Why Have GCSE Results Taken a Dramatic Hit this Year?
I must start this article by congratulating everyone who got their grades this morning! One person, I know got straight As and A*s and I read about one student who got 12 A*s! Everyone will have worked extremely hard to get their grades and hopefully, it will lead them onto great things in life! So while not all news is bad, only 66.9% of all students got the critical 5 A*-C grades. That’s a 2.1% drop on the previous year! But why is this? Are students getting worse, is teaching getting worse, or is there something else causing these bad grades?
Well, one Twitter user, @joefmills has worked it all out! It’s clearly because of the stresses of Brexit that students did badly. (I’m kidding, by the way, it clearly wasn’t.)
— Joe Mills (@joefmills) August 25, 2016
One reason that grades could have fallen, is that government have introduced the English Baccalaureate (ebacc). This is a qualification available to all students that aim to encourage more people to take a language and two sciences as options. Now this sounds wonderful at first, but when looked at in more detail, you can see that it discouraged many creative students from taking options like art and drama in favour of subjects they were not as good at, like science and languages. So while the Conservative government is claiming to be helping students, they are actually only helping to destroy the hopes of some students who now cannot go on to be actors or artists like they may have wanted to. So while some of the drop in grades has been actual lower grades, one grade that has massively fallen from the previous year (even though students have not even necessarily got worse) is English. This year group did have low English grades at the end of primary school, which would have contributed to the 5.2% drop in English grades this year. But there is another reason they have dropped. One area of English that is renowned for boosting grades up by at least one for every student is Speaking and Listening. But this year it was made a separate GCSE from English so naturally, English grades would drop. This is not necessarily any student’s fault, but it will make it harder for them to get a job. What this decision has effectively done is meant that one student of the same ability as another will have a better chance of getting a job, not because of his skill or experience, but because of the year he was born. Another reason that grades could be going down is that there was yet another teacher’s strike in 2016. This is a result of two things. Firstly, Nikki Morgan and the Conservative government not doing enough to motivate teaching staff and give schools the funding they need to operate effectively. Secondly, it is a result of the NUT (The National Union of Teachers) caring about nothing other than their own money. They often go as far as harming the education of millions of students, just because they want more money. I accept that they have not been treated well, but why should the students have to pay for the government’s mistakes? Clearly, this won’t have been a game changer but it would have played a part in the downfall. So to those of you who received your grades yesterday, or will be this time next year (including myself), don’t despair if you got worse than you expected! Just blame the Tories! But seriously, grades are falling and something needs to be done. It is clear that the Conservative government is not doing it effectively so we need a new government in place. It hurts my brain to say this, but grades were increasing under Labour. But Labour has failed in so many other areas that they are no longer a viable option. The Lib Dems dare not speak about education any more so that leaves UKIP. UKIP has an excellent set of policies on education. They support the following:
- Lowering teacher workloads by decreasing the amount of internal assessments
- Gradually easing class sizes to 25 maximum
- Scrapping performance-related pay, which makes teachers lower target grades to earn more money
- Scrapping KS1 tests, as they put un-needed pressure on both teachers and pupils
- Re-introduction of grammar schools in the poorest areas of the country to help them get out of poverty
- Make first aid a part of the national curriculum in PSHE lessons
- Abolishing tuition fees for STEMM (Science, Technology, English, Maths and Medicine) providing the student works in the field in Britain for at least 5 years.