‘Bru­tal’ changes

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - INSIGHT -

This year’s changes to GCSES are “bru­tal”, dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand and have left pupils hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing, ac­cord­ing to a snap poll of sec­ondary teach­ers by the ATL teach­ing union.

Nearly nine in 10

(88 per cent) of re­spon­dents think par­ents and car­ers do not un­der­stand the new GCSE grad­ing sys­tem. The teach­ers are also con­fused. “I don’t un­der­stand it fully my­self,” one re­spon­dent ad­mits. An­other asks: “If we don’t have clar­ity on the new grad­ing sys­tem, how can par­ents and car­ers?”

Al­most three­quar­ters (74 per cent) say that the sub­ject con­tent of the sub­jects they teach has in­creased “hugely” in the level of de­mand be­cause of this year’s re­forms, which were de­signed to toughen up GCSES.

A maths teacher says: “Many of the ques­tions we have been giv­ing to Year 11 are too hard for the Year 12 stu­dents who scored A in 2016. I think this is prob­a­bly a good thing, but the change has been rather bru­tal.”

An­other re­spon­dent says they saw “pupils hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing prior to their maths exam”.

A lack of time to teach the tougher GCSES has also been a con­cern. One teacher says:

“Five hours of English a week, plus one evening af­ter school, plus work­shops dur­ing ev­ery half-term hol­i­day and we still can’t get through the course.”

Around half of the 140 teach­ers sur­veyed say their school has put on ad­di­tional re­vi­sion cour­ses be­cause of the GCSE re­forms.

One re­spon­dent says: “Teach­ers are ‘en­cour­aged by SLT’ to run re­vi­sion ses­sions dur­ing hol­i­days, but the pay is less than I pay my builder.”

The poll, also re­veals that more than a third (34 per cent) of teach­ers say that the avail­abil­ity of sup­port ma­te­ri­als for teach­ing the new GCSES has not been good.

One teacher says: “They were not ready for Septem­ber when teach­ing be­gan. This has made plan­ning ex­tremely dif­fi­cult and very last minute.”

Some re­spon­dents sug­gest that fi­nan­cial is­sues have been an ob­sta­cle. One teacher says: “Text­books? Are you kidding! Who can af­ford text­books?!”

Jill Stokoe, an as­sess­ment spe­cial­ist at the ATL teach­ing union, says: “A lot of teach­ers said they didn’t have ac­cess to CPD. Some schools couldn’t af­ford it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.