SMS received this email yesterday and, with the permission of its author, it is repeated here in its entirety – further contributions are welcomed of course.
After you’ve read it, don’t forget to TAKE ACTION of some sort TODAY…
The current 2/3 tier debate within Bedford Borough is rather a sad indictment on our education system. Having taught within Bedfordshire for twenty five years, for all that time I didn’t realise that my sole purpose was to facilitate mandatory GCSE results. Perhaps I have been naive? I always assumed I was an educator – inspiring children, instilling social and moral values, allowing confidence to grow.
To date, the consultation process presented by the 2 tier lobbyists has concentrated exclusively on GCSE results within the Borough. No consideration seems to have been given to the ‘child’. Doesn’t ‘Every Child Matter’ in Bedford Borough? There will only ever be a certain percentage of the school population who achieve 5 A-C grades at GCSE but what of the others? It would seem that in this consultation they are being disregarded.
Let’s think further into the future than merely GCSEs. Let’s consider these young adults applying for their first job. How many employers take on people solely on academic qualifications? None. How many employ the confident, friendly applicant who comes across well at interview, who shows initiative and enterprise, even though their paper qualifications might be slightly less than the next person? Most.
I am convinced that the 3 tier system allows children to develop confidence gradually and naturally, almost as an unseen, progressive process. Leadership opportunities are afforded to the children at more regular intervals than occurs in the 2 tier system. All Year 4 children in lower schools assume positions of responsibility; all Year 8s in middle schools similarly gain experience in such leadership roles (sporting opportunities in this regard are particularly evident for both Y4 and Y8 children) and this natural, yet regular, access to positions of responsibility promotes self-belief and assurance. Again, leadership opportunities exist in upper school for the children to continue their role of young ambassadors and leaders. In my role as PE co-ordinator, staff invariably comment on the mature young adults who visit lower schools to lead sporting activities. I am sure it is as a direct result of the gradual building of self-esteem, confidence and natural progression that the 3 tier system allows.
For this reason, forgetting GCSE results for once (!) I would maintain our 3 tier system in the Bedford Borough.