Government propose tougher exams to replace GCSEs
The government plans to replace GCSEs with a two-tier system based on the O-level model to raise education standards.
Documents leaked to the Daily Mail reveal that the government is planning to scrap GCSEs and replace them with exams similar to O-levels, which were abolished in the mid-1980s.
Education secretary Michael Gove has drawn up a blueprint that could lead to the most drastic change in the UK education system for 30 years.
It is intended to advance the teaching of main subjects such as English, math, physics, chemistry and biology.
The changes will not occur until 2016, as the document states: “The Department for Education expects that existing GCSEs will disappear … Those starting GCSEs in 2013 are the last pupils who will have to do them.”
Gove has been critical of GCSEs since taking office and the new and tougher proposed exams are meant to improve the falling standards of the education system.
Last year he told the Andrew Marr show on BBC1: “The problem that we had is that instead of sitting every part of a GCSE at the end of a course, bits of it were taken along the way. Those bits could be resat.”
He claims the current system encourages students to retake exams, which results in students taking them lightly. He therefore proposes fewer but tougher exams.
Gove told the Commons that there are lessons to be learnt from countries such as Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.
Although O-level exams are tougher than GCSEs, less academic students will most likely be given the opportunity to do exams based on the old CSE-model, which deal more with real life situations.
Shadow Schools minister Kevin Brennan told the BBC that Gove’s plan: “seems like a huge backwards step.”
The party is currently being criticised because the documents were leaked to the media before MPs were told.
According to the Daily Mail, the proposal has not been finalised yet and will be put out for consultation in autumn 2012.
Line Elise Svanevik