Day 47 – The End (of the National Curriculum) is Nigh?

On Sunday, while SMS was relaxing in the sun, the Conservative’s Shadow School’s Secretary, Michael Gove, announced proposals to scrap all Sats taken by 11-year-olds in England at the end of their primary schooling. The Tories want pupils to sit national tests in the first year of secondary school, marked by their teachers. They believe that is in the best interests of pupils.

The full article may be read here.

Interesting. So the National Curriculum testing framework would more or less be fully dismantled by then. Teacher assessment at the end of KS1 and the beginning of KS2, KS3 SATs more or less irrelevant now…and remind me why we have to change school structure again?

Oh I remember now, because “they” say so, “they” being a small group of education officials, some Headteachers (many of whom do not have the full support of their staff now), and the mayor.

What happened to democracy and free speech in Bedford?

Email us at save.middle.schools@googlemail.com if you want to help us stop this damaging and ill-thought change.

PS We passed the 10,000 hit mark yesterday…with about 500 hits per day, around 300 unique hits per day…

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8 Responses to Day 47 – The End (of the National Curriculum) is Nigh?

  1. JamesD says:

    Why do the Council Officers need to use Advertising Industry tricks to make the case for 2-Tier. “Gee Whiz” graphs, see the excellent little book – How to Lie with Statistics. By not showing the full scale on their graphs they exaggerate the apparent difference between Beds Boro and our Statistical Neighbours by many, many times. A 2 or 3% difference looks like 40 or 50% until you read the scales. This is a “persuasive technique” used to exaggerate the advantage of a product NOT part of a Full, Free and Fair Consultation!

    • Helen says:

      Totally agree with you.
      When I saw the graph of Beds Borough v Statistical Neighbours, I too wondered about the scale…..the print was so small and we were sitting so far away that it was not possible to see.

  2. Leodis says:

    It is fascinating to think that at a time our brand shiny new unitary authority are looking to change to a primary/secondary model because it ‘doesn’t fit with the key stages, we have an announcement about potentially moving the testing arrangements into the secondary phase. This comes after the current government have called for more specialisation at the end of KS2 and greater flexibility in the curriculum at KS3 so we move to an ‘age NOT stage’ type of education system.

    By some bizarre freak of chance our current system which has survived several attempts to change for much the same reasons over the past decade or so suddenly finds itself at the cutting edge of educational thinking – why? I hear all the two-tier proponents shouting!

    Put simply – With middle schools we won’t have to transfer between end of KS2 and 3 – therefore there should be no dip (if transition is the key factor) when the results come in. So the middle school system is potentially at the FRONT of the educational queue as this is already built in! And as the KS3 data (which the borough are very reluctant to show) identifies that children achieve AT the national average this should ensure standards are not only maintained but raised.

    I always knew middle schools were cutting edge!

  3. SAH says:

    I attended the Mark Rutherford meeting last night. As a parent of Year 2 and Reception Year children I had already attended the local middle school meeting and was keen to hear the proposals explained from the ‘other perspective’.

    I am now an even more concerned parent.

    If the proposals go ahead my children will spend 4 and 2 years respectively at a dying middle school – a school still limping along for up to 6 years with the certainty of closure, the currently excellent staff understandably looking for new positions and presumably no investment at all in the school.
    Both my children and the year in between them will then be transfered en mass to an upper school just finding its feet after being in special measures.

    I have seen no strong evidence that a 2 tier system will be any better than a 3 tier system.

    There is plenty of evidence that being caught in the restructuring chaos will be detrimental to my children and their classmates.

    Why not seek the funding to improve the schools we currently have?

    Remember when shiny new terminal 5 was built? What happened to the first batches of luggage that went through it? Our 4-7 year olds are destined to be the lost luggage of our education system if this proposal goes ahead.

  4. sarah k says:

    I totally agree with SAH. The prospect of our children being caught up in the middle of this change is very frightening, and with no convincing argument that change will improve results.

    You are correct when you say that middle schools will face a long, slow death. Teachers looking for alternative employment, teachers wondering why they should put in the extra hours they do to provide a fantastic range of activities and trips, underfunding, poor accommodation which is being ripped apart to provide accommodation for the new primary school. That is what will happen.

    I am very worried about my children and other children I know being caught in the middle of this – quite literally.

    I am also concerned about a massive transition for those children to the new secondary schools in 2014/15. Three year groups transferring at the same time? A block of new staff being inducted to a new school with a new ethos, new policies etc at the same time? Chaos, I think.

    More importantly, what we have now suits our children, our communities and above all works.

    I am not prepared to see my children’s future ruined in some mass two tier experiment.

  5. joedy follington says:

    im am totally furious that our children are not getting listened too, they have voices too. I have filled in the consultation with my personnal views and i have 3 children and my partner that all have there own personnal views too yet we are only allowed to submit one consultation view. is that fair? i am totally fuming that our children are not getting listened too. the council have got this so wrong they need to stop thinking about money and need to start at the basics AND PLEASE LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE IT WILL AFFECT THE MOST… OUR CHILDREN.

  6. SJB says:

    I totally agree with the above sentiments. Too many graphs and statistics are beginning to make my eyes glaze over.

    But what I do believe in is what I personally have seen and experienced.

    My daughter has recently started Middle School. She had a terrible time at Lower School, difficulty making many friends and teachers not supporting obvious gaps in her education. The thought of what would have happened had she spent another two years there would seriously have concerned me.

    Fortunately the transition to Middle School was a transformation to her. Her year 5 teacher listened to our concerns and made the transition very easy for her.

    She is now a different child, with new friends, involved in lots of extra school activities, performing well, enjoying every day and can’t wait to leave for school in the mornings.

    The system works and I hope our beloved council and mayor can see this. Remember you were elected in, you can be elected out.

    Any money would be better spent improving our current system NOT changing it.

  7. Ed Thomas says:

    I went to Mark Rutherford’s meeting last night. The highlight of the evening was Brian Glover’s bizarre idea of educating children using the opportunties of building and construction sites bring and not the great disruption to learning they will bring. I think he may have a point. These suggestions may help Brian with his plan:
    (1) The school orchestra could include pneumatic drills.
    (2) Maths could teach fractions through concrete mixes.
    (3) School sanctions should include watching paint dry or watching concrete set.
    (4) Lunchtime games: snakes and ladders without the snakes, but we could use scaffolding.

    However, Brian would need a catchphrase
    Bob the Builder says “Can we fix it! Yes we can”
    Brian’s could be “Can we fix it! Well there’s no guarantees or plans, but we have got some dodgy data!

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