GCSE results are out today
and it's already clear that the results have been subject to political interference; clearly, our Education Secretary has a keen desire to see more students fail their exams. Students that would have got C and even B grades last year are now being awarded D grades.
How and why has this happened? No doubt Gove and co would say that it's introducing more "rigour" into the system, but in reality, it's no such thing; the GCSE results have been cynically manipulated because he has put unprecedented pressure on the exam boards and Ofqual to lower the number of students getting A*-C grades. It's all about proving a "political" point -- that he's against "grade inflation" -- rather than helping our children progress with their lives. Let's not forget that for many students failure to get 5 A*-C grades at GCSE makes a huge difference to their prospects in life; it means that they can't go onto study at Sixth Form on good courses. It can consign them to the "scrapheap". This has clearly happened to thousands of students today who were expecting to get grades that would help them thrive and become tomorrow's valued citizens. The ultimate truth about "why" this has happened is that Gove and many of his supporters have a deep-rooted fear and loathing of students from poorer backgrounds. Their phoney rhetoric about wanting more poor students at Oxbridge is a smoke-screen; they don't want the poor -- usually living in Labour-voting districts -- to succeed; they want to see them fail, they want a more socially segregated society where the poor are not properly educated, are doing "CSE"-type qualifications, and "kept in their place". This is going to be the net result of this manipulation of the GCSE grades; more affluent students will always find an escape route if they have done badly, but students from poorer backgrounds don't have this sort of back up from home. Furthermore, now that many routes for re-sitting exams have been closed off, they are going to find it impossible to have a second chance. Many of the Coalition's policies -- from the setting up of free schools to his obsession to return to O Levels -- are ultimately about social segregation; giving students from richer backgrounds even better life-chances and resources, while leaving poorer students much worse off.
How has it happened? It appears that examiners have been instructed not to students on the border-lines between C and D grades the benefit of the doubt where they might have done in previous years. This appears to have been instruction from "on high"; of course, it will never been proved, but this is obviously what's happened.
How sad that there's such a negative atmosphere in the education system at the moment. The Coalition's education policies are truly proving catastrophic from thousands of our young people.