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Am I getting worried over nothing?


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#1 Tim Johnson

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 05:40 PM

Hi all,

I was hoping someone would be able to calm me down after the bombshell I have been given today about how History GCSE will now be delivered at my school.

I was told today that as of next year ALL pupils will study GCSE History or Geography in Year 9. They will have 8 lessons a fortnight and will then sit the full GCSE exam at the end of the year. They will then have the option of studying iGCSE History if they wanted to continue with the subject in Year 10 and 11.

I am concerned for a number of reasons:

1. I wasn't consulted on the decision
2. Pupils will not be able to make the expected 3 levels of progress or achieve FFT-D targets because of the early entry and the lack of maturity in their writing.
3. It will be a race to complete the course in one year with less mature pupils
4. The quality of teaching will suffer because we are teaching to exam rather than teaching engaging, outstanding lessons
5. Will Year 9 pupils be able to understand the source material that will be used in exams?
6. Will numbers decrease at A-level because some pupils will stop studying the subject at the end of year 9?

Am I getting worked up for no reason? Does anyone have any experience of delivering a KS4 course like this?

Any comments/advice would be gratefully received and appreciated.

Thanks
Tim

#2 Mark H.

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:13 PM

In my view this is utterly bonkers. GCSEs were not designed to be sat by pupils at the end of Year 9. I suppose you might just conceivably get away with this with some subjects of the Michael Mouse variety (which shall be nameless) but certainly not History. For a start how in heaven's name are you going to do the Controlled Assessment properly? It's difficult enough fitting that into a two year course with years 10 and 11. I can't see how you could be expected to get anything like reasonable results doing this. The idea of doing a one-year GCSE followed by an IGCSE in the same subject is also in my considered opinion completely crackpot. What is the point? Do you get the impression that I don't think that this is a terribly good idea?

Edited by Mark H., 03 January 2012 - 06:23 PM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#3 David Bryant

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:23 PM

I certainly don't think you are getting worried over nothing; you have already identified major problems ahead.

Out of interest, what academic rationale was given for this 'interesting' new policy?

#4 Tim Johnson

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:59 PM

Thanks both for reassuring me that it's not just me who thinks the idea is barmy. There is no academic rationale. As far as I can tell the school are desperate to improve their position on the Ebacc league tables and this is what they see as the answer. Students who fail either History or Geography at the end of Year 9 would be able to either retake the whole qualification in Year 10 and 11 or take the other subject giving them more chances to achieve the C-grade.

#5 Ms Ali

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:02 PM

Thanks both for reassuring me that it's not just me who thinks the idea is barmy. There is no academic rationale. As far as I can tell the school are desperate to improve their position on the Ebacc league tables and this is what they see as the answer. Students who fail either History or Geography at the end of Year 9 would be able to either retake the whole qualification in Year 10 and 11 or take the other subject giving them more chances to achieve the C-grade.


"Early taking of GCSE would need to be discouraged e.g. options for doing this would need careful consideration and could include only allowing counting of school performance scores for results taken in Year 11."

(P34, Framework for Nat. Curric. Review Document, Dec 2011)

This suggests it is short sighted to implement such a strategy until the curriculum has been resolved - due 2014 - when year 9s will be in year 11!

#6 SteveH

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:16 PM

I totally agree with others who have so far responded.It sounds like 'mission impossible'. My only suggestion is that you push for a Short Course version of GCSE, but I suppose you will have to stay in sync with Geography.
SteveH

#7 johnwayne

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 05:39 PM

I can remember this being done by one school on the forum within a year but it was for the G&T students only. I think you'll find you will be up against it in hitting their FFTD targets.

#8 Mark H.

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 10:49 AM

As pointed out by an earlier post it is also patently ridiculous to be embarking on this madcap scheme just at the time when the Government is looking to change the entire system with the likelihood that early sitting of GCSEs will be specifically outlawed. Quite what educational arguments might lie behind the idea that 'if they fail they can just take the whole course again' or 'if they pass they can fill in time with an IGCSE in the same subject' temporarily escape me.

Edited by Mark H., 05 January 2012 - 11:03 AM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#9 Jenjane

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:50 PM

I had a source paper looked at by the SENCO once for the reading age as I was having a similar debate over maturity of writing. It came out at 16, the highest possible. Maybe this will help your argument?
Jane

#10 Sharon P

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:42 AM

How on earth will this be timetabled for students to re-sit the GCSE in Year 10 as well if they fail? IT sounds like you will just be doing nothing but exam work!!! Can the whole of the GCSE be sat in one go when the new guidelines are followed about completing a terminal exam? Students will be doing paper 1 topics, paper 2 topics and then 2 controlled assessments. Why not throw in some AS too.... :blink:

Sharon

#11 ANNAHC

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:03 PM

how are you finding it now it is in operation?

Edited by ANNAHC, 10 January 2012 - 08:08 PM.


#12 Tim Johnson

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 06:29 PM

Thank you all for your replies. It has helped me confirm that it isn't just me who thinks the idea is barmy. Despite having had 3 meetings with the Head and one of the deputies over the past week, where I have put forward a range of arguments and produced evidence from the DFE report into early entry, they are still deciding to go ahead with the plan.

So in September our Year 9s will be completing the GCSE in one year, probably failing and then spending the next two years retaking the whole qualification, all because the school thinks that will help its position on the performance tables!

I'm off to rewrite schemes, don't be suprised if I put a post up soon asking for an IGCSE scheme if anyone has one.

Thanks again
Tim

#13 Roy Huggins

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 07:36 PM

We have tried doing early entry for our Year 9s and it didn't really work for the reasons that you described above. I know of schools who have organise dtheir options so that the middle ability students who will not do A Level History so GCSE History in one year and then do other options in Year 10 in order to boost their ebac score. Meanwhile the rest do it in Years 10 & 11.

My advice would be to put your objections to your line manager in writing, explaining that it would be unreasonable for the school to hold you to account if they didn't achieve their FFT D scores at the end of Year 9. Inaddition, I would ask the school to set realistic target grades based around their FFT D and their KS3 scores, based on the fact that they are in Year 9. I suspect that your school only wants grade 'C's in order to boost its Ebac score.

Ask for confirmation in writing and raise the issues I've just detailed.

Kind Regards

Roy :jester:
"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#14 Karen Miller

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:52 PM

My school is gradually closing - we have just yrs 9-11 left - so we've got few teachers which seriously affects GCSE choices. My school decided that they would have some options taught in one year either in year 10 or year 11 according to choices and that we would have them for 6 periods a week. So I have a year 10 group - a small one because we don't have huge year groups with the school closing, who are doing GCSE histoy in one year and I will tell you its hard. I had to do the CA straight away and it shows compared to the year 11. The group I have doing it next year is academically better but also will have matured a bit more. Doing a GCSE in year 9 seems mad. Sounds like someone is looking out only for Ebac stuff. When did it stop being about producing kids with enquiring minds I wonder.
Such is life!




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