Granted, it is difficult to police coursework, but surely the answer is to address that rather than throwing it out of the window. I would argue that coursework is actually what stretches genuinely bright students rather than well-trained monkeys. It's an opportunity for sustained thinking and research, rather than just fact spewing or equation-solving, and was the only reason why I actually had to put in any graft at school at all.

Copthallresident Tue 18-Sep-12 12:53:17

flatpack hamster This is an excellent summing up of the value of education versus personal qualities for entrepreneurship. If you deny educational opportunities to entrepreneurs whether because they have SLDs or they are frustrated by other aspects of the education systems then they end up in the school of hard knocks which makes it much tougher to survive and succeed.

The article was outlining a study hypothesising whether the qualities that give Dyslexics strengths as entrepreneurs were the result of genetics or the way they had developed to cope with their learning difference. Noone will know until there is extensive robust research. However the research was initiated because it is well established that Dyslexics, or those with SLDs are overrepresented amongst entrepreneurs. If you and others have never encountered any, here are a few and here is some UK research on the subject

THERhubarb Tue 18-Sep-12 12:58:20

Completely agree Matsikula.
My experience at both primary and secondary level was that teachers found marking coursework a bore and time consuming.

In primary, TAs were often given the job of marking and usually most of them just used stamps. I would complain that spelling mistakes were not picked up (because some of the TAs couldn't spell either) and bad grammar was not corrected. In fact I offered to take on the childrens homework and mark it during my own time, for free, at home because I felt their efforts needed to be rewarded with some proper marking and good feedback. I was turned down.

I realise teachers have a heavy workload and bloody hard jobs, but coursework is all part of that. It's something the children enjoy doing and are proud of. It gets displayed on the walls of the classroom and some teachers actually do some brilliant coursework with kids that enables them to really focus on their abilities and challenge themselves. It gives teachers a great indication of what pupils really can do if they put their minds to it and are set a task that they can get their teeth into.

It's just a pity that some other teachers cannot be arsed and would rather hark back to the days of repetitive teaching that meant very little and was forgotten the minute that kids left school.