“Gove-levels” risk return to the 80s – Tom Blenkinsop MP

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, commenting on Coalition Government’s plans to abolish GCSEs today (17th September 2012) said:

“Whilst many questions still remain unanswered over the shambolic marking of GCSE exams this year, these proposals by the Tory Education Minister seriously risk sending our education system back to the 1980s – incapable of dealing with the needs of 21st Century Britain. I feel it raises legitimate concerns over a two-tier system tipped heavily in favour of those children with a better memory able to perform well in a one-off 3 hour exam – whilst those who learn in different ways will be regarded as failures.

“The GCSE system of modules and coursework, firstly, allows children to learn from their mistakes and improve. Secondly, it allows teachers to track progress of students throughout the years and to make sure they are on course to get the best possible grade they can. The modular system is also useful for employers as it will give them a better idea of performance over a longer period.

“If, as the Government claims, multiple exam boards are driving standards down then perhaps a single exam board would be the best way forward. However, this must be based on evidence that shows this link and then policy should be developed accordingly.

“At the moment, the Government are failing to answer these questions, instead resorting to leaking policy details at a time when children are just starting, or going back to, secondary school. Although they won’t be directly affected by the proposals they will indeed feel that in a few years’ time all their hard work will be for nothing.

“We need an evidence based education system suitable for the times we live in – not an outdated model that promoted inequality that even Thatcher saw fit to get rid of.”

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