With the current pace of change, and the rumour mill constantly churning out information, we find ourselves having loads of “what if…” conversations, discussing what we will do if (or when) any of the proposals coming out of Whitehall actually come to fruition. So far, we have refrained from inventing bizarre and outrageous scenarios – to be honest with the rate at which the rumours are circulating, we just wouldn’t have the time even if we wanted to.
The latest one this week is that the November exams for Maths (and English) are to be scrapped. To provide some background, traditionally, this exam session has been used for early entry of students at the start of year 11 (and in some cases the start of year 10). Having an extra exam session in the new “linear only” world is contentious for some teachers, for so many reasons. If you teach a subject other than English or Maths, I can see that that fact that we get an extra exam session would “stick in the throat” a bit, and if you teach Maths, I also know early entry doesn’t sit well with the ideals of some teachers.
Many believe that the reason a November exam session was left in place under the current raft of changes, was to allow students a resit opportunity. (This makes sense for students that require a grade C and above for further education or whatever they go onto to do, as its unrealistic for them to have to wait until the Summer to retry.) However a very quick search shows that “For English, English Language and mathematics the November assessment can be used for first entries, as well as re-sits. However, teachers should be sure that early completion of GCSEs is right for individual pupils.”
Back to the point, if the November entry is scrapped what will happen? Will schools that use the November entry for year 10s pull their exam forward to the end of year 9? (wow! that just feels way too early for the majority!) What about the year 11’s that would be entered – will they ALL go in at the end of year 10 instead?
For us, we have discussed, argued, played devils advocate and eventually agreed to wait and see what happens. What will your school do?