Hopes and fears after the Tories’ A-level disaster
On Sunday, I joined fellow students from across the country to demand justice for exam pupils. As a politically nerdy GCSE student, I created a placard telling Gavin Williamson to “Go away and shut up” (mimicking the minister’s own words after the Salisbury poisonings). The next morning, I woke up in complete shock, not only to the public’s strong support for our cause, but also because my joke had been understood without me having to explain it!
The collective voices of students across the country had intensified the support for our cause, and within hours, the government had buckled (Gavin Williamson seeks to blame Ofqual for exams debacle, 17 August).
But this is only the beginning. Let’s carry on pushing for a fairer education system, to truly “level up” this country. There are several changes that the government could implement to revolutionise our GCSEs and A-levels. Scrapping exam boards in favour of one government-run board would enable every young person to study the same material and access the same resources. Implementing fixed grade boundaries, rather than allocating a percentage of students each grade will provide certainty to the industry and enable comparison between each year. Finally, we need an increased reliance on coursework, and exams staggered throughout the two years, to truly capture how a student works during the whole course.
Sure, we may only be students, “snowflakes”, or “woke millennials”, but we’ve already caused the biggest U-turn in the history of GCSEs and A-levels, so who’s to say we can’t do it again?
• In view of the current exam shambles, I suggest that all new ministers and senior civil servants be required to study and be examined on The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe as part of their induction.
High achievers would not require a resit and might learn much from the authors’ dozen examples from 1980 to 2010: for instance, that policymakers need to listen very carefully to those who would have to implement their policies and might be more aware of potential flaws. I think such an exam requirement would save the rest of us a lot of money and heartache.
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