Union leader slams school fine proposals

Pupils in an exam
Pupils in an exam

A WIGAN union chief has blasted proposals to fine schools when pupils fail to achieve a minimum C grade at GCSE maths and English.

Divisional Secretary for the Wigan branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Max Atkins hit out at a report from the right-of-centre Policy Exchange thinktank which says schools should be issued a “re-sit levy” per child.

The move would be to account for re-sit costs and as a payment for failing to get pupils their minimum qualifications.

The propsal came as hundreds of thousands of pupils who missed the required grades at GCSE now have to study and take their exams again, as part of the government’s compulsory re-sit policy.

Mr Atkins believes the proposals will only result in making pupils feel demoralised and he feels that singling out schools will not solve the problem.

He added: “More dangerous dystopian propaganda from the closet Nazis in the far right Policy Exchange, who clearly put the ‘tank’ into ‘hinktank.’

“This is their latest way of publicly blaming and shaming less academically-able students for not working hard enough and/or not being “clever enough”.

“Some students will never get a grade C in English or maths, no matter how many times they re-sit. These students will feel increasingly degraded, demoralised and worthless with every re-sit.

“In future, these will doubtless be the same students who, having ‘failed’ their SATs, will have already faced the humiliation of re-sitting them when they get to high school. What a great introduction to secondary school!

“What’s next? Fining parents if their child ‘fails’ the nursery baseline entry test? Fining primary schools for every pupil who ‘fail’ their SATs? Don’t say I didn’t warn you - the future will be very bleak if these Govian goons get their way.”

At the moment pupils undertake resits at a further education (FE) college.

And the report acknowledges how these colleges have been greatly hit by government cuts in recent years and may have to make futher savings in the coming spending review.

In 2013, FE colleges took five times more students than schools for English GCSE retakes.

Policy Exchange, which was founded in 2002 by the former education secretary Michael Gove among others, is seen as highly influential.

Many of its ideas have been closely followed by government.