“I think we all know the problems with the existing 5 A*-C including English and Maths threshold. Many schools are allowed to coast, safe in the knowledge that they will cross the line in any case. In other schools, too much pressure is placed on a handful of teachers, teaching a handful of children, while the rest can be given less attention. The system all but guarantees us a 40-50% system, since schools only have to get a small number of extra children over the threshold.
Once more, if I am honest, I do not understand how anyone could ever have thought that this was a sensible method by which to judge our schools.
We propose instead to judge schools by two yardsticks. The first is a C grade threshold in English and Maths. The reality is that both further education and employers do place a unique value on these qualifications. It is right and proper that schools should do all they can to get as many children over this line as possible. And there are schools up and down the country who achieve amazing results on this measure. The head of Bishop Rawstorne school in Lancashire gave a seminar in the department recently. 81% of his pupils get at least a C in both subjects. It can be done, and, bluntly, it must be done.
The second yardstick is the average progress pupils make in 8 subjects. These 8 must include English and Maths, any three EBACC subjects, and any 3 other subjects. This last group can be traditional academic subjects, or creative subjects, or vocational subjects. This yardstick rewards those schools that get a pupil who is genuinely struggling up from 5Es to 7Ds. It rewards those schools that get bright pupils up from 7Bs to 8A*s. In fact, we think it rewards all schools for teaching all pupils well.”
This is an unsurprising, though devastating, result.
Our “race to the middle” culture which has been brought about by the measure of success in secondary schools being a broad count of A* – C grades, has unfortunately encouraged teachers to ignore their brightest students, and focus instead on those on the D/C border.
Like a government that might target it’s policies at marginal constituencies, teachers have targeted the “marginal’ students at the detriment of those children who are sure-fire C’s, B’s or A’s, but who are not yet fulfilling their potential.
Now that attention is being drawn to this problem, let us hope that it will lead to a shift in government educational policy.
Euclid (Book 1, Definition 22)
“Of quadrilateral figures, a square is that which is both equilateral and right-angled; an oblong that which is right-angled but not equilateral; a rhombus that which is equilateral but not right-angled; and a rhomboid that which has opposite sides and angles equal to one another but is neither equilateral nor right angled. And let quadrilaterals other than these be called trapezia.”
Different Types of Quadrilaterals
RECTANGLE is a four-sided shape with four right angles, and includes:
SQUARE which has four right angles AND four equal sides
OBLONG which has four right angles BUT two pairs of equal sides (not four equal sides)
RHOMBUS is a four-sided shape with four equal sides BUT no right-angles
RHOMBOID is a four-sided shape with two pairs of equal sides, and opposite angles are equal (also a PARALLELOGRAM)
TRAPEZIUM is a four-sided shape with one pair of parallel sides (called a TRAPEZOID in America!)
TRAPEZOID is a four-sided shape with no parallel sides (called a TRAPEZIUM in America!)