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Headmaster’s Blog – GCSE’s – the volatile years

August 21, 2014

I was interested to read in the Press this week that the Exam Boards were calling this year’s GCSE results ‘volatile’.  We are arnewlowresused in schools (and at home) to the teenage hormonal and adolescent years being somewhat unpredictable and requiring much patience from adults. Now we also have to throw into the mix a Public Exam system which has become less dependable.

I am all in favour of Governments (and Exam Boards) doing what they can to improve the standards so long as it’s done fairly and with educational justification where the pupils’ interests are to the fore. However, as we have seen over the past two years the way in which change has been introduced (such as the mid-course removal of the speaking and listening component from English, the changing of grade boundaries and the move towards terminal exams) there has indeed been a lot of ‘turbulence’ caused by rapid change – and hence the volatility!  

Here at Ballard we were quietly pleased to see the GCSE results indicate an overall rise in our ‘pass rate’ (that is at least 5 GCSEs per pupil at Grades A* to C, including English and Maths). We remain at the forefront of the non-selective schools in our area and whilst some individual results were ‘volatile’ it was super to see how well many pupils performed – not least the often ‘unsung heroes’ who were not expected to do well but worked away doggedly and have exceeded expectations. Some of these are those with learning difficulties and others have overcome personal circumstances which could have been debilitating. No amount of ‘league tables’ can display these ‘good news’ stories.

 Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

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