‘Let’s fix what’s broken with our education system’ – Rogers

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Thursday, September 20th, 2012
SDLP education spokesperson Sean Rogers has said he hopes potential overhaul in the GSCE system won’t create ‘change for change’s sake’ and said we should concentrate on fixing what’s broken with the current system, first and foremost. The South Down MLA, a former headmaster who has 30 years experience in teaching, said we must not seek to make a double tier system where one student’s achievement is demoted over another. Speaking to Newry Times, Rogers insisted the SDLP doesn’t want this to be a backward step in education similar to the ‘70s and ‘80s with O Levels and GCSE’s. “We need to address the problems with the GCSE system and let’s fix what’s broken there. What’s broken is numeracy and literacy across the curriculum and the percentage of children achieving 5 A-C GCSE grades. “I have 30 years’ experience in teaching and I know that GCSE’s, at least, are an inclusive method of assessment. I have seen children getting a ‘D’ in math’s GCSE and coming to my old school, re-sitting the exam and getting a ‘B’ and going on to study math’s A Level. Are we going to demean that achievement? Children learn at different rates.” He continued, “I agree that there are problems with coursework but this can be rectified with more controlled and computer based assessment. Also, I wouldn’t be too concerned about there being a slightly different system here than in England. English universities accept students from the south with their Leaving certificates and from parts of the UK with their Scottish Highers.” “As someone who taught both GCEs and O Levels I saw two systems, at least GCSE’s are more inclusive. Change is necessary as society and economy evolves but must be a managed change. I don’t want to see teachers, parents and pupils on a roller-coaster of change. Rogers added, “Currently children are looking forward to their prize giving ceremonies which recognises their achievements. I enjoyed attending my old school prize giving at St Louis’ Kilkeel last week. It was a great evening for students, parents and teachers alike. We should not try to demean those achievements.”
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