Congratulations to Redbridge students, teachers, headteachers and parents on excellent GCSE and A level results. Nationally however the results , although the second best ever, declined on last year. There are real concerns regarding GCSE English where the goalposts were moved half way through the year so students taking the exam in January received higher grades for the same marks as the majority who took the exam in May. When Parliament returned from its summer recess on Monday Education Secretary Michael Gove was challenged to explain what happened. The regulator OFQUAL seems to be acting as a cheerleader for his policies rather than as an independent regulator .
The great achievements of British sports men and women this summer were based on years of hard work, dedication and public investment. But one of the first actions of the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat government was to scrap the School Sport Partnerships introduced by Labour. They also removed the minimum requirement for sport in schools. In an effort to spin his way out of bad headlines, the Prime Minister announced on the closing day of the Olympic Games that competitive sport would become part of the national curriculum in primary schools. But the national curriculum does not apply to “free schools” and academies.
The fantastic London Olympic Games have been followed by the best ever Paralympics. I spent the weekend at Stratford enjoying Athletics on Saturday evening and a Day Pass on Sunday. Attitudes to disability have changed enormously in recent years but we still have a long way to go in employment and access to services, and the celebration of difference and progress of the opening Paralympic ceremony will be followed in a few months by reduced disability benefits as a result of the austerity policies being introduced by the Conservative led government.