Fulfilling Lives? What a joke.

23 Sep

When talking about SEN (special educational needs) ‘fulfilling lives’ is a joke. The government has just announced that it is reforming the GCSE and replacing it with the EBacc. Personally I think its a fancy name for a resurrection of the old style O levels with the old style end of year memory test. What on earth use is that to employers? Great, this student can remember a whole load of stuff, but can he talk to customers, apply what he knows to the job, use his initiative, problem solve, work independently…. ? The list goes on. Special needs students cannot do either.

examsMany many parents ask me why their child is learning French, when they do not know how to dress themselves, or make a cup of tea. Many parents, given the choice, would do away with the National Curriculum and base their SEN child’s education around life skills, things they need to know, do, learn, in order to be independent indivivduals and function in society.

What will the new style EBacc do for SEN children? Nothing. all it will do is exclude them from ever having a chance at gaining a recognisable qualification. The advantages of GCSE, are also seen to be its weaknesses. Coursework (now reformed to controlled assessment) gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to work within real life perameters, not sat in silent rows in isolation, expected to remember every last detail of their education for the last five years.

Autistic students, for example, learn through repeatedly applying a skill, not writing about it in silence. I am sure the same could be said for many children actually.

Fulfilling Lives? How about creating a fulfilling curriculum?

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