Education Reform and the new Government White Paper

I was listening to BBC Breakfast News this morning and heard snippets of an article discussing the new Government White Paper and the proposed return to exam-based study.  The White Paper suggests that secondary schools will be considered to be failing if less than 35% of their students attain less than 5 Grade C's at GCSE level.

Whoever originally decided that it was a good idea to make 15- and 16-year old kids, raging with hormones, study for two years then judge them for the rest of their lives on a series of 2-hour windows was mad.  Modular learning gives better results all round.  Yes, we should still have exams but they they should be relevant to progression.


One quote that stood out this morning was something along the lines of,
"Youngsters today live in a world where email is too slow.  They want instant messaging, instant gratification and instant qualifications."
I beg to differ.  Maybe part of my belief is because of the work I'm now involved in.  I work for an educational charity who's main role is to ensure that people of all ages make the most of their opportunities, build on their skills and achievements and maximise their full potential (spot the blurb).  But it works.  I've seen the results.

It may surprise you to learn that my own exam results were nothing to brag about.  I received a "U" (Unclassified) for both English Language and English Literature.  I was part of the first year group to take GCSE's - 1988 - and there was a lot of uncertainty.  The English qualification was based on 100% coursework and I simply didn't hand enough pieces of work in that were considered to be of high enough quality over the two year period.  My highest grade was a "C" and that was for Maths.  I was in the top stream for all subjects and the teachers lacked the experience with the new system to guide me effectively.  I suffered for it and have only just regained my academic confidence and that is down to modular study in business-related courses and environments over a long period of time.  Is history about to repeat itself?



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