Is the addition of the super grade no.9 going to get us a place at super world no.1?
Exams regulator Ofqaul have confirmed the introduction of the New GCSEs system that will be graded 9–1, where Grade 9 is the highest grade, set above the current A*.
Even after consultation, where a mere 15% of the 328 responses from teachers, parents and education specialists agreed with the change, are we getting caught up in the pressure of playing the number game?
Ten percent even questioned the need for this notion stating it felt “like a gimmick.” Furthermore the most damming verdict showed that “the current system of A* to G grades is so familiar and established that it is difficult to see how a new system would deliver benefits that would compensate for the inconvenience of its introduction”. So what’s the point?
As reported on the BBC, Caroline Jordan, President of the Girls` School Association (GCA) expressed concern that the change will force our kids to have “a tendency towards perfectionism.”
Are we scrutinising ourselves in not reaching the inimitable standards set by Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, China and Japan that continue to dominate international rankings for maths and science? In recent years the academic success of our kids has become paramount, due to international rivalry. But are we masking students’ true talents?
The BBC have revealed what it takes to thrive academically in North Korea (BBC One programme “School swap Korean style”) gives 3 welsh students an insight into the challenges faced on a day-to-day basis for a typical Korean student. When realising the mental strain that both communities of students endure, it became clear that we are accelerating too fast and this 9-1 system may just break us. Is this acceleration in hopes for perfection or tumbling towards depression?
Mixed anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders in Britain, a leading charity has warned. Record numbers of students aged 14-16 have already sought professional advice ahead of their exam results. These statistics prove that our current grading system has not acted as a stimulus to motivate our students, contrary to initial thoughts, and instead has impaired their ability to see past their imperfections. Therefore, are we meddling unnecessarily with the well-being of our children for the sake of trumping the league tables and reaching that number 9?
Easter Rising - By Beth Y and Daisy A - Rosebery School
Easter Rising – remembered as our mistake?
In Ireland, 1916, a historical event occurred. The Easter Rising! Now, 101 years later, we ask ourselves, should it be taught in English Schools today, and if so should we remember the mistakes we made?
The rebellion took place around April 1916, in Dublin. Ever since the time of the ‘Great Famine’, many sections of the Irish population had lost their faith in the British government. These people felt that the British did not care for their problems and complaints, it was as if they had become second Class citizens.
The IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) was formed in 1858. This was a secret organisation that longed for Irish Independence. In 1910 the IRB finally started declaring their belief. Ireland would need weapons, their only obvious option – Germany. This was no easy feat, as whenever the ships carrying German guns attempted to land, they were intercepted by the British. The IRB movement were short of both weapons and money.
As time went on, the British Intelligence, based in Dublin Castle, began to suspect that something was about to take place, undoubtedly an Irish Rebellion. The IRB were unsure, should they attempt an attack with barely any weapons against a deadly force or simply live under the British rule?
The final rising took place fairly quickly, partially because the British were occupied fighting in Europe, although the actual rebellion had taken many months of planning. Eventually the Irish attacked, but at a heavy cost. The Rising began on Easter Monday 24 of April 1916, lasting for six days. Not only did the IRB and other organisations rebel, but 200 women, which was incredibly unusual at that time. Fighting against such a dangerous force, the British Army finally suppressed the rebellion.
In total, around 3,500 people were taken prisoner by the British, some who had no part in the rebellion. 1,800 of those were sent to camps or prisons in England. 485 people were killed, around 54% of those were civilians, 30% were British Military and Police and 16% were Irish Rebels. More than 2,600 were wounded, many civilians hurt or killed due to the heavy machine guns and artillery.
As the years have gone on this upsetting and harmful mistake by the British has slowly been forgotten and covered up. Whilst we may be uncomfortable to admit our great error, should this be remembered for future generations to learn from?
We asked a fellow student what she thinks about the Easter Rising and how it should be remembered. “I had never heard about the Rising before today, but once it had been explained I believe that it should be remembered and students should be aware of this mistake. However, we should prioritise other historical events over this. In our history lessons England is always portrayed as a great country who is always on the ‘good’ side. I think that it is important to remember that even though England is a powerful and great country it can still make mistakes and this is a perfect example of that.”
We then asked a teacher her view. “I had heard of this before today, but I have to admit that I didn’t know that much. I think that it is very important to learn from our mistakes in the past so we don’t repeat them in the future, it is good to have a rounded curriculum and not to have bias ideas about a country,”
Therefore, should we learn about our mistakes as well, or just our successes?
Is this the cure for paralysis? By Abi.S - Rosebery student
We all dream of getting a nice phone or new toys, but some only dream of walking again. Professor Gregoire Courtine is making this a reality. He and his team have come up with a remarkable device to reverse paralysis caused by spinal injuries. Could this finally be the answer for the many people suffering from these injuries worldwide?
In 2013, Mr Courtine did a TED talk on “The paralysed rat that walked”. Back then, he was just at the starting point of this project. Here we are now, with more advancement in his technology; it won’t be long now!
Courtine and his team have experimented on a monkey, using a recording device implant to cure the paralysis in the monkey’s right leg. As reported in MIT Technology Review, “Go, go!” was the thought racing through Gregoire Courtine’s mind, as he and his team watched the monkey make its first few steps after paralysis. To make this work, his team had installed a recording device under its skull, so that it was touching the motor cortex. For the device to send messages to the spine, Courtine and his colleagues had also added a pad of flexible electrodes around the Monkey’s spinal cord, ensuring it was below the injury. When the Monkey had the intention to move, the recording device was able to recognise this and put the task into action. As quoted in MIT Technology Review, an exultant Courtine recalls “The monkey was thinking, and then boom, it was walking.”
Although this technology is very advanced and good to go on animals, Gregoire Courtine and his team are still working on the cure. It definitely won’t be long until it is put into place. Mr Courtine is aiming for availability in 10-15 years.
This is a complex progress but looking into the future, we have a cure.
New £1 coin – good or bad? By Charlotte L. Rosebery student
This month, on March 28, The Royal Mint is releasing a new pound coin. The UK is getting this new version of the widely known coin because, according to The Royal Mint, approximately 1 in 30 pound coins are counterfeit.
The plans were announced back on the 19th March 2014 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne. A competition was held in 2015 for the new reverse design and was won by David Pearce, 15, with the ‘nations of the crown’ seen below.
The new £1 has many new security features to protect it from being counterfeited:
There are 12 sides to make the shape harder to copy.
It is bimetallic – the outer ring is gold and the inner circle is silver (like a £2 coin)
At the bottom of the coin, on the side of the Queen’s face, there is an image like a hologram that says either ‘£’ or ‘1’ when viewed from different angles.
On both sides of the coin, there is micro-lettering on the lower inside rim; it says ‘one pound’ on the head side and the year of production on the reverse side.
It will be minted with milled edges on alternate sides
However, this decision comes at a cost; many businesses will have to upgrade their current coin-handling equipment (vending machines, self-service checkouts, etc.) to allow the new coin. Bryony Andrews, Vending International magazine’s features editor, warned that some vending machines may take a while to adapt. She said, “It could be difficult if operators haven’t got around to updating their equipment in time. In that case, there would be a period when they can’t accept the old coins or the new ones.” In the co-circulation period, March 28th to October 15th, all businesses will have to find a way to accept both types of coins, as they will both be legal tender. If this is not possible, customers should be informed which machines can take which coin.
But how confusing will the new coin be? Being bimetallic, it will look almost identical to the current £2 from a distance, except for the 12 sides. For the visually impaired, though, it will be easier to distinguish. I have interviewed Abi S for her view on the similarities between the new £1 and £2 coins. She said “I think that the coins will get easily confused in people’s change but I like the new style and how it will stop counterfeiters in the future.”
The new coin will be challenging but it will be worth it, saving the economy millions by stopping fake coins.
School Canteen by Sarah D. Nina J. Xanthe B. Lila N. and Jenna M.
STUDENTS’ REVIEW OF SCHOOL CANTEENS
Most students, and teachers alike, purchase food from secondary school canteens. Everyone at some point in their lives has had to endure the terrible taste of school meals, but over time they have obviously improved. However, with school dinners there will always be some flaws. Since the announcement that we now require to eat seven, or even ten portions of fruit and vegetables every day, rather than five, are our schools up to scratch?
We think that our school provides a wide range of healthy options, but does everyone else agree with us?
A Rosebery student said that “I think the school canteen is healthy because of all the healthy options they have.”
“The main thing I like about my school canteen is that there is a good variety of food and healthy options.” A student from St Andrews, Leatherhead, told us.
So when schools provide food, they also need to consider their presentation, which we have found, lets them down slightly. For example, some information has not been used correctly, we have discovered incorrect spellings, labels on the wrong products, and false marketing.
The negative things we have seen…
Prices rising over time
Some of the foods are constantly rising in price, no matter the season, by five or ten pence over periods of time.
Stickers and labels misspelt
On some of the labels that are stuck onto the food, there are typos and mistakes, such as cheese and pickle spelt as ‘chees and pickel’
Stickers and labels on the wrong products
We have seen stickers such as green vegetarian stickers on tuna baguettes and chicken baguettes, and a cheese and pickle label on a plain cheese baguette, which was five pence more than it was when labelled as a cheese baguette. A student at our school complained “I was very frustrated when I bought a BBQ chicken panini because it turned out to be a chicken tikka panini, which I do not like.”
Not enough vegetarian alternatives
A vegetarian student told us that “There are too many tuna and chicken sandwiches and baguettes, so it is quite hard to find enough vegetarian options if you get to the canteen later on.”
Incorrect advertising and false marketing
“In our school canteen there is a soup sign in the hot food area, but they do not serve soup.” Another student told us. The school advertise ‘meal deals’, however it seems to be very hard to find the certain foods that are in the meal deals. Students say that “They use unusual deals that we do not need.”
The wraps at our school are packaged so that it looks like you get a really big wrap, but actually there is just empty space where you would assume there would be more food.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and we are grateful for the standards of modern secondary school canteens.
The positive things that we have seen…
Wide range of food
There will always be another option, the canteen has many different meals, from hot meals, to salad and sandwiches.
The food is layed out clearly in organised rows, based on the food available.
Our canteen staff are always happy to help. We asked some students who shared their experiences, “I was trying to reach the top shelf to get a panini, but I was too small, so a kind member of staff helped me and showed me the options.” Another student told us, “They gave me a free cake when I did not have any money left on my finger print.”
Every day there are different hot meals , and different deals, and every Friday there is fish and chips, which is enjoyed by all, and even if fish is not your thing the pasta and salad bar are always open.
Good quality packaging
The packaging for the food is durable and is recycled. The packaging is always secure, light and easy to carry around with you on an average school day.
There is a wide variety of seating available to students during break and lunch. For example you have the options of the field, round tables in the canteen or picnic tables on the Quad.
All of the food is “handmade and locally sourced,” and the hot meals are always warm straight from the oven. sometimes restocking the food during lunch.
We have come to the conclusion that canteens will never exactly fit our expectations, but they are making improvements and while you cannot please everyone, they are enjoyed by many students all across the country.
SCIENCE WEEK at Rosebery School by Aba M.
This week at Rosebery, we have seen the annual Science Week, to celebrate National Women’s Day. Activities ran throughout the week from Monday to Friday.
According to Head Teacher, Ms Allen, raising the profile of Science is key because it’s important for women to be represented in the Sciences, Maths and Engineering.
Students at the school here really enjoy it because it is an opportunity to do activities they wouldn’t do in their lessons.
When asked about what she thought about Science Week, Caroline, a year 8 student at Rosebery, said “I think that it’s very good because there are lots of different activities that you can participate in. Also it’s not just for people who like science, there’s a big variety of things you can do. You can win prizes and it’s really fun.” Caroline also thinks that it’s harder to pursue a career in science because even though there’s more gender equality nowadays, women are still being discriminated against in certain career types because some people think that we are not as clever as men. In fact, women have made amazing discoveries in science, for example Marie Curie.
Amy, another year 8 student, was asked whether she was aware of Science Week last year and she said “no I wasn’t”. When asked whether she would pursue a career in science, Amy replied “I really like the psychology side of science so I probably will pursue a career in science”.
When other students were asked about their opinions on Science Week, they responded: “It’s a week dedicated to science. You learn new things” and when Sareena went last year, she learnt how to extract strawberry DNA!
NHS Overcrowding by Emma L.
NHS becoming overcrowded due to rise in teenage mental health issues
More than 100 colleges have “no choice” but to send students to A&E for mental health care.
Miss Allen, Head teacher at Rosebery School, Epsom, is concerned that students are suffering from more anxieties than ever before.
She said that the pressure of exams combined with the images that social media sites project, is making things much worse for teenagers.
Recently, mental health issues are becoming more and more common in teenagers, with 1 in 10 children and young people from as young as 5, to age 16 suffering from mental health issues such as eating disorders and severe depression. With added pressure to the already busy NHS, many areas have decided that they simply cannot afford to put money into mental health services. A recent study for BBC Panorama shows that over the last 4 years the amount of money spent £8 billion for healthcare. However, mental health trusts have not received any of the increase, therefore their funding has fallen by £150 million.
A new study from the BBC shows that three quarters of colleges all around the England are being forced to admit their students to A&E with a mental illness. 85% said that there was an increase in students’ cases of undisclosed mental health problems. A recent BBC Panorama shows that unexpected deaths from mental health services in England have risen by nearly 50% in the last 3 years. Since 2000 the number of beds for psychiatric patients in the UK has decreased by almost half. This means a cut of roughly 25000 beds.
Whilst the majority of colleges can have a dedicated team of staff to support students, because college funding has reduced by 14% over the past five years, many colleges struggle to afford a full time mental health worker. Now only 40% of colleges can afford a counselor for students to talk to about their issues. Unfortunately, this results in 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harming, with 68% being admitted to hospital because of it. An inspection of the Norfolk and Suffolk trust last year showed that there was only one lead care professional supporting 95 patients.
Typically, when searching images of mental health, one that comes up has been named the “headclutcher” image. The company ‘Time to Change’ discussed this image and Rehaan Ansari, a medical student at Newcastle University told the website that the “headclutcher” image is an unfair and inaccurate representation of what life is like with a mental health condition.
Theresa May says that she promises to provide extra funding for mental health reforms for young people. £1.4 billion is going to be used to transform the support available. As cases sometimes become so severe that young people go to hospital, a further £247 million will be invested in mental health services in hospital emergency departments. The government also plans to invest £7 billion into education for 16 to 19 year olds so that tams and whilst doing the exam itself. Additionally, a study done by BBC Radio 5 showed that 25% of parents were actually losing sleep worrying about their child’s upcoming exams. Miss Allen stated that as government cuts to external support services, such as CAHMS, has made it difficult for young people to access specialist help, and Rosebery School have been working hard to put in place a specialist team for students to receive advice from.
Many students said that at Rosebery School there was enough support, but 9 students said that the school should be friendlier and talk about support
In the same survey, 14 out of 20 said that they could talk to someone if they had a problem, and 12 students said it is unnecessary for students to be admitted to A&E. One student in particular, said that because it takes a long time for somebody to be cured of a mental illness, and not just a medicine, then they should not be taken to A&E.
Rehaan Ansari says “it is definitely time to change the attitude towards mental health” and NHS England says that improvements in care are underway as part of a nationwide plan.