Day 175 – Educational Half-Truths (3)

Continuing our theme this week…most of the arguments pro two-tier are based on half-truths. This is an excellent way to mislead, because the unwary recognise the half that is true and fail to spot the logical inconsistency in the other 50%.

Example number 3:

Pro two-tier: GCSE choices are very difficult in Year 9 because teachers don’t know the children well enough.

Pro three-tier: Teachers in secondary schools of 2000 pupils do not “know” their pupils very well at all. They turn up each September with almost entirely new faces in each of their classes and start from scratch again, learning new names and adjusting to new personalities. That’s if the teachers themselves aren’t new themselves…in fact it’s probably a struggle to know the names of all one’s colleagues in such large schools !

As for GCSE choices, Secondary Schools rarely begin to think about these until the start of Year 9 and there are now also a range of post-14 options, many of which are not taught to younger pupils, so these would be unfamiliar to everyone.

GCSE choices are always concerning for children and parents – and there is no reason why the process cannot start in Year 8 as part of the transition to upper school – it’s a pretty flimsy reason on which to base massive disruption of a generation of schooldchildren.

2 Responses to Day 175 – Educational Half-Truths (3)

  1. JamesD says:

    Another made up piece of spin to confuse the Bedford parents. Question:
    If OfSTED and DCSF show no difference in GCSE attainment between those English LAs that use 2-tier and those that use 3-tier why are the Bedford Upper Schools any different from the rest of England when it comes to GCSE choices?

    Out of our 7 Upper schools in 2008 we had 2 on the Nationally Failing Register; one of these has made a magnificent recovery with 3 times the England average increase in GCSEs in 2009. The other has improved a great deal but still failed to improve sufficiently and is to be closed and to be reopened as the Bedford Academy. As a proportion of Nationally Failing Secondary / Upper Schools Bedfordshire was not greatly different from similar areas of England. However, in 2008 the very small sample represented by just Bedford Borough had 29% of it’s Upper schools listed as Nationally Failing. We now still have 14% ie just John Bumyan on that list.
    The “difficulty with GCSE choices” excuse is just another cop out by those who do not wish to take responsibility for the lack of success in their schools or who have not provided the resources that Bedford’s children deserve.

  2. Ed Thomas says:

    Well done to SMS blogger, Michael Headley for gaining the portfolio for finance. In these times this could be one of the more difficult cabinet posts! Good luck and I hope you still have time for blogging! If not, I hear ex-Tory Naughty Nicky A has plenty of time on her hands!

    An update on one of my previous blogs on teacher recruitment:

    Officially, Bedford Borough has 90 New Qualified Teachers in 41 schools. Obviously recruiting new talented teachers has been a problem for this borough, like you said at Wootton, Police Academy Dave!!!

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