Nadia Sawalha believes 'outdated' GCSEs should be 'scrapped' as they make kids depressed

4 September 2020, 14:54

Nadia Sawalha thinks British kids are tested 'too much'
Nadia Sawalha thinks British kids are tested 'too much'. Picture: Getty
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

EXCLUSIVE: As she releases her first home-schooling book with husband Mark Adderley, the Loose Women star tells Heart why she thinks the education system needs to change.

Nadia Sawalha thinks GCSEs should be scrapped - claiming they are there to test mainstream schooling systems rather than kids.

Speaking exclusively to Heart.co.uk, the Loose Women favourite explained that she believes the exams are outdated and one of the reasons why British kids are the unhappiest in Europe.

She said: “GCSEs are about testing the system and not the child. “We have the most tested children in Europe, and that’s also why they’re the unhappiest children. I would go as far as saying that GCSEs should be scrapped.

“They were originally created because was the end of schooling for a lot of kids, but that’s not the case now, a lot of kids stay in education until they are 18.

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Nadia and her daughters Maddie and Kiki-Bee
Nadia and her daughters Maddie and Kiki-Bee. Picture: Getty

“Look at countries like Finland where they just test once at the end, and the rest is all about coursework. We all know the kids who did nothing, then crammed everything in the last three months as they’ve got good memories and then got good grades.”

Nadia, 55 and husband Mark Adderley are parents to two daughters, Maddie, 17 and Kiki, 12, who they have been home-schooling for the past five years.

The couple, who host a podcast, Confessions of a Modern Parent, have now released their first book, Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids.

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The book is aimed at people interested in home-educating their kids, and also at parents who have enjoyed or taken a deeper interest in their kids’ education after taking on teaching duties during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mark said:A lot of people will have experienced some positive elements to educating their own children, spending time with their children. This book is an opportunity to learn how to maintain those parts, even if your children do go back to school.”

With so much uncertainty surrounding kids’ return to school and the potential risks of catching and transmitting coronavirus, Nadia and Mark can understand why a lot of parents might be feeling apprehensive about the start of term.

Nadia and husband Mark Adderley with their daughters
Nadia and husband Mark Adderley with their daughters. Picture: Getty

Should people want to take their family down the route of home-educating, they explained that it is surprisingly easy to get started - and that schools are legally obliged to take kids back should they decide in a few months or years that the system isn’t for them.

Nadia said: “You can do it at any point, week one, mid-term. You can tell the school and it will deregister you and tell the council. It took us four hours.

“I have met some home educators, and it didn’t work for them and the school system has to take you back straight away, it’s not irreversible.”

However, they want to warn parents that home-educating is very different from what they would have experienced when the schools were closed during lockdown.

Nadia said: “I’m afraid to say that the govt does absolutely nothing to help home-schoolers - even to the point that you have to pay for your own GCSEs.

“I think it’s criminal really as all those thousands and thousands of children who are being home educated are giving up school places that are so desperately needed as schools are overcrowded.”

And Mark added that another failing of the Government for the nation’s children - not just home-schooled ones - has come in the fear-mongering language used by politicians when speaking about youngsters' educations and futures.

Nadia Sawalha and her husband open up about the 'huge responsibility' of home schooling

He said: “One of the things that really distresses us is that the language used by Government and the authorities is one of fear. It’s like, ‘get back to school or your child will be part of a lost generation, they will lose their education, they will fall behind…’

“That kind of language when you’ve already got an entire young population in this country that is the unhappiest in Europe according to The Children’s Society, isn’t going to help."

In agreement, Nadia added: “Children are hearing this when politicians are taking about how their futures are ruined. It’s absolutely ridiculous to say their education is turned after five months off.

“When we took Kiki out of school, we gave her three to six months of doing exactly want she wanted so she could discover what her passions were and that learning something that is fun, and wasn’t something to be feared or that happened between 8:30 or 3.

“I feel really sorry for children, parents and teachers at the moment as no one knows if they are coming or going.”

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