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Planned changes to secondary-school exams (EBacc etc): teachers say there should be more consultation; what do you think?

(220 Posts)
LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Dec-12 14:51:43


We've been contacted by The National Union of Teachers (NUT), who'd be really interested to hear your views on the planned changes to secondary-school exams.

The NUT, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Musicians' Union have joined forces to say that, although they're not opposed to reform of the exam system, they think the Government's recent consultation on the new EBacc was too limited and that any decision to move ahead is being made in haste.

They say: "We believe on an issue of such importance to young people's future the conversation cannot be over. Accordingly we are asking for a further consultation with a wider remit and brief, involving parents and students, as well as the profession and employers."

They've also set up a microsite to petition Michael Gove to re-open and extend his review of secondary-school exams.

Please do feel free to post your thoughts here.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 18-Dec-12 22:05:32

Part of the issue that I have with the new exams being pushed through is that (as noble says) it puts vocational subjects in the firmly "less able" bracket.

As it stands at the moment I and other teachers of "practical" subjects face a yearly trek down to inclusion/learning support (or whatever the school wishes to call it) with examples of coursework as the pupils are told "its just woodwork/drawing/art" and these people get quite stroppy when they realise that the vocational subjects often require more work consistantly across the board than academic areas.

chloe74 Tue 18-Dec-12 22:38:50

I certainly agree with Boney and nobel, vocational paths do seem to be used as a depository for the "less able". It comes down to people like raven who want to categorize them as sheep or goats. We need to address perceptions like that and give those vocational skills the credit they deserve. They certainly earn a lot more than many 'academics' in they current climate, perhaps that would be a good way to promote them.

ravenAK Tue 18-Dec-12 22:59:32

No, you've misunderstood. I wouldn't mind, but I didn't even use long words.

I think it's a terrible idea to categorise students & trammel their future educational paths at the end of KS3 - post-16 is quite soon enough.

This is why I disagree with the idiot Gove on principle.

In practice, I disagree with him because he has bodged through for the past two years, having his inadequacies pointed out at every turn by the better informed, & continues to attempt to force through changes that simply will not be fit for purpose within his proposed timescale (whether one agrees with them or not) for selfish reasons of political expediency.

AViewfromtheFridge Wed 19-Dec-12 07:10:03

Raven, "I wouldn't mind, but I didn't even use long words." Brilliant. It really is like banging one's head against a brick wall, isn't it?

chloe74 Wed 19-Dec-12 10:02:10

Is it feinted ignorance or blinkered belief that renders an incapacity to comprehend the transformation of the pigs?

Its that kind of socialist attitude that stops us from having a valued vocational/academic education. Any time we try to construct a better system it gets labeled by pretentious people creating a self-fulfilling prophecy to justify their ideology of keeping us all equal at the bottom. I don't know if its indoctrination, or a malevolent jealousy.

Either way, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man can still hand out pyrite medals to everybody.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Dec-12 10:18:32

Chloe, when I was talking about how different qualifications for the less able would be seen as second best, it was you who called them vocational! Vocational qualifications should not be seen as qualifications for the less able, because they should be available to the bright kids too.

chloe74 Wed 19-Dec-12 11:19:11

noble I wasn't aiming that at you.

I agree (and have said so before) that, different or vocational qualifications for the non-academics have been seen as second best, but we will never change perceptions if we just give up and say it cant be done. It certainly doesn't help that posters use moronic stereotypes to deliberately perpetrate last century's discrimination's.

Its just as wrong to push a less able child into vocational subjects as it is into academic ones. They should be helped in both areas.

My solution would lie along creating more inspirational schools for more areas. We already have them for sports, football, arts, engineering, science etc. Give pushy parents the choice of excellence in vocational subjects (they don't generally have that at the moment). Although most schools would still have balanced curriculum's, if we show that vocational schools can produce excellence it will help change perceptions of those subjects for the rest of the country and put all subjects on a par.

Perhaps after the academic EBacc is up and running Gove could create an ArtBacc? The professional arts/music groups should be setting up free schools, maybe even a chains of them. Start putting their energy to more productive uses other than just protesting.

ravenAK Wed 19-Dec-12 17:43:46

AViewFromTheFridge - well, I don't agree with Gove that 20% of the population are essentially incapable of being taught anything, but you do get the odd one...

Has anyone posted Ofqual's letter? The one that Gove refused to discuss with the select committee, rather to their astonishment...


Select Committee - questions 11 to 35

LaVolcan Wed 19-Dec-12 18:58:38

Thanks for posting that raven. It does not show Gove in a good light. "What is your understanding of OFQALs concerns?" "Flannel, flannel, flannel... I'm refusing to tell you." The select committee must have felt that they were banging their heads against a brick wall.

It would be tempting to hope that any disaster resulting from a rushed implementation would be laid at Gove's door, but if the disaster were to happen countless students would be the ones who paid the price, and not Gove. Who would want that to happen?

Jux Wed 19-Dec-12 19:10:28

I'm shocked at his refusal to answer and his pretence that he can't talk about the content of the letter as it was 'confidential'. No one refuses to talk to a Select Committee unless they've something serious to hide.

TBH, for this refusal he should be sacked.

ravenAK Wed 19-Dec-12 19:18:45

You'd think, wouldn't you?

It took a FOI request from Stephen Twigg to get the letter released, which perhaps tells us something about the level of embarrassment it caused the idiot Gove.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Dec-12 20:57:05

Wow, I'm not sure how I missed that letter. Gove comes across as a complete dick in that select committee transcript.

Ofqual's concerns seem completely valid, and they think that Gove is rushing this through too. Interesting that they think an EBC model would be incompatible with using the results to judge schools. The issue with single exam boards meaning that the experts on individual subjects who work for competing exam boards being lost from the system was also interesting.

gelo Wed 19-Dec-12 21:08:56

I'd seen the letter but not the transcript (only the press reporting of it) so thanks raven. Interesting that people think the reputation of GCSEs was fine until Gove trashed it - I tend to agree. Rather think the reasons for a new qualification are more political than anything else.

Oh, and interesting to see from the transcript that Gove doesn't think iGCSEs are tiered - the ones I know about are. He really doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

noblegiraffe Thu 20-Dec-12 11:06:34

I would love to hear chloe's thoughts on the letter and Gove's performance and whether it has damaged her confidence in him at all.

ravenAK Thu 20-Dec-12 13:03:49

I quite like chloe74's intransigence.

It's great sparring practice for that parent at Parents' Evening...

I think it's good, actually, that someone's on this thread forcing teachers to explain exactly (& repeatedly!) why we feel like we're putting out deckchairs on the Titanic.

lljkk Thu 20-Dec-12 14:00:58

Here is the letter that Glenys Stacey wrote to Michael Gove, which he refuses to answer questions about, because he will not put words into her mouth, etc.

I wonder when the letter was put online for all to read?

lljkk Thu 20-Dec-12 14:01:37

(Oh sorry, I am a dunce, didn't see other link to that letter.)

gelo Thu 20-Dec-12 14:03:35

Ofqual put it up on their site the day after (I think - certainly very soon after) Gove refused to divulge it's contents. It would have become public eventually in any case as there had been a freedom of info request for it.

noblegiraffe Sat 22-Dec-12 11:50:47

I don't think Chloe's coming back to comment. sad

I'm guessing if even she can't defend Gove on this, it must be shit.

AViewfromtheFridge Sat 22-Dec-12 13:55:53

No doubt it'll still somehow be the fault of these left-wing liberals though.

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