Monday, 29 November 2010


It concerns me, that once again a new Education Secretary, this time Mr Gove MP thinks he can play fast and loose with the future of England’s children. It has happened before and sadly, no doubt it will happen again, as politicians cannot help themselves, to “sort out the mess left by the previous administration”.

I’m not saying that everything Labour did was right, after all their obsession with league tables and performance indicators was lamentable for many reasons. It was an excuse for schools to concentrate on the ‘clever’ pupils whilst how shall I put it, dissuading less fortunate pupils.

However, Mr Gove’s idea that we should return in the main to end of term exams concerns me. I hated exams, especially those that could affect the rest of your life. Some pupils I recall took exams in their stride, passing with no apparent stress, but I like many others worried myself sick about them.

I recall my farther; who worked at Rio Tinto in the early eighties, attending a weekend course, at the end of which they where handed an exam paper to be returned within a week. My farther asked did this mean they could look up the answers. The reply was that Rio Tinto did not want parrots who could just regurgitate learnt information, the questions showed whether you could apply the information they had learnt. After all, if you had forgotten a certain formula all you need do is look it up in a book.

Life is all about learning, sometimes by our mistakes, it is a constant revaluation of what we know, from what we have learnt. We should never stop challenging accepted norms or ideas, sometimes in life a practical lesson will teach you far more than a syllabus book and end of term exam ever would.

Education should be about giving pupils a chance in life, it should not be the challenge, that in a very short period defines who they are, and what the rest of their lives will be.


Prometheuswrites said...

"... the questions showed whether you could apply the information they had learnt".

Yes absolutely.

This is what what we have forgotten to do in the race for league table positions.

Now what we teach is how to pass the tests.

Prometheuswrites said...

Compare Finland and Wales:

"Pisa tests show pupils in Wales falling behind"

The table of scores is towards the end of the article.