In 1986 I awaited my O level results. I remember that feeling. In 1988 they changed to GCSE. I had actually been involved in the pilot for GCSE’s , they were called 16 plus. Some of my exams were these. It was great to do course work. I thrived on this.
So you could say I know what it is like to do O levels and GCSE’s. I did both in various subjects. So perhaps I have a good understanding of both examinations. In that way my year was quite unique.
I am not sure Gove has this insight. In fact I am not sure that the Secretary of State for Education has insight into GCSE’s. He seems to harp back to a previous time, in a previous world. He seems to feel that we need to return to the world of O levels, even though it was a Conservative Govt that changed examinations in the UK.
Now let us arrive in 2012. The students have worked very hard over the past few years. On August 23rd they were to receive their results.
They had an idea of what their grades might be. They opened their envelopes and then……..
The shock of expecting a C grade and getting a D grade in English. How could this have happened. They had worked to a standard. They had worked hard. Their teachers had worked hard. Maybe it was just them, maybe it was just their year, maybe it was just their school.
But it wasn’t.
The disappointment could be felt all around the country. How could this happen.
Grading boundaries had been moved and by 8%
Its not that Standards shouldn’t be improved , but give a chance to work up to the Standards set. Not to shift the boundaries at the last minute. This is plain and simply wrong.
Gove will deny as Secretary of State for Education that he interfered with the examination boards. He has expressed in television interviews that he does not interfere.
When I heard him say that he does not interfere. I could not believe what he was actually saying.
Allowing more Academies, his grand project. Allowing Free Schools. Is this not interfering ?
So why are we not to believe that he hasn’t interfered with GCSE grade boundaries. He has always said that grades were inflated year in year out. He believed the system had to be changed. How strange that this year , whilst he was Secretary of State that grades had deflated for the first time in their history.
I doubt it. As a wise person said to me once * There are no coincidences in life *
I spoke to my cousin yesterday. He was a Headteacher of a state secondary school in Nottingham. He said schools always worked as individual units. Localism in action. They were successful if they had good teachers, good governors all working together for the benefit of the school children. Simple really.
Yet why does Gove want to centralise. He speaks of freedom for schools. But he wishes to be Education’s Big Brother.