Gove makes U-turn on GCSE plans
Michael Gove will announce that he has relinquished plans of replacing GCSE qualifications with an English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC) in the House of Commons on Thursday, due to concern from education groups about the change.
The plan for the EBC was announced by Gove in September. Gove initially planned to replace any modular or coursework elements found in GCSEs with a single exam that takes place at the end of the two-year period of study.
This would have begun in 2015 with a syllabus including the core subjects of English, sciences and maths, ending with a single exam for each taking place in 2017.
The Education Secretary met with disagreement from Liberal Democrats and doubt from the exam watchdog Ofqual.
The chief regulator of Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, told Gove that the EBC “may exceed what is realistically achievable through a single assessment”.
The EBC has now been discarded, but Gove still insists that there will be major changes made to GCSEs. Some of the components of the EBC will be prevalent, such as a stronger emphasis on examinations and a change in curriculum.
The main focus will also be on aspects of education which are considered to be more traditional. Deep concerns have been expressed by those involved in the arts, worrying that this new curriculum will exclude creativity from schools.
Former schools minister Nick Gibb said that a huge difference will still be made to GCSEs. He explained: “It will no longer be the EBC but all its fundamentals will still be there.”
He was keen to advocate the policy and make it clear that the U-turn in GCSE plans should not be seen as an embarrassment or defeat to Gove. “Ministers always get accused of that if they listen to a consultation process and then change their minds,” he said.