Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Education education education

Well, that is the mantra - and I write this on the eve of the GCSE results. A week ago we had the A level results and the media response was absolutely and boringly predictable.
1. Lots of pictures of succesful students (predominately female and wearing skimpy tops)
2. Best ever results
3. This must mean that exams are getting easier
4. Predictable outcry from the many students who have worked their socks off.
5. Wheel out a teacher who has been teaching for donkeys years and try to get him/her to 'fess up'
6. If teacher is too nice (usually are) wheel out academic who is keen to say that he (sadly it is usually a he if years of experience are required) has to lower his teaching each yar to cope with the decreasing base knowledge of incoming students
7. Wheel out any opposition politicians who have something new to say

What is nearly always ignored is the fact that behind all the successes there are a large number of students who are hugely disappointed as they have not quite achieved their hoped for grades. Add into the picture the number of educational institutions who are faced with having to try to distinguish between a large number of candidates who look equally good on paper andit seems clear to me that we have to be able to do better than this. Universities and employers need a system that enables them to more easily distinguish between students and students actually need a system that does not so frequently cause heartache and anguish.

We need a radical review of the A level system but above all we need to realise that disappointing results are not the end of the world and that students can still do well in life even if they do not get a place on the course of their choice.