Once again we see Michael Gove meddling with education more for political reasons than education. There is no doubt that education and the exam system is in need of a review and there are obvious issues to address, but this cannot be sorted out overnight or even over the 6 months Gove has been working on the English Baccalaureate.
It is also not surprising that parents, employers and even teachers are confused about the exam system, there are too many boards and I am sure that there is horse trading to encourage schools to adopt one against another. However the government should offer a framework in which academics can create courses and exams that meet the criteria, but the problem facing the government is much of what they do is driven by other factors such as budgets, employability and social and cultural targets.
The more we focus on employability – the more we move towards training, I can remember the rooms full of typewriters were girls were trained to be secretaries while us boys did metal work and carpentry – the good old days! I actually am eternally grateful for Mr Bloxom in the carpentry shop, to this day I am reasonable at DIY around the home. I was also lucky because I had English and a Maths teachers who persevered with a rather thick young lad; as was I until dyslexia explained everything and I finally blossomed.
Today do secondary teachers have time to sit down to help one to one? Do they even have the control to make a pupil stay until they get it right? I don’t know, but I know that the school I attended turned out a workforce for the building trade, the factories and the offices – even if some had limited literacy and maths, today we cannot afford to have this. In the knowledge economy we need individuals who can read and write well and are numerate, not just able to pass an exam to achieve a target set by a government that wants more done with less.
No matter how much Gove tweaks the system there is no alternative but to invest from end to end, more money for research into education so we understand better the impact of technology, more investment in teacher training, more investment in schools and more investment per pupil. So long as education is treated like a cost this will not be sorted out.
Read more on education at education.equerry.co.uk