Calling for GCSEs to be scrapped is not new – that this time it comes from the Conservative Chair of the Commons education select committee is. Robert Halfon a Tory ‘moderniser’ who also supports a Norway style Brexit arrangement, is following in the footsteps of a long line of business leaders, think –tank directors and … Continue reading Common’s Chair calls for abolition of GCSE
Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE
Another set of public examination results. This time round, after years of bleating about falling standards, media attention has focussed on the stress caused to young people - this year’s cohort being the first to endure the new subject requirements. Many on the Left correctly argue that education has become ‘commodified’. But anyone trying to … Continue reading Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE
A new issue of Forum
A new issue of Forum has just been published. It contains a series of articles about Labour’s plans for a National Education Service. It goes without saying that in general Labour’s policy should be welcomed, but some of its post-16 proposals are more problematic. In one of the contributions, Patrick Ainley and myself explain why … Continue reading A new issue of Forum
Key Stage 4: what price a campaign?
It’s over 5 years now since Michael Gove’s decision to bow to his critics and retain GCSEs. But despite this humiliating reversal, Gove, who had arrogantly lectured the education establishment on the need to introduce new English Baccalaureate certificates in key subjects, still managed to impose his educational priorities and undermine much of what was … Continue reading Key Stage 4: what price a campaign?
GCSE – do we really need it?
This year’s GCSE results have been met with (deserved) criticism over the new grading system, the changes to assessment and the emphasis that continues to be placed on ‘high status’ Ebacc subjects at the expense of others. All of these have resulted in further pressure and anxiety for the ‘exam generation’ – yet discussion about … Continue reading GCSE – do we really need it?
A-level. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
This years A-level cohort is the first to take the new style qualifications – part of wider changes introduced by Michael Gove to make exams ‘fit for purpose’. Gove ended the AS level as a half way point to a full award and set strict limits on the amount of coursework – most subjects would be … Continue reading A-level. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Bac is back (or is it?)
More than a year after it was supposed to, the government has finally published its response on Implementing_the_English_Baccalaureate_ Since then, Nicky Morgan has been replaced by Justine Greening and the Ebacc has been slammed by just about everybody from teacher unions to employer organisations. Though government only sought views about the implementation and … Continue reading The Bac is back (or is it?)
A good general education for everybody
The Guardian (Editorial February 20th) has now joined the attack on University Technology Colleges* correctly arguing that directing ‘non-academic’ students’ onto a vocational curriculum at 14 - what it terms ‘backdoor selection’ - is wrong. Some five years after Alison Wolf’s review had slammed many qualifications for being ‘worthless’ in the labour market, the paper likens the … Continue reading A good general education for everybody
Schools that nobody really wants?
University Technology Colleges (UTCs) for 14-19 year olds, were established during Michael Gove’s period as Education Secretary but are most associated with Lord (Kenneth) Baker, the creator of the original ten subject national curriculum under Mrs Thatcher, but now a campaigner for better vocational education. Baker argued that Britain’s economic difficulties and low rates of … Continue reading Schools that nobody really wants?
As 2016 draws to a close we are still awaiting a statement on the English Baccalaureate/ upper secondary curriculum from new Secretary of State. Justin Greening - the consultation period for Ebacc ended almost a year ago. Nicky Morgan’s – now largely shelved –White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere reaffirmed the Cameron government’s objectives of a 90% participation rate … Continue reading 14-19 hiatus