Showing what you can do

18 Sep

One of the delights of the Paralypic Games was seeing people with grave disabilities completing against each other. What mattered was what they could do, not what they couldn’t do. That the competitors took their events seriously, but in a true Olympic spirit was obvious for all to see, and an example to many able-bodied athletes.

The Minister of Education for England and Wales is currently attempting to replace the GCSE system with the English Baccalaureate Certificate. This is in effect taking the standards for school’s examination certificates back to the ‘O’ (Ordinary) Level system I took at school. GCSE grades are calculated on a combination of continuous assessment and a final examination. The ‘O’ levels only tested via a final examination. Many pupils did not thrive on examinations and others were ill or had some emotional upset during the examinations. In neither case were the grades a true reflection of the abilities of the pupil. ‘O’ levels were designed to test pupil’s abilities to take ‘A’ (Advanced) Level examinations and to pass on to University if successful. So, both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels were designed to weed out the weaker pupils, not to improve their performance. What should matter is what the pupils can do, not what they cannot do. What we do not need in this country is for the education system to be taken back forty years.


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