Challenge and Change

Check out Anne’s article in this month’s copy of The Cheshire Magazine. You can read this below, or see the magazine in full at

Challenge and Change
Some parents will be using all tactics to spur their children off Instagram and into action, while others will be reminding them that they should go to bed at some point in the early hours when they finally pack in the revision for the night. All around there is anxiety, as the importance of exam results for the next step comes into sharp focus.

Summer 2017 brings two additional challenges for Y11 in maths and English. The first is that these subjects have each undergone a significant change in their curriculum which is being examined for the first time this year – a move which, it’s universally agreed, will make the exams more difficult. While parents may be in favour of this in principle – it’s generally accepted that the exams had become ‘dumbed down’ over recent years – there’s still a sense that they wish their children had managed to get through on the previous system.

The second change for everyone to get their heads around is the new grading system being introduced in maths and English, with other subjects following suit over the next two years. Out are the familiar A*-G grades and in come grades 9-1, bringing with them a whole load of uncertainty. Replacing an 8-grade system with 9 grades means, of course, that the two systems don’t equate, causing uncertainty in schools over grade boundaries and the various merits for young people of a ‘standard pass’ (grade 4) versus a ‘good pass’ (grade 5). The idea of the new system is that there can be greater differentiation, particularly at the top end where only 3 per cent of students are expected to achieve grade 9, the equivalent of an A**. Parents, be reassured that sixth forms, colleges and employers will be quick to adapt to the new system and will soon be clear about their requirements when offering courses or filling vacancies. Make sure your children know the grades they need, to follow their ambitions to the next level, and plan where to focus their efforts.

Finally, no matter what the curriculum or gradings, try to get the basics right during exam time – healthy eating, keeping active and a calm environment. And not too much screen time!