Why the education system should go back to school

It’s not cake, it’s not craft.. blogs on those are to come I promise.

Michael-Gove-dunces-capNo this is about the fact tomorrow is A-Level day, which means brown envelopes will go up the rankings of the “most feared” list.

With this in mind I want to share a column I wrote about the education reform for the Chichester Observer. It was based on the GCSE shake up but I think the points about education in general could be interesting today.
It’s received a fair bit of attention, but not the sort I could have predicted, you can see the comments here.

My favourite is the one which starts “Laura, this is NOT the Guardian.. please just give us a break from your eye watering liberalism” – I’m still deciding if I should get that put on a t-shirt.

Anyway, you’ve been (vaguely) warned, I would be interested to know what you think…

And to those facing the envelopes today – good luck, don’t worry and I promise whatever happens it will be fine.

 

“Bring back the dunce’s hat for those behind the education reform”

We can learn a lot from the education “shake up.”
But it is mostly about how little politicians know.
The details released this week are head-scratching stuff.
My favourite announcement proposes a new grading system which will see A* – G replaced with a numbered system running from eight to one.
With eight being the best. Obviously.
I guess the new curriculum won’t be focusing on counting then?
Sadly the focus will not be on teaching either, but on passing exams.
Out of the eight – it is a magic number after all – subjects which are first to get a makeover only one will keep coursework.
While the rest will depend on an exam in the final year.
After all why spend time getting to grips with a subject when you can just cram as much as you can into one sitting?
It seems lessons in jumping through hoops won’t just be found in P.E.
Personally I would love to see the “working out” that has gone in to these decisions.
What is worse is that while the Department of Education are publishing their papers GCSE students are sitting theirs.
But it seems that, under the pile of headlines dismissing the qualifications as “too easy” and “outdated,” this seems to have been overlooked.
I am sure the rising figures of young people reporting stress have been carefully buried too.
What niggles me most is that I can’t help but think all this is a distraction.
Like the magician who diverts your eye with a wave of the hands from what is going on behind the (smoke) screen.
Yes the changes are “radical” on the surface but look closer. Announcing Shakespeare will be studied in English literature wasn’t quite the ‘shake up’ I was expecting.
Instead how about introducing practical lessons on economics? Or budgeting? Oh, sorry, probably not your area of expertise.

~ Originally published on June 13, 2013 ~

For more reading on the topic I recommend this from The Telegraph – “School leavers ‘lacking basic skills’, say business leaders” –  the point about schools being “exam factories” particularly hit a chord with me.

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