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GCSEs are to stay!

(208 Posts)
SPBInDisguise Thu 07-Feb-13 09:02:36

I didn't see that coming. Sorry if there's a thread already, I did look.

story here

QuickLookBusy Sat 09-Feb-13 12:23:00

I think DVDs do have their place. Both DDs have seen plays at The Globe on school trips, which is fantastic.

But Dd2 was obsessed with Romeo and Juliet, mainly because of the Leonardo Dicaprio film which she saw at about 14. I don't think it matters that she first saw it on DVD if it attracts an interest and passion for the play.

educatingarti Sat 09-Feb-13 12:57:46

Boffin - I like your thesis and agree with it (except that I don't know anything about where Gove or any of his cronies may be bunging/ not bunging money too)

As part of your thesis research do you know how many politicians working in Dept for Education have actually ever been teachers? I've got a feeling (though I'm not 100% certain) it might be a big fat zero! I think many of them are quite young career politicians and don't even have any experience of their own dcs going through the education system (privileged or otherwise) !

La Queen - I don't doubt your experience but...
"I sat in countless lessons watching them make spelling/punctuation/grammatical mistakes on the white board - and often, making historical mistakes when discussing the historical context of novels etc."

and "acadamies" - er that would be academies - no?

emilywq Sat 09-Feb-13 13:06:15

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ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 09-Feb-13 16:46:05

I really do wish that people who pass judgement on teachers and teaching had some sort of expertise to do so. That's based on my observations over many, many years too.

Especially politicians. You are right about that educatingarti

BoffinMum Sat 09-Feb-13 17:42:18

We could FOI them, but generally they are rather rarified career politicians/advisers with very limited social groups, IME. Know it all, never have to do it, that kind of thing.

pointythings Sat 09-Feb-13 18:37:05

Shipwrecked what really gets me about Gove is the way he is always putting down teachers - and the DM and associated right wing scumbags press just go along with it.

At the same time he never, ever says anything about parents. Parents who don't read with their children because they can't, and therefore need help, parents who don't read with their children because they can't be arsed, parents who don't read with their children because they think violin and ballet lessons are more important - shit parents, who exist in all classes of society. But not a peep from Gove about them, noooo, it's all the teachers' fault. It makes my blood boil, learning should be a partnership between schools and families.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 09-Feb-13 19:01:06


I find the headline stories written by clueless journalists so depressing. And what is sadder is the number of people who buy into it because (understandably) they have little personal experience of what is actually involved in good education. so, they believe the bollocks that is printed.

I was shocked by the number of people in my own family who believe you can just sneeze and you'll get an A*. sad

BoffinMum Sun 10-Feb-13 11:46:36

No, he hates parents too, he just hasn't put it in a speech or policy document for a while.

BoffinMum Sun 10-Feb-13 11:47:45

Gove is after a kind of educational Hitler Youth developing plenty of mini Goves that agree with everything he says.

pointythings Sun 10-Feb-13 17:25:42

I suspect you're right, BoffinMum - he's just worried that some of those parents might be the kind that vote for his party...

ravenAK Sun 10-Feb-13 19:49:39


Our kids do have to study Eng Lit, yes.

They all do it as integral part of English, including at least one Shakespeare play each year, throughout KS3.

Then the most able 2/3 are timetabled to do both Lang & Lit GCSEs at KS4. Same teacher for both, integrated course which weaves in & out between CA for one then exam skills for t'other. Less able students do single award English, which incorporates both, albeit with a greater emphasis on Lang.

@LaQueen - I suspect I'd enjoy having you as a TA in my lessons. There'd probably be quite substantial areas of disagreement, but a second person in the room sharing the enthusiasm would be fun, & great for the students. As a department we've been arguing for subject-specialist TAs for some time.

I will just say this about this: 'why have I sat in endless English lessons, as a TA listening to much younger English teachers who have benefitted from the New Labour approach to teaching English...watching them regularly make mistakes and gaffs...watching them make countless spelling and punctuation mistakes on the white boards...who also freely admit in the staff room that actually they themselves have never read any of Shakespeare's plays page for page...' that it isn't an experience you'd be having in my lessons, or that of any of my colleagues.

Although, having been educated in the '80s & subjected to the Tory approach myself, it's a bloody good job I did Latin, or I'd know nowt about English grammar despite going to a super-selective grammar school...wink

GrimmaTheNome Mon 11-Feb-13 09:02:34

>watching them regularly make mistakes and gaffs
Or gaffes even wink.

I did O-levels in the 70s and learnt more grammar from French than English lessons. We didn't study a proper novel - The Nun's Priest's Tale and Under Milk Wood (plus The Merchant of Venice) always seemed a somewhat odd combination to me (other sets did The Mayor of Casterbridge).

We did get taken to see both the Shakespeare and the Thomas, which was good - as well as reading all the texts through in class and having to memorise chunks.

The assessment consisted of one exam paper (all other O-levels were multiple papers). That was shite.

It wasn't perfect then, its not perfect now but not sure its worse - true enough as LaQ says it depends a lot on the calibre of the teacher. Same applies to other subjects of course.

BoffinMum Mon 11-Feb-13 12:15:28

I learned spelling and grammar extremely rigorously in one particular primary school, on a whole class basis. Upon looking up my former classmates on Friends Reunited, I found that, surprise surprise, all the better off kids had left the area and got white collar jobs, and the others had stayed behind and got blue collar jobs, or were unemployed.

It's about a hell of a lot more than what you know.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 12-Feb-13 09:50:03

Ok this is doing my head in all the chopping and then not changing. Year 9 options next month. Compulsory English, Maths and science. 4 options, I'm thinking Geography, Spanish, Photography and Drama. She's not keen the Geography and Spanish but accepts that she needs to do them. Put my foot down about Media Studies with an incentive (No it's not blackmail DD if you find this).

That way she's got core, a humanity, a language then things she wants to do. Does that all sound OK ?

BoffinMum Tue 12-Feb-13 11:20:46

Is Photography really Art GCSE?

No, am pretty sure you can do Photography GCSE in it's own right now BoffinMum - though you can also use some photography within an Art GCSE too smile

GrimmaTheNome Tue 12-Feb-13 12:37:59

Anyway, Wynken, those options sound OK to me, but presumably you get some sort of options evening to discuss these things, and your DD will have a session with someone to check they're ok.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 12-Feb-13 15:10:37

Great, thanks. Options evening is coming but I needed to get MN approval first! It's got a very good art dept and does Photography as well as art. She's had a letter saying they would really like her to consider doing one of them and decided Photography. I originally thought Art might be looked upon as 'better' but DH pointed out is something that she will probably use in the future . I'd like to have a clu how to actually use a camera. So unless they say something to put her off at Options evening she's going with that.

zamantha Thu 21-Feb-13 19:26:33

Am sad the new English GCSe is to be scrapped - it incorporated Literature study but enable the teacher to focus on literacy in the main - just right for many pupils who back in the day would not be allowed to take an O'level - that being 80% of the population.

Purists about Shakespeare do annoy - they are meant to be seen not read - they are plays. The joy of reading them is generally far better once seen and visual cues will support some understanding once the text is explored. Close analysis of critical scenes is a beautiful way to teach Shakespeare as there is then time to mull over perfect poetry.

I also agree up thread how brilliant the BBC David Tennant version of Hamlet is - being a mum can't go to theatre so much and I was transfixed with the way he brought the language to life with such rich meanings.

Hate Gove - so glad GCSEs are staying - surely improve them but don't just focus on the elite. There is also an argument that the C grader receives most focus due to league tables and internal school pressures- this could be addressed.

Ah, what's happening now with English then zamantha ? - DD(13) just starting to really enjoy her English, including Shakespeare - they've been reading "Much Ado"
It's all very confusing isn't it ? Especially for our year 9's (like DD)

zamantha Fri 22-Feb-13 14:09:32

Sorry, don't understand question.

Rhiannon86 Fri 22-Feb-13 14:39:20

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zamantha Fri 22-Feb-13 19:08:35

Do not agree . They are a good measure of standards and it is wrong for others to downgrade or moan about our children's achievements.

Interesting about Maths results today - comparing Asian countries with England. Culture seems to play a part and I do believe we put down education, educationalists and many in society have not been made to see how education can prosper them - is sad. That being said, things are achanaging and the pressure in some Asian communities upon children achieving is perhaps unhealthy.

Just wondered about the changes you mentioned with "new English GCSE to be scrapped" zamantha, but not to worry !

zamantha Sun 24-Feb-13 10:54:50

Happy to answer smile. The new proposals I think are suggesting that the combined course called English which incorporates Eng.lang/Eng. lit is to be scrapped which favoured those slightly less gifted at the subject - namely my DS who is brilliant at Maths and Science but not English. New GCSEs insist on dual certificates and so two exams have to be studied in finite time - not all students will manage breadth of syllabi and sadly some schools will not offer Literature except to the brightest to ensure all pupils achieve a good grade in Language - understandable as all pupils need a good English grade and they only need one for further education. Could mean far fewer lit. texts being studied. sad

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