Going forward by going back

Michael Gove the education minister has proposed the return of a tough regime of examinations for schoolkids harking back to the days of the ‘O Level’ with of course the predictable screams of those whose interests lie in the all must be winners mindset in education and politics.


Education Secretary Michael Gove plans to scrap GCSEs for England and return to O-level style exams.
Sources have told the BBC that Mr Gove believes GCSEs “have gone beyond the point of rescue”.
The changes, planned to be brought in for pupils from autumn 2014, would amount to the biggest change to the exams system for a generation.
Less academic pupils would sit a different “more straightforward” exam, like the old CSE.
Labour says Mr Gove must explain his changes to teachers and pupils.

Quite why Labour think that Mr Gove has to explain what he’s doing to pupils is somewhat beyond me, I’d have though that would have been the job of teachers.

That said the ‘twitterati’ went nuts, it being the haven of the short comment and hard of thinking of the mindless left*.

David Morgan‏@thisisdavid: ‘O Levels were never ‘Gold Standard’. GCSEs didn’t get easier. Teaching got better and children got smarter. Gove yet again being foolish.’

Someone clearly who hasn’t been taking their ‘meds’ the common complaint from employers and universities is that the current crop of kids coming through simply don’t know the basics of literacy and mathematics.

James Ball‏@jamesrbuk: ‘A privatized healthcare system and O-Levels. Tories just need to bring back hanging now, and we’re in a 1950s utopia.’

Practically the mating call of the greater deluded leftie, all style and no substance. Last time I went into a hospital the only thing I had to pay for was the parking, and as that was yesterday, I cannot see much change (nor did I from the parking come to that)

The facts remain that politicians with their constant meddling and putting political dogma before reality along with idiotic teachers going along with core socialist values wrecked the education system of the UK. That’s why so many kids come out of a system which is in places unfit for purpose. They come out into a cruel and unforgiving world in which prospective employers don’t give a damn about gender awareness, racial equality studies or comparative religious education, but want accurate spelling and maths, the bastards.

Do I think this will work? Well I have my doubts, the system itself is geared against Gove and O Levels themselves require a different approach by teachers and kids, a lot more memory is involved rather than the complete and forget system of constant assessment currently being used by GCSE’s.

I don’t know what the answer will be, I just know the system from top to bottom has failed the kids of the UK.



15 comments for “Going forward by going back

  1. Mark
    June 21, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Yep. Perhaps external examining boards (like for music) would help.

    I’d also like to see a return to the instruction that I remember seeing on (all) exams, that poor grammar, spelling and use of English will be penalised.

    • Robert Edwards
      June 21, 2012 at 8:22 am

      I absolutely agree. There is, however, one word ominously absent from this new initiative (and I must say at this point that I consider Gove to be generally a good egg) and that is ‘competitive’.

      Because if public examinations are to be worth anything at all, they must surely be competitive. And, critically, stated to be so. Away with this ‘all must win prizes’ bollocks.

      Which thought would have the beeboids reaching for the Batphone to Walworth road. Or wherever the hell the Labour party HQ is, these days…

    • Voice of Reason
      June 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Most in my department (Mathematics) do penalise for poor grammar and spelling. And the complaints that we get!

  2. stab11
    June 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    The problem is of course that Michael Gove (who along with Eric Pickles are the only cabinet ministers who are any good) can come up with these pronouncements but the education establishment is still there and so all you will see is that he same sh*t GCSE exams are called O levels and everything carries on as it did.

    Now if Mr Gove wants to really have fun he should switch to the O level then announce there will only be one “approved” exam setting board and they will be the Hong Kong one. The thought of the cr*p British teachers having to teach up to those standards would be a wonder to behold.

    • June 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Well, it won’t be the Hong Kong one – alas! – but it looks as if there will be only one national board; Gove has taken stating the bleedin’ obvious to a whole new level by pointing out that a clutch of competing boards leads to a slow bicycle race of redundancy and mediocrity.

      Unfortunately, Gove is up against two Behemoths; unless he is careful, the new national board will become the refuge of choice for quangocrats and obfuscators from the newly defunct ones and, worse, the new curriculum will be implemented in many cases by what amounts to turkeys who have been asked to rehearse the carols and put up the decorations.

      That said, the news has been greeted with a resounding cheer in some staffrooms – so don’t tar us all with the same brush!

      • stab11
        June 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

        Macheath – My apologies I didn’t mean to say that all teachers were cr*p. I come from a family that is riddled with teachers so know what the good ones have to put up with but I also know how the bad ones play the system.

        • June 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

          No need to apologise – your comments are entirely correct.

          There are many teachers out there who are cr*p; they make life very difficult for the rest of us. Unfortunately, they do tend to be highly concentrated in the more militant and vociferous unions* and thus occupy a prominent position in the public eye.

          I only wanted to remind readers with no source of inside informnation that teachers should not all be judged by the words and actions of a disproportionately influential group.

          *Union activity tends to attract those who are a)not getting much satisfaction from a job well done and b)looking for an excuse to spend time out of the classoom.

  3. Jack Savage
    June 21, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Fiddling with the examination system may have the effect , at least, of providing some sort of yardstick that actually determines individual abilities and thus provides some sort of useful information to prospective employers etc:
    However, given the changes that have occurred in the world since any real or imagined glory years of British education, what is really needed is a hard headed but philosophical appraisal of what the “education” of children is really FOR.

  4. Mudplugger
    June 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Gove is right, again, and deserves support.

    For his next trick, he should introduce relative grading. In any one year, the top 5% get an A, the next 10% get a B, the next 15% get a C, the next 20% get a D, any lower than that and it’s an F. In other words, the top half get the ‘award’, the rest don’t – that’s competitive, just like real life.

    That would insure against the sort of cynical grade-inflation of recent years which has devalued all such exams, rather it would be indicating where that pupil registered on the scale of his/her contemporaries.

  5. ivan
    June 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

    The big problem Gove is facing is finding teachers that have the knowledge and ability to teach to a higher standard. Yes, there are a few left but they are few and far between and the training establishments will have to be overhauled to make any progress.

    • June 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      ‘Overhauled’ is putting it mildly – and you can start with the Postgraduate course tutor who, meeting an Oxbridge graduate on her first day, told her, “We don’t want your sort here, thinking you know it all…”

      • June 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm

        In fact, ‘keel-hauled’ would be a much better idea…

  6. Humph
    June 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I told my 12 year old about this earlier and she’s gutted.

  7. Greg Tingey
    June 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Guess why I gave up teaching, in 1992 ????

    ( Though I’m very pleased to say that I know that three of my ex-pupils now have PhD’s …… )

  8. john in cheshire
    June 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Just to add my unoriginal opinion : bring back grammar schools, o-levels, a-levels and the opportunity to succeed, and the opportunity to fail. Bring back the admiration of intellect and the admiration of practicalities. Yin and Yang. Brain and Brawn. Equality doesn’t exist and the sooner the socialists are put back into the very small box that they should have occupied these past hundred or so years, the better for all of mankind.

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