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Award-winning headteacher resigns after Ofsted inspection leaves her ‘devastated’

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Morninglover, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no, its a pretty standard model for many entry requirements.

    getting an exam done early counts for nothing in many situations, because it is easy.

    Doing a digital photography GCSE stand alone is not demanding, anyone could do it, it doesn't indicate any particular potential.

    But that is only if the subject is then dropped, as most are. If he then continues with digital photography, and develops further during his GCSE years, and can evidence that, that is different. Like a musician taking exams young, and then continuing to develop further, or, as in some schools, taking maths early, then going on to a further maths qualification, etc.

    There is a difference between taking stand alone qualifications then dropping the subject, and being further along the path than GCSE during your GCSE year.

    If this child wishes to use this qulification to count towards their sixth form application, they will need to show how they have progressed beyond GCSE in the time after taking the exam.

    or delay, and take the exam at the end of year 10, when it will count?

    The other consideration is what happens if they don't get a top grade? It still has to go on every application, particularly university applications, and they consider it to be criminal fraud not to declare all exams, including those that show the applicant in a bad light.
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    As I said, the most extreme examples of this are home educated children who just take one or two GCSEs at a time, sometimes for years.

    So if a home educated child starts at 10, and takes one GCSE every 6 months until 16, they are likely to apply to us at post 16 with 12 top grade GCSEs, of which we would only count 3. They would not be offered a place at A level. They may be offered a timetable of 5-6 GCSE resits. Not a disaster, except in cases where the individual would then be too old to go on to an A level course in a state school after sitting the extra year.

    Compare that to a school educated child who takes 8 GCSEs in one sitting, and gets a range of grades, we would consider that student far better qualified for A levels, vocational courses, apprenticeships , university applications, etc.This student is far more likely to succeed, and would be offered a place above the other one.

    This may sound like an extreme example, but we do get a steady trickle of home educated students every year, shocked at being turned down. They quite often can't get in anywhere. You would think their parents would look at entry requirements for the next step, before planning their education to GCSE, wouldn't you. But sadly that often doesn't happen.
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    It is about having entrance requirements! As in only taking on students who you believe are capable of succeeding in the course! Taking GCSEs early, before year 10, does not give any weight to a students assertion that they can complete a difficult and demanding A level course.

    This is because taking GCSEs one by one is easy!

    So it may well not count towards entry requirements.

    I am not saying it is of no value, I am saying it may well not count towards entry requirements.
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    If they study those subjects in yrs 7 and 8 then then have studied them in KS3?
  5. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    So when my wife, at 45, decided to do a B.ed and studied maths GCE at night school because she was deficient in that subject the university should not have allowed her onto the course because she didn't take it as part of a full set?
    yodaami2, ajrowing, Sally006 and 3 others like this.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no, that is not what I am saying, go back and read it!
  7. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    This is not my policy, I am just simply describing the policy as it is, and lots of people reading this will know this, as it is not an unusual policy.

    I do agree with this policy up to a point, but either way, its useless having a go at me about it, I didn't decide on this policy, nor particularly defend it.

    This is the way it is, I am informing you, that is all.

    Partly cos I got fed up with turning students away from A level courses, when they could have qualified for them had they done their GCSEs from the end of year 10 to the end of yer 11, but through no fault of their own, have done some other fancy arrangement, which, while giving them more high scores, lowers their value in relation to entrance requirements.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    You assert that GCSEs taken as lone qualifications are not rigorous enough to allow further study of that subject, They are only valid if taken as part of a set of 8 or more.
    Sally006 likes this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    It seems Ofsted are encouraging an ageist and unfair education system that hugely holds back disadvantaged and poor state educated pupils.

    The winners imho may be savvy parents who can afford to pay for their children to sit GCSE exams early as external, private candidates. Why should they allow their talented children to be held back in a state school system whereby it seems Ofsted is blocking potential GCSE success?
    Sally006 and blazer like this.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    Maybe we should look to other countries seeing as Ofsted seem outdated. I have never liked forcing students to stay at school until they are 18 either ( and prefer it to be 16). I do wonder if we are right to 'drag out' education over such a long period.

    (Acc. to LocalSchools.co.uk):


    Lower secondary education ends at 15 when pupils take a lower secondary leaving exam, the brevet, which comprises tests French, maths, history/geography and civics education together with continuous assessment from 13-15. After one year of upper secondary education, pupils can leave or continue their education. Those that stay on can choose from a range of Baccalauréate, a technical brevet or vocational ...'
  11. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no I don't, I am describing a common evaluation of previous attainment for A levels, degrees, and other qualifications.

    the overall merit of a candidate is judged by their total number of GCSEs, for example, many colleges and courses require 5 GCSEs, including English and maths, for entrance to A levels (my daughter's school required 8)

    The GCSEs that count towards this total are only those taken in one sitting, or several close sittings. This is because the number of GCSEs taken all at once is an indicator of potential, but GCSEs taken individually are not.

    The same low ability students who gets 10 all top grades taking one at a time over 5 years may only be capable of passing 3 in one sitting. To use the GCSEs as a predictor of someones potential to pass a course, they need to have been sat together.

    Hence the common model of disregarding any sat before the end of year 10.

    Additionally, as I explained earlier, we don't accept students on to A levels in subjects they have not studied in the past year. So if someone has done a GCSE early, they are disadvantaged unless they can show continuous study in that area, after sitting the GCSE

    In addition, the early GCSEs continue to bestow a disadvantage if they are not top grades, as they need to be declared in all university, college and most apprenticeship applications, you cannot leave them out of the application, that is fraud. So if you sit early, and do not get a top grade, and if you sit early, you are expected to get a top grade, this is a negative on your application.
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Think of it like marathon running

    If you run 1 mile a week, for 27 weeks, you have not run a marathon!
  13. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    An interesting idea that GCSEs should only count if taken en masse.
    I will agree with you that it's probably easier to get them bit by bit. However my recent experience working with kids with anxiety, autism and other social problems gives me different views. Sometimes they can only do exams a few at a time. Usually the know they can't do A levels. Fortunately, we have a good relationship with our local post 16 providers, who take our kids on their merits.

    This is not even possible in England as GCSE exams (excluding English and maths) are only sat in the summer.

    As an A level chemistry teacher for more than 30 years, I agree with you, but I was mostly interested only in the science, English and maths grades - and their ability to work hard.

    On its own, no. My daughter did Music GCSE after school in year 9 and 10, took a break and then got an A level. I think you need to look at circumstances. If a youngster had done GCSE chemistry two years before doing A level, I might have concerns, but I wouldn't rule them out without talking to them.

    Then they're not a low ability student.
    Low ability students probably can't get top grades even if you spread them out over 50 years. If they can summon up the knowledge, understanding and processing skills to get a top grade in just one GCSE, they're not looking like a low ability student to me. That's not to say that there may not be other issues with them. Those issues may preclude a conventional A level course but I might accuse someone who called them low ability of being a bit of a bureaucratic bully.
    bessiesmith2, Sally006 and install like this.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    I have a mate who is doing very well for herself. She left school at 16 when you were allowed to. She got a job and did A Levels at night school. She did an A Level a year whilst working. She ended up with 3 Grade As and did it her way.

    She always says that she was held back at school. For her, the goal was simply to get her Exam results as fast as she could to earn money.

    The problem with some Ofsted types is that they do not see the 'global picture' or the 'every child matters' agenda anymore. They just see systems - not people; bonus payments - not good will; and their own ego - not reality.
    phlogiston, ajrowing and Sally006 like this.
  15. Sally006

    Sally006 Occasional commenter

    Ok, so it’s not you advocating such a system you are merely stating this is how it is. Do people who do degrees through the Open University have lesser mental capacity than those who take the formal and “more rigorous” traditional GCSE and A’level route? I have a friend who did an OU degree after having kids and got a first, followed by a PhD and is now a Prof at a “red brick”(as they used to be called) Uni. Don’t think how many A’levels, GCSEs she had and when she took them ever came into it. If this is the system today then it’s a total carp one. I have no concerns whatsoever for my son and his Y9 GCSE. He’s still doing another 9 between Y10 and 11.

    I did a joint degree at Uni many years ago which meant I sat nine 3 hour exams over a 2 week period. I wasn’t allowed to substitute one exam for a dissertation as it was deemed it would weigh too heavily in one subject. I guess by the model you are describing I did a much more rigorous degree than my peers as I achieved honours degree standard in 2 disciplines and sat more exams in one go ie 9 to their 7. Did my future employers consider this at all? Did they heck! Neither, do I consider what I achieved as more superior to my peers because I sat more exams. It was just different. I don’t go round saying “anyone can focus on one subject at a time that’s easy and lightweight- you try doing 2 subjects at degree level simultaneously !”. It is just nonsense and I am not convinced it’s quite the “norm” as you make out.
    phlogiston likes this.
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    we take kids on their merits too, and that is how it is calculated. We lways offer students a course, its just hat it might be a BTEC, a level 2, or a resit yer first - or sometimes they need to start lower than that.

    There are still plenty who took GCSEs aged 11 or 12 or 13 coming through with they old grades taken t different times of the year.

    Yes, I'd agree with you with the new 8s and 9s. You could probably get a 7 with enough spoon feeding and coaching, and certainly could get an A.
  17. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    I know it is your school policy, Corvus, but I really disagree with this. Taking an exam is not easy. It's not easy if you take it by itself and it's not easy if you take several. I do understand your point about taking lots of exams together, but I do not agree that one exam, such as a GCSE, or A level or grade 8 piano is diminished just by taking it on it's own. If you learn the content , take the exam and get a grade, that is a good achievement and should be recognised. Another poster was talking about music exams. I know several Pupils who applied to do music at university .They needed to have grade 8 on their instrument. It didn't matter whether they achieved their grade 8 when they were 12, 15 or 17. An exam is an exam . The results should be accepted whenever the exam was taken. My husband took his maths O level a year early-that was certainly counted towards his final results. I would not be happy with the policy at your school. I haven't heard of this before and if this is indeed Ofsted practice now, then it is wrong!
  18. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    I just trying to get my head round this properly.

    Corvus do you mean that If children at your school were to take GCSEs outside of the usual year group, then they don’t count towards the school’s results, or do you mean they don't count towards the the individual's results? Or both?
  19. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter


    When you take your GCSE results and use them to apply for sixth form, uni, college, apprenticeship etc. Many courses have a minimum number of GCSEs you need to have in order to full fill the entry requirements, and then for specific courses, they then might name specific GCSEs and grades, as well.

    So for example, our A levels require a minimum of 6 GCSEs, at 5 and above including maths and English, and then you might also be required to have specific grades for specific A levels. Maths, for example, doesn't accept anyone with less than a 7 in maths.

    But, when looking at an individuals results and counting them up, we disregard any taken early. I actually think this is common. It might not be universal. But it is not unusual for us to turn someone away from being accepted on to A levels, because they didn't take their GCSEs all in one sitting. That person goes off and tries to find another school that will take them, and can't, then returns to us, becasue we offer a GCSE resit year.

    BUT, if someone has done a GCSE early then continues with that subject, and can show they have, they might still be accepted for an A level in that subject, providing they have enough GCSEs taken in year 11 to get onto the A level programme.

    For example, we recently turned away a home educated student who wanted to do English A level, because although sh had a top grade English GCSE, it was taken alone and was 2 years old. But if she had been able to show evidence of further study in English after that, she might not have been turned away.

    This is a very common scenario with home educated children, who had planned to go back into school for 6th form. They would be offered something, but it is more likely to be a level 1 or level 2 course.
  20. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    thank you for clarifying

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