Day 90 – GCSE choices

Thanks to the 7 councillors SMS met with last night for a presentation and discussion. Especially those of you who are reading this right now. We hope to present and meet with the remaining councillors during August.

One of the issues that was mentioned again last night was GCSE choices in the new larger Secondary schools.

As the children have moved up at Year 7, there is more time for teachers to get to know the children before GCSE choices have to be made midway during Year 9.

This would be true…IF teachers remained in post for an indefinite period of time.

This would be true…IF teachers taught the same pupils year after year (in a huge secondary school this is so unlikely as to be ridiculous).

This would be true…IF teachers actually knew the names of every child (possible in a human-sized school, very unlikely in a school of 2000 pupils).

The reality of GCSE choices in a massive secondary school is that they are only really thought about in Year 9 and that teachers face mostly new pupils every year, which is one of the advanced skills of teaching. This would be especially true if there is a “school-within-a-school” as proposed in the Biddenham Campus Project.

We need to be careful about creating an idealist vision of what the Brave New World of two-tier would actually look like.

We have a structure that works. It isn’t perfect, but we should target resources at the aspects that need improvement. Wholesale change is unnecessary and wasteful of public resources. Public resources that almost certainly won’t exist.

Contact the councillors to let them know what you think.

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2 Responses to Day 90 – GCSE choices

  1. Leodis says:

    I would add; when in KS3 do the children in an all through secondary have experience of ‘graphic design’ or ‘health and social care’ or leisure and tourism’ or even for the future many aspects of the new diploma. The answer is: THEY DON’T because aspects of the new secondary curriculum maintain the need to teach THE CURRENT subjects in one way, shape or form.

    If it was so important for them to meet the teachers that would deliver this then why doesn’t it happen now in year 9? Why not condense KS3 into the middles and allow an ENRICHMENT year for year 9 to allow those subjects to be delivered in different ways.

    Proponents of 2 tier dismiss this because it does not fit in with their agenda, but where it has been done it has seen success.

    …and then we still have the issue that if primary education suffers because of the change; either through the funds drying up or simply because of the drain in resourcing and staffing through a change we are unlikely to get improved GCSE results anyway – the children won’t have made enough progress!

    This ‘Brave New Dawn’ of Two-tier will be in reality ‘Just Another Sunset!’

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