Academies – exam shortcuts damage education
May teachers already know that there is a big difference between the spin in favour of Academies and educational reality. But some new facts revealed at the Anti-Academies Alliance Steering Committee meeting in London on Saturday appalled a secondary science teacher like myself.
Roger Titcombe, a retired Headteacher who has been doggedly researching the actual exam performance of Academies, revealed graphs showing how many supposedly “successful” schools were simply playing the system to boost their 5 A*-C pass rate.
The news that many schools have used GNVQs to boost their league table scores will be of little surprise but Roger’s revelation that science education was particularly vulnerable in these supposedly “most improved” schools may be news to many of us. His figures suggested that, while concentrating on the English and Maths needed for the new exam statistics, science was being pushed aside in some schools. Results in one Academy showed a third of the pupils that has been entered for double award science doing so badly that their results were ungraded and none at all obtaining an A*-C grade.
There was a good turnout to the Steering Committee. We exchanged reports from campaigns across the country. Romayne Phoenix, a Green Party councillor, and I attended from Defend Education In Lewisham. Plans were made for further campaigning, including co-ordinated days of action to highlight how Academies are undermining comprehensive education.