I am a sucker for punishment, a man with a sad admission: I am embroiled currently and will be, until July, in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature marking.
Mock exams and real exams for various exam boards, schools and multi-academy trusts.
I’m good at marking too: I can spot errors, apply a mark scheme consistently and give individual feedback to students and departments about what needs to be improved for those magical level 4 – 9 milestones.
I got my first Head of English post in 1996 at the age of 30 and have had a helter-skelter career since rising to the heady heights of Director of English across three federated schools in Suffolk, before I returned to working in one school as Head of English and Literacy.
Now though, I don’t go in schools, except to hear how my son and daughter are progressing, but, like a master craftsman, who served a 27 year apprentice, I still use those skills to mark.
Read more here.
Now what I don’t want – and this is not spin – is a school to email me or phone me this week and say “Hi Stuart, we saw your GCSE marking services and would like to send 400 scripts tomorrow. Is that ok?”
No, it would not be ok!
I’m stacked up now with exams to assess but I would welcome enquiries from schools for later this year and into 2018 – 19 so I can fit them in my work schedule. I’m keen to expand the service to Maths and Science too – not with me marking them obviously but specialists and to that end, I’ve set up GCSE Marking, a new venture.
Check it out here.
Now this marking malarkey is not me being altruistic and benevolent (yes, I have swallowed a dictionary), it’s me earning money by helping schools and students to raise attainment.
It’s no accident that I’m one of 30 markers employed to mark AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 2 termly for Years 10 and 11 by a Multi Academy Trust who are regarded as one of the most improved MATs in the country.
That Executive Headteacher imposed a uniform exam schedule and specification across the schools and each one has rising attainment and, with it, rising rolls. It costs them money but that head has realised that there’s payback in terms of local and national reputation, Ofsted ratings and pupil numbers.
Your school could do the same?
Now I’m not claiming to have invented the wheel but as a long-standing teacher and examiner, here’s what an ideal exam schedule would look like to me:
Now if you like what you’ve read as teacher, headteacher, exams officer, senior leader, drop me an email or phone me anytime and I will respond.
I’ve even ordered another 50 red pens online as I’m an optimistic type.