Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Students set for a long road to GCSEs
HEADTEACHERS have been left bewildered by new Government expectations that teenagers must study GCSE English and maths until they pass them, even if it takes them to the age of 18.
School leaders in Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett are having to confront the legislation for the first time this week, as pupils are welcomed back after the summer break.
Sixteen-year-olds who fail to achieve a grade C in English and maths will now continue with those subjects alongside the A-levels, vocational courses and training they are now embarking upon, having left their GCSEs behind.
Many teaching staff are confused by the new measures because they simply do not feel the vast majority of those who do fail to pass these core subjects, will ever pass them, regardless of the extra tuition.
Generally, schools and colleges have accepted the principle of the idea, but they are struggling to see how it can be successfully implemented.
At Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, headteacher George Croxford wants those who are failing to work on functional literacy and numeracy skills, rather than the full GCSE qualification, which may not aid them in their future.
“Many of those without a C grade will simply never achieve it, whatever you do,” he said.
“There are such things as functional literacy and numeracy, which will be enough to get those struggling through life, and through their jobs.
“I genuinely don’t see how it is humanly possible for some students to attain a grade C.”
At his sixth form, George said plans had already been pencilled in to accommodate those joining who did not have the correct GCSE grades, with revision classes added to their timetables alongside A-level and BTEC qualifications.
Clive Zimmerman, principal at Lydiard Park Academy, said: “It’s a good thing because the students do need these basic skills, as employers have said.”
Lydiard Park will set up its own sixth form from September 2014, and will not be directly impacted by the new measures this academic year, though plans are being put together now, so it is ready to deal with the extra tuition needed next year.
Clive said: “We are planning for next September and building this into our model. We know, from our own school leavers, that 75 per cent of pupils pass their English and maths.
“Therefore, we know it is likely that 25 per cent of those entering our sixth form are going to need to retake lessons added to their timetable.”
He said it was difficult to expect every student to pass in the extra two years given, and in some cases may be to the detriment of their new endeavours.
Sharon Kirwan, who also leads an 11-16 school in Chuchfields Academy, has reservations over what happens to pupils when they now leave her control without the prized grade C certificate.
“Leading an exclusively 11-16 school makes it even harder because kids leaving us and going to sixth form elsewhere are going to be taught by somebody new,” she said.
“If a student has had a really great maths teacher at school, someone they’ve really connected with in the classroom, imagine how hard it’s going to be for them being taught by somebody new, who they may not like as much.
“They might end up doing even worse in their GCSE.
“The concept of improving literacy and numeracy is a good idea, but having that average mark and expecting every single pupil to get above that, regardless of their background, is ludicrous.”
Comments are closed on this article.