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So the schools are kicking up a fuss because grade inflation has ended. The same teachers didn't seem too bothered as the results rose year on year regardless and all too keen to take the credit for those results. Teaching kids the answers is lazy. But now the government has called an end to this nonsense and they are up in arms. But everyone in the profession knew that rise was unsustainable and merely a political tool to make governments look good. The Tories were brave to make a stand. Admittedly changing the grading in January was a little unfair but if colleges and employers use some common sense and leeway when accepting students disappointed with their grades then this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Presumably the places are available as they budgeted for the January passes.
So my first change would be realistic marking. The 93% A-Level pass rate is absurd. A-D passes and nothing else should be passes, as it was for O-Levels in my day. If you get 20% and an E you clearly failed that exam and little grasp of the course and subject. And stop stuffing exams with multiple-choice questions that can produce chance correct answers and end the course work module nonsense where you can keep retaking them if you fail. That method is only about getting average students to pass exams that place schools in league ladders so to secure funding. Blair messed up big time with league tables.
Secondly there are just too many exams in modern schools. Its boring doing 8 or 9 CGSE's in subjects you have no passion for and just cramping your chances of getting a better grade in the other subjects you are more suited for, and so could sneak you into university. It makes dim kids irritable and so truancy rates shoot up. Make five GCSE the maximum for 16-years-old like you do for 18-year-olds in A-Level. Put more sport and recreation in the gaps on the curriculum. Be creative with those gaps in the curriculum. Use them to make kids feel more mature and needed in society. I hated school and anxious all the way through it so didn't learn much. Concentrate kids younger education on having good Math's and English skills and push languages more. History and Geography and the sciences are not critical in anyone's development unless they have a clear career path. A-Level Sport and Home Economics should be hosed into the gutter.
Cut down degree courses from three years. University is a middle-class right of passage and a three year pi** up and many degrees barely offer ten hours a week of lectures and little one-to-one time. You can plagiarize a 2.2 degree pass of the internet now. If you don't then I'm sure under pressure lecturers will 'help you' finish your work to make sure you pass.
Make more degrees two year courses and part-time. And stop stuffing them with foreign nationals purely because they will pay more and so denying smart working-class British kids places, a big chunk of those students disappearing when the border cops show up, as we saw with London Metropolitan University. Trust me; few British students go to university just to seek employment in the three years.
The so-called 'Free Schools' are divisive and elitist. Get rid. Most are half empty on the first day of the September term. They are a selective way for white middle-class parents in nice areas to school their kids away from disruptive kids and ethnic minorities. They also undermine the national curriculum. I understand middle-class parents want their kids to get to the best schools and their kids being at those schools make the schools become the best schools but don't stack the system against working-class kids who want to learn. At least grammar schools allow working-class kids a chance to get into university and a reward for parents who understand the importance of education.
I am ok with religious schools to be selective as clearly different cultures are happier together. Racism is very real in Britain, most white against the rest, Asian against Black and so on and so on. It's silly trying to place white working-class tearaways in a Muslim or Jewish faith schools. Multiculturism is nonsense and if an Academy for Black Caribbean kids helps in London to improve standards then do it. We cant pussy foot around on education. We know the reasons why the system doesn't work for some so let's fix it and not be sensitive about it. School is boring and certainly intimidating to some. Change that, as Obama would say.
Stop picking on teachers. It's almost an impossible job now with human rights laws and liberal PC nonsense beating them down every turn and they can't teach if they can't enforce discipline and their bosses don't back them up. If these kids don't understand authority at this age they never will. It makes sense for teachers to be able to be more authoritative whilst they have kids in one place. Any parents that are not bothered about helping their kids with homework or encouraging them to do well after school because their school life was rubbish should not have the right to berate their school staff because little Darren or Dale isn't doing well. They are your kids so help out here! My mum religiously helped me with my reading and writing when I was young, even after doing two jobs. Teachers can't do it all.
Critically you must do everything to engage kid's interest as there are many distractions at home and in school. Why some kids are allowed to have mobiles in classroom is beyond me. Most kids would rather play video games at home on their computer so make lessons more about their world. In America kids go to a gym as part of the curriculum and they go on running machines that power the educational video games in front of them, a great idea.
This popular title, "Leadership and Curriculum in The Primary School", is also subtitled as "The Roles Of Senior and Middle Manangement". The authors are, in chronological order: Christopher Day, Carol Hall, Philip Gammage, and Martin Coles. My edition was publihsed in 1993 by "Paul Champman Publishing". After graduating as a Primary School teacher I was recommended this book by a friendly headteacher. This book is for teachers who don't just want to be restricted to the classroom and want to zoom up the career ladder. If you are a deputy head or subject co-ordinator then this book will help provide you with a clear focus and practical support along the way. As we were taught at Uni., this book takes the addage "Where are you now......Where do you want to be....and...what are you going to do to help you get there....?", and how best to implement these objectives in your current situation. The authors have had a great deal of experience in primary schools (very beneficial -all too often I have read theory books purely based on secondary ideas and philosophies) and their chapters constantly reflect their excellent practice, addressing key issues which confront teachers daily in their line of work. The first four chapters, namely; Developing Curriculum Leadership Making People A Priority Leading change through staff development Assertiveness Skills focus on school culture, roles and relationships, and staff development. I have often used this volume as a valuable reference tool for key phrases to use in an interview situation, eg. "How do you effectively liaise with other staff members?" The second half of the book concentrates on the four key issues which underpin effective teaching and learning in the primary classroom, chapters are entitled: Curriculum Perspectives Integration and National Curriculum (this section is unfortu
nately getting somewhat out of date now, but the ideas are just the same) Curriculum Evaluation What school is really for. There is also an extensive Bibliography at the back of the book, some of the titles are also very worth reading. I found this book extremely useful after graduating as a teacher, as there is a lot more to learn after leaving college / university, little emphasis is put on liasing with colleagues and how to effectively implement "change" as a primary practitioner - the excellent examples in this book should provide a very handy reference tool.
Canfield, J. and Wells, H. C. 1994 100 Ways to Enhance Self Concept in the Classroom Allyn and Bacon (Massachusetts). It has long been my belief that one of the most important aspects of learning is self confidence. Canfield and Wells explain why this is in a way that can be understood by everyone. A highlight for me is Poker Chip theory which provides a demonstration of how pupils with low and high self esteem differ in their learning. I have used this demonstration in a seminar and it works a treat. The book is written with such passion and belief that to read it is a joy. This book is of enormous practical use to educators as a whole but mainly to classroom teachers. It provides one hundred exercises aimed at enhancing self esteem. The exercise achieve this by teaching pupils about themselves and about each other. These exercises counsel without counselling. By that I mean that the pupils will learn about themselves and others and also about challenges that they will meet in the educational setting and in everyday life without simply sitting down and talking it through with an adult. These exercises show that everybody is different and that is to be celebrated. I would recommend this book to classroom teachers as it will help them to foster an atmosphere of individual and group confidence in the classroom and develop principals of co-operation in learning. Even though the book is not aimed at those in higher education I would urge students and lecturers to read it. This is because of the understanding that one can gain of self confidence in the learning process. I am sure that many of the exercises presnted could be adapted to many different educational settings.