It’s always a tricky one arguing against someone who says everyone should have a C grade in GCSE Maths and English. You’re immediately accused of saying literacy and numeracy doesn’t matter.
But I’m going to stick my neck out – partly because I’ve had a lovely holiday picking mushrooms and sea asparagus and have gone all tree huggy.
The Policy Exchange has brought out a paper arguing for a transfer of funds from schools to FE if students don’t achieve a C in English and Maths.
This, what is essentially a fine, disproportionally affects the schools who are struggling. Struggling to recruit teachers as it’s so tough, struggling to control students as they’ve got all the kids the ‘outstanding’ school up the road doesn’t want and struggling to stay positive with the perpetual cycle of inspections as they’ve been requiring improvement since forever.
So they’re down; physically and emotionally. What happens? Along comes another think tank to tell them they’ll have to pay if their students don’t get Cs.
Instead of telling them they’re doing a good job in difficult circumstances but could do even better with the support of a critical friend, they’re given another kick and told they’re letting down their local FE college who is bearing the brunt of their incompetence.
If we are getting to this, then the Heads might want to read my ‘Think-Triumph Toledo ‘ advice.
Top 4 tips
1. Start up a zero tolerance policy (this is guaranteed to make the students the pastoral team and/or SEN team work hard with to help cope in school become so anxious they’ll behave in a way which will be easy to exclude them).
2. Tell parents of children with difficulties that this probably isn’t the school for them because you concentrate on the academic – the school down the road would be far better at meeting their needs (this is because you care about them not your results).
3. Take students out of Design and Technology, Art, Drama, Textiles. Outdoor Education – any subjects that won’t affect statistics too much even if the students excel at them and give extra English and Maths lessons to try and get them that magic ‘C’ – for if they have that the world is their oyster (even if they did want to be the next Tracey Emin and needed Art to get into college).
4. Don’t worry about the why students aren’t getting grades – it’s irrelevant and any reason is just an excuse. You might think you care but actually you’re a victim of soft bigotry or an enemy of promise (depending on which MP was in charge at the time).
That should do it – no fines for you just lots for the school down the road – but there is no school down the road because you were it? Oh don’t worry about that, it’s not your problem.