How cheering to find Old Bedalian Minnie Driver championing great teaching, both for Obama and for Pearson. (View more on the Pearson Teaching awards website and watch Minnie Driver talk about her Bedales teacher Alistair Langlands). Her last visit here was memorable for her saying at a Bedales assembly how much she regretted not staying on for the sixth form. Minnie also reminded students what a wonderful gift for life it was to be taught what made for really good writing, as it informed so many of her subsequent judgements as to what was good and what wasn’t.
We are currently in the thick of the UCAS application season and checking UCAS references daily, reforms to the system look like good sense: Post Qualification Application (PQA) is now firmly back on the agenda, but it has been before and universities haven’t gone for it. The attractions are considerable: if students apply once they have their grades, say in July, then they are at least six months older, have their actual results and are in a much better position to know what they want to do and where. UCAS’ figures on the number of A Level grade predictions that are correct (fewer than 10% are correct across all three grades) are a reminder of how approximate it all is at this stage. The biggest disadvantage of the new system would be the further erosion of teaching time. Summer holidays would need to be different, with the start of the school year moving into August, as it is in Scotland. Will PQA happen this time? I suspect that, with so much changing in the university sector there will be an appetite to push this through. If so, when? Not for a while – we are probably talking about the 2016 university entry at the earliest. See the consultation website for more details.
By Keith Budge, Head, Bedales Schools