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All change!

posted 14 Jun 2013, 01:17 by Comms Admin   [ updated 14 Jun 2013, 01:21 ]
Submitted by admin.rpa on Tue, 02/26/2013 - 09:07

Information which may be of interest to parents, especially those with children in Year 7 or below.

The government is proposing radical changes which, if implemented, will affect all children in Year 7 and below. I list below some of the key proposals. The deadline for consultation is 1 May 2013.

  • GCSEs and the Ebacc as a league table headline will be retained (Mr Gove had wanted to replace the GCSEs with EBCs - English Baccalaureate Certificates - but this idea has been quashed)
  • More demanding C grade and longer, tougher questions for students
  • Most exams will be terminal, with no 'bite-sized' modules and internal assessment kept to a minimum
  • A common paper for all so no more foundation and higher tiers - but possible extension papers for the ablest (which, surely, makes two tiers...?)
  • A** or A* with distinction
  • League table headlines will be:
    1. the proportion gaining English and maths at C and above;
    2. the proportion gaining the Ebacc;
    3. the average point score (APS) of each student's best 8 grades in: English; maths; three from Ebacc subjects (sciences, computer science, history, geography, a modern or ancient language); three more from "high-value arts, academic or [government approved] vocational qualifications.
  • The new exams for the Ebacc subjects (except languages) will begin to be taught in 2015, as will new A levels; the remaining subjects will begin in 2016. This dual exam outcome situation will clearly be confusing so may be changed.
  • A School Performance Data Portal will be established in 2015 which brings all the information about a school onto one accessible website. Parents/carers will be able to see huge amounts of data such as: outcomes of individual subjects; progress (as opposed to raw results); how schools spend their budgets

Some of what is proposed is sound, in our view. For example, the metric of best 8 subjects' APS reflects what we put into place for our Year 9 students. We are also in favour of overtly sharing with students and families what top universities are seeking in applicants so we welcome the Ebacc, and its new, more tempered, form. It is in our view important that children do the courses that are right for them: for some, a traditional academic approach is appropriate - but we need our creative, practical citizens just as much as we need engineers and doctors.

There are wide-spread concerns about the common core exam, which may fail many children, the focus on one terminal exam and the very short time frame that schools have to adapt to these major changes.

If you are interested and would like to respond, you can register your views here.