There has been a lot of talk about the new A level science practical component and whether it’s good or bad. I think it is good that teachers have been listened to. But at the same time, a lot of people defending the changes are being a bit naive. The new practical side sounds pretty good in terms of moving those folk who don’t do much practical towards doing more. Folk have pointed out that this allows teachers to do more practical, to explore wider options – this is all good.
But teachers ain’t the problem. This component isn’t assessed by teachers. Students lab books are not needed as evidence. So how long before a headteacher is asking the new prospective physics teacher if they could manage on a smaller budget given that practical work could be streamlined? And they will. Because all the evidence tells us that this is what happens. Headteachers always find a way to bend rules and redirect resources to where they think they’re needed. How long before that practical component is a set of simulations, videos and demonstrations, because in Gove Ltd Academy they reckon they can get away with it.
If you look back at the cross exam board report that was put together teachers did say that they would have been happy with students work being evidence – so why not do it?