Admittedly, it’s been a year (2014) since this article was published in the Times Educational Supplement’s online source (, but since it’s now the season of Common Entrance exams (June 1 – 4), I was interested to unearth this today.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.27.36The then Education Secretary, Michael Gove, states in this article: “All pupils should sit Common Entrance exams used to select children for private school” that “introducing more tests in state schools will help monitor pupil performance between assessments already taken at the end of primary school and GCSEs”, a time when performance tends to slip and suffer.

He goes on to suggest that the Common Entrance exam could be used by state schools to help keep pupils on track.

Likening the gap between state and independent school education to the ‘Berlin Wall’, Gove also suggests that state schools should consider taking the PISA test (see my previous blog post on the PISA test) to improve standards.

The article concludes by saying that state school pupils invariably perform just as well as their independent school peers when given the same privileges and advantages.

My personal opinion on this? As an educator myself, I have seen the benefits children gain from the rigorous training of the Common Entrance exam. The curriculum is interesting and varied. But it does tie in very closely with the current National Curriculum delivered in state schools. I wonder though, from the research I have done, whether yet another batch of tests would be of that much benefit…..?

Surely, it’s neither the curriculum nor the tests which are of such crucial importance, but rather the delivery of the material and the engagement and motivation of the students concerned.

I applaud the desire to improve our kids’ education. I’m just not so convinced we’re looking in the right direction.

I quite like the look of the Prep School Baccalaureate right now – a much more rounded approach to nurturing our children’s futures.