We’re in the swing of GCSE and A-Level examination season now, but there’s just something I’ve got to say: exam factory schools don’t work.

Let’s think rationally. In what sane world does making kids sit down and learn two years of content for one and a half hours of their life work? The two years of content aren’t small, either. It’s the whole of the French Wars, everything ever said in philosophy from Ancient Greece to 2013, South Africa’s history and the whole history of the English language. None of it is easy and all of it is a memory test.

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Exam factory schools place emphasis on memory and not technique or skill. English was once upon a time about creativity. Now it’s about memory and feature-spotting. Philosophy was once about ideas and debate and now it’s about memorising the history of thought. History was once about the past in all forms in all areas and now it’s about memorising presidential executive order numbers and how many people had fridges in the USA in the 1950s. I don’t mean this in any derogatory way against teachers and my A-Level experience as I have actually enjoyed most of the content, but I don’t enjoy (and no one does) the exam factory.

We’re taught to tests and we’re learning for learning’s sake. This is not what education is about, and if we really want to be the ‘best’ country for education in the world, exam factory schools won’t help us with that. Surely the strength of an education system should be the end result of the knowledge and skills gained by individuals, not the grade after an hour-long exam?

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Exam factory schools encourage a climate of fear and punishment. When your priority is the outcome of an exam, life becomes increasingly meaningless and empty. That is no overstatement, either. It’s true. Exam factory schools act as if there is nothing more to life than the tests at the end of the academic year. And, as everyone knows, life is filled with much more than that.

There are genuine moral dilemmas, economic turbulence, poverty, murder, bereavement, trauma, lovers, fighters, wars and experiences aplenty out there. And when exam factory schools fail to acknowledge the context of life, they fail to educate their students.