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Is it right for eleven-year-olds to be plunged into a ‘GCSE pressure cooker’?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘Pupils are being put in the "GCSE pressure cooker" and drilled for public examination from as early as Year 7, teachers have claimed.

    Delegates at the ATL-section of the NEU teaching union conference said that children were being fed GCSE questions "day in, day out", with some driven to tears because they felt they hadn't made enough progress.

    Huw Tindall-Jones, a teacher from Devon, said that schools were forced to move to a four-year key stage 4, because of the pressure to do well in exams and cover a large amount of GCSE course content.

    "This means that in some schools, Year 8 pupils will start their GCSE curriculums. These students are going to be 12 or 13 years old.‘

    Do you agree, are children in Year 7 being drilled for public examinations? Is it right that children aged 11 are being subjected to a pressurised environment for four years? How is this affecting pupils? Do you think this process should change or does it help to better prepare children for GCSE exams later in their school life?

  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The GCSEs are designed to summatively assess 16 year old students, in a particular writing heavy, memory based way. The appropriateness of this style of assessment has received a lot of debate, but it's what the Government want for the time being.
    In a lot of subjects we are still waiting to find out what the final form of these assessments will be, grade boundaries in particular,
    I have heard that in some schools, in the absence of the tried trusted and sometimes meaningless levels children from year 7 are being assessed on GCSE grades (even though we don't yet know what the grades will look like).
    I can see the logic of "progression" if you believe that's appropriate for measuring academic development. Key stage 3 lays foundations for GCSE and part of the rationale for planning at KS3 should be preparation for GCSE, but not all of it.
    We don't even know if the new GCSEs will be good predictors for success later on anyway!
    Aud91 likes this.
  3. Jamvic

    Jamvic Senior commenter

    A four year ks4 :D:D
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    Many schools in England begin KS4 in year 9. This is not news.
    I have worked in three English schools where students gained BTEC passes in y9. I pointed out that y9 is not supposed to be a year for gaining qualifications. I was told that y9 would be wasted unless league table points are harvested.
    Scintillant likes this.
  5. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    If I squint and rephrase that a little I can see that some students find the prospect of a clear end point and recognised achievement to be a useful motivator and that otherwise they might coast through year 9. It's something that should be used selectively, though, not a relentless drive to exams earlier and earlier.
    Pomza and JohnJCazorla like this.
  6. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Sounds to me more like poor schools and or unimaginative teachers who can’t see the wood for the trees. Schools are to deliver the curriculum, a great many do that very well without the sort of nonsense talked here.
  7. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Occasional commenter

    With all the pressure on progress and results, this is an inevitable result. However, KS 3 is supposed to be a time to lay down foundations as a platform of knowledge for KS 4. Students, particularly those with learning needs, are not ready in Yr8 or even Yr9 are not ready for this in depth learning and cannot access a great deal of it. The love of learning is stamped out and many kids switch off, become disillusioned and misbehave. This is quite sad.
    phlogiston likes this.
  8. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Key stage 4 means schooling of 14 to 16 year olds.

    Therefore, impossible to start KS4 when children are 13.
  9. gainly

    gainly Established commenter

    When the KS3 SATs exams were finally abandoned, many schools responded by starting to enter pupils for GCSE modules in year 9. Often they would then regularly repeat them for the next two years. Gove may have done a great deal of harm but at least he put a stop to that.

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