This morning my timeline was flooded with tweets from various newspapers screaming the headlines that students are to sit longer maths exams. Now if you are a parent and this sent you into a blind panic let me just say: “this isn’t “new” news!” and shame on the journalists for making it such – was it a quiet news day?. I suspect that the story was written as a result of someone, somewhere getting hold of a “press release” sent out by one of the exam boards about them getting their maths GCSE accreditation. To be honest the only thing that comes out of these type of “non-news” stories is that you get the general public either outraged or banging on tables saying “about bloody time .. when I were a lad!” and all that gumph!.
“We’ve” known about this for a while … by “we” I mean maths teachers. Well … if you are a maths teacher and you didn’t already know this: you should have done! The process for the birth of a new GCSE goes something like this: Government has various public consultations (these usually get such desultory responses in terms of numbers, that “we” as teachers should be ashamed of our apathy! … but hey that’s a whole other blog post just there!) At some point a technical specification is published and then the exam bodies start putting together their draft specification, during this time, most of them will form focus groups and engage with teachers on a regular basis. These drafts are published and available whilst Ofqual go through the accreditation process … most heads of department that I interact with are sooooooo on the ball about the changes and we’ve been talking about the implications of these changes for well over 15 months (if not longer!) in terms of teaching hours, content changes, assessment requirement etc etc etc … the list goes on.
At some point accreditation of the GCSE is given … none of it is rocket science and in the main is a very open and transparent process – the information is out there and has been for some time. On that note (don’t you know I have lessons to plan for years 7, 8 and 9, who will sit these new longer GCSEs!) I look forward to some genuine NEW “NEWS” in my timeline tomorrow!