Nicky Morgan has this week announced some of her plans to shake up education in this country, starting with how exams are graded. After a recent maths GCSE paper left students baffled and complaining about the difficulty on social media platforms, the Education Secretary announced she plans to raise the grade boundaries as well as tackling the issue of disruption in classrooms.
The Education Secretary plans to switch the grading system from letters A-G to numbers 9 – 1 in exams. The aim for this is to make standards comparable to top performing countries such as Finland, Canada and the Netherlands. This will be implemented in 2017 with the new grading system designed to reveal the differences between students at the top end.
Currently students are expected to achieve a “C” to attain a good pass; however grades below this are also still officially seen as a pass. So what are the new changes and will they help teachers or will they just mean more scrutiny when Ofsted come around?
Nicky Morgan also wants pupils to study English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects to GCSE, which means pupils must study English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and a language. Mrs Morgan said “this means ensuring children study key subjects that precede them with the knowledge they need to reach their potential – while setting a higher bar at GCSE so young people, their parents and teachers can be sure that the grades they achieve will help them get on in life”.
The final announcement the Education Secretary made stated her plan to curb “low level disruption” in the classroom. According to Ofsted one hour a day is lost due to low level disruptions. Mobile phone usage was the main disruption in classrooms and causes a total of 38 days of learning lost each year.
The Education Secretary has asked behaviour expert and former teacher Tom Bennett to lead a group to develop better training for new teachers on how to tackle the problem. This training will include teaching NQTs how to stop pupils playing on their mobile phones, swinging on chairs and passing notes when in the classroom. His plan is to showcase the work of schools like Saint Gregory’s Catholic Science College, Harrow, where the head teacher visits each class at different points so class teachers can highlight good work or point out any disruptive behaviour. Mr Bennett continued to say “A number of new teachers I meet literally don’t know if they should be pally with them [students], or make them smile or laugh – it is almost as if behaviour management is an ancient art that has been forgotten”.
Does disruption affect your lessons and would extra training and behaviour management help tackle this issue? Should the head teacher have to come round classrooms daily? Or should this be left in the hands of the teachers? What do you think? Have you say…