The morning’s big news is that Conservative education secretary Michael Gove is set to announce a U-turn today on his plans to scrap the current GCSE exams and replace them with a new EBacc qualification in 2015. Here‘s how the Independent reports it:
The Education Secretary bowed to overwhelming pressure for a rethink from Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, the exams regulator Ofqual and MPs from all parties. It is understood that he decided to act after being warned by civil servants that one key plank of his reforms – handing each of the core subjects over to just one exam board – could breach European Union rules on public service contracts and be open to judicial review.
Today’s dramatic U-turn follows a cacophony of opposition to plans for the new EBacc certificate – which would have been awarded in the five core academic areas of English, maths, the sciences, languages and a humanities subject (history or geography).
It is the second time the Liberal Democrats have forced a retreat by Mr Gove, a close ally of David Cameron who is regarded by the Prime Minister as one of his most successful reforming ministers. Last year, Mr Clegg blocked Mr Gove’s plans to replace GCSEs with a two-tier exam system that was criticised as a return to O-levels and CSEs.
The Education Secretary will press ahead with moves to reduce the role played by coursework in qualifications at 16 after saying that modules encourage “bite-sized learning and spoon-feeding”. He will also reaffirm his intention to reform the national curriculum.
You can read how David Laws’ outlined the now scrapped new system last September here.