Overhaul exams system to protect teens’ mental health, new school leader says

Overhaul exams system to guard teenagers’ psychological well being, new college chief says

The psychological well being burden on youngsters who need to obtain prime grades of their college exams is simply too nice and due to this fact the system needs to be modified, the brand new chief of a physique representing headteachers at women’ colleges has stated.

Samantha Worth, president of the Women’ Faculty Affiliation (GSA) and head of Benenden Faculty in Kent, stated the present college admissions course of just isn’t match for objective.

Ms Kent’s feedback, her first since taking up the brand new position, come as pupils proceed returning to highschool and as ministers put together to publish the outcomes of a session into how college students in England apply to third-level schooling.

It’s anticipated to suggest adjustments to the construction and timing of purposes in order that decision-making takes place after A-level outcomes have been printed.

Ms Kent has known as for an overhaul of GCSE and A-Stage exams. She stated: “I don’t assume our present evaluation system is any longer match for objective and I don’t assume our college software system is match for objective. I don’t assume it’s honest throughout the sectors and I additionally don’t assume it caters for younger individuals’s psychological well being.”

She stated utilizing predicted grades to safe college affords can put college students beneath an “huge quantity of strain” throughout their ultimate 12 months of A-levels.

Ms Kent additionally known as for a post-qualification software system to be launched – and for the standard nine-term diploma to be decreased to eight phrases in addition to sending.

She additionally stated college students ought to begin college in January moderately than within the autumn to allow them to achieve beneficial abilities reminiscent of monetary literacy and work expertise.

In June Gavin Williamson, the schooling secretary, advised MPs he wish to introduce a system wherein college affords are made to college students after outcomes day in the summertime with out the necessity for laws.

The Division for Training has lately held a session on shifting to a post-qualifications admissions system in England amid considerations concerning the accuracy of predicted grades.

One possibility being thought-about would see college students apply within the regular means throughout term-time, however college affords would solely be made after outcomes day.

The opposite possibility would see college students apply to college and obtain affords from establishments after A-level outcomes day in the summertime – and the beginning of college may very well be pushed again to later than September or October.

The incoming GSA president helps a system the place college students wouldn’t apply to college till after they’ve acquired their outcomes, and the place they might keep in touch with the college through the software course of.

Ms Worth, who is asking for college to start out in January moderately than the autumn, stated: “I do assume it might be an excellent alternative for significant work expertise for college kids which may be associated to what their college diploma goes to be, or their apprenticeship if that’s the route they resolve to go down.”

She added: “I believe there’s various group work truly that younger individuals would actually profit from getting concerned in and that additionally actually helps with psychological well being points as effectively.

“So I believe if we may have a look at it nationally, and with creativeness, I believe there’s an terrible lot we may do that might be actually useful.”

Addressing the present college admissions system, the GSA president stated: “You have acquired younger individuals frantically worrying about what their predicted grade goes to be, what the college goes to provide them, and there is all the time a level of negotiation with the college about your predicted grade.

“So your predicted grade can fairly shortly develop into an aspirational grade and the strain to then obtain that aspirational grade in the event you get a suggestion I believe places some younger individuals beneath an infinite quantity of strain.”

She added: “As a substitute of negotiating predicted grades and worrying about whether or not they’ll actually ‘make the grade’ upon which their college place relies upon, college students may give attention to their research and benefit from the friendships and life-enhancing extra-curricular alternatives of their ultimate 12 months of faculty, that are simply as necessary to their long-term futures.

“We’ve to recognise that there’s a psychological well being disaster in our nation’s younger individuals. Eliminating predicted grade affords and shifting to a post-qualification system would minimise the adverse affect of striving for the ‘holy grail’ of grades.”

The ladies’ college head wish to see extra unbiased college households choosing apprenticeships as an alternative choice to college, as she stated it was time to depart behind a “‘one measurement matches all’ mentality”

Ms Worth stated: “Rising numbers of younger individuals at the moment are contemplating apprenticeships and I do assume that colleges which have for years pointed their college students in direction of conventional college levels ought to take apprenticeships critically.”

She added: “I believe there’s a variety of confidence constructing to do round apprenticeships and I believe with dad and mom as a lot as with college students.

“I believe we have to work with dad and mom now in actually explaining what the worth of an apprenticeship is and that it is not the weaker possibility between an apprenticeship and a college diploma.

Further reporting by Press Affiliation

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