I Think ‘Success’ Is Already Pretty Well Defined….

Fiona Millar is fretting:

Are we heading towards a situation in which some secondary schools will find it impossible to demonstrate improvement?

Well, probably, for those at the top. But then again, the further down you are, the greater the opportunity for improvement, surely?

So why are you concerned about them?

It is right to have the highest expectations of all children, but equally we need to acknowledge that “disadvantage” takes many forms. Children eligible for free school meals come from a wide range of ethnic and social backgrounds, often with very different attitudes to education. Schools with disproportionately high numbers of pupils from the most difficult homes will become increasingly vulnerable in this maelstrom of change.

Well, isn’t that why schools are important, Fiona?

So that these children can learn that their family and cultural attitudes to education are out of place, and will not be tolerated here?

So that they grow up to be the future citizens of the UK that we should all be?

I would like to suggest two reforms to deal with this conundrum of maintaining exam integrity and morale, demonstrating improvement and providing a stimulating education.

The first is to tackle our woefully unjust school admissions system once and for all. It is outrageous that some schools can engineer intakes that automatically guarantee better results than their neighbours. The second is to loosen the ties between accountability and exams, possibly abolishing GCSEs altogether. It feels like a qualification that has had its day – and more eminent people than me, such as Sir Mike Tomlinson and the Institute of Education’s assessment expert Tina Isaacs, suggest this.

It would still be possible to have rigorous assessment at 16 without the full range of subjects being examined. It might speed the passage to a real baccalaureate-style qualification at 18 and make education a more engaging experience for children.

A more generous interpretation of what constitutes success could then be shaped around new forms of assessment, removing some pressure from the heads and teachers making a difference in our toughest communities. We need our teachers more than ever, so this isn’t a problem we can ignore.

So, basically, it’s ‘prizes for all, even if we have to redefine the word ‘prize’ itself!’..?

No thanks.

4 comments for “I Think ‘Success’ Is Already Pretty Well Defined….

  1. Errol
    September 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Does no one think that a voucher scheme would be better? What right does the council have to tell you where you’ll send your children?

    Let parents choose. If that school is over subscribed, let it buy buildings and teaching resources elsewhere and expand, like any successful business. The ‘product’ (education) is a fixed value, but higher quality leads to more sales. Bad schools then get taken over by good ones and parents can send their children whereever they want – including any private school they wish – they just make up the funds.

  2. September 17, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    There is also an unwillingness on the Left to accept that there is a strong inherited component in intelligence, as with physical characteristics. Most schools could, I’m sure, do a lot better, but at the end of the day some kids are just thick.

  3. Lord T
    September 17, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    We need teacher more than ever even though they are failing so badly that we will have to redefine what we mean by educational success.

    Bunch of leftie wankers.

  4. Stonyground
    September 18, 2015 at 10:23 am

    @Errol
    AFAIK that is what already happens with sixth form colleges. The students choose a college, the college decides whom they accept, the college gets paid according to how many students they take in. I would need to do a bit more research to know how well this works in practice.

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