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Ofsted to penalise schools for 3 year GCSE courses

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Shedman, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If you read the original article linked in post #1 it never said Ofsted would penalise schools - the thread title should have had a '?' at the end of it really. It was a bit of kite-flying by ASCL when the current Ofsted Framework was being consulted on at the beginning of this year. The actual Handbook from this term does comment on the issue but does not say it will be penalised per se [Ofsted Inspection Handbook September 2019 - 'Curriculum narrowing' - paras 176 & 177].

    So I doubt any school has been penalised solely because they have 3 year GCSE courses.
    Jamvic likes this.
  2. ajrowing

    ajrowing Lead commenter

    I mark in many colours because it depends which pen I pick up first, and often get interrupted so the same piece of work may have several colours. Am I doing it all wrong?
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I used to mark in at least 3 colours.
    The first 10 books = colour 1
    The second 10 books = colour 2
    The third 10 books =colour 3.

    It made the marking seem easier and quicker
    I knew that
    ‘3 more books and I can change colour.’
    ‘2 more books and I’m on to colour 3’

    Such a sad life I led. And just how much did I hate markingo_O
    But OFSTED would have been proud:)

    That is what they meant. Wasn’t it?
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. gigaswitch1

    gigaswitch1 Occasional commenter

    The school round the corner got RI for quality of education.It was mentioned in the report that the quality of education at KS3 was lacking in depth. That school are now preparing to dump the 3 year KS4. Obviously, this has terrified my HT. My school are now coming up with all sorts of **** to cover the missing part of the KS3 NC. They are coming up with extra lessons to cover the missing bits of the NC in certain subjects. Non-specialists coving Computing, History and Geography. I wounder if they think OFSTED are stupid, I am just going to tick the I am working too much box if they ask.
    drek, agathamorse and Jamvic like this.
  5. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Has the ofsted report been published? Can you supply a link?
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Must be that one in Manchester doing the rounds. Directly linked to restricted 2 year curriculum. Head was going spare in the paper.
    Jamvic likes this.
  7. gigaswitch1

    gigaswitch1 Occasional commenter

    Jamvic likes this.
  8. Eszett

    Eszett New commenter

    If students start the subject in Year 7 anyway (English, Science, Maths, Languages etc), then, ideally, a 3-year KS3 scheme of work should be organised so that it prepares students optimally for a two-year KS4 course. You know - spiral curriculum, introducing difficult content in an age-appropriate way so it can be revisited in more detail in KS4, time for revision spaced in increasing intervals, interleaving etc to create a strong foundation for future learning. Ideally.

    The reality is that I am one of two teachers who teach my subject in my school. In the last three years we both worked two extra hours a week to develop a KS4 course. If we both continued to work two extra hours per week, we could probably reorganise the KS3 scheme of work and resource it, starting with Year 9, working down to Year 7. I reckon we'd be done in about 3 years, so probably just around the time when the specs are likely to change again.... - Is it worth it?

    As it is, our KS3 course doesn’t prepare students well for a two-year GCSE course. But of course we're tempted to just keep the Year 7 and 8 course the same and start the GCSE course in year 9, filling in the gaps as we go along.

    If the government really wants every child to be taught a well-designed subject curriculum with good scaffolding and a proper sense of progression, then how about not rolling out new specifications 2 months before they need to be taught, but instead giving teachers time to get their heads around new requirements, giving publishers time to create well-thought-through resources, and funding schools well enough so that they’re able to afford those resources?
    agathamorse, drek and Jamvic like this.
  9. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Even with intensive weekly one to one, my students on three year English GCSEs are really stressed and struggling. They should just turn a blind eye. My lads love the books but need longer to ‘get’ the texts. It tends not to be the Language, apart from creative writing, which they find tough, even though creative writing is done throughout the key stages anyway but needs more pinpointed skills and timed work between years 9 and 11. It is the Literature. Great for me as I get to tutor meaty texts, but must be so difficult to cover the lot to a level 9 calibre with short school days and mixed abilities. This is what you get when the edsec (yes, Rubber lips himself) gets aroused by Milton, Pope and Moby Dick when your average teen may not necessarily share the love, or thinks Moby is a musician and doing Pope means a new sort of legal high. Inclusive, broad-brush and differentiated were not in his lexicon,
    agathamorse, phlogiston and Jamvic like this.
  10. charlottebeck07

    charlottebeck07 New commenter

    I went to a school that offered a three year GCSE and am now training to teach in a school that offers a two year GCSE. Although there are huge differences in many aspects of the contexts and environments of both schools, it is fair to say that the school which offers a three year GCSE consistently performs much better in results.

    I teach maths, and find time so short to teach children to truly understand the content that I am teaching them rather than just learning how to copy and mimic the processes that I demonstrate. Clearly this is partly due to the stage I am at in my teaching journey, but the whole process certainly does feel rushed.

    The best improvement I saw in my secondary school with a transition to a three year GCSE course was in my music GCSE. The extra year gave us the opportunity to spend a whole year developing skills in theory and listening, and learning about the historical context of all of our pieces. This was incredibly valuable- it wasn't directly related to the GCSE paper, but did make us all better, more well rounded musicians. I can't help but feel that this attitude could benefit subjects across the whole curriculum.
    lantan, Mrsmumbles and Jamvic like this.
  11. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I believe that there is a bit of missing the point here.

    If a 2 year course cannot be taught in 2 years then the solution is to change the course.
    Teaching a 2 year course over 3 years is simply gaming the system to obtain better exam results and avoids addressing the root problem.

    Why are HTs not up in arms about this when OFSTED criticise schools?
    MrMedia, drek, phlogiston and 3 others like this.
  12. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Not necessarily. I can only really comment on my own subject, but I hear this complaint in Computing forums, and then I read what schools are actually doing.

    Firstly, because academies don't need to follow the National Curriculum at KS3, then often they don't, which means that students don't have a grounding in the subject and are inadequately prepared for GCSE.

    Secondly, activity-based teaching of theoretical content still appears to be popular, even though it's much more long-winded than just telling students the facts, and evidence suggests that it's probably less (and certainly no more) effective.
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Well, quite. It worked better in the old system.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I am back at a school that teaches a 5 year GCSE course in science! Looked in yr 7 books today, last topic they did was electrolysis!
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  15. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    My experience was that state schools in general, academies or not, were looking for reasons to drop computing. It is expensive to run and did not produce the same exam passes as ICT back in the day. Also there is a shortage of teachers to teach it and they tend to be old expensive teachers so schools mostly used any teacher with a timetable gap to teach computing so it was done very badly, if at all.

    Despite what some posters seem to to believe, the tsunami of trained CS teachers has never appeared and all that money wasted on CAS has gone down the drain to no measurable effect.

    I still do not understand your opposition to project based learning. I know a guy who teaches programming strictly according to a syllabus. Students write a program using arithmetic, they write another program containing an if then another program with a for loop ..etc. The student ends up with about 100 programs covering the syllabus but have never written a program of more than 10 lines and they never combine any of the program, e.g. using a for loop to search an array. I do not believe that the guy is teaching programming.

    I teach mathematics and computer science. I often combine programming with my mathematics teaching. I will be teaching algebra this morning to a very low ability group and using a simple computer program to help their understanding of algebra. You cant just pour knowledge down their necks and expect them to digest it.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I have always thought of Maths as a five year course, as everything builds on what went before. It is not like a subject where (for example) certain books have to be studied in GCSE. By the time students start Year 10, they should, ideally, be in a position where the course can be completed in another two years.
    ajrowing likes this.
  17. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I agree with this. As mentioned earlier, schools who neglect the requirements of ks3 often just make problems for students at gcse. This is particularly true of any computing qualification. The best schools do computing in every year from reception. I have y10 students in gcse computer science who have never written a line of code.
    dalersmith, Mrsmumbles and Piranha like this.
  18. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I tried that once and it blooming hurt!
    blazer likes this.
  19. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Well panic is certainly setting in as a lot of schools are currently planning to go back to 3 year KS3. Their all doing or finished doing the first ‘consultation’ phase. Although I can’t remember them doing any when the new ones started.

    This means that the last person who spent a lot of time preparing SOWs has to now redo the whole thing barely 1 or 2 years on.......

    Fantastic OFsted. Yet another reason for burned out teachers, in the meantime fat cat bosses making inane pompous and rude comments about teachers as part of their own ‘workload’ can keep getting away with unprofessional behaviour.

    Jamvic likes this.
  20. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    I'd be more interested in seeing Ofsted crack down on schools who enter students in for GCSE exams at the end of year 10 and then take these students out of that subject if they've a good enough grade. It was noticeable at a recent 6th form open evening at the school I work in the sheer number of students who think they can pick up Maths in year 12 having not done any since the end of year 10. One student even told me they had "gained time for independent study".

    Actually, to be honest, I'd be far more interested in seeing Ofsted shuffle off this mortal coil.

    EDIT: Clarity.

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