In The News

19 Nov 2013

Without counselling in schools, we are left banging our heads against a wall

Children are prone to hyperbole. So when one shouted: “Miiisss, Zak is banging his head against a brick wall”, I reserved judgment until I got there. Unfortunately, Zak was banging his head against the wall. Hard, and repeatedly. He was furious about something and needed help. Getting it, though, is never straightforward.

The recent announcements about changes to GCSEs and the curriculum have reminded me of Zak (not his real name). We are now told students will receive numerical grades for GCSEs – 1 to 9 instead of A to G. Likewise, three lengthy rewrites of the national curriculum now mean the coalition has stuffed in romantic poetry and computer coding, and the history curriculum is more detailed. But beyond that, it all feels similar to what came before.

Put these changes alongside a shift back to exams over coursework, and essentially a huge amount of the past three and a half years of parliamentary debate about education has resulted in little more than a tidying around the edges of an exam system for 16-year-olds, most of whom will automatically transfer to college courses anyway.

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The Guardian

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