Secondary Modern Conservatism: O-No!

Multiple Choice Question:

The Conservatives are planning some major reforms if they win the next election. Only one of the following is a serious proposal, but which is it?

a) Women will have their right to vote removed.
b) The NHS will be completely disbanded, and all healthcare will need to be paid for.
c) Steam trains will be brought back and hundreds of rural stations and lines reopened.
d) Sunday trading will be banned, and all shops will be closed to encourage more people to go to church.
e) O-levels will be reintroduced in schools.

Guessed which one it is yet? To check your answer, click here.

2 comments on “Secondary Modern Conservatism: O-No!

  1. The Telegraph’s O Level article seemed a bit misleading to me. Were they saying that the Tories would reintroduce O Levels or allow IGCSEs to be studied in state schools as well as in the independent schools? The latter seems much more likely. And although there was a ruling about IGCSEs recently, I’m not sure that they are all ‘banned’ from being taught. Firstly, I think plenty of IGCSEs are approved for teaching in the UK, they just aren’t approved for funding. And secondly some subjects, including art and design and geography are approved for teaching in the UK – including funding. But that may have been changed under the recent ruling.

    There is one funny thing I heard about IGCSE Geography: the reason CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) brought in a computer based test for it was in recognition that fieldwork was difficult in some countries. A traditional Geography fieldwork task is to throw orange peel into a river and measure the speed of flow: but messing around near rivers is not a good idea when crocodiles are around. Imagine the risk assessments involved!

    • Yes, I agree the Telegraph’s article is far from clear – as indeed are the policies behind it! But as I always say, it’s not what you do or say that counts, it’s how the media reports it… You are correct, or should that be ‘appear to be correct’ about the DCSF refusing funding in state schools, and that this only applies to English, maths and science.

      And, er, as I always say, it’s not what you do or say that counts, it’s what you call it… So it’s interesting to also see that CIE have been allowed to offer their own equivalent of the qualification called ‘Cambridge International Certificates’. And also note that the most important key educational benefit is that they can be included in league table results.

      Of course, the thing is that in many ways it would be good to bring O levels (or whatever they are called) back as strictly academic qualifications. The problem lies in the lack of acceptability and credibility of GCSEs and other vocational qualifications. The conversation ought to be:

      “Oh no, mum, please don’t make me take O levels. I don’t want to end up being a weird university professor who uses long words no-one else understands and who has no idea what’s going on in the real world. I want to do practical courses that will help me to get a useful well-paid job, to learn how to communicate and be good at problem-solving and team-work…”

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