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Archive for October, 2012

GCSEs to be replaced by EBacc – Part Two

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Last month it was announced that GCSEs are going to be replaced by a new qualification, the EBacc or English Baccalaureate. Last week we gave you some information on the changes and what they might mean for your child and this week we’ll continue helping you understand how the changes might affect your child.

Our tutors (and teachers) constantly keep abreast of developments in education and ensure they are aware of upcoming curriculum changes.

In the last few years our tutors and teachers have seen changes to maths, science, English and other syllabuses and changes in the ‘rules’ for sitting exams (as GCSE exams move back to the linear route]. We have also seen the introduction of qualifications such as the new AQA 1/2 certificates and the increasing take up of iGCSEs by independent schools and we have been tutoring students through these syllabuses.

From a tutor’s point of view, the introduction of a new qualification is no more significant than the introduction of a new syllabus – there will be new things to learn and certain things we already know. From a general teaching point of view each academic year brings new ways of teaching, new pupils, new classrooms and a fresh approach to lessons so change is something we are very used to.

When it comes to the actual content of the EBacc we are relatively sure there will not be major changes – there will still be Maths, English and Science etc. And we know what will change will be the approach rather than what is actually taught – so less modules (if any), longer exams, fewer multiple choice style questions and a more stringent academic approach with possibly, harsher marking and higher grade boundaries.  If the plans do go ahead then at least a year in advance (often more) the exam boards will develop their course and exams.

This is then accredited by the exams watchdog, then passed onto teachers (and private tutors) so they have all the information they need to teach. At this stage many teachers will be given additional support and training and use their own experience and judgment to decide how best to support their pupils.

If you would like to talk about one to one tutoring for GCSEs or EBacc in Manchester or Cheshire (Wilmslow, Altrincham, Heaton Moor) then contact us today.








GCSEs to be replaced by EBacc – Part One

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

In the last few weeks, a huge shakeup of the secondary education system has been announced. Michael Gove, Education Secretary, announced that GSCEs will be scrapped and a new English Baccalaureate qualification will be introduced from 2017.

The EBacc is seen as more academically rigorous and is being introduced as a way to regain confidence in our qualifications. There have been calls for a number of years to improve standards at GCSE because students going onto A Levels and University struggle to cope. GCSEs have become known as ‘easy’ exams with lots of coursework and modules which allow multiple resits, the changes will see a return to a linear approach with one set of exams at the end instead of modules. Here at 121 Home Tutors we agree that things need to change – qualifications obtained by 16 year olds need to be valued by employers and the students given credit for having worked hard to achieve a qualification.

We welcome the changes but we also understand parents confusion about what happens next.

GCSEs will not be stopped immediately – they will be phased out and the EBaccs slowly phased in (as any new syllabus is) – you can read more about this here.

From a teaching and tutoring point of view, we are very used to education systems changing (although you might not be aware of it). Syllabuses change regularly, usually every 5 years or so and we have seen a slow move back towards end of year exams over the last few years so most teachers and tutors were aware of the changes coming. All of our tutors are used to working with multiple syllabuses and with students from both independent and state schools. What this all means is that teachers and tutors are highly adaptable and will be able to help your child through and transition from GCSE to EBacc.

From your child’s point of view, because of the background work teachers and tutors will be doing, they won’t notice much of a change – probably the only significant change will be less resits and more end of year exams, which might mean more support is needed around preparing for and sitting exams. However, the students won’t be aware of the change as they will only have ever known one system.

This year’s GCSE students are already allowed fewer resits (there are a set number allowed rather than endless resits). Most of the exams for qualifications have to be in one sitting, even when there is a modular approach to a subject.  Over the next few years we are likely to see a decrease in pass rates as modules and the ability to resit them decrease. Part Two to follow next week.

If you would like to discuss tutoring for GCSEs or EBacc in Manchester or Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Trafford) then contact us today.