It is reported today by ofsted that thousands of children are not reaching the standards that they are capable of in education. Children’s grades in GCSE’s do not reflect their sats tests grades at age 11. It is expected that children who achieve a Level 5 in English and Maths at age 11 should be able to pass a GCSE at Grade B at age 16.
Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said it was “shocking” that, in some cases, school leaders and teachers did not even know who their most able children were.” He stated today on News at one that the thought that teachers had low expectaions of some children. Teaching unions say that sats test results are not a good predictor of future GCSE attainment. Is there any wonder parents are confused ?
There is the concern that schools have been measured and assessed by how many children they can get through a GCSE at above a grade C. Therefore, it is argued that the schools have not concentrated on the more able pupils and have allowed them to only attain a C or a B grade when they could have achieved an A or A*.
The government proposes that children should be graded into ability sets at age 11 when they reach secondary school. ( but what about the late developers, have we written off these children at age 11 ? ) John Holts, graded like vegetables quote springs to mind !
I ask, Why is it that childrens natural abilities and natural curiosities are being switched off. Yesterday my little tiger sat eating a packet of snack type crisps.
“What is maize” ? he asked
I explained about maize. “Is it like wheat” ? “why use maize instead of wheat or potatoes?” he further asked
Our natural conversation lead us to discuss maize, corn, wheat farming and the food industry. We digressed to food allergies and weaning babies. He contextualised this himself by asking what his little toddler relatives ate. He asked about farming in different countries, weather and globalisation. All from one natural curiosity about the ingredients listed on the side of his snack packet.
I am sorry to digress but I do not feel that my Tiger’s curiosity was naturally allowed to flow while he was in a school setting. Also when he arrived home from the school day he was tired and weighed down with an hours homework to complete for the next day. It was homework, it was set to consolidate his learning from the school day. I often felt like I was teaching my child not the school, like it was my responsibility to ensure my child had learnt, sorry I mean consolidated his learning for the day. ( and this was primary school)
My other concern here is that if GCSE’s are dumbed down at the moment and children are not reaching the standards of the dumbed down GCSE, how are the children going to improve when the GCSE’s are made tougher.
Unless something radical happens in schools, surely more children are going to be underachieving when tougher GCSE’s are put in place. Shouldn’t the government be asking the research question, “why are so many children being switched off as soon as they start school?” and “why are children being taught to pass tests in primary school which seem to have little bearing on GCSE’s and A levels and adult life in general ?