Home Entertainment & Technology Resource

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

R.E. - There's a row brewing (other subjects, too)

Discussion in 'Politics & Economy Forum' started by Pecker, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. krish

    krish Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    21,668
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +5,118
    That is bloody awful, I'm 8 years older, brought up in Suffolk (the only brown in the village :D), but our pre-GCSE RE lessons were very much about learning about the world's religions ... we mainly covered Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

    It was never about indoctrination, it was just a humanities subject and was taught that way
    - just a minor wobble, when one lesson we were fooled into believing that this jeans wearing bloke with a guitar and mullet was just an ordinary supply teacher, he wasn't, he was happy clapper Baptist minister Steve Chalke (later became an established religious broadcaster on breakfast TV, Songs of Praise etc) who, whilst not forcing us to believe, was giving us a very one-sided 'lesson' talking and singing about Jesus, which we subsequently had no opportunity to discuss when our proper teacher was back.
  2. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    There was an interesting piece on BBC's Breakfast this morning. Trinity College Cambridge were said to have published a list of 'A' Level subjects which 'don't count' for their entrance criteria.

    As the story panned out it became clear that it wasn't quite as simple as that. All subjects count, but some only as a 4th option, and some only count depending on which subject you're studying.

    The link to Trinity's web page on this is here:

    Trinity College Cambridge - Acceptable A-level Combinations

    Interestingly, Religious Studies is counted as one of the main subjects for anyone wanting to study for an Arts degree at Trinity * (History, Archaeology, Architecture, Classics, Economics, English, Geography, Law, Languages, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and, of course, Theology).

    It also counts as a replacement for Physics if you're doing some Science degrees.

    Clearly Trinity College Cambridge - not renowned for a laxity in standards of academic excellence - believe that the subject is a rigorous academic discipline.

    Steve W

    * Also of note, the representative from Trinity implied the list was the same for all of Cambridge, and it was just that Trinity was the only one to formally publish it.

    SW
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  3. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,804
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,141
    The thread was arguing the case for RS to be included in the English Baccalaureate at GCSE level. The fact that Trinity accept an A-Level RS qualification as a 'main subject' for anyone wishing to study an Arts subject at degree level is irrelevant to this point. As you will have seen from the website you quoted the following subjects are also 'main subjects':

    - Art History
    - Chinese
    - Classical Civilisation
    - Economics
    - English Literature
    - French
    - Geography
    - German
    - Greek
    - History
    - Irish
    - Italian
    - Japanese
    - Latin
    - Music
    - Philosophy
    - Russian
    - Spanish
    - Welsh

    ...numerous of which can be included in the English Bacc at GCSE level and thus provide a good foundation for a suitable A-Level programme to take one towards an Arts degree. Accordingly your post is moot and returns us to the crux of the issue - should we waste valuable school hours teaching our children (most of whom will not do an Arts degree), Religous Studies? The answer to that question has to be no.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640

    Well, if you had any idea of the carefully constructed link between the structure of GCSE courses and 'A' Level courses, you'd know the answer to that.

    As you clearly have no idea I won't waste my time.

    Steve W
  5. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,804
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,141
    My point stands though - GCSE RS may well dovetail into A-Level RS which may provide a good foundation for an Arts degree - but is this sufficient grounds for including RS into the English Bacc? The answer is a resounding no - not least because such an endgame (namely students being properly prepared for an Arts course) can be achieved within the English Bacc framework by doing an equally acceptable subject that is of more worth overall.

    I would also point out that students can pickup a new subject at A-Level. For example my first degree was in Law which I commenced at A-Level never having done a GCSE in the subject. I achieved an A grade with little effort and can quite comfortably say that the student population as a whole did not need to be subjected to GCSE law lessons so it could dovetail into my higher education. Yet this is what you are now trying to tell us should be the case for RS - a subject far, far less useful to students than law.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  6. overkill

    overkill Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Messages:
    11,319
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,086
    How many people, in the entire UK population are (realistically) going to need a 2nd or 3rd language?

    Why should or would FE and HE establishments introduce courses people don't want?

    Or, have I misread that and you want all courses to include a Language element?

    I'm sure that would go down well for the reasons Pecker has already pointed out.........:rolleyes:

    I can see why Pecker is concerned, just about everyone in Education is with the govts constant impractical and ill thought out floundering.

    I must admit, as someone with a professional interest in FE/HE, I've been impressed by David Willets, a man who's staggering incompetence marked him out as 'special' even in Majors administration. Yes, this is the man in charge of HE, who publicly expressed his amazement that Universities prime focus is on Research!

    Really?

    I mean that's only been their primary focus for four hundred years..........:facepalm:

    Oh, and your sneering at Peckers abilities was a disgrace.......:mad:
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  7. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    A quick heads up - Gove's department has started sending a fresh set of replies to RE teachers (and others).

    In it they say that the reason RE is not listed as a humanity for the EBacc is that it is a compulsory subject up to the end of Year 11 already. The number of pupils opting for RE has been growing since it became a more relevant subject, and numbers taking history and geography have been falling. To include a compulsory subject would probably ensure many schools taking geography and history completely out of the equation.

    There is a big problem with this approach, though. Most schools teach compulsory RE in years 10 & 11 for 1 hour a week, and do the short course (half a GCSE) over two years. The problem is that Gove is scrapping modular course, so they'll no longer be able to do this. So, we'll end up with every 14-16 year old pupil in the country (who don't opt for GCSE RE) spending an hour a week for two years doing lessons which can't lead to a qualification.

    I'm not convinced that's a positive move.

    They’d be better off making RE compulsory only up to the end of Year 9, and including RE in the EBacc. This move is unlikely as (a) stopping RE being compulsory for 14-16 year olds is probably seen as a political hot potato, and the results would be no change in the falling numbers taking history and geography.

    Steve W
  8. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,804
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,141
    We need to move beyond this 'little Englander' perspective. The fact is English, although a dominant World language, is not the only language in the World. If we have international aspirations to trade and industry - which we must if we are going to have food to eat - we need to promote language training. Equally important is our role within the EU - for better or worse we are fully integrated into the EU where the dominant languages, amongst others, are French, Spanish and German. Finally a huge, huge percentage of the Country lives closer to Continental Europe than the large UK Northern Cities - many will holiday/visit/work abroad and therefore it is essential they learn such languages.

    As for sneering at Pecker or any other teacher - you might like to consider that just one in six pupils in England has achieved the new English Baccalaureate. This is a damning condemnation of the education system - we are saying that it has failed to qualify our children in the vital core of subjects that they will need for their future.
  9. pragmatic

    pragmatic Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Messages:
    9,913
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,072
    Thanks for the link Rasczak, it was usually thorough for something on the BBC website. The bar graph shows how some schools might have been a bit 'fishy' with what subjects they pushed students to do, I would expect a closer correlation between the current league table results and the EB, but its seems in the middle 'bell curve' area they are almost inverted, but pretty flat for EB yet current results follow a standard deviation curve except for at the 100% mark (strange).
  10. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    Thanks for pointing out just how stupid the publishing of the figures was.

    The pupils represented by those figures had no idea that an EBacc would even exist, let alone what subjects would be counted in them.

    From our Year 11 who left last summer, our top pupil gained straight As and A*s in everything (including English Language, English Literature, Maths, statistics, Science and French), is currently doing A levels at one of the top 6th form colleges in the country, and bound for University.

    But they didn't get the EBacc, because they didn't opt for history or geography. Instead they did business studies and music.

    These aren't vocational qualifications. They're not OCR National Diplomas, or GNVQs, or BTECs, they're proper, rigorous, academic GCSEs, which have a history of being taught at some of the best private schools in the country.

    Whatever you think of the EBacc, publishing figures for pupils who had no idea what the qualification would contain is ridiculous.

    Gove's idea is simple, and I have sympathy with it. Many schools have been putting pupils through English and maths, and spending extra time on those to ensure as many pupils passed as possible, and then putting them in for GNVQs which were 'equivalent to 4 GCSEs' - bingo, a high % of your pupils make the grade (5 A*-Cs including English and maths). I can understand why Gove is concerned about that, and I largely agree.

    But he had so many alternatives for these first 2 or 3 years.

    He could have said he'd only count GCSEs, not equivalents. He could have said that any 'multiple' pass (this GNVQ is worth 4 passes, etc) only counts as 1 pass. He could have chosen to omit any subject with a large 'partical' element to it.

    Instead he's jumped in with this ridiculous retrospective moving of the goalposts.

    Right now schools up and down the country are changing their options process for the current Year 9 (that's the third year in old money). For most schools they'll be insisting that any pupil capable of gaining the EBacc will have to do a language and will have to do either history of geography. But those pupils won't have their figures published until January 2014.

    Steve W
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  11. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    There's a good page at the BBC with a variety of views on the move.

    It's interesting to note that even among the supporters of the EBacc there are concerns about several issues, including the retrospective publishing of league tables, and the narrow range of subjects listed (including RE).

    BBC News - Divided opinion: English Baccalaureate

    And if you just want to hear a cabinet minister getting a roasting from a member of the public:

    BBC News - Michael Gove in fiery debate with caller over Baccalaureate

    Steve W
  12. IronGiant

    IronGiant Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Messages:
    36,113
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +12,711
    I can't help but feel that if it was "one in six pupils who studied for a EB" failed to get one the statistic would have had more meaning.

    Otherwise it's like saying only one in 1000 pupils get a Duke of Edinburgh Award, with an implicit assumption they were all trying to get one.
  13. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    I don't suppose there are too many things on which The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and I all agree, but here we are:

    Richard Garner, Education Editor: Government puts the baccalaureate on the table - School Tables, Education - The Independent

    GCSE league tables commentary: English Baccalaureate 'should not have been rushed in' - Telegraph

    We all agree that there was a need for something to be done - even something pretty similar to what has been done.

    We all agree that the league tables shouldn't be retrospective.

    We all agree that, after the first four subjects (English, maths, science, a language) the '5th column option' looks a little bit too restrictive, and they should possibly have considered including music, art and religious studies.

    Just a quick note - I believe the white paper is going through the commons in February/March. It will then go to the Lords, and I suspect the bishops may have something to say on the matter. Whether they should be able to is, of course, another argument, but I suspect they'll be saying something.

    We could end up with a situation where Year 9 pupils take their options (with many schools structuring their options tables around the EBacc), and then have to take them again after the rules have been changed.

    Steve W
  14. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    Messages:
    14,307
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +861
  15. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,727
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,938
    One thing I do know, fifteen years after my GCSE's is that I rarely if ever feel I should have spent more time on my Geography (A), Religious Studies (A) or Biology (A) that I did at GCSE but took no further. Rarely more than a few days goes past without me wishing my Maths (C) or Physics (C) were better, particularly when I'm looking at the measurement readouts from the whatever is on test.

    Whilst "lack of educational width" is an issue, my personal experience would support keeping focus reasonably tight.
  16. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    Fair points ,Ed.

    What do you do?

    Steve W
  17. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,727
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,938
    Far from my area of expertise but maybe the AS/A-Level program holds the key. Pupils can select a number of optional subjects in addition to the core. At end of year exams, perhaps based on results, pupils who are struggling in a core subject might drop an optional one to take extra lessons in the core subject?
  18. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    Not what would you do, what do you do? For a job!

    :D

    It's interesting that you say you haven't found geography useful, as it's one of the EBacc subjects.

    Steve W
  19. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,727
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,938
    Ah- beer related cognitive dissonance.

    These days, I'm a Hi-Fi and technology journo. Thanks to the fact that our American technical chap is being removed from the country (I cannot stress in an unrelated sense how angry I am about this), I am doing some of the measured results for reviews. I can do it, I'm just finding the demands it places on my maths uncomfortable.

    EDIT- I found Geography pretty simple. Exactly how much Geography I use these days is a bit of mystery- my global location rocks but that was never a big part of the subject at GCSE if I remember right.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  20. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    This is it, I suppose. It depends firstly on what was contained in your GCSE course, and secondly what you do for a job (or maybe hobby) later in life.

    There are many jobs where science and maths would be excellent starting points for developing your skills, but I suspect there are relatively few jobs where you'd need to use anything more than pretty basic, sub-GCSE maths and a calculator.

    For my 'O' Level RE I studied the synoptic gospels for two years. Now it was useful for my degree and my job, but I did a degree in theology and I'm an RE teacher, so it would. I suspect for most of my classmates they've not had a lot of use for it. But the content of most current GCSE courses will be pretty useful for most people living in the UK where we live in a multi-cultural, multi-faith society, and where cutting edge moral issues are regularly in the news.

    Steve W
  21. pragmatic

    pragmatic Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Messages:
    9,913
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,072
    You could probably say the same about English, but I think thats hardly the point.
    The current economic problems are caused by mathematic illiteracy as well as greed, the many people who have gotten loans and/or mortgages they can hardly afford to service.
  22. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    Aye.

    Now if you want a radical proposal, how about we remove compulsory maths and English. Instead, replace them with functional literacy and numeracy GCSEs. Industry (and, as you point out, society) is crying out for people who can read and write, compose a letter to a client, balance the company books, and understand interest rates on a credit card. We are not crying out for an ability to dissect Shakespeare and perform calculus.

    Those GCSEs may provide necessary skills for a handful of people, and are educationally valid in enriching people's lives - much like drama or film studies. No more and no less.

    It’s what industry wants and needs. It’s what society needs (and would want if it thought about it enough).

    Steve W
  23. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
  24. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    Gove really does appear to be on the back foot here.

    A quick search of the relevant terms shows that just about every educational body in the country thinks he's dropped a danglie by (a) publishing retrospective figures and (b) being too limiting with the subjects on offer (with RS the most commonly mentioned oversight).

    It's not just educational bodies, either. Newspaper leaders, blogs and forums are alight with discussion (almost exclusively negative), and other places discussing the topic include mumsnet.

    The final blow in the coffin may be that, in an attempt to drive up rigorous academic standards, he's even got the house newspaper for Oxford University telling him he's got it wrong:

    Cherwell - Comment - The new Ebacc - an unwise change of tack?

    Stories are emerging of an Independent School who are not happy because their 5 A*-C (including English & maths) figures are 98%, but their EBacc figure is…wait for it…0%. Why? Almost all of their pupils pass English, maths, science and a language (many with As and A*s), but RS is compulsory. They didn’t want geography and/or history to be hit, so they put everyone in for the combined humanities GCSE (covers history and geography). The only thing is, Gove says the humanities GCSE doesn’t count as a humanity (no, seriously), so not a single pupil has the EBacc.

    Steve W
  25. happyhomer

    happyhomer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    637
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +81
    You couldn't make it up :rotfl:

    I've always had my doubts about Gove... Nothing that has happened recently is making me change my opinion of him. I have 2 children aged 8 and 11; I sincerely hope that they aren't adversely affected by this buffoon's so-called policies :mad:
  26. pragmatic

    pragmatic Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Messages:
    9,913
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,072
    I'm afraid I still don't agree with you Steve, niether do I see the outpouring of support that your suggesting, but I suppose I'm not desperatly looking for it.

    Students generally take 9-10 GCSE's, with the EB 6 of those are taken with double award science. That leaves 3-4 choices, which RE/RS could be one. Be glad they didn't add a Technology and then for fun IT (even though its quickly obsolete) leaving even less choice.

    Do you think less kids will take RE over other subjects with their remaining choices? If so why? if not, why are you bothered?
  27. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    Then you're not looking in the right places. If you follow politics, then you'd know that Gove wouldn't be quietly back tracking (as he now appears to be) unless he were under some considerable pressure.

    You're wrong there, I'm afraid. A typical school which doesn't already specify several options (some already force a language, for example) will offer 4 options at the most. *

    If you force one as an MFL and one as history or geography, that only leaves 2 options maximum. A pupil must opt for only 2 from RS, music, art, drama, PE, dance, ICT, business studies, sociology, philosophy, and of course geography and history (pupils may wish to do both you know), not to mention any vocational courses. That's 12 subjects from which to choose only two.

    I really have two heads on here. From a purely selfish point of view Gove has made a good decision for me. As well as being Head of Department I'm Head of Lower School - some of you who know about secondary education will know how busy that makes me. I currently teach 3 hours a week each to Years 10 & 11, with all the pressure to maintain the department's excellent results. If Gove doesn't change his mind I potentially get a very cushy job with no GCSE pressure most years. Look at the list above. After taking away pupils on out-of-school courses (who don't do options) we have just 110 pupils in a year group. "You do the math" as our American cousins say.

    But you know what, I love my job. I'm good at it and I think I provide a useful service to society. I know the pupils benefit from the course, and enjoy their time in the lessons. I don't want my subject to fall into some educational backwater, where most bright pupils struggle to be able to take it because the squeeze.

    On the other hand, if Gove changes his mind (and the signs are that he's increasingly likely to do so) I'm going to have double the pressure that I do now.

    Bring it on!

    And someone double my daily dose of Losartan.

    In short, if I were thinking only of my workload I'd welcome the current proposals. However, I believe in what I do, and put the pupils first, so there you go.

    Steve W

    * A pupil's compulsory GCSEs would usually amount to English Language, English Literature, Maths, Statistics or Further Maths, and Science (double award) – that's 6 altogether + 4 options, which makes your 10.

    SW
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  28. pragmatic

    pragmatic Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Messages:
    9,913
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,072
    Well that's new! English lit is in there, wasn't sure if it was compulsory but guessed it might be.

    I went to an RC school so RE was compulsory.

    I'm afraid you didn't really answer any of my questions though.

    If your subject is appealing and as you have suggested before most students get good if not great grades, then I doubt it wouldn't be chosen.

    Secondarily why should any of the other subjects you listed as the options be relegated to 'backwater' subjects to use your own words, are they of less worth than RE? I guess I could say why shouldn't they be include in the EB?

    Maybe it would be better to just have the 'core' subjects in the EB and leave 'indulgences' like humanities out of the EB.

    I can see where your coming from, and also see that your passionate about your subject and I do not doubt you are a great teacher, you beam with pride when you talk about your results, we could do with more teachers like you.

    That does not change how I see and I no doubt the majority of people view RE at GCSE level, something I've already made vocal in this thread, and probably a lot more variously in the past. I'm afraid History/Geography trump RE.

    Please feel free to post some links to non school/RE based communities about the support though, I'm a little behind in the news recently apart from Google News and the BBC website as my TV can't get a decent signal and I now walk to work so don't pick up the free rag any more.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  29. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640
    It isn't. But what happens these days it that most pupils bright enough to get 5 A*-Cs take English & maths in Year 10, then providing they pass they add the extra subject in Year 11. If they don't pass Language in Year 10 they re-sit it in Year 11 instead of doing Lit.

    It's compulsory everywhere, just not for GCSE. Most pupils do one hour a week, and either no GCSE or just the short course (half a GCSE).

    There's a long answer to that. The short one is that pupils in Year 9 aren't necessarily aware of previous years' results, often due to internal school politics.

    Okay, great question. I suppose the simple answer is that I've never said they should be left out.

    On a deeper level, I think what Gove is trying to do is to separate the academic from 'the rest'. First things' first he's removing the GNVQ/NVQ 'equivalents'. Fair enough. If you want me discuss these separately I will, but many staff, even some of those who teach them, think they're watered down and not worth the same as 'real' GCSEs.

    Then there are what we might call the non-academic subjects. Forget about subject matter, these are GCSEs for which a large part of your mark is based on a practical skill - maybe making something, or playing something. Half of the grade comes from the exam (or often less) and half from a practical demonstration,

    That's all well and good, but if you want to decide whether or not to let pupils into your college or give them a job, then having GCSEs in history, geography, RS, philosophy or classics may be useful in roughly measuring academic intelligence, whereas a pupil who would have failed their GCSEs if they were based on their exams may pass PE, drama, dance or food because they did particularly well in the part of the assessment where they had to demonstrate a particular practical skill.

    Or, in other words, getting an A* for a disco dance, baking a cake, or building a wooden table might average you a GCSE despite a poor exam result, but might not be a good indicator of whether you can hack the academic rigour of 'A' Levels. If your course is weighted 50:50 then an A* for that coffee cup holder will average you a C pass at GCSE as long as you get just an F in the exam.

    On this I'm not necessarily saying that I completely agree with Gove, but one can see his point.

    Let me put it this way - I think Gove has got a point, but I think his changes are simply too limiting. I think the first 4 'pillars' are roughly sound, but limiting the 5th to just two subjects is just plain daft. I think they should be wider than just history or geography, and there are many subjects other than RS which should be in there.

    Maybe they could make room for the arts, too. I've often found that achievement in music often mirrors general academic achievement. If a pupil passes English, maths, double science and a language, I don't thinkit can be argued that you can pass music and get to do 'A' Levels even though you're thick.

    If you check out some of the links I've posted, you'll see that readers on the Guardian, the Telegraph, and Oxford University don't see humanities as an indulgence. The bottom line is this. You know those 'A' Level and degree questions which say something in a quote then ask for your opinions? You know, something like:

    "The enlightenment took us into the darkness."

    Discuss

    Well, you don't get too many of them at GCSE in subjects other than RS.

    Sometimes GCSEs, like all education, are about the skills you learn as much as the content.

    That's a very kind thing of you to say - all the kinder for it being unnecessary. Cheers.

    I think a lot of this comes from perception. I believe there's a self-perpetuating myth about RE, based on two eras in the subject's past. Up to the '80s it was seen very much as 'scripture' and lessons about dying practices at best or indoctrinating at worst. In the '80s it was seen as a sort of bland, touchy-feely general studies course.

    Whatever the truth of this, that's certainly no reflection of the GCSE as it is today.

    I oftyen put it like this. Is an Oxford theology degree 'easy'? Would it be a 'soft option' for GCSE? If the answer is no, then it's not the subject that's a soft option, it's the standard at which it's taught and assessed. If Gove thinks RS is too easy (it isn't, by the way) then he should simply make it tougher. You could do this very easily in the short term by simply raising the pass mark.

    I've posted a few links already - I'll dig out a few more later.

    Thanks for the chat.

    Steve W
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  30. Pecker

    Pecker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    19,271
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,640

Share This Page