Maths and English have always been core, compulsory subjects. They are the two subjects further education colleges and 6th forms look for when assessing student applications. Employers consider them essential qualifications – as a mark of a young person’s communication and thinking skills.
These subjects, too, were the first to be reformed under the government’s campaign to improve secondary school standards. From September 2015, students studying English and Maths have been following a new linear curriculum with exam assessment only at the end of two years’ study.
English isn’t easy
Much tougher than previous exams, with no coursework modules for English, the current year 10 cohort have a challenging journey through to 2017.
The higher level students will undoubtedly embrace the new challenges. Students further down the spectrum with special needs such as dyslexia, however, could be disadvantaged by the more complicated study format.
Dyslexic children with verbal memory problems could struggle to recall complicated poems and novels – now that exams are closed book.
And because there is no longer a higher and foundation paper to give all children the chance to achieve at their level, many children could feel downhearted at competing with more academic peers.
Many of you might say, that’s life. And it is… After all, GCSEs are supposed to – as former Education Secretary Michael Gove put it – “equip young people to win in the global race.”
It remains to be seen whether some GCSE students will get off the starting blocks…
Maths is harder to master
The Maths curriculum is tougher too. For many children, a new syllabus is something new to sink their teeth into. That’s always exciting… A curriculum offering real-world problems and financial maths will certainly appeal to high-end students who need stretching. However, for borderline C/D (4/3) and special needs children, the new Maths curriculum could be quite a conundrum.
Children now need to memorise several formulae – possibly penalising dyslexic and dyspraxic students. Plus, because much of the content which used to be on the higher paper has now filtered down to the foundation paper, there’s a wider gap to leap across. Of course, it’s good to be challenged…
However, the bigger question is how will children keep up with these changes and ensure they have an equal chance to everyone else in their peer group?
Private tuition to boost confidence
As we see all the time here at Lemon Tree Tutors, a fast-paced, full syllabus means that GCSE students often fall through the gap. And the gap keeps widening as the pace in class quickens.
Children struggling to understand new mathematical concepts have little time to digest them before another topic is introduced. A similar picture in English…
Working one-to-one with a tutor gives your child that time back. And helps them build skills and techniques so they don’t fall behind in class.
When you’re looking for an experienced Maths or English specialist in the Weybridge, Surrey area, please get in touch. All highly recommended, our tutors achieve consistenly brilliant results…
And new to West Sussex, if you need an expert GCSE English tutor who can help your child break through all the difficulties, call Nikki at Lemon Tree Tutors.