Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Scrap GCSEs and help develop children’s character

What a refreshing change to actually have a head teacher criticise the headlong dash for A* and A grades.

Jenny Brown, head of the highly academic St Albans High School for Girls, said children were forced to sit dozens of exams which they don’t need.

She thinks 4 or 5 would be enough – English, Maths, A Science and a couple more (I’d like to see a foreign language being compulsory).

She admits this will create tension between school,s and pushy parents. She believes  “we have to educate and lead parents. It is insane that at the age of 16 we have an eight-week period where (they) have to sit for over eight weeks of exam sessions, something like 24 papers”. At present her pupils take about 10 GCSEs with 90% getting A* or As so she probably has an uphill struggle.

Education is not a mad qualification grab. Employers are increasingly moving to qualification-blind applications and are assessing and making hiring decisions about qualities of character and mind in an hour-long interview” she added.

The qualities she is talking about that she thinks employers want are: curiosity, adaptability, and being a decent person with integrity. She believes schools have to help pupils develop in these areas. I couldn’t agree more.

She is not alone in these, what appear to me, sensible views. Sir Mike Tomlinson, former chief inspector of schools, called GCSEs a lot of wasted time and recommended only 4 key skills be tested at age 16.

Even President Macron of France is calling for the French baccalaureate to be simplified.

Most countries only test at 18 before university. British children are among the most tested in the world but what good does it do them?


Aberfan……a lost generation of children

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

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Half a century of grief poured out of the small town of Aberfan yesterday as it remembered a generation lost when a coal tip slid on to their school.

Among the 144 people killed on October 21, 1966, were 116 children. Yesterday the Prince of Wales led tributes and planted a tree in Aberfan’s memorial garden alongside one planted by the Queen. The prince said: “I can never forget the feeling of utter despair as I heard of the unspeakable tragedy.”

Survivors were among the 1,000 people attending a service in the cemetery where those who lost their lives were laid to rest. A minute’s silence was held at 9.15am, the moment Pantglas junior school was hit by 150,000 tonnes of black sludge. Among those at the service was Susan Maybank, now Robertson, whose rescue by Victor Jones, a policeman, was captured in a photograph.

Marilyn Morris, 64, said: “Six…

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