Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
Gove stole our exam grades!
GCSE changes to prepare for more academies
Derek McMillan, Mid Sussex Socialist Party
Newspaper headlines about GCSE results are predictable. If the results show improvement it is "proof" that standards are slipping. It is nothing of the sort. This year's results give the lie to that assertion.
The results are worse this year because Gove has moved the goalposts. Raising the GCSE A* - C benchmark from 35% to 40% is a dirty political manoeuvre.
English results have been hit particularly hard by the last-minute shifting of the goalposts leaving teachers who had reliably been able to predict 'C'-grades for their students having to console Year 11s who have instead been awarded a 'D'-grade. Pupils who would have passed are now labelled as 'failures' on the whim of a Tory minister. If he raises the benchmark high enough nobody will pass. No doubt he would be delighted because then every school would be a 'failure' and could be forced to become an academy!
And who does Gove blame for this manufactured 'failure'? The teachers of course. Perversely he claims that this is further evidence for his educational policy of removing the requirement for Qualified Teacher Status from academies so any Tom, Dick or Harriet can teach.
The policy is clearly aimed at undermining teaching unions by flooding schools with underpaid, unqualified teachers. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) dishonestly claims that this will enable "brilliant" people to come into schools to replace all the teachers. And presumably they would stop being "brilliant" if they trained as teachers and were paid a teacher's wage.
Apparently that is how things work on planet Gove. The unions need to introduce him to the real world.
At a rapidly organised protest outside DfES 50 teachers and parents loudly opposed the GCSE regrading. The protest was called by London National Union of Teachers (NUT) NEC and Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies on the initiative of Lewisham NUT members.
In the tube station after the protest one worker from the DfES approached Socialist Party members who were holding "Gove stole my grades" placards. Nodding to the placards he said; "We have an even lower opinion of him than you. We have to see him everyday!"
Martin said: "Many students' hopes have been dashed. Many schools also now face the threat of forced privatisation as they struggle to meet Gove's imposed 40% GCSE benchmark. Many teachers will also fear the threat of 'capability' proceedings and loss of performance-pay awards as a result of this scandal.
"Behind this disgraceful gerrymandering of the GCSE results stands Michael Gove. This unfair downgrading of students fits his dangerous agenda perfectly - to blame teachers for 'failing' students, to dissuade young people from pursuing further education and, above all, to provide an excuse for turning even more schools into unaccountable academies while dismantling elected local authorities."