1975

The Jackson 5 in 1975

The Jackson 5 in 1975

Remember 1975? Possibly not, but I was reminded of the summer of that year recently when my good friend from school Richard Leahy sent me a pdf of the Physics_O_level_1975 (pdf). Please feel free to download the paper and have a go. There is no doubt that it requires a level of recall and facility with formulae and abstract manipulations that go way beyond GCSE. I don’t want to go on and on about this, but these days Richard is a fair old whizz with at all kinds of brain imaging. And he was set on this road to making peoples lives better by his education. He didn’t come from a family of academics and neither did I. I don’t have any doubt at all that if we had had the kind of education being offered in schools today, it would have been impossible for us to have achieved we have. The education we had stretched us and we are failing the capable children of today if we fail to stretch our children to achieve what they can.

Take a look at some of the things he can do at his site.

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One Response to “1975”

  1. Mel Williams Says:

    It’s interesting to read this post and the O-Level physics paper, having read your earlier comments about the WLA, because, together, they encapsulate the issue about “dumbing down” science exams.

    WLA is a fully inclusive comprehensive school, providing an education based upon a statutory curriculum for all of its pupils, to age 16. In such an establishment, the challenge of providing a science syllabus academic enough to meet the needs of the 1975 Physics paper would be immense (not least because many academically-orientated science teachers are not be able, or willing, to teach such a broad spectrum of pupils’ abilities and needs). It is not only the physics that would be difficult – just read the instructions to candidates, both the reading-age (for decoding) and the comprehension-age (for understanding are high. Such an exam is, openly and correctly, a first qualification for a career in science, and was offered to a minority of pupils – in the main, those who had passed the 11+, and so attended selective, grammar, schools.

    The remainder of the population, well, the majority actually, educated in secondary modern schools, were not, in the main, expected to achieve O-levels, but the School Leaving Certificate or, latterly, the Certificate of Secondary Education

    The comprehensive experiment, which gathered pace after 1965, so that, by 1975, practically all of the secondary schools in England were comprehensives, was intended to engineer a more inclusive society, through educating all children in the same establishment, thus removing the stigma from pupils who were, previously, commonly referred to as having ‘failed’ at the age of 11yrs. In fact, what has occurred is that academic courses have been shaded out by the growth of a more ‘general’ expectation, suited to achieving a broadly educated citizenry. It is tragic that we have, largely, failed to keep both academic and general routes open successfully and together.

    Can we go back? Worryingly, I was once – and not very long ago – in a room where a chief examiner said words to the effect that there was no need for excessive concern about the disappearance of academic courses in state education, because the independent education sector has the capacity to produce the United Kingdom’s future scientists!

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