It is cheap political knockabout season which is why Stephen Twigg MP makes such a loose allegation that changing the exam system was simply a ruse to deflect attention from the difficult exam season! Of course it isn’t, let’s put the current English GCSE results to one side for a moment. The current exam system has been under pressure for some time and with our students hard earned results being brought in to disrepute; I would say it is the best time to make radical change, even the coalition Lib Dems support it. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the changes would “raise standards for all our children”.
The English Baccalaureate Certificate is not a return to the past but actually a blending of core subjects (at first) that are the foundation stone of all learning, English, Maths and Science with to follow History, Geography and languages.
An important point about quality, missed so far by Labour, is that there will be a single exam board for the “English Bac” subjects, now avoiding the distasteful and often controversial clamour of different exam boards following conflicting paths and earning either good or poor reputations for their versions of exams in the same subjects!
Internal assessments will end and this will put an end to the national allegations of foul play by alleged more generous treatment by some than others. I am sure 99% of this is totally unfounded, but it will nevertheless be a relief to quite a few teachers! The exam watchdog has naturally issued caution and this is to be welcomed but caution will not get things changed.
The education community within Southend has nothing to fear from these changes and will remain varied in its offer and catering for the mixed and diverse student (of all ages) we are fortunate to have. Academic exam achievement is not everyone’s need or desire, the apprentice and trade skills route is as essential as ever and so is supporting special needs too.