Thursday, August 27, 2009

GCSE Numbers Game Fails Pupils

Pupils are paying the price as pawns in a GCSE numbers game to prop up a government charade. The muddled exams mess has become a measure of failed New Labour performance which is failing children.

When a government department is put under the microscope, spin and manipulation are not far behind.

The government's obsession with GCSE exams is an inflatable joke. They've let the schools down, they've let the pupils down and they've let themselves down. New Labour has failed to deliver on its education promise, according to a Newsnight poll.

Deprived and disadvantaged youngsters in bog standard comps bear the brunt of a government playing politics with education instead of fixing the problems of their own making.

The current GCSE sham should be abolished. Only key subjects of maths and English are needed for entry into some professions. The rest are a mass of inappropriate and dumbed-down meaningless "studies" which are a yardstick for nothing.

A GCSE does what it says on the tin - a general certificate of secondary education. Nothing too taxing, but enough to show that youngsters spent some time at school. GCSE's certainly don't stretch bright pupils. It's difficult to know how the kids keep motivated and keep going.

GCSEs have become a shabby judge with schools reduced to entering pupils for soft option and pointless vocational subjects to boost results and school performance. Obsession with league tables produce record GCSE results, to stave off closure and meet unrealistic targets.

Schools are playing the system, as the government tries to switch "failing" schools to its discredited costly PFI academies sham, handing control over to big business backers and government sympathisers.

The government, with its school secretary, Ed "get me out of here" Balls, cannot keep up the charade for much longer. Today's shocking figures reveal the true extent of a decade of New Labour's failure.

The government record is appalling. Figures released by LibDems reveal after a decade of drivel, the number of 16-year-olds leaving school without even achieving the basic standard of five good GCSEs is expected to top 3 million.

Young people are churned out of a crammed classroom which has no room or time in the over-packed exam-obsessed curriculum to develop their skills and talents.

In the topsy turvy world obsessed with making everyone 'equal', failure is rewarded with a pat on the back and a clutch of worthless pieces of paper.

Rewards for failure does no one any favours. Far from creating a classless society, a decade of New Labour has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots. Class divisions are most noticeable in classrooms.

GCSEs have produced a class-ridden two tier system as independent schools come up with their own solution. More independent schools are switching to the harder iGCSEs this year to stretch pupils. The most able are leapfrogging GCSEs and taking AS levels a year early instead.

That comes at a price. Private schools are financially propped up by taxpayers with the sham of charitable status. State schools are left to muddle along with a discredited Mickey Mouse exam system to make them look good.

State schools, with all eggs in the exams basket, cannot compete on a level playing field. What's fair and equal about that?

The stakes are high. Exam boards compete for candidates. The more they dumb down, the more candidates and entry fees, they get. Schools face being stripped of funding and placed under the control of New Labour sympathisers as part of the 're-education' process.

Meanwhile, the government continues to massage the GCSE figures by introducing course-work modules and more retake opportunities for students, treating academic and vocational qualifications as if they are identical.

Today's artificial 'record' GCSE results come hard on the heels of last week's artificial 'record' A-level results. Both spun in a desperate attempt to prop up a decade of failed government education policies.

The legacy is a lost generation of youngsters branded failures with no future.


Philip said...

After all that sense, why are you repeating the lying mantra that a grade C GSCE is "good"? That is one of the greatest rhetorical tricks, and we should all be laughing it to scorn.

The GCSE farce did not start under Labour, but under the Tories. I sat the first round of GCSEs back in 1988, getting straight As, and I was shocked at how much easier they were than the O-level papers we used to prepare. The problem is not just the politicians, it is the "progressive" educational establishment (another rhetorical trick as they are now reactionaries defending a failed ideology), that runs state education whoever is in power. Nothing will improve until all the "progressives" are rooted out of positions of power in the education system.

Philip said...

The national curriculum and grade inflation disasters have also damaged private schools, which have actually been far too slow to reject the government's easy exams. I am looking for a private school for my son, and I see the same smug satisfaction with standards that are not what they should be (and once were) in many private schools, as there is in the state sector. It's a question of bad and slightly less bad, not good and bad.

As for the subsidy issue, it is the private schools that subsidise the state system. Parents, many of whom are not rich, have to pay for their children's education twice, and now they are going to be asked to pay a third time, to fund a scholarship. Emigration may by the only answer, and if I leave, as several of my friends in similar circumstances already have, the government will lose taxes equivalent to about six school places.