Monthly Archives: August 2014

Three R’s on the up

I think the term Three R’s is one of my least favourite educational terms, mostly because the only one of these R’s that actually even begins with R is Reading (if you didn’t know, the others are Writing and Arithmetic). Am I the only person who think they should be killed RAW skills? Anyhow enough of that …

It was announced today that there has been a sharp rise in the results for the Three R’s as measured by our SATs results. Four out of five 11-year-olds (79%) achieved Level 4 in their Sats tests in reading, writing and arithmetic, up from 75% in 2013. Results in the new grammar and spelling tests, first sat in 2013, rose three percentage points at Level 4 to 76%.

The government said thousands more pupils were secure in the basics. School reform minister Nick Gibb said the results showed that teachers and pupils had responded well to the higher standards his government’s education reforms have demanded. “Our education system is beginning to show the first fruits of our plan for education, helping to prepare young people for life in modern Britain. There is more to do but teachers and pupils deserve huge credit for such outstanding results.” He said: “Eighty thousand more children than five years ago will start secondary school this year secure in the basics – and able to move on to more complex subjects. It means in the long term these children stand a far better chance of winning a place at university, gaining an apprenticeship and securing good jobs. We have set unashamedly high expectations for all children, introduced a new test in the basics of punctuation, spelling and grammar, and removed calculators from maths tests.”

In detail, the results show improvements in all subjects at Level 4.

• Reading – 89% – up five percentage points

• Spelling, punctuation and grammar 76% – up three percentage points

• Maths – 86% – up one percentage point

• Writing 85% – up two percentage points (Based on teacher assessments)

From this year, schools are deemed to be underperforming if fewer than 65% of pupils achieve Level 4 in all subjects in the last year of primary school. I still don’t necessarily agree with it being based on percentage, especially having worked in a couple of small schools in my rather short career. In fact I’ve worked in a Year 6 class with only 18 children, and around half a dozen of them were on IEPs and were not predicted to achieve level 4’s across the board. Fortunately the IEP children did very well so the school was not deemed underperforming. But it could quite easily be a whole different story, where a school with fantastic staff could be deemed underperforming and who knows what would happen to morale then?

I’ll tell you though one of those stats that bothers me is this Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar one. Nearly 10% lower than the others? That suggests that perhaps we need to be put a bit more focus into teaching that as a matter of urgency. I mean I know we are being a technology driven age and word processing programs carry a spell check feature, but how do you know a word is really spelled wrong if you can’t in fact spell in the first place? How do you know the computer is 100% accurate? I mean it’s very easy to have the program set to recognise the English (US) language instead of English (UK), in which case you could end up learning how to spell words incorrectly. We need to start giving this more attention, but making sure we do not lose the great results we are achieving in the other subjects.

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Sex Ed at Seven?

The wonderful area of the curriculum known as sex education, or to give it it’s full title ‘sex and relationships education’, the topic that receives much debate over when we should start teaching our children.

Well the Liberal Democrats have recently spoken out that all children in England’s state schools should receive lessons on this topic from the age of 7 years old, so basically Year 3. The idea behind this is that so long as the lessons are age-appropriate, it is all part of the government’s idea of building a ‘curriculum for life’ which will also include Citizenship and money management. The idea is backed by Labour although they suggest that the Lib Dems have not delivered it so far.

Under the Lib Dem plans, which will be included in the party’s manifesto for next year’s general election, schools would be required to offer lessons on sex and relationships in Key Stage 2 – which includes children aged seven to 11. The party also plans to make all state-run secondary schools offer the lessons, which form part of the wider area known as personal, social and health education (PSHE).

At present, state secondary schools run by local authorities must offer sex and relationships education, but free schools and academies are not required to do so. Lib Dem schools minister David Laws said: “It is vitally important that children learn all the life skills they need when they are at school, and Liberal Democrats believe that this should include learning financial literacy, citizenship and age-appropriate sex and relationship education. We have long made the case, both inside and outside government, for updated sex and relationship education to be taught in all schools, including academies and free schools, but it is not something the Conservatives are open to. We believe that by educating children about sex and relationships in an appropriate way, we can help them to make informed choices in their personal lives.”

The Labour Party said it had been calling for the move for years and that the Lib Dems had voted against a similar proposal when the opposition tabled it in the House of Lords earlier this year.

“Violence in young relationships is a huge issue as is preventing violence in future relationships,” said shadow Home Office minister Seema Malhotra. “Only through ideas like compulsory sex and relationship education can we tackle the root causes of domestic abuse and give young people the tools and support they need to make informed decisions about their lives. It is welcome that the Lib Dems have finally caught onto this agenda but they have had four years in government to take some action and have failed.”

The Department for Education said sex and relationships education was an “important part of preparing young people for life in modern Britain”. “Sex and relationship education is compulsory in all maintained secondary schools and many primary schools also teach it in an age appropriate manner,” a spokeswoman said. “We also expect academies and free schools to deliver relationship education as part of their provision of a broad and balanced curriculum. We have also made financial literacy compulsory for the first time ever for 11-to-16 year olds, which will cover the importance of budgeting, sound money management and how different financial services work.”

Overall GCSE Grades risen, butt ay drop inn Inglish

It’s another results day! This time for those hundreds of thousands of pupils who have battled through the wonderful world of GCSEs.

As you can tell from the title, there has been quite a significant drop in the English GCSE results, however the overall number of those achieving the A*-C grades have risen on average across all subjects. So it looks like on average we’re improving, but become seemingly less literate. Slightly worrying …

Exam officials revealed that 68.8% of entries scored A*-C, up 0.7 percentage points on last summer. However, The proportion of pupils getting the top A* grade across all subjects fell slightly to 6.7%, down from 6.8% last year.

There were significant differences between the A* to C grade results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – where increasingly dissimilar versions of GCSE are being taught. Results rose in each of the three education systems.

There have been warnings of “volatility” in results following an overhaul of the exam system. Brian Lightman, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, reported “increased volatility” in the results being received by schools. A “significant minority” had not received their predicted results, he said, with schools with many disadvantaged students having been “hit the hardest”. “The volume of change has made year on year comparisons in GCSE results increasingly meaningless. It is almost apples and oranges,” said Mr Lightman.

Andrew Hall, head of the AQA exam board, said the most significant impact on this year’s results has been the big fall in younger pupils taking exams a year early. Changes in the league tables discouraged schools from such multiple entries. I am still not convinced this isn’t holding back those children who are capable of getting high quality grades a year earlier. I don’t agree with schools using this system to as a pass to get more than one attempt at these GCSEs, but if they are capable of getting an A* or an A a year early, then let them.

It is important also to remember that across the three nations of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whilst all have the same name of GCSEs, they are in fact different courses because the reforms such as the switch to linear, non-modular courses and less coursework, have applied only to England.

The results in English seem to have been most affected, with the number of A*-C grades down 1.9 percentage points to 61.7%. This was also influenced by the removal of the “speaking and listening” element of the subject.

The CBI’s deputy director general, Katja Hall, said exam reforms have helped to increase “rigour”. But from an employer’s perspective, she said more was needed to ensure a GCSE grade was an accurate measure of “skills they can bring to the workplace”. The removal of speaking and listening from the English GCSE was “particularly concerning”, said Ms Hall. She also warned that “we cannot continue to turn a blind eye” to the question of whether there should be such an exam for 16 year olds.

There is still a significant gender gap in this year’s results, with 73.1% of girls’ exam entries achieving A* to C compared with 64.3% for boys.

Exam officials also highlighted a fall in the numbers of entries for biology, chemistry and physics, the first such decline for a decade.

Another factor that can be considered an influence has been the ability of some schools, notably free schools and academies, to hire unqualified teachers, which is something highlighted by Tristram Hunt. “It is now the case that some of the pupils who have received their grades today may have higher qualifications than the teachers who will be teaching them at the start of the next school term,” claimed Mr Hunt.

Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment at Buckingham University, warned of “shocks in store” for some schools, depending on “how much they relied on gaming the old system”.

“All of this piecemeal change to GCSE means that is incredibly difficult for schools to forecast what grades students might expect to achieve, or indeed to compare the school’s results with previous years,” said head teachers’ leader Brian Lightman. Young people are not statistics. They are individuals whose life chances depend on these results. They have worked extremely hard for these exams and been conscientiously supported by their teachers. I hope that their results do them justice.”

Chris Keates, leader of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said this year’s GCSE exam entrants had to “cope with a raft of rushed through and ill-conceived changes to the qualifications system and so today’s results are especially commendable”.

The National Union of Teachers’ leader Christine Blower said that the headline figures “mask underlying issues which will only become clear over time”. “We must ensure that changes being made to our qualifications system do not unfairly disadvantage specific groups of students, including those with special educational needs or those from backgrounds of economic disadvantage.”

As always, if you either have students receiving their results or are in fact a student receiving your results, I hope you all got the results you were striving for and will continue on to achieve your potential in whatever route you go down.

Child’s drawing a predictor of intelligence?

One of the many activities children love to do when they’re young in their free time is to simply draw, and sometimes when their imagination runs wild you can get some real amazing ones. I’ve even had kids attempt to draw pictures of me in the past. Normally you don’t think anything of it, but is there more to it than we think?

A study might suggest so as it suggests that the way children draw at the age of four can be a predictor of later intelligence. Sounds weird? I thought so too when I saw this study come up.

Researchers asked 7,752 pairs of twins to draw a picture of a child which was then scored by the number of features such as head, legs, hands and feet. The children were also asked by the King’s College, London team to complete intelligence tests at age four and 14. They found a moderately strong link between higher drawing scores and the later intelligence test results.

The team, led by Dr Rosalind Arden, of King’s College’s Institute of Psychiatry, used a Draw-a-Child test devised in the 1920s to assess children’s intelligence at the age of four. Dr Arden said: “Drawing is an ancient behaviour, dating back beyond 15,000 years ago. Through drawing, we are attempting to show someone else what’s in our mind. This capacity to reproduce figures is a uniquely human ability and a sign of cognitive ability, in a similar way to writing, which transformed the human species’ ability to store information, and build a civilisation.”

She said it was no surprise the test results correlated with the verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests taken at age four, but added: “What surprised us was that it correlated with intelligence a decade later. The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly. Drawing ability does not determine intelligence, there are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life.”

The researchers also looked at whether a child’s drawing ability was inherited. They did this by separating out the drawings of identical twins and non-identical twins, and comparing them with each other. Identical twins share all their genes with each other, while non-identical twins share only 50% of their genes. However, both usually share the same family background and upbringing. As the drawings from identical twins were more similar to one another than those from non-identical twin pairs, the researchers concluded that drawing ability had a genetic link.

I have to say this is a really interesting study. I don’t know about you but I might pay a lot more attention to what the kids I teach draw and how well they’re drawing now. I will be curious to see if I can find similar results from them, as this is really fascinating to me. It might even add to a conjecture that maybe you could be born an artist, and if that’s the case, could you be born to be any profession? Oh the mind boggles …

Double down in oversized classes

The oversized class, every teacher’s worst nightmare, with several children all with differing needs and circumstances. One would hope for no class to be oversized.

Well, according to Labour today, actually quite the reverse is happening. In fact, they are claiming that oversized classes for infant primary school children have ‘spiralled by 200%’ since 2010, citing reasons that money is being spent on the government’s ‘pet project’ Free Schools program as opposed to dealing with the place crisis.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says data shows 93,000 pupils in England are in classes of more than 30, with 446 in classes of more than 70.

The government said it was Labour who cut primary places during a baby boom. The Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Tristram Hunt seems to have forgotten that it was Labour who cut 200,000 primary school places in the middle of a baby boom – at the same time as letting immigration get out of control.”

Labour analysed figures produced by the Department for Education earlier this year for pupils at infant schools, from age four to seven. The party says the figures show that of 93,000 children in classes of more than 30, including 40,000 in classes of more than 36, over a third were in classes of more than 40, while 5,817 were in classes of more than 50, 2,556 in classes of more than 60 and 446 in classes of more than 70 pupils. 70 pupils in a class! Wow! I would never have thought that high. I mean I remember being in a class of 40 at school in my middle school years, but 70? That’s a whole year group in one room surely?

Labour calculates that if the trend were to continue through the next parliament, as many as one in four pupils would be affected.

The current regulations set a lawful limit of 30 pupils in a class.

Mr Hunt highlighted the figures in a speech in London, part of a series by members of the shadow cabinet outlining the party’s analysis of key issues at the next general election. “In 2008 David Cameron said ‘The more we can get class sizes down the better’, but as parents and pupils prepare to begin the new school year, there are real concerns about the number of children in classes of more than 30 infants under the Tories,” said Mr Hunt. “By diverting resources away from areas in desperate need of more primary school places in favour of pursuing his pet project of expensive free schools in areas where there is no shortage of places, David Cameron has created classes of more than 40, 50, 60 and even 70 pupils. Labour will end the free schools programme and instead focus spending on areas in need of extra school places. The choice on education is clear; the threat of ever more children crammed in to large class sizes under the Tories or a Labour future where we transform standards with a qualified teacher in every classroom and action on class sizes.”

Mrs Morgan said the government had doubled funding to local authorities for school places. “As part of our long-term economic plan, the difficult decisions we have taken have meant we have been able to double the funding to local authorities for school places to £5bn, creating 260,000 new places. But Labour haven’t learnt their lesson. Their policy of not trusting head teachers would create more bureaucrats, meaning more resources are spent on paperwork not places. Children would have a worse future under Labour.” Mrs Morgan I have a question for you. Under the current government, as highlighted last week with the A level results, results in secondary school achievement has actually gone down in the last couple of years. Given that your party have been in government since 2010, can you please explain how the policies of your department has improved the standard of our education system?

Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network, which represents free schools, said two-thirds were being set up in areas with a shortage of places. “Every primary free school opening in London next month is in a borough with a projected shortfall. There is no denying that there is a huge pressure on our education system. Free schools are one part of the answer.” Notice how it’s two thirds, not all of them. Where are the other third being built then? Are they being built in affluent areas where there is no existence of a place shortage and why are we wasting money building them there?

Well the Free Schools debate is never going away whilst they exist, and I can’t talk enough about my reservations of them, especially given the nature of the staff and their qualifications, but early signs suggest they may be making a slightly positive impact. I’m not convinced they are the answer to the place shortage given the fact that some areas actually have a surplus of places where other areas fall short of adequate numbers. We need to make sure all families have a place at a local school, and not sending them miles away day after day to school. The other option of course is homeschooling or private tutoring but these come with their own health warnings and again I’m not particularly convinced by those either. Every child has a right to suitable education irrespective of where they are from and what background they are born into. As to how we can achieve that whilst we are in a party political state, noone will be able to agree on. Since I remain to be convinced on the principle of academies and free schools, I would like to see a halt in the creation of new ones until the current ones are found to be 100% certain to be having a positive impact.

A levels – Pass rate down, more university places

Today is results day for the A level students of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the news isn’t as positive as perhaps hoped.

A-level grades have edged down this year for the first time in 30 years, and there has been a slight fall in A* and A grades.

But there are, however, a record number of university places available and students could still get places even if they miss their grades.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says the government is “lifting the cap on aspiration”.

Exam officials say the results of this year’s A-levels are broadly “stable”. But for the third successive year the A* and A grades have fallen slightly – down from 26.3% to 26%. There were also marginal falls in the proportion of entries in the A* to B grades. But the very highest A* grade has risen from 7.6% to 8.2%.

For school leavers planning to go to university, there are suggestions this could be an unusually good year to apply, with a “buyer’s market” in which universities are competing to attract students. A student contacted the BBC and said that they had achieved two C grades and a D, but had still gained a university place for which the original offer had been three grade Bs.

There are an extra 30,000 university places available and it is expected that for the first time over 500,000 places will be allocated for courses this autumn. Universities continue to have a flexibility over recruiting students who achieve AAB grades or better.

The Ucas admissions service says that so far 396,990 students have been accepted on degree courses at UK universities – up 3% compared with this point last year.

Universities Minister Greg Clark says the expansion in places is an “important source of social mobility”.

The Joint Council for Qualifications, issuing the results, said there was a trend for more students to take so-called “facilitating subjects” at A-level, such as maths and physics, which can help university applications. But there have been big falls in the take-up of subjects outside this mainstream group, such as a 47% drop in critical thinking and 24% fewer entries in general studies.

Nick Foskett, vice-chancellor of Keele University, says students will have more options than in previous years, even if they do not get their expected grades.

“More students are likely to be accepted into their first choice, even if their grades are slightly lower than universities requested,” said Prof Foskett. “Many universities that have plans for growth will be using this year to expand their numbers, so will be keen to accept students that may have been rejected in previous years.”

The Russell Group of leading universities has indicated that there will be more flexibility than usual. “Some Russell Group universities may still have places available in some subjects for students who have done better than expected,” said the group’s director general, Wendy Piatt. “There may also be places available for highly-qualified students who have narrowly missed out on their first choice.”

More universities than usual are expected to take part in the clearing process, which matches students looking for a place with any available courses.

For students doubting the accuracy of their grades, the Information Commissioner’s Office says they have a right to see how their exams were marked. This is an addition to the exam boards’ appeals process.

This year’s results will include the first A-level grades from a free school, the London Academy of Excellence.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said he would scrap the government’s plan to remove the link between AS and A-levels. This de-coupling of the exams would limit young people’s “opportunity to realise their full potential”, said Mr Hunt.

The CBI’s director general John Cridland said after so much concern over grade inflation “we should not beat ourselves up if grades and overall passes don’t go up each and every year”. But Mr Cridland raised concerns about the continuing decline in students taking modern languages.

Head teachers’ leader Brian Lightman said this year’s results were a “real good news story”. “It shows how hard students and teachers have worked in the face of changes to exams to achieve results that are as high as ever.”

Ok so let’s take a quick summary of all this: results are down in significant places, yet because of all these extra university places, more and more are still going to university despite not necessarily achieving their grades. For me personally this smells of a slight mockery of the grade requirements if several people are getting into university having not achieved the grades. It reminds me of this Labour drive that everyone must go to university which is what gives birth to so-called ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees just to get people in, when perhaps university isn’t the destined place for these people.

Well it’s safe to say on a national scale, a rather mixed bag of news for A levels. I hope, however, that the vast majority of people who were aiming for the top grades got them, and I wish those who are going to university the very best of luck in whatever degree you are going into. Best advice I can give you as someone who will not long be out of uni: Work hard, get a core group of friends around you as early as possible, and make every possible use necessary of the support network there!

Sparklebox – My take

Over the past decade or so, mixed reactions have been given with regards to teaching website Sparklebox, with some teachers well and truly against it, and some that offer a more positive view.

For those who are unaware, the owner of Sparklebox, Daniel Kinge (formerly Samuel Kinge but changed his name by deed poll) is a convicted sex offender and former teacher. He was convicted for downloading images of children being abused from the internet.

When the story broke out, several grids across the country blocked the website, including The South West Grid for Learning, amid reports that a blog containing such images was ongoing and some of those pictures appeared on the Sparklebox site and that there was a presence of interactive technology on Sparklebox, which, given the convictions of Mr Kinge, means that he has possible access to contact with children. This is, of course, unacceptable and as pointed out by an e-safety official from the SWGfL, such people should not be allowed to have access to children via the internet.

Mr Kinge had a ban on use of the internet overturned in 2005 on grounds of no internet would prevent him having almost any kind of job (make of that what you wish). However, he was issued with a Sexual Offenders Protection Order spanning 15 years from that point, which means he is not allowed to use any form of computer which is not monitored by the police. It has also been claimed by a spokesman from West Murcia Police that a family member had taken over Sparklebox.

In 2010, Mr Kinge was sent to prison for a year following charges by West Murcia Police. As a result of this, a spokesperson for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceops) said ‘Ceops feels that schools can resume use of this website in line with their normal risk assessment and management processes and in consultation with local authorities’.

Despite this, there is still debate over whether Sparklebox should be used or not. Here is where I stand.

Let’s forget about the owner for a moment, and look at the resources themselves. First thing to think about is that the resources offered on the site are free, and clearly popular as it’s very difficult to go into a classroom and not find something that has had some connection to Sparklebox. Clearly the resources are fantastic otherwise they wouldn’t be used. The fact that these resources are free as well means that all teachers have access to a vast array of useful resources for their classroom. Is this not a good thing?

OK so the resources were made by a convicted sex offender, but bare in mind he was a teacher, so these resources was designed by a teacher, for teachers and parents. The original owner is still under the watchful eye of the police and the site is no longer being run by him, and the blog that was happening at the time has been closed down, so claims I’ve seen dotting around twitter and facebook every time someone suggests using Sparklebox that we’re funding a sex offender to me doesn’t add up.

Would I use Sparklebox? If the resources would benefit the children I teach in some way and they are free, yes I would. I mean come on, the resources are really nice, why deny yourself access to such thing, especially given that similar sites which offer great resources either incur subscription costs or charge for each resource individually. I mean I’m not against paying these costs if it was worth it, in fact i recently spent a fair bit of money on one site which had some amazing resources on it so I’ve got myself a little box of tricks including interactive display games, a visual timetable, some maths and literacy activity cards and some motivational posters, but if there are free and useful resources about, grab them. As a student you always love it when you get free stuff, why not as a teacher?

No Plan B for would be students?

So imagine the scenario: you’re a prospective university student, aiming to get AAB in your A-levels to get your first choice university place and course that you really want to do. After 2 years of hard work and graft it all comes down to the final exams. You’ve revised time and time again and taken all the exams. But there’s a problem. It’s results day and your grades come back BBC … not what you need. What’s the plan?

Well, it has been reported today that more than half (around 54%) of students in England and Wales do not have a backup plan should this scenario arise, according to Which? University. Researchers questioned 1012 students across England and Wales in the anticipation of their A level results due to be released next week.

This isn’t the only alarming statistic they found. Here are some more;

Of the 1,012 students questioned, 939 of them held conditional offers for their university place, dependent of course on their A level results. However less than half of these (48%) were confident of getting the grades required for their first choice.

More than four fifths (82%) said they had an insurance choice as a backup, but 40% of these said they didn’t really want to go there. Just under a quarter (23%) said their insurance choice had the same or higher entry requirements as their first choice university.

Almost three quarters (70%) of those questions had not researched the clearing process for unfilled degree places. Last year 12% of applicants got their places through clearing, but the survey reveals some misunderstanding among this year’s students of how the system works. Some 54% wrongly think that if they do not get the grades for their first choice, but do get their insurance choice, he or she can still apply for another course through clearing. A further 22% said they did not know whether this was true or not. Actually if the student wants to take their chances on clearing, they would have to give up their second choice university place.

Which? University’s Sonia Sodha said a plan B was a good idea “just in case”. Ms Sodha said: “As A-level results day approaches, it’s an understandably stressful and nerve-wracking time for prospective students, especially those who aren’t confident they’ll get into their first choice university. Hopefully they won’t need a back-up plan, but we advise they research all their options just in case.”

Nick Davy, higher education policy manager at the Association of Colleges advised applicants to explore credible alternatives to a three-year full-time academic degree before results day. “These can include full or part-time higher education offered by colleges, which is often cheaper, and a range of professional certificates and diplomas such as marketing and accountancy. There’s also the option of an apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship in a range of occupations. Students need to weigh up what their employment prospects will be after degree study against the debt they will accrue and seriously consider what an alternative educational and training route may bring in terms of expense, career progression and financial rewards.”

Jason Geall, of The Student Room website, also urged planning ahead in case of surprises, either good or bad. Students who exceed their grade predictions can face having to make snap decisions about “whether they want to change university altogether”, said Mr Geall. “With a week to go until A-level results day, we would advise all students to sit down and understand exactly how clearing works, and start sketching out some scenarios. The worst thing would be making a snap decision under pressure that could affect a future career and finding yourself on a course you don’t like. There’s still time, now, to get it right.”

For me this just highlights how unclear the system is when it comes to university and higher education. The government insist on trying to get people into univerisities, yet the career’s advice often doesn’t talk about the clearing process. I’ve more or less gone through university now and I still don’t know exactly how it works, I was fortunate enough to not require that as I got into my first choice and had 3 other offers as a backup. I can see where the confusion is in that respect. The other problem is students in a way are almost taught the mentality of aim for your first choice without a mind to think of backups, as certainly my experience at school I was told ‘you need this for your first choice’ or words to similar effect. It’s a mentality we all need to change so we can maximise the potential of as many would be students as possible.