GCSE Changes- A Student's Perspective

My article for the 'Movellas gets political!' contest, about my problems and the general problems with the changes that have been made to the English Education system over the past few years.


1. GCSE Changes- A Student's Perspective

It was a normal Monday morning, in assembly, when I found out the news. No, we weren't having sweets given to us in every class.  No, the school weren't closing for the rest of the term (as nice as that would've been!). No, no, no. With his eyes set on the floor and his head bowed sheepishly, our  head teacher Mr. Lister told us that due to the rant...I mean statement, which was released during the weekend by the Department of Education , we were no longer to sit the English Language GCSE exam in November,  in fear of being deemed 'cheaters'. Moans and cries of, "Screw Gove, let's take it anyway!" rang out across the assembly hall. I slouched in my seat and muttered under my breath. 
For those of you who are from somewhere that is not the UK, GCSEs are, in a nutshell, subjects that we study to eventually end up with a grade which give us access to higher education and decent jobs (though over five subject grades under a C means you are pretty much done for). 
The examinations we take are worth more of our subject grade usually, so now might be wondering why having extra time is such a problem. Sure, it's a slight advantage, but we'd been prepping for that exam  for months. We were ready. Now we will have to start the process of constantly highlighting articles and doing practise questions all over again in February. That's one more paper to take in July, on top of the around twelve we have already. 

As we filtered out of the assembly hall, I spoke to my friend Sophie, who bitterly told me, "I spent lunchtimes and after schools getting my grade to a C and now it doesn't count!" Oh yes, you won't be surprised to hear  there  was another reason why such a cacophony had been made. 
Our English teachers had drilled into us that taking the Language exam before June, along with last years re-sits, would've made sure the English speaking assessments we had done counted towards our final grades. I got A's in all of those. Everyone got very good grades in them. That's 20% of solid grade down the drain for an entire batch of youngsters. Of course, that's the whole reason the speaking got cut on the first place. We wouldn't want the British to get good grades in English Language now, would we? 

Molly, my best friend, and I sat down in our normal seats right at the back in English. A stressed Mrs. Naughton walked in and starts raging, quite rightfully, about the Department of Education and all they have meddled with.
It is common knowledge  that my year group, Year Eleven of 2014 (which counts for all Year Eleven's throughout the UK), have had the system twiddled with the most during the period of time since we started our GCSEs. Grade boundaries have been pushed up to sky high limits, meaning A's are getting harder and harder to get, re-sits have been cut from our year downwards, the foundation and higher system has had it's ups and downs...generally, it's all been one  confusing mess. I don't need to tell you that GCSEs are stressful enough (For those in Year Nine and below, your teachers will have told you tales of the gruelling hours involved. For those either in Year Ten or Eleven, you know how tough it is. For those past the experience, well, I envy you). Having to always keep on our toes, ready for any new changes, hasn't helped in the slightest.

Throughout the course of the school day, questions are fired at teachers. Although I suspect this might've been a diversion from the lesson, I could tell some were genuinely worried. How many more changes will they make in the run up to our exams? How stupid can they Education Department get?  A student in my year put as a Facebook status a few days later: 'These exam changes are bloody annoying.. something as important as our education shouldn't be subject to these trial and error policies...' Twenty one likes and thirty six comments. I think that's enough to furthermore prove the frustration felt. 

So what happens now? Well as Mr. Lister put it: "They have changed the rules half way through the game, but we will fight back and we will win!"... ... ...well, I'm sure we will all certainly try, counting on no other changes being made.

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