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Labour: Pupils and parents will be concerned

Labour's Shadow Education Secretary said parents and pupils will be concerned by the "uncertainty" that Michael Gove has created around GCSEs.

"Pupils and parents will be concerned by the uncertainty that Michael Gove has created around GCSEs. Having first talked down their value and then failed in his attempt to scrap them, the Education Secretary is having another go at setting out his plans.

Stephen Twigg
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg responds to Education Secretary Michael Gove's statement Credit: Press Association Images

"We need changes to assessments in schools that will strengthen rigour and reflect the best ways of testing skills and knowledge. Encouraging more shallow learning of facts alone will not help young people to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. This will take us backwards.

"Michael Gove has had plenty of chances to bring forward evidence-informed policies but I fear he has not learnt from past mistakes. He keeps failing because he hasn't got a thought through plan to improve exams."

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Ofqual publish details of new GCSE plans

The exams regulator Ofqual's has published a report for consultation, confirming planned changed to GCSEs, including:

  • Grading GCSEs on a scale of 8 to 1
  • Examine pupils at the end of their two-year-courses, abolishing the modular system which allows pupils to take papers throughout the course. Exams will only take place in the summer, except for in English language and maths, where November re-sits will be allowed
  • Cutting the number of subjects which have "tiered" exams - papers aimed at high and low ability students
  • Only allow coursework where exams cannot test certain skills or knowledge

Ofqual's role is to make sure that qualifications are of high quality. GCSEs are important and valued qualifications, but we have seen over the last two years that they can be improved.

We want to see qualifications that are more stretching for the most able students, using assessments that really test knowledge, understanding and skills essential to the subject, and that are designed so that outcomes are well regarded.

– Glenys Stacey, Ofqual chief regulator

Gove claims new GCSEs will be more 'rigorous'

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans for the new GCSE's saying the new exams will be "challenging, more ambitious and more rigorous".

Mr Gove  speaking in the commons.
Mr Gove speaking in the Commons Credit: PA

Speaking in the commons Mr Gove said:

"There will be more extended writing in subjects such as English and History. There should be more testing in advanced problem solving skills in mathematics and science."

Children will be Mr Gove's 'guinea pigs'

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers have attacked the "haste" with which the Education secretary Michael Gove is proceeding with plans to overhaul GCSEs.

The teaching union said first year secondary school pupils were going to be "Mr Gove's guinea pigs".

We want all children to succeed in education, and we need exams that are rigorous. However, the haste with which Michael Gove is pushing through huge simultaneous changes to both exams and the curriculum carries major risks that will put last summer's English GCSE debacle into the shade.

"We particularly feel for the children in their first year of secondary school who are going to be Mr Gove's guinea pigs. They will have a single year being taught the new curriculum when they are 13 and then move straight into the new and untested GCSE exam syllabus at age 14."

– Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL

Minister insists GCSE changes will improve grades

Minister for education Elizabeth Truss defended the government's GCSE overhaul, insisting that it will lead to increased grades across the ability scale.

The minister said the new plans would help improve all students and raise grades among both high achieving and low achieving students.

The MP said that after comparing Britain to the rest of the world, the government had found the right approach for students through less coursework and more end of course exams.

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Labour: Gove has not learnt from past mistakes

Pupils and parents will be concerned by the uncertainty thatMichael Gove has created around GCSEs. Having first talked down their value andthen failed in his attempt to scrap them, the Education Secretary is havinganother go at setting out his plans.

We need changes to assessments in schools that willstrengthen rigour and reflect the best ways of testing skills and knowledge.

Michael Gove has had plenty of chances to bring forwardevidence-informed policies but I fear he has not learnt from past mistakes. Hekeeps failing because he hasn't got a thought through plan to improve exams

– Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg

Exams regulator set to announce GCSE reforms

Details of the most radical overhaul of GCSEs in England for a generation will be announced today, including plans to scrap the current grading system.

Exams regulator Ofqual will publish a consultation setting out proposals that are likely to include plans to axe coursework in the majority of subjects, an introduction of end of course exams, and less re-sits.

The proposals are set to be the most radical for a generation.

The grading system could also be overhauled leading to current A*-G grades being scrapped and replaced with a numbered system.

The Department for Education is also expected to unveil new information on the content of the exams today.

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