Tag Archives: EBacc

Stephen Lloyd MP writes…Break point for Religious Education

Watching Andy Murray storm to victory over Novak Djokovic on centre court, I couldn’t help drawing some unlikely parallels with one of my own passions – the plight of religious education.

Like Andy Murray, RE has suffered from outdated perceptions. In Murray’s case an off-the-cuff comment to a tabloid journalist in 2006 unfairly implanted the perception of a grumpy, vehemently anti-English Scotsman in the eyes of millions.

RE has suffered from a similar misrepresentation. Some people would like you to believe that the subject is about indoctrination and teaching young people to be religious. Often these views are simply outdated, stemming from …

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Gove forced into GCSE U-turn ‘under Lib Dem pressure’

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

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Opinion: Michael Gove’s plans are a disaster for schools

Credit ITN

The publication last week of the All-Party Parliamentary Select Committee’s damning report into changes in qualifications at 16, signals a step-change in attitudes towards Michael Gove’s so-called ‘Education Revolution.’

The report makes for unsettling reading from a Liberal Democrat point of view.  And even Tory MP Graham Stuart, Chair of the Education Committee warns:

We have serious concerns about the Government’s proposed timetable for change. Ministers want to introduce a new qualification, require a step-change in standards, and alter the way exams are administered, all at the same time. We believe

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Opinion: Making the EBacc work

Michael Gove seems intent on bringing forward a replacement for the GCSE, going so far as to make its introduction a matter of confidence in the face of criticism.  All parties can agree, however, it is important to set out what these reforms should look like and make sure they deliver a qualification that is fit for purpose.

There are at least two key areas that I think Liberal Democrats should seek to influence.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

What Lib Dem members think about EBacc, academies and free schools

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum before conference to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Narrow backing for replacing GCSEs with EBacc

LDV asked: Nick Clegg and Michael Gove this week announced that the GCSE exams in England will be replaced by a new qualification in core subjects called the English Baccalaureate Certificate from 2017. This will mean a single end-of-course exam sat by almost all pupils and one exam board for core subjects. From …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

Is this how we get the most out of our schools?

With somewhat ironic timing Gove’s controversial announcement on the replacement of GCSEs by the English Baccalaureat was too late for it to be reflected in the conference programme. The deadline for amendments to motions has passed a week earlier.

But a version of the EBacc (not exactly the same as the one that was finally announced) had been trailed for some months, so it got a small mention in motion F6 this afternoon: “Getting the most out of our schools”.

This reference was grasped by some conference reps as an opportunity to open the debate into a wider discussion about the new …

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Dan Rogerson MP writes…How we reformed GCSEs

I suspect there are precious few people out there who are not aware that Michael Gove wasn’t entirely happy with the current state of the GCSE system.

You’re probably also aware that when he first suggested he wasn’t happy with the current system, Nick Clegg, Joan Walmsley and I wasted no time in telling him that Liberal Democrats, a party who believe in social mobility, would not tolerate a return to a two tier education system.

What you may not be aware of is just how the two parties have been working since then to find a compromise that combines the shared …

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Opinion: How do Gove’s plans match up to Lib Dem policy?

Three months ago I penned my debut submission to LibDemVoice – There is much for the Lib Dems to support in Gove’s embryonic exam proposals – in the wake of the early leaks of Gove’s plans for the replacement of GCSEs. In that, I set out how Michael Gove’s policies matched up with Liberal Democrat Party Policy, and came to some conclusions on how Gove’s proposals would need to be altered to be in line with our policies;

The four criteria were:

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Opinion: How GCSEs made me envy my son

The heady waft of future and assured pupil disengagement is already pungent only one day after the announcement of the new exam system.  The wrong-headedness of the “reform” is enough to actually make you gasp.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do hate the personal anecdote–beloved of many politicians and responsible in my view for so much political damage (and used to the usual effect yesterday in that disturbing article in the Evening Standard).

But here’s one.  My elder son recently gained 11 A stars in his GSCEs.  He is a very academic child, as I was.  But as he did …

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Opinion: Beyond the Ebacc

Two years ago theWest Midlands Region embarked on a project which we called “Beyond the Ebacc.” We chose the title because we recognised then that the Coalition government was intent on embedding the Ebacc as the gold standard qualification at 16 and wanted our party, the Liberal Democrats, to emerge from coalition with our own radical policies in this critical area.

We were able to draw on a wide range of experience, including that of overseeing education in large municipal authorities.

Our concern was the stark evidence that our school system is failing many young people. Every government that has sought to …

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LibLink: Michael Gove and Nick Clegg – A new exam will get the best out of all our children

The Evening Standard has published a joint statement by Michael Gove and Nick Clegg on the new Ebacc proposals. It begins:

We both grew up in different circumstances and chose distinctive paths. Spending your first few months in care, before being brought up by a Labour-voting mother in a Labour-voting Scottish city isn’t a natural preparation for Tory politics. Likewise, working for a former Tory Cabinet minister in Brussels and rejecting his invitation to follow in his footsteps and ending up standing as a Liberal Democrat in Sheffield instead isn’t exactly an orthodox political path either.

But while we both chose

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David Laws: “An exam for all abilities”

Here’s the text of the email from Lib Dem education minister David Laws to party members today setting out the Coalition’s proposed reforms of the GCSE exam system:

The Coalition has today announced our plan to replace GCSEs with new, reformed qualifications.

Our proposals will restore rigour to the exam system, allow us to compete on the international stage, and end years of grade inflation under Labour.

When some Conservatives suggested that we could bring back the 1950s O-Level, Nick Clegg immediately made it clear that Liberal Democrats would not tolerate such a move. Liberal Democrats will never accept a return

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Opinion: GCSEs? O-levels? Open your minds!

Consider a vocational subject – dentistry. It leads to a job and requires hand-eye coordination and knowledge of tools and materials. To be good at it, you must prove your interpersonal skills. A major study is the physiology of certain human systems.

Now consider an academic subject – engineering. This needs an understanding of physics, chemistry, mechanics, maths, cutting edge optics, electronics, materials science… not every one in every case but your subset will require detailed reading, theoretical work and experimentation.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

Clegg and Gove show united front on plan to overhaul GCSEs

Nick Clegg and Michael Gove will today present a carefully joined up front as they present proposals to overhaul GCSEs. In June, the two clashed after the education secretary let slip his desire to return to O-levels, swiftly dubbed ‘Gove-levels’. The Lib Dem leader immediately dismissing any notion of a return to a two-tier system exam system which would have likely resulted in high numbers of poorer children in the most disadvantaged areas sitting the CSE exams which would close off their opportunities for later progress into higher education and many professional careers. Their row may also have contributed to …

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The English Baccalaureate is a Mickey Mouse qualification

Almost two years ago, a fortnight after my daughter confirmed her GCSE choices; Michael Gove announced his latest bright idea for the nation’s schoolchildren. The English Baccalaureate was originally intended to ‘be the equivalent of the old School Leaving Certificate’, but the EBacc, as it became known, has turned into just another of Gove’s personal follys, greeted with less than lukewarm enthusiasm by pupils, teachers, parents and employers.

I’m all for pupils studying a good range of subjects, at a level that reflects their abilities and supports their future studies and career paths. But the EBacc does nothing for pupils or schools, except provide another stick to beat them with, as Gove always intended. The cat has been let permanently out of the DfE bag with the ‘clarification’ that the EBacc is intended as ‘a performance measure’ and ‘not a qualification in its own right’.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

The Independent View: Clegg’s Pupil Premium could be wasted

Keen to move on from the poor headlines of the last few weeks, Nick Clegg has sought to re-focus attention on his flagship social mobility agenda with a speech on the Pupil Premium.

The Pupil Premium is the government’s main policy for reducing educational inequality in schools, meaning that schools get extra funding for every child on Free School Meals (£488 this year, £600 next year). IPPR has always welcomed the Pupil Premium but have expressed concerns that it will not be spent directly on providing extra support for the children who need it. Under the current model, schools are free to spend it on whatever they like – and the majority of heads say they are using it to plug gaps in existing budgets.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 15 Comments



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