Today the GCSE results are out and with it the scandal of falling grades. There’s been a huge debate around grade inflation and, in English, the lack of attention paid to spelling and grammar. I’m probably being an old fogey when I admit that seeing people use ‘loose’ when they mean ‘lose’, or incapable of using apostrophes properly really grinds my gears.
Top tip – don’t use apostrophes to indicate a plural, PLEASE, or I may be tempted to take drastic violent action.
Shadow Education Minister, Stephen Twigg was on TV this morning bemoaning the lack of opportunities for assessing spoken English, presentation skills, teamwork and the like. So whilst we aren’t even assessing basics like punctuation, are we to turn our grading machine onto soft skills too? He seems to misunderstand completely how confidence is built, how sociability is enhanced and how creative minds are gradually unleashed.
Here’s our response (start your predictability meter now) - the Government, realising that schools have neither the required skills, resources nor time to take on these kinds of classes, must recognise the need for these softer skills and bring back some appropriate funding to allow more general access.
The axing of the Extended Schools Schemes and drastic reduction in partnership funding has hit sports particularly hard, ironic in the light of the success of Team GB and the calls for more participation generally. It has hit organisations like Best too – we were working well with some local schools providing places for children who really needed the kind of support we could offer but otherwise couldn’t access it.
The kinds of skills we enhance don’t need assessing, the effects are completely individual and progress begins and ends at a different point for everyone. Yes, there are certificates available (like LAMDA’s excellent portfolio) but these are based around specific vocational techniques rather than overall confidence building, sociability and general outlook on the world – great for those that want that kind of validation but not suitable or necessary for everyone.
The biggest buzz we get is when a parent tells us the school have noticed a positive difference in a child after spending time with Best – and we are delighted to say this happens frequently. We just wish more children could get this kind of support. And imagine if this building of confidence, openness and creativity was allowed to continue throughout the education cycle... the benefits to UK plc could be huge!
Anyway before I loose my temper with it's silliness, its time to stop writing blog's, and get on with something more betterer thats got less thing's to get grammatically wrongly. See me afterwards, Ed.