‘Don’t make pupils political pawns’

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
0
Have your say

A headteacher in South Holland says he fears for his students as the run-up to the election sees “politicians of every stripe continue to kick the educational football all over the pitch”.

This week we have seen calls for times tables to be learned in primary schools and Prime Minister David Cameron’s determination to rid the country of “mediocre” schools.

However, Martyn Taylor, headteacher of The Thomas Cowley High School in Donington, said: “It’s all cant and hypocrisy.

“The new exams are going to guarantee that there will be even more mediocre schools. For instance did you know that the new Eng Lit Anthology exam is a closed book exam? So all the students will have to learn 15 poems in preparation for the examination. They won’t have access to them to help them write their answers on the poems. They will have to remember them.

“Make exams a memory test; make them a once only exercise; make them about factual recall and not skills. This government is developing an education system which will reward an elite.

“I have a daughter going into Secondary education in September. I fear for her as the politicians of every stripe continue to kick the educational football all over the pitch. To them it’s a game. For her it’s a future.”

The latest school league tables have been branded as misleading by several headteachers following sweeping changes to the system.

Tables indicate a widening gulf between the best and worst performing schools in the region. Ranked by the percentage of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths, Spalding High School topped the A-Level and GCSE league tables for South Holland with 97 per cent grade passes.

The school was also among the top 10 schools in Lincolnshire ranked by average point score per full-time A-Level student.

For the first time, secondary school tables were split to separate A-Level results from vocational qualifications.

Sir John Gleed School just missed out to Branston Community Academy, with the Deepings School also in the top 10.

Chris Mallaband, executive headteacher at Sir John Gleed School, said: “The league tables have to be read in the context of a national drop in GCSE results. This is caused by changes in the examination system and in particular a move to reduce coursework.

“If you think about it in Lincolnshire the grammar schools are essentially catering for As and Bs so will be largely unaffected, meaning that other schools can be disproportionately affected. If you look at schools in this area you can see the different impacts.

“I would like to work for a government that supports teachers and school leaders and works cooperatively and collaboratively with them to raise standards. The problems with words like cooperative and collaborative are that they don’t have the punch that an election campaign needs.”