GCSE Reform: Proof that we are too old to say we miss school

Education is getting a shake-up. GCSE reform is just one of the governments latest plans to improve the school system. Here are some major changes to education over the years; we’ll leave it to you to work out if things are better or worse.


1) GCSE reform means tougher exams?

Education GCSE reform means calculators may be used for more than writing "boobs"

Wait, what?

New changes announced by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan mean students will have to work harder to get a pass. The traditional A-G grading system is being replaced by a 1-9 numbered system. 

9 is high, 1 is low. Should it not be the other way round?

Anyway students will now have to get a grade 5 to pass; the same as a low B or high C grade. Prior to GCSE reform a normal C grade was still considered a pass. So things are gonna be tougher; now are you glad you’re not at school anymore?


How long will it be before students are attempting to get the grades 5,3,1,8,0,0 and 8 in different subjects, so that they can turn their results paper upside down to spell “BOOBIES”?!


2) Sex Education

Sex Education - will this change under GCSE reform?

Awks. Maybe a GCSE reform on Sex Ed should be top of the agenda.

Back when you little things were innocent. It was pretty racy to be holding someones hand, or passing them a note.

In a piece for the Open University Professor Michael Reiss explains how sex education was very limited before World War Two.

Before that girls were tutored on self-control and modesty, whereas boys were taught about the temptations of “factory life”. Because it’s obvious that to lose your virginity you go to a factory, right?

Today, with high numbers of Sexting in schools maybe it’s a good thing that kids have all the factsBut is it possible sex education can go to far? Recently it was reported that Harvard University is now going to give an Anal Sex workshop as part of their Sex Week Program. Yes, that’s right. Anal 101. Maybe the UK government should have included foreplay lessons in the GCSE reform plan. Just kidding. 


3) University U-Turns

Back in the good old days university was free. You could even get grants to help pay for living costs. The Labour government spoiled things slightly by bringing in tuition fees. Which were then raised by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition. Guys, you really don’t need to try to out-do each other.

Education is a pricey one - university tuition fees are on the rise.


Despite the increase more young people are applying to university; in 2013, nearly 50% of young people were going. This was the highest amount on record.

Whether people are going to study or just for the cheap booze and banter is hard to tell. But the debt is going up, up, up. Some worry this will lead to people being priced out of an education.

Forget GCSE reform; is it time we had a reform of tuition fees?


4) Girl Power

Education GCSE reform An image of Emma Watson as Hermione in the Harry Potter Series

Five Points to Gryffindor

The days of Home Economics, where girls were taught how to cook and clean, are long gone.

What ever your views on feminism, things have drastically changed. Subjects are no longer specified for girls or boys.

In the past boys and girls were kept separated; people thought that girls would struggle academically compared to boys. Now, academically girls are outperforming boys at GCSE level.


5) #NewTechology

education gcse reform. An image from the TV show the IT crowd

Can your fancy coding tricks stop a fire? Wait, they can? Get outta here.

Typewriting lessons were once considered pretty rad. Computers arrived; they were for playing snake and creating presentations with clip art (a great way of not doing much and making it look awesome).

Now kids in secondary school are being taught how to code from an early age. Children use video, online tools and photoshop. Interactive online lessons have become popular; though so far this hasn’t meant we can work from home.

But… what happens to people who aren’t tech-savvy? If you’re a millennial who just missed out on the coding revolution; start crying, we’re screwed.


6) No more beatings.

Education GCSE reform - image of Bart Simpson writing lines from TV show the Simpsons

Only 257 lines to go.

You might think your teachers are tough on you, but in the past it was a lot worse.

In the past, you could expect to be beaten if you stepped out of line. The practice of hitting misbehaving students with canes was still allowed until 1986. Mental, huh?

Now as attitudes have changed new rules to protect students are much, much stricter. Punishments are often designed to make students think about what they’ve done wrong. Does this mean children are less likely to misbehave?

As well as knowing you’re not going to be beat up, student’s mental wellbeing is monitored by teaching staff. It’s hard deciding which topics should be included in a GCSE reform; exam board AQA have decided to take suicide off their education curriculum as it was too upsetting.


What we learned; if you’re 23/24, looks as if our kids are going to be screwing up their faces when when we mention GCSE’s, just like we did when our parents told us about O Levels. Welcome to the adult world.

Are schools better than they were in the past? Is the GCSE reform a good idea? What more needs to be done to improve our education system?


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