Sunderland education experts welcome GCSE U-turn

Education Secretary Michael Gove speaking in the Commons where he confirmed he will not press ahead with plans to scrap GCSEs, saying the reforms were"a bridge too far". PA Wire
Education Secretary Michael Gove speaking in the Commons where he confirmed he will not press ahead with plans to scrap GCSEs, saying the reforms were"a bridge too far". PA Wire
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MANY education experts on Wearside have welcomed Michael Gove’s U-turn on plans to scrap GCSEs.

The Education Secretary said the controversial move to replace the exams with a single English Baccalaureate certificate, for those who make the grade in maths, English, two sciences, a language and a humanity subject, was “a bridge too far”.

However, he intends to press ahead with reforms to the GCSEs including reducing the amount of coursework.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Sunderland and Washington West and shadow education minister, said: “This latest U-turn from Michael Gove is very welcome, but you have to wonder how much time and resources have been wasted on such a half-baked and ill-judged set of proposals over the last year.

“It’s important that the curriculum and exam system, which are so crucial to our children’s educational outcomes and futures, is not used as a political football in the way it has been recently.”

Mike Johnson, spokesperson for the Sunderland NASUWT, said: “Mr Gove on this occasion seems to have listened to the concerns raised by education unions, MPs on the select committee for education and Ofqual, the exams regulator.”

Sarah Lake, NUT spokesman for Wearside, said: “As a Sunderland teacher ,I support an exam system which encourages pupils of all abilities to achieve their full potential.

“I particularly welcome the reversal of a decision which was likely to have a negative impact on performing arts, not only now but for future generations.”

Chris Gray, headteacher at Grindon Hall Christian School, who has long supported the teaching of EBacc subjects, said: “The English Baccalaureate will continue to be the measure used to evaluate the effectiveness of schools, so this changes nothing as far as we are concerned. The only difference is that it won’t be an actual qualification, which it never has been anyway.

“We are pleased that Mr Gove will continue his reforms of the examination system, which are long overdue.”

Councillor Robert Oliver, Tory spokesman for education in Sunderland, said: “The change of mind on the Ebacc is as much a consequence of coalition politics as it is due to genuine concerns about how a new system of assessment would work.”

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