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Educating Drew - Harrop Fold School Channel 4 Program - hgunn.uk  

        Accepting that children would have been aware of the television cameras, this program provided a fascinating insight into the problem that exists in at the pit face of a secondary school. Dylan Wiliams, educationalist, contends the easiest way to find a high performing school is to find a nice leafy suburb. Harrop Fold School was clearly not one of them!    

        Headteacher Drew Povey referred to his school as being once described as the worst school in England  by the media. He explained that in 2001 around 90% walked out the school without five G.C.S.E. passes to their name and hundreds were being expelled every month.  

       There is evidence the school was well managed, motivated and caring school. The school illustrated the social problems that such schools confronts. The school only managed 30% five G.C.S.E. A to C standard in the new 2017 rigorous examinations. Reference to the English School league tables illustrated that the school was towards the lower end of the achievement spectrum. 

          Reference to the English Schools League Tables illustrates that there are schools in Manchester achieving 50% or more children reaching the G.C.S.E. standard. This illustrates the mix  that exists in the  assessment of school performance and countries Pisa assessment.

       The 30% attainment was an activitieshievement for Harrop School. The more modest standards the children achieved there would have been a relatively good achievement for many of them.

Difference in Achievement

          It is accepted that there a hereditary factor in children's development of intelligence. Research will identical twins illustrates thus. Working memory, which is relatively fixed, has a significant influence upon children's learning potential. 

      Children social circumstances and their personality will have an influence upon what they achieve. This raises of the question of whether it is reasonable to view a child with social disadvantage and low learning potential failure to achieve a five G.C.S.E. being as significant as a child in social advantaged children with high learning potential obtaining only five G.C.S.E. C's.

       Drew Povey contends that the  changes in the   English curriculum over the last decade is setting up many vulnerable children to fail. Constantly assessing children, reminding them what they cannot do will not provide them with a great incentive for them to develop confidence and do better.          

       Drew Povey refers to teachers have had to get staff to ensure they come to do their examinations. This is nothing knew. When children under perform and do poorly in their examinations it is the teachers that are normally blamed. This contrasts with the culture in the Far East, which was featured on the B.B.C. Wales "School Swap, South Korean Style" were parents were working to pay for their children  to have private tuition.

The Need for Change

        The Cockcroft Report 1982 into mathematical education, which had a profound influence upon the creation of the National Curriculum, contended that the curriculum should be developed from the bottom up. Andrea Schliecher, Head of Pisa, has created pressure to create top down curriculum initiatives throughout the world.  He is marketing what is achieved in Shanghai-China, as being what other countries should aim to achieve.

      The are whole myriad of factors that influence children's attainment that cannot be exported to western countries. Applying raise the bar assessments is not going to change that. The B.B,.C. "School Swap, South Korean Swap  program, where three children from Pembrokeshire School, visited a Seoul School illustrated that children were workaholics there, they were experiencing a sixty-hour week, they were studying in private schools for fourteen hours a day and they were also having private lessons. The curriculum was very narrow.

      The time appears overdue when the English Government copies the Welsh Government and puts children's interest first through abandoning Pisa targets. Children and country performance cannot be summed up by crude estimated average statistics. Each child and every school is different.

       Drew Povey contends that certain children would be better off taking a G.C.S.E. in Sports Science than obtaining a D in a foreign language. The same applies to mathematics. There is not point in taking a whole G.C.S.E. mathematics examination if they are going to get D in that. The Welsh Government has created a separate basic maths G.C.S.E.

Drew Povey - Educating Drew

 In particular, I believe everyone in the schools community needs to recognise how changes over the most decade are setting up many of the most vulnerable kids to fail.

 The new harder, GCSEs have been really tough for a lot of our kids who, like me, find exams a real challenge, we know from the data that white working-class kids are among the worst performers in the country,

 This is the demographic that we teach and we want to improve results. But, so far, no one has any solution of what to do about this.

 Before anyone accuses me of having low expectations here, let me be clear: I think our kids are capable of amazing things, I am not writing off any child as being ‘non-academic’ of anything like that. I have a problem with the way services are being stripped out and our jobs are made more difficult while cities like London get praise and additional ca



B.B.C. Wales - South Korean Swap

English School League Tables

H.G. Pisa Papers