Students find new English GCSE 'torturous' and may be deterred from continuing the subject, teaching unions warn Save Follow Teachers are voicing concerns over the long-term impact of “torturous” new English GCSEs, amid fears that there will be a downturn in student uptake at A-Level. Pupils have not enjoyed the “narrowed” curriculum, teaching unions claim, because the curriculum for English Language and Literature is now 100 per cent exam-based.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Kevin Courtney, the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “It is a cause for great concern that English, one of our most creative and culturally important subjects, is becoming for many GCSE students a tortuous and unrewarding experience. “Large numbers of students are finding it difficult to come to terms with a system biased too heavily towards terminal exams, and which values rapid reading and rote learning above deeper understanding. ”Paul Clayton, the Director of The National Association for the Teaching of English, said that the new specifications put in place by Ofqual two years ago had proved “challenging” to get to grips with.
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Mr Clayton warned that the new English GCSE curriculum had “marginalised” the more subject's more exciting elements, for example, poetry writing and teaching on the media. The new exams include unseen 19th century fiction and nonfiction texts.
The new English GCSEs have "marginalised" more exciting elements like poetry writing “Many students who used to get really excited about English are less excited now because of the curriculum that’s narrowed and the ways it is taught," he added. Their warning comes on the back of concerns raised by by Ofsted’s chief inspector last week that the new GCSEs risk losing the “real substance of education”. Amanda Spielman added that an inclination to drill students for exam success could compromise pupils’ chances of getting a "broad and balanced education".
Amanda Spielman, Ofsted's Chief Inspector, has warned that the new GCSEs may compromise pupils getting a "broad" education Mr Clayton also claimed that the changes made by Ofqual had been pushed through too quickly. “It should have taken a longer time to get these qualifications really seriously looked at and tested, but that wasn’t the decision taken at the highest level. ”Some of the new English GCSE textbooks allegedly had errors and misprints due to a rushed print run.
“With English it was the case that not all the specifications had been passed by Ofqual at the point at which teaching needed to start. Publishers were getting their books ready to promote on the basis of not quite knowing the exact requirements of the papers,” he added. “There was definitely a rush to getting books out.
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She added: “Our experience has been that students have, very sadly, not enjoyed the new course. This has, in my personal experience, led to a downturn in the student uptake at A-Level.
” English GCSE students were confused by an error in an OCR exam paper It follows an embarrassing apology issued by the exam board OCR earlier this year, after it printed a paper on Romeo and Juliet which mistakenly identified the character Tybalt as a Montague If English is not your first language, you may need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, such You can do this by showing that you have completed certain secondary or tertiary qualifications, by taking Postgraduate coursework..