A welcome change to A-levels

A welcome change to A-levels

After many years spent considering a reform to education, the British government has finally proposed an amendment to the A-levels curriculum.  Similar to the International Baccalaureate, the newly-suggested A-levels curriculum does not aim only to widen students’ knowledge, but it is also designed to be more practical than the current curriculum. It will give students a chance to serve their community, take up subjects relevant to their interests, and gain more real-life experience in the fields they wish to study later on.  All these changes can better equip one before they enter university. In reality, a lot of companies and employers agree that key skills and work/life experiences are far more important than the grades students obtain in school and at university. Many real life situations can never be learnt at institutions but will instead have to be dealt with in daily life.  It is beneficial for students to experience and create solutions for these situations at an early stage.  It is also advantageous for students at their sixth form period to get a taste of the industry they will study, and perhaps work in, in the year before they make their big decisions. The new A-levels curriculum, a.k.a. ABacc, allows students to take ‘contrasting’ subjects which broaden their minds and horizons, participate in voluntary services and excursions, as well as write a 5,000-word dissertation-like essay. This will no doubt widen students’ breadth of knowledge, and enable them to study subjects of their own interests and not solely for gaining the ‘required grades and modules’ set by universities as in the previous system.  However, just as the Labour Party...
Rousing the wrong elephant: the case in Rochdale.

Rousing the wrong elephant: the case in Rochdale.

Anyone tuning in to the 27 September edition of Question Time must have felt the tension when the question relating to the Rochdale grooming gang was raised.  It clearly pointed the finger at ‘Political Correctness’ and the nervousness of public institutions to deal with issues relating to perpetrators from minority groups. The politicians responded by ignoring the question’s slant and Steve Coogan gave a nervous nod in the support of the questioner, pre-empting the glee of the Daily Mail.  Surprisingly, Kirstie Allsop seemed to graze the real issue at hand pointing to the authorities’ views of the girls, implying that it was perceptions of poor young girls that motivated the social workers, police and prosecutors into inaction. The case notes released show no evidence that ethnicity of the perpetrators played any part in the authorities inertia.  They instead paint a clear picture that judgement was based on the background of the victims.  Police and prosecutors explicitly referenced the chaotic lifestyles on council estates to suggest the victims were not credible. According to one victim, her parents contacted social services to raise concerns but were told she was a prostitute and it was a lifestyle choice. Though there are issues within the Asian community in how some men view (non-Muslim) women, these issues did not influence the actions of the authorities.  Instead, it seems prejudices within wider society permeate the very bodies that are supposed to support these vulnerable people.  With the authorities’ vilification of victims expressed so strongly it is hard to see why the perpetrators’ ethnicities would need to be a factor leading to their inertia.  In light...