Tag Archives: GCSE

GCSEs and the Erosion of the Education System

GCSEs, considered some of the most important exams of your life, but are they really inspiring confidence in our education system? In the past few years since this government has taken power, the overall average of those obtaining five ‘good’ GCSEs has been on the decline. In fact this year only 52.6% of those taking their GCSEs got the expected results, which is a significant drop on the 59.2% last year.

Now it’s very easy for the government to make the excuse: ‘Well we’ve changed the way that these results are calculated so that only those taking their first attempt at GCSEs are counting under this statistic.’ OK fine, we’ll work out the statistics using last year’s system and still the results show around 56%, which is still a significant collapse on last year’s results.

As if these results alone aren’t eroding the credibility of these exams. Well guess what guys? That’s not the end of the matter. It recently came out that this time round there have been a record number of successful challenges to marks of GCSE and A level papers. The number of appeals made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have doubled in the past three years. So not only are results tumbling, but people aren’t even marking these papers correctly? Who’s marking these papers, Joe Bloggs from round the corner? (apologies to anyone called Joe Bloggs who might be reading my blog)

Despite the drop, the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, welcomed this year’s results, saying: “I am delighted to see more and more young people taking the high-quality subjects that will properly prepare them for life in modern Britain. With record numbers taking science at GCSE and maths now the most popular subject at A-level our plan for education has finally reversed the decline in key academic subjects.”

The government introduced the changes after a review by Prof Alison Wolf, who found too many schools were entering pupils for GCSEs multiple times or relying on poor-quality vocational courses to inflate grades.

Schools whose results this year take them below a baseline target of 40% of pupils gaining less than five good grades could be closed or taken over by an academy chain.

At A-level this year, 11.6% of sixth-formers gained three A* or A grades, down from 12.5% last year. Boys did better than girls with 12.3% getting three A*-A grades, compared with 11.1% of girls.

Commenting on the GCSE figures, the ASCL general secretary, Brian Lightman, said: “Our qualifications system must be trusted. This year the opposite is happening. We are seeing a worrying drop in confidence in exams. We know there has been a massive increase in appeals. The statistical manipulation of results has led to a lack of predictability that few can make sense of. Students and teachers are struggling to understand this year’s results. We believe the most disadvantaged students have been hit hardest. This cannot be in anyone’s interest.”

ASCL president Peter Kent, who is head of Lawrence Sheriff school in Rugby, added: “We want a rigorous approach, but change needs to be introduced in a way that does not destabilise the system and unfairly disadvantage young people. We are working with the government to make sure we understand the factors that have contributed to the problems this year. Above all, it must not be allowed to happen again.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “We believe the fall in GCSE English A*-C grades is due to the removal of the speaking and listening element from the grade, and the likelihood that disadvantaged students struggled to get at least a C due to the shift to end of course exams. We have serious concerns about the government’s plans for GCSEs from 2015. Ofqual’s decision to return to an over-reliance on testing through final exams at the end of two years, which will assess only a small part of pupils’ achievements, and its drive to promote a narrow academic curriculum disadvantages young people and ignores the skills and attributes they need to live fulfilled personal and professional lives. Changes to what’s assessed in exams, along with uncertainty about the quality of marking, is turning the exams system into a lottery for young people. It also makes it extremely unfair for schools to fall under the government’s minimum performance standards based on potentially unreliable grades. We know there has been a massive increase in appeals and that this has dented public confidence in the exams system. Government changes to the system in the future will mean that confidence is further eroded.”

The schools minister Nick Gibb said the figures should “inspire confidence” in the examination system which would provide a more accurate picture of standards. He said: “You might think it odd for an education minister to extol the virtues of a drop in the national pass rate of those achieving the benchmark number of GCSE passes.” But, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Gibb added that the country needed “to be sure that the qualifications which young people study are of the highest possible quality, and that they work for young people, not politicians”.

I have to say it depresses me that in the 25 years or so we have had GCSEs we are still having problems with exams not being marked correctly, grades being challenged on a record level basis, and more and more people are failing to meet 5 A*-C grades, including in Maths and English. We are letting young people out of our education system without the basic skills they need to enter the wider world and survive. How this can inspire any confidence in the credibility in our education system goes beyond me. For me this is further proof that education doesn’t belong with the politicians, it belongs with the teachers and other education professionals who commited their lives to educating generations of young people for years to come. I personally think it’s about high time these politicians get in touch with society, and not lining their pockets.

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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.

Children should be taught to cook a minimum of 10 meals at school

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Great British Bake Off Mary Berry host told an audience she only took up cookery after being considered ‘too dim’ for academic subjects. She was sent to domestic science by teachers where she blossomed, she said. From there, a teacher praised her first efforts at making a treacle pudding and helped her develop her interest in cooking.

Now Mary Berry has said that all children should be taught to cook at least 10 full meals at school. Teachers should ‘blow the science of it’ and go back to showing young people ‘what’s good for them, how to buy it and how to make a few dishes that they enjoy and don’t cost too much’, she said.

When asked about the status of cookery teaching today, which can include lessons on nutrition and designing food packaging, she said: ‘Hopefully it’s coming back in schools. There is a drive for it to come back in schools and so there should be. But not in the form that it has been lately. It should be that every child when they leave school can do 10 meals, because when they leave home they’ve got to be able to eat healthily.’

Mary, 78, also paid her Great British Bake Off colleagues Mel and Sue a compliment about their skills in the kitchen during the festival.

Cookery has been long since falling away from the curriculum as a result of budgets being squeezed and kitchen spaces being replaced with classrooms to try and get more kids into the same school to deal with place shortages. If I’m honest the only thing I remember about cooking were after school lessons offered by our school chef in secondary school, making a cake in Year 7 and my Food Tech GCSE. 2 of those 3 were optional, ie I didn’t have to do those after school classes or the GCSE in Food Tech, I chose to take them. If I didn’t take them, I wouldn’t have the cooking knowledge I do possess. I personally think GCSE Food Technology should be compulsory in order to bring Mary’s idea into place. I do however think that the format of the GCSE needs to head more onto the practical side of cooking, rather than the heavy amount of coursework and an exam at the end to deal with. This is pretty much the contrary to how Michael Gove wants to change GCSEs and more like how the Scots are taking their exams forward.

Want proof that Gove is trying to rush too much in? Well Ofqual provides it …

Much of the government’s plans to revamp England’s exams system are being delayed by a year because of concerns by the exams watchdog, Ofqual. Education Secretary Michael Gove wanted new O-level-style GCSE exams and tougher A-levels introduced in 2015. But Ofqual said it could not be confident “high-quality GCSEs” or new A-levels in maths and modern languages would be ready so soon.

Mr Gove accepted the exam boards needed more time to get it right. The education secretary has been clear he is in a hurry to change the exams system, describing the current GCSEs as “not fit for purpose”. But teaching unions, head teachers, examiners and elite private school leaders have expressed concerns about the pace of change to the system.

The regulator, Ofqual, warned soon after the shake-up was first announced that it would intervene if it thought the programme of reform was moving too fast. In a letter to Mr Gove, published on the Ofqual website, chief regulator Glenys Stacey wrote: “It is clear that the amount of work needed on GCSEs, including the development of strengthened regulatory arrangements, means we cannot be confident that new, high-quality GCSEs in all subjects could be ready in good time for first teaching from 2015.”

The exams regulator says it will focus on the new GCSEs in English literature, language and maths – the subjects with which there are the “biggest concerns” – and hopes to have these ready for first teaching in September 2015. But the new GCSEs in science, history and geography will be delayed until 2016. Ms Stacey added a review looking at the planned new A-levels had found “fundamental” work was needed on maths and further maths. More time would also be needed for new A-levels in modern languages, she said.

Mr Gove wrote back, saying he had agreed the reformed GCSEs should be “re-phased”. In the letter, dated 6 September, he says: “We must replace the modular GCSE treadmill with exams that encourage the skills universities and employers want, such as essay writing and mathematical problem-solving. That is why I wanted new GCSEs in core academic subjects to be in place for teaching from 2015. However, I accept that much more rigorous regulatory demands should be put in place and that Ofqual needs more time to develop them.”

A spokesman for Mr Gove said: “Existing GCSEs encourage a ‘memorise and regurgitate’ approach to education. We urgently need to replace them with tests that encourage higher level skills such as essay writing, mathematical modelling, and problem-solving. Ofqual thinks that the necessary changes are so big that they and the exam boards need more time to make sure they get things right. We have to balance the urgency of fixing exams against the dangers of repeating past mistakes. Focusing on English and maths first makes sense. Many people have opposed reforming exams and criticise us for moving quickly – but if schools and exams don’t change quickly, even more children will be failed.”

Christine Blower, head of the NUT, said: “It was always a ridiculous idea of Michael Gove’s that such massive changes to the examination system could be carried out so quickly. This delay will now enable the content and structure to be considered in greater detail.” She added: “It is useful for Ofqual to prioritise English and maths specifications as the first syllabuses to go into schools and colleges, but all the new qualifications should be trialed and evaluated before being introduced.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of heads’ union, NAHT, said: “If the government is struggling to design the new exams in the timescales envisaged how much harder will it be for schools to develop programmes, write materials and train staff at the same pace? More haste less speed.”

Well this all to me just proves that Michael Gove’s rush job is just not going to cut the mustard. I’m a little angry at his comments that more children will be failed if the exams don’t change quickly. So he’s basically saying that a colleague of mine’s younger brother who got all A*s in his GCSEs has been failed because of the exams? If I was the brother I would be insulted. Every teenager works extremely hard for those GCSEs and they’re not easy with the changes already brought in now as it is, so to say they’re being failed is outrageous. It all seemed to be an election ploy for me in order to try and keep the tories in power, which by the look of it won’t be difficult as Labour leader Ed Miliband is digging his own grave with his relationship with the unions of late. But with this delay it’s not so much of a ploy. I wonder how long it will take for Ofqual to say they need even more time …

Busted! Schools’ tricks to inflate science grades revealed!

Tricks used by some schools in England to inflate GCSE science results will be revealed at a conference today.

Some schools switch weaker pupils to BTecs, coursework-based vocational qualifications equivalent to GCSEs, and falsify their marks, claims research.

Author Birendra Singh spent five years observing science teaching in three unnamed London schools. He observed lessons and carried out interviews with teachers and pupils on an anonymous basis. He said some of the practices uncovered left him “absolutely shocked”.

Mr Singh, a former science teacher with 17 years’ experience, who has also worked as an Ofsted inspector, carried out the research for a doctorate at University of London’s Institute of Education. The aim of his research was to observe methods of marking, assessment and feedback to pupils. “They knew the process would be completely professional, that they could withdraw at any time and that the names of teachers and schools would not be revealed. They trusted me. Yes. They volunteered information that I had not been seeking,” he stated.

He said that questions to teachers on how the BTec marking process worked led to some surprising answers which are outlined in papers to be presented to the British Educational Research Association conference in Brighton.

One report includes conversations with teachers from July this year at a school where pupils judged unlikely to gain C grades in science GCSEs had been switched to BTecs in March, just six weeks before the courses were due to end. The report suggests that some 110 pupils or 30% of the year group were swapped to BTec at the eleventh hour.

Teachers were asked to help the students complete 18 months of coursework in a fraction of the time and also, it is claimed, in some cases to “invent” or “falsify” grades to ensure they passed the BTec course, worth two good GCSE passes.

The report also suggests that BTec grade manipulation also took place at a second school. Both schools have been rated “good” by Ofsted, adds the report.

In July, Pearson, the exam board that runs the BTec qualification, asked the first school for samples of pupils’ work to moderate the marking. According to the report, teachers were ordered by the deputy head to produce the coursework, leading to a stressful situation just before the end of the school year. As if our job isn’t stressful enough, as this teacher eludes to. They said, “Nobody had bothered to get these kids to complete coursework – just give them a C. Now we are having to get them to complete their coursework. I mean copy, or we tell them what and how to do it.” Another complains of “panic management”, saying that some pupils had already left school and were having to be brought in specially to complete the work. They are getting nothing out of this. Copy that, copy that, copy that. Then we are marking it and if it gets moderated and we are told it is not right we will have to call the kids in again. Effectively I will just slip it through.”

Now this study is only on a small scale, but Mr Singh believes that this may be indicative ‘of a bigger picture which needs focused attention’. He basically thinks that these schools are not alone in this. Why would schools do this? Well, league tables of course. We all know that league tables govern a school’s standing and reputation in the world, which means that the more achieving 5 A*-C grades, the better the school looks. Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has said that these league tables create ‘false incentives’ for teachers who try to push as many students as possible to achieve a C grade. This is almost implying that teachers will do whatever it takes to get this result, which will certainly question in my mind as to why a teacher who has gone through all the training required and has learnt the knowledge of being professional will suddenly do the most unprofessional route for kids as possible.

Pearson has been quick to condemn this kind of behaviour. A Pearson spokeswoman described behaviour of this kind as “unacceptable and not in the best interest of students”. “We have a robust system in place to ensure that teachers are upholding the standards of the BTec qualification and we strongly encourage anyone with concerns about malpractice to contact us immediately. All BTecs have included a strong element of external assessment since September 2012.” The spokeswoman added that the company supported the government proposals to improve accountability in schools.

I hope for the sake of the teaching profession that these schools are in fact isolated cases of this kind of behaviour, and this is not happening in all parts of the country, otherwise this could serious damage the reputation of our profession further than it already has by the unions constantly going on strike and achieving nothing. To all those who do want to go into teaching, these behaviours are not representative of every teacher, instead (hopefully) this is a huge minority and these will be stamped out. What I would like to see is these schools made an example of by them being shut down or taken over, which may seem odd considering my last article about a potential lack of school places but I would rather see children in schools that are professional than schools that are only designed for cheating their way up the league tables.

You will get a C in English and Maths GCSEs!

Teenagers in England who fail to achieve at least a grade C in English and maths GCSEs will have to continue studying the subjects from this term. It means hundreds of thousands of youngsters in school and college will have to carry on with the subjects until the age of 18.

Employers have warned that young people need to improve these skills. Education Secretary Michael Gove said the subjects were the ones “employers demand before all others”.

Head teachers said they supported the principle of the change but there was “genuine confusion” about how it would be implemented.

Up until now, pupils have been able to drop the subjects at the age of 16 without having gained a qualification in them. Many would never study these subjects again, prompting concerns from employers’ organisations that too many young people lack literacy and numeracy skills necessary for work. Last year, there were more than a quarter of a million 19-year-olds without a C grade in English and maths.

Teenagers who missed C grades will either re-take GCSEs in maths and English, or else there will be an option to take other types of maths and English lessons. But they will be required to continue studying the subjects. Skills minister Matthew Hancock said the requirement to keep studying English and maths was not about re-sitting exams but about continuing to develop these essential skills. “For those who fail to get a C at GCSE, it’s a huge impairment to their future life, their ability to participate not just in work but also as a citizen,” he said. Mr Hancock also said that most of those who did not attain a grade C at the age of 16 continued to a further education college and there was a programme to increase the number of English and maths teachers at those institutions.

Brian Lightman, leader of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the “aim is right, but there are many questions the government needs to address urgently about how it will fund and implement its plan”. The head teachers’ leader said there needed to be clarification about funding for extra classes and teachers. “There is still genuine confusion about the announcement today and what the new policy means, on the day that schools and colleges are supposed to start implementing it,” said Mr Lightman.

I can see where the confusion lies here. This is other announcement by the government that says ‘schools must do this’ with no clear strategy put forward on how this is going to work. Well, if you asked me I think it depends on the nature of the children and how far they missed the grade. If they got a D grade and only missed out on a C by a few marks, I don’t think they need a huge amount of classes just to pick up a few extra marks. If they missed the cut by a couple of grades then obviously there is serious concern there. However I fear the government are forgetting that the highest possible grade in a Foundation Tier paper is a C, which means that teenagers are put under serious pressure to get the top marks otherwise they will have to carry on with the subject. This means that potentially they could be taking 3 A levels and a GCSE retake from what it looks like to me. A possible solution to how this is to be implemented is to do the extra classes after school, a bit like a ‘Twilight’ subject taught like I have seen in a couple of schools I’ve mentored in previously.

Speaking and Listening marks being dropped from GCSEs

Ofqual has announced that Speaking and Listening ‘controlled assessments’ are to be removed from English GCSEs with immediate effect. Ofqual defends this by saying that these must be removed immediately to ‘protect standards’

But this reaction has sparked anger from Head Teachers, who are disappointed by the timing, condemning it as ‘flying in the face of reason’.

According to Ofqual, the present situation means there is “inconsistency” in how schools set and mark the controlled assessments – in effect coursework which is carried out in school, under supervision. In speaking and listening assessments, students might have to prepare a speech and deliver it to fellow pupils and answer questions from them, having studied famous speeches and various techniques used in public speaking. I remember doing a presentation about the history of the world’s largest McDonalds (don’t ask why) for mine.

Their “performance” is usually recorded and marked by their teachers, with exam boards checking the marks given.

Ofqual believes the setting and marking of the controlled assessments is not consistent between schools. It says the results of the work already under-taken will be recorded separately in results students receive next summer, alongside the GCSE grade, and that speaking and listening will remain on the curriculum.

Chief regulator Glenys Stacey said: “We know that this will be unpopular with many teachers, and will affect students who have already completed their first year of studies, but we think it right to make these changes and to act as quickly as possible because the current arrangements result in unfairness. Exam boards cannot be sure that speaking and listening assessments are being carried out and marked consistently across all schools, and we have evidence that they are not. That creates unfairness, and that is unacceptable.”

Controlled assessments for speaking and listening had been due to count for 20% of the overall GCSE grade, but now will not count for any. It is part of a move by Ofqual to shift the balance of marks away from controlled assessment. Controlled assessments as a whole made up 60% of the marks, (20% speaking and listening and 40 % reading and writing). Formal written exams made up the remaining 40%.

As a results of the changes confirmed on Thursday, from next summer, formal written exams will count for 60% of the marks and the reading and writing controlled assessments will count for 40%. I find it rather interesting how we’re still moving away from controlled assessment whilst the Scottish education system (which is currently stronger than ours) is moving the other way.

I feel that this is a serious case of awful timing by Ofqual. I can understand and respect that their is a lack of consistency across all schools, but instead of dropping it, why not adjust it so the controlled assessments are not carried out by the teachers but by independent examiners? That way there is no bias or inflation of grades which should then eradicate the problem. Why do you need to scrap it entirely, and why change it now, when in a couple of years time GCSEs will be facing an overhaul as it is? Serious questions over their decision here, particularly by the frustrated teenagers who have just done these assessments thinking that it would contribute to their grades, which we now know it isn’t.

GCSE success for Anti-NEET scheme

A pilot payment-by-results scheme to prevent young people from slipping out of education and into unemployment is claiming success in GCSE results.

Social investors are funding charities to work with young people at high risk of becoming NEET – not in employment, education and training.

If they achieve targets, including GCSE results, investors will be repaid by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Among over 300 teenagers in a pilot scheme, 55% achieved five A*-C GCSEs, meaning that this project in east and north London achieved above the target of 30% of the at-risk young people reaching this benchmark.

The project is aiming to prevent 8 out of 10 vulnerable youngsters in the UK, of which around 9% of children are classified as NEET, from becoming NEET.

This experimental scheme is based on the amount of taxpayers’ money that can be saved if young people can be steered away from becoming Neets. But instead of the government funding the scheme directly, social investors provide the initial capital. In the London project, investors Big Society Capital and Impetus-PEF provided £900,000 for work carried out by a charity, Tomorrow’s People.

The project, unlike the effects of the Olympics, has not just been successful in London. Another scheme in Merseyside, with funding from the Triodos ethical investment bank, is also reporting GCSE results above the target. This charity worked with teenagers identified as being potential Neets, with the aim of supporting them in school, with their success measured in terms of exam results, behaviour and attendance.

The funding cycle will mean that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will pay back the social investors, plus a small extra payment. The amount paid by the DWP will be no more than £8,200 over five years, compared with an estimated £97,000 cost to the taxpayer for each additional youngster who becomes Neet. This model is designed to support such charity projects while minimising financial risk to the taxpayer.

Big Society Capital, a social investment bank, was set up last year, with assets including £400m from dormant accounts abandoned in banks for more than 15 years. It aims to put finance in reach of social sector projects.

Chief executive Nick O’Donohoe said: “This year’s GCSE results are an encouraging indicator of how effective this programme is at supporting some of our most vulnerable young people into education and training. The model allows charities to deliver innovative preventative programmes that can deliver significant social benefits and cost savings, with social investors such as us taking the financial risk and government only paying if it works.”

Well all this looks encouraging for the London and Merseyside pilot schemes, but these are two highly populated areas in the UK where local schools are a plenty, but no pilot scheme of this nature has been reported in areas that are less affluent and smaller populated. It would still be a risk to roll this program out nationally until the odds stack up. While the money side may stack up (savings of almost £90k), it may not actually work in all areas, which could mean that other schemes or methods may need to be looked at and piloted to find other ways of saving.