Wiltshire Publications

GCSE students under too much pressure says local parent

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 at 4:23 pm.

A PARENT of a Matravers School student has expressed her concern about the amount of pressure put on students in preparation for their GCSE exams.

Danielle Ashwell says that her 16-year old daughter was ‘exhausted and very tired’ because of the amount of revision work and extra lessons she was expected to attend, which also included lessons during the school holidays.

She believes that the school is focussed on ’being the best’ and achieving the ‘best GCSE results’, to the detriment of her daughter’s health.

“I’m disgusted with the way the teachers are adding pressure on the students to revise,” she said. “My daughter revises every evening, she also attends her P6 lessons which enable her to attend her prom, and in the Easter holidays she gave up her time to go into school to revise. She also attends lessons after or before her exams daily, which as a parent I think is enough for one person to handle.

“After a conversation with the deputy head Mr Solomons, I’m even more disgusted to learn that they are taking away the May half-term that my child has earned, and expecting her to attend school again during half term.

“My daughter is exhausted and very tired due to all of her revision. So I have made it clear that she will not be attending half-term lessons and she will be having a break. I was told by Mr Solomons that I will be risking her grades if I don’t let her attend, and was also told that she is in competition with every other year 11 student across the country. Each student is not in competition, the school wants to be the best with the best GCSE results, so they add more pressure onto my child in order to achieve this.

Kingdown School is allowing their year 11 students study leave, so why isn’t Matravers? My daughter’s health is more important then her GCSE grades and I’m disgusted that a school believes otherwise.”

White Horse News presented Matravers School with a list of Danielle’s comments and concerns and in response, headteacher Dr Simon Riding said, “Matravers School has once again worked extremely hard to help, support and guide pupils towards the formal examination season this summer. This year sees further changes to the GCSE system with 20 more subjects, alongside English and maths, being graded on a 1-9 scale.

“Throughout the preparation period, teachers and support staff have routinely provided additional learning opportunities through holiday schools and after-school sessions. This is all designed to help pupils achieve the best possible grades that they can.

“The new examination system is designed by Government to be harder, with standards expected to rise from this. Whilst pupils have been exceptionally well prepared, the demands made on pupils across the country have risen significantly.

“The Department for Education acknowledged on 14th May this year in their press release that, ‘Hundreds of thousands of pupils are preparing to take new, more rigorous GCSE exams this week, which are on a par with the best performing education systems in the world.’

“Our national examination system is based on competition between pupils across the country; only a certain proportion of each grade is issued each year.

“Last year, when comparing the performance of our pupils to similar pupils nationally, our Progress 8 score was significantly above national average and in the top 5% of schools in the country. This was a stunning achievement for the pupils and the school community to achieve this success. In English and maths, our progress was in the top 12% of schools across the country.

“This further confirms the excellent hard work of pupils, staff, parents and the whole community in helping our young people to be extremely successful. GCSE performance enables pupils to progress on to the highly-aspiring opportunities within our own successful sixth form, apprenticeships or employment that they wish to choose.”

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