I missed a news item earlier in the week about the changes to the GCSE’s in England so I went on the BBC news page and was amazed to see how many news items this week were education linked; changes to nursery numbers, free school dropping homework, teacher unions threatening strike action, the difficulty recruiting of students from poorer backgrounds to university are a few of the stories I came across.
But getting back to the news I was trying to find. Why is it necessary to break up the current agreed GCSE and A level system across England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Thousands of school children have been through the system and it has served us well and I thought a system to be proud of internationally. Is it the debacle of the English results last year that is causing a knee jerk reaction from the Department of Education to change our exam system completely? Is it a desire to go back to the ‘good old days’ when young people were expected to know so many facts? I remember studying the history period 1688-1815 for my O level. I was expected to regurgitate facts that I had learned by heart. I did not have the opportunity to study any other period of history or to look at evidence, argue a case, evaluate the worth or relevance of sources. I am also sceptical that changing from a modular exam system to a terminal exam will achieve the outcomes that the Department desires.
Why is there so much negative press about the success of our young people in exams? I hope that when the results come out in August it is a true celebration of how hard the young people and their teachers have worked. I know how hard many of our students have worked to achieve their results. I also know how well staff have managed the process to give our young people the best possible start and how hard they have worked. I don’t believe the one system is likely to raise standards for all and currently we have the opportunity to choose the right approach and course for our students: BTEC, GCSE, iGCSE, A Levels and International Baccalaureate. I want to see a continuation of choice of exams so we can do the best for all our young people.
Again this week our students at Redcar Academy have surprised me with their generosity and care for others. Yesterday I was approached by three year 7 boys who want to fund raise through a cake bake for ‘Invisible children’- something they had been aware of in PSHE. A year 10 girl has given me information about a charity ‘CRY’ which helps raise awareness for sudden death in adult through cardiac failure; and supports the families left behind, especially the children. So I have agreed to some raffles during our special celebration events this term to support the work of the organisation. And finally, on the 17th June we are hosting a ‘Race at our place’ to raise money for Cancer Research and already students are signing up to take part and raise money for this good cause. Thanks to Mrs More, who had the idea to host the event at our academy- if you haven’t signed up for it yet please do so?
Principal: Mrs Angela Sweeten
Redcar Academy, Kirkleatham Lane, Redcar, TS10 4AB
Tel: 01642 289211 •
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