In the midst of a public health crisis, we need formal exams more than ever, argues Alex Standish in the Education Forum’s regular column for Teach Secondary magazine…

Following a year of school closures and mass self-isolation for health reasons, students in Y11 and Y13 have experienced unprecedented disruption to their GCSE and A Level courses.

Does this mean that next summer’s examinations should be cancelled? If they are, how can we avoid a repeat of last summer’s ‘teacher-assessed grades versus algorithm’ farce? How should we assess students’ achievements when their education has been disrupted to such varying degrees?

See TeachWire for the full article.

The drive to make schools a force for social mobility risks distorting our collective sense of what education is meant to be for, argues Kevin Rooney in the forum’s column for Teach Secondary magazine…

For years now, educationalists and politicians of all hues have been telling us that the core goal of education is ‘social mobility’ – that is, reducing poverty and inequality, while promoting mobility up the social ladder, especially for poor working class and black pupils.

Schools minister Nick Gibb informs us that, “A welcome consensus has begun to emerge that schools must be engines of social mobility.” London schools, in particular, are held up as a great success story.

I wish I could share that rosy narrative. For me, the social mobility agenda is distorting and degrading education in a number of ways. Many schools have become boring, technocratic institutions where formulaic lessons, teaching to the test and high stakes accountability measures are now the norm. I fear this approach is sucking the life and joy out of teaching and learning…

Read the full article on TeachWire.