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SEND Focus: the five A*-C GCSEs marker of ‘success’ is not right for all children

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    Of course it's not the right measure for all children.

    I imagine it was picked as a benchmark because it's something which is achievable for a large number of pupils, although not all. If the benchmark was 3 F-grades, all schools would have really high figures. If it was 8 A-grades, all schools would look rubbish. 5 Cs is a fair middle ground.

    The issue is that this has been passed onto the kids, so many of them see it as the be all and end all too. And then our job as teachers becomes raising the aspirations of those who would settle for a C when they're capable of an A, and reassuring and encouraging those who are doing their best only to feel disheartened because their best is an F.
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    How can anyone possibly think that this is ( the ) right ( marker ) ? However, what about the significance of ANY student who displays skills and attributes such as compassion, kindness, humility , resilience , perseverence, - key you could argue to future success in the world of work which are not 'tested' or 'testable'. Many students with a range of SEND continue to be devalued by the 'one size fits all ' ( not ) standards agenda. The exam format / systems prevents equal opportunity. And yes I well recall the reaction of the (many) lower attaining but hard working, decent students when presented with their target grades - met with shame not celebration.
  4. xena-warrior

    xena-warrior Star commenter

    My pupils always seemed more delighted with a CSE grade 2 than later ones did with a GCSE grade E.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  5. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It's typical of the disjointed thinking in education. We are urged to teach individuals, to adapt lessons and differentiate and to include everyone in learning in the classroom by using diverse and stimulating teaching methods which provide challenge and support for pupils. And then we are assessed on that by one single measure.
    Governments have always measured inclusion by exam success. It's why it's such a (vulgar slang for sexual intercourse) up of a policy.
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    If true then don't send SEN children to mainstream schools. Wave bye-bye to your inclusion title, Amjad.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's not as simple as that - which is why EBacc replaced 5 A*-C grades and will be replaced by progress 8. At one time 5 O levels were held to be a marker of a better than average pupil, and sometimes used as a selection criterion for moving onwards in life.
    When league tables first arrived, 5 A-C seemed to be a handy marker of how well the pupils of a school were doing in the absence of more sophisticated data processing.
    Amjad is right that it doesn't do much more than provide a crude benchmark, and is neither appropriate for the highest or lowest ability learners.
    Mainstream schools can provide a lot of success for children with a range of needs - it's just that 5 A-C doesn't measure it.
    Progress 8 does seem to be an improvement - however it's a tool for measuring schools, not pupils.
    A lot of current thinking is based on the idea that if we don't put our more vulnerable pupils in for the same qualifications as the highest achievers then we are subjecting them to "the soft tyranny of low expectations".
  8. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    We can talk about Progress 8 versus EBacc if you wish but Amjad's article is more a hysterical plea from the @Eureka! school of rhetoric than it is a reasoned argument. Amjad has nothing to say about Progress 8 but clearly wishes to overturn EBacc for the sake of radical inclusion and wider issues of what some people would call social justice:

    'Is it right that we tell our young people that unless they attain this group of qualifications they will earn less than others? Is it right that we tell them their quality of life will be lower than that of their peers without those grades? Is it right that we tell these children they are worth less?'

    All must have prizes and if we don't agree then we're spitting in SEN students' faces? Well, frack that. Yes, significant SEN requires significant support but mainstream with its various expectations is not the place for that. We're teachers not social engineers or social workers.
    wanet likes this.
  9. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I did not read the article but SEND has many connotations and the term has always been open to interpretation. There are many students for example with global learning difficulties , specific learning difficulties and with autism who because of a life long ' disability ' are very well accommodated in mainstream settings and 'labelled ' SEND .There are other students with significant disabilities who are better accommodated in specialist provision - these are also SEND
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Hence my qualifier 'significant'.

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