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Gove to announce scrapping of GCSEs

(592 Posts)
Itchyandscratchy Sun 16-Sep-12 10:02:48

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.

losingtrust Wed 03-Oct-12 11:05:59

I must admit the idea of exams at 14 and the chance to choose a more vocational curriculum that Estelle Morris suggests is a reallly good idea. Even in Year 8, my DS has been to a uni to look around (we don't live in a grammar area thank God) but it shows that the school is pushing the top stream down that route already. The danger is that many children lose academic drive at 14 if they think uni is out of the question due to their own abilities or the costs. There does not seem to be an alternative education at 14 for children who may just waste two years. I am very against selection at 11 which is too young but being able to choose a more vocational route and have different schools within the area sharing resources to allow both a uni route, a academic but not uni route and a full vocational route seems to be a reasonably good idea. Not available in some rural areas but certainly where I live there are three secondary schools all sharing a campass, all having their own resources. Why not let the child choose with guidance at 14 to attend the school that has the best resources for their choice. League tables should also include employment prospects and that would then force some schools to look at other options than pure pushing uni places.

losingtrust Wed 03-Oct-12 10:44:11

E,F or G should definitely pass. I grew up in the CSE and O'Level era and would not go back to that CSE 1 was always considered the equivalent of O, level c but never really accepted as such and was always seen as not being as good. I worked really hard in Art to get a CSE 1 but never really count it because all the rest were O'Levels.

However, the constant resitting of exams and drilling may for me get in the way of actually learning the subject properly and being able to enjoy it which was one of the benefits when I was at school. Having said that I am not a teacher and so prepared for this view to be castigated.

People did resit in my day even if it was a three hour exam so I don't agree that it would put people off resitting. We also did O'Levels at the end of Year 10 to give people the chance to try again, particularly in Maths because people who passed could then do further maths in Year 11.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 03-Oct-12 08:16:38

My intelligent, thorough and articulate analysis is that Gove is a strange and frightening man.

Judder Wed 03-Oct-12 00:02:34

Mr Gove still repeats PISA figures for the UK which have been found faulty by the OECD, which officially warned that the 2000 scores should not be used for comparison. Despite this, Mr Gove quoted the 2000 figures in the Commons on 21 June 2012, more than 2 years after the OECD said these figures should not be relied on as evidence of trends**.

By the way, the OECD also found that "77% of the between schools differences in student performance in the United Kingdom is explained by differences in socio-economic background. Among OECD countries, only Luxembourg has a higher figure (OECD average 55%)" So, if Mr Gove puts so much stock by these figures, perhaps he should be paying more attention to the raging gap between the achievement of the richest and poorest students — this makes our school system an international disgrace. His new Gove-levels will do nothing to close this gap, and pundits seem to think it will widen the gap.

**Evidence: pg99 of its Economic Survey of the UK 2011 the OECD repeats this advice: “…data from PISA for the United Kingdom for 2000 should be used with some caution, due to sampling problems.”

RiversideMum Thu 27-Sep-12 17:28:47

It's the PISA assessment. My understanding (happy to be corrected) is that a sample of 15 year old students take a specific test, I don't know how they are chosen. I have read some debate that some countries teach to the PISA test. Clearly, to do well, your curriculum has to match that of the subject matter in the test and all of the content has to have been taught by the age of 15 when the test is taken. The results of PISA are not "current" but have a 2-3 year time lag.

Itsgottabebags Thu 27-Sep-12 09:00:12

What are these magical standards everyone is talking about? Can someone outline the specific standards that seem to be slipping etc because to me all this talk of standards is a bit airy fairy.

MordionAgenos Mon 24-Sep-12 19:37:00

I completely agree with RavenAK - except that it's not automatic that terminal exams must test recall rather than understanding (most of my O levels tested both) - I think Gove's exams will be purely about recall though since he demonstrates continually that he himself values the concept of 'understanding' not at all.

I am also absolutely bloody furious that he is risking the possibility of a liberal arts based education for most kids (posh schools will still offer proper subjects like music and art and drama and languages other than French. State schools may not).

ravenAK Mon 24-Sep-12 19:10:57

I'm actually all for re-calibrating the scale & fewer students passing.

Ten years ago, a reasonable expectation of students like my current year 11s would've been D/E. They're the third ability quartile down (ie. in the weakest 50% but not the weakest 25%), & lots of them have well, stuff going on, reasons why they're disengaged in school.

This year, I'm expected to get most of them Cs, any Ds will be frowned on (*even if it is that kid's target*) because they will impact on the magic league table figure, & a few Bs would be nice.

Clearly this is daft. It's like being a racing greyhound. I get faster; Fisher Family Trust just puts more batteries in the hare.

Getting rid of coursework a couple of years ago has made the whole process lots harder to 'game'. Which is a good thing. No more HOD/HT wandering up to you in the staffroom saying 'Can you just get Joe Smith to re-draft____?'

...when Joe's already re-drafted it three times AND his mum's had a go...

The current system with Controlled Assessment under exam conditions is far more rigorous, which is great. & as I say, if results correct downwards for the next few years I think that's perfectly reasonable (so long as it's done fairly, unlike this June's total clusterfuck).

It's had three years to bed in, & now Gove seems to want to sling it out in favour of something he's come up with on the back of an envelope, & which will test recall rather than understanding.

As for the anti-Gove thing, well, I'm very anti-Gove, but it's not mindless. I've given it a great deal of thought, & I think he's a wanker. & more to the point, incompetent.

BigBoobiedBertha Mon 24-Sep-12 15:56:37

MrsGuyofGisbourne - I totally agree about the anti-Gove thing. I don't like the man, I didn't vote Tory but you do get the impression that some people would disagree with him just because of who he is even if he came up with the best exam process in the world (whatever that may be!!) But then I am also a big softie which is probably why I would, for example, chose Gordon Brown over Tony Blair any day of the week. Got to stick up for the underdog and all that.

GCSE have come to the end of their natural life. They have lost credibility and standards appear to be dropping. Something has got to give.

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 24-Sep-12 15:24:47

I don't think it's been that bad on this thread has it Mrs Guy ? not compared to some smile

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Mon 24-Sep-12 14:56:30

grin no, I just hate personal remarks and snide insults about anyone, old softie that I am, I think people lose any credibility when they start bitching.

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 24-Sep-12 14:39:30

That isn't MrsGoveOfSurreyHeath is it ? wink

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Mon 24-Sep-12 14:29:57

Precisely - we can measure ourselves against achievement on other countries and see how teaching in this country is failing children. Depressing how insular and complacent the views are on this thread, just mindlessly 'Anti-Gove' and making aall sorts of spiteful personal comments and unwarranted assumptions about his motivation.

flatpackhamster Mon 24-Sep-12 09:47:47


Gove is full of contradictions. He has stated that the numbers of students getting high grades is just due to grade inflation and not better teaching and attainment, but at the same time thinks countries which have higher numbers getting good grades have a superior system hmm.

I think his main concern is how quickly Britain has slid down international league tables while at the same time our GCSE figures have been looking for all the world like Soviet tractor production statistics.

creamteas Sat 22-Sep-12 18:15:59

Gove hasn't forgotten about them, he just doesn't think they deserve any qualifications. For some kids a GCSE D is a major achievement that should be celebrated not denounced.

Also I still can't get over the fact the Gove thinks all schools should be above average. Clearly his Maths O level wasn't all it was cracked up to be grin

JugglingWithPossibilities Sat 22-Sep-12 17:38:09

You get the feeling the system has never really worked for the majority of children, don't you ?

And it always makes me mad when you hear "every child should be getting a level 4" OR "every student should be getting 5 GCSE passes/ passing English and Maths" or whatever. I've even seen this expressed as "100% of students should be" ... Well, what about those with special needs ? Or did you just forget about them ?

creamteas Sat 22-Sep-12 16:17:01

Gove is full of contradictions. He has stated that the numbers of students getting high grades is just due to grade inflation and not better teaching and attainment, but at the same time thinks countries which have higher numbers getting good grades have a superior system hmm.

He thinks that the large numbers of children failing to get five good GCSEs is evidence of school failure, and is going to fix this by making the new exams harder so more will pass them confused.

He has clearly though it all through angry

merrymouse Sat 22-Sep-12 15:53:51

Well, the whole thing is mystifying.

Does Gove think that the only thing holding back the other 85% was poor teaching? In which case, given that he doesn't seem to have much confidence in teachers, what is he going to do between now and 2017?

bruffin Sat 22-Sep-12 13:44:39

5 olevel passes put you in top 15%

merrymouse Sat 22-Sep-12 11:45:08

Out of interest, what % of children actually took 7-9 O-levels back in the day? I thought it was the minority. Is the idea that all children can do O-levels now, or have they just not had any ideas yet about what the majority of children are going to do.

I haven't heard anybody arguing about how fab CSE's were, but assume that was the most widely take exam (or were there just loads of people who left school with no qualifications?).

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 21-Sep-12 16:17:17

Thanks, Copthall. I'm watching with interest to see how Philippa Gregory's foray into the YA market works out. My agent has indicated that that publishers are far more inclined to take a risk with established authors than with a debut one. Perhaps she'll open the door a crack, although I've already written the extra 30,000 words now, and there'd need to be some ruthless editing to get it back to YA length. grin My own passion for history, much like yours, is self inflicted rather than formally learned.
On the whole I think Gove is right to push for a core of essential subjects supplemented by complementary subjects, but I lament the fact that syllabuses nowadays are so rigid as to not allow teachers to inspire their students with their passion.

Copthallresident Fri 21-Sep-12 15:39:26

I think you are right, the trouble with marketers and I was one, is they forget the fact that you can create a need as well as identify one that is already there. It is just a bit harder work. I would have thought with the success of Horrible Histories and some really good pre teen historical fiction that there is a gap in the market. Rosemary Sutcliffe, Henry Treece and Jean Plaidy had a lot more to do with my life long love of history (though the latter was a terrible writer and Treece apparently a facist) than my Grammar School education so it would probably do more for History as a subject than Gove's reforms!! Good luck.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 21-Sep-12 15:39:08

Copthall - cheers! wine

happybirthdayHiggs Fri 21-Sep-12 15:08:20

Well quite, Copthall, the fact that there is very little historical fiction aimed at YA's was a massive part of the appeal, as far as I'm concerned. I'd hoped my writing (fiction, but based around historically documented events) would demonstrate to a teenage audience that history, far from being dull, is full of wonder and excitement and unlikely happenstance.
I have resolved just to tell the best story I can and trust that it will find its own market, should it get published.

claig Fri 21-Sep-12 14:56:19

Sorry that should have been de rigueur.

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