Last week’s secondary school league tables began to bed down the first of Michael Gove’s examination changes for 14-19. The 2014 tables excluded performances in resits or in BTEC style vocational qualifications –and gave further prominence to English Baccalaureate subjects. As a result many schools found that though their overall performance in exams had improved, they’d slid down the league and more are ‘failing’. By 2016 the tables will be rank schools according to the ‘eight’. This will be performance in the EB plus three other subjects deemed sufficiently ‘rigorous’ (read ‘academic’ with end of course written examinations).
Much of the media attention given to this year’s tables however has been hogged by the top private schools –largely because they’ve continued to do the old ‘unregulated’ syllabuses for International GCSEs (IGCSE). No longer allowed in tables, many privates are now also failing http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-31023685
The tables have not been designed to regulate these schools however, but to impose a ‘grammar school’ curriculum across the state sector and more importantly to create new categories of failure and of course, the option of imposing further sanctions on those that don’t make the grade.
With the current Secretary of State Nicky Morgan now promising new ‘11 plus’ requirements if the Tories are re-elected, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31079515we’re moving even further to an education system based on regimentation and social control rather than encouraging innovation and social aspiration. This is appropriate for a society where social mobility has gone in to reverse and high rates of youth unemployment have become the norm.