Well-as someone who was schooled via the Grammar School system and took the "one shot" O levels I am astounded to see this elitist and unimaginative government trying to resurrect a similar exam process for 21st century children. Personally, the system suited me well... an introverted, avid reader and someone who had a capacity for accumulating facts. However, I am the first to admit this system certainly could never be a "one size-fits all" and I have since taught many children who would never have been able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in this way-yet who have as much to offer and are just as intelligent.
So the single exam mode fits the "academic" brain...but what does that mean actually? It is proof of a good memory. Proof of rote learning. Proof of brain training. However, it does not necessarily denote sense, the ability to interpret, analyse, synthesis and application ...in fact all of the other higher order thinking skills. Neither does it give children with practical and verbal skills the chance to shine-which course work demonstrates-or the dyslexic child who once again will be returned to the bottom of the pile. What about the gifted child who doesn't see the point of being exam smart...and under performs? All those potential successes being consigned to the failure pile. Setting them up for low self esteem and second best for the rest of their lives. Establishing a new elitism...why don't we go the whole hog and return to Latin primers, Greek and horn book?
I could cry when I think of the future children pushed through the sausage factory of this brave new world of education. However, it will ensure the continuance of the ruling class and enable them to keep the masses in their place! But worse than this-the upheaval, the cost, the difficulties of the transition to any new exam system-the kids who slip between the lines while it is being perfected by schools...and then, when this government is finally ousted-as it surely will be-the cost of amending, adjusting and manipulating the system to fit with the new governments ideology! Who will suffer in all this? The kids! Yes-your kids and mine-our grandchildren too-all because we allow our politicians to meddle in the education of our children and force upon the real educationalists their petty and divisive policies and ideas-whether it is beneficial or not!
Its time we thought of the various messes we have made over the years-and the effect it has had on subsequent cohorts of children.
For more on this look at Michael Rosen's blog! He expresses it more eruditely than I can-but says more or less the same thing!