Thursday, August 12, 2010

In the end quality will out

Frustrated by years of falling standards, and with them a growing gulf between the private education sector and the taxpayer funded sector, there is a growing rush of state schools taking up the International GCSE. This exam system was set up in order to placate the mainly Commonwealth countries who looked at the decline in Englsih eductaion and rejected the National curriculum backed normal GCSE.

Initially the exam was chosen mostly by private schools, but now, according to this report in the Independent we can see that it is becoming the exam of choice in those state schools who do not wish their pupils to be left behind.
One of the state schools to switch to the IGCSE is Parkside in Cambridge – a school which believes it has the highest number of scientists living in its catchment area of any in the country due to its proximity to the university. Mark Carrington, the chairman of its governing body and a biochemist at the university, said: "I have two sons who have done science GCSE and A-levels and I found that the science they did was nice and cuddly science which didn't provide the depth of understanding you need to progress."
This can only be a good thing and hopefully what we will see here is an educational 'reverse Gresham'.
A total of 300 UK schools – most independent – will receive their IGCSE results today, 12 days before GCSE results are released.

Their numbers will swell to 500 next year but it will be 2012 before the growth in state schools switching to the new exam comes into effect.

Last month, the first since the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, announced that state schools could teach the IGCSEs, the Cambridge IGCSE received 26 new applications to start taking the exam from September – 16 from state schools and 10 from the independent sector. In addition, 60 state schools have signed up for a session to be trained in teaching the exam in September.
Of course the Independent's commentators are not fully supportive of the trend,
Of course many state schools are happy to offer parents the nostalgia associated with a return to "O" levels, it is a buyers market.
Look here Quietzappple , with your ED Balls avatar. What you denounce as nostalgia is in fact a desire that children leave 11 years of compulsory education with a modicum of learning. It is you and people like you that have condemned two generations to falling educational standards. Something that I regard as a crime against reason which has destroyed the hopes and opportunities of millions. Something that though not without precedent (I understand education declined inthe period after the Romans left us) is a complete disgrace.

So all power to the elbow of those schools prepared to demand better.

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