Tag Archives: gcses

David Laws MP writes… Ambitious for every child

Liberal Democrats are determined to ensure that all our pupils can access qualifications that measure up to the best in the world today.

But existing GCSEs have weakened over time. Colleges and employers tell us they don’t prepare young people properly for work or further education. While GCSE results have increased steadily, England’s results in the internationally recognised PISA tests have remained flat. This cannot be fair for young people who are working hard to achieve their best.

GCSEs need to change: the question is how.

The original plan to bring back the O-Level was unacceptable. A two-tier system that divides pupils into …

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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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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 …

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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.

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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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Opinion: Grade inflation must stop, but not artificially

For the first time in its twenty-six year history, the proportion of A*—C GCSE grades fell on Thursday. Michael Gove, who has been talking about grade inflation since the dawn of time, must have felt vindicated. A ‘cosy cartel’ of exam boards, head teachers and ministers has resulted in a seemingly inexorable upward trajectory of student performance. This year’s results, Gove’s supporters will suggest, reflect his work in dismantling this arrangement of mutual back scratching.

The UK has an issue with grade inflation. Although Britain’s position in the OECD/Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey substantially fell between 2000 and …

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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’.

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Opinion: The need for positive engagement on the school exam system

The media are premature in supposing that the Liberal Democrats will divide the Coalition by blocking changes to the school exam system. I hope that Conference will provide the opportunity for discussion of the exam system and that positive engagement will produce something far better than Gove’s initial outline proposals suggest.

Liberal Democrats should welcome the proposal for a reduction in the number of exam boards and call for them to be independent of commercial organisations such as text book publishers. We should call for a better balance of experienced teachers, educationalists and subject specialists, from universities or industry, on subject boards.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Opinion: There is much for the Lib Dems to support in Gove’s embryonic exam proposals

The leak to the Daily Mail of the education secretary’s proposals for replacing the current GCSE system has set off a predictable storm of fury from many quarters.

These proposals are – as Nick Clegg has laid out in forthright terms – not coalition policy, haven’t been discussed in cabinet, and haven’t been seen by the Lib Dem in the Department of Education, Sarah Teather.

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