Every English student will be required to sit new European-style Baccalaureate exams instead of GCSEs under the biggest education reforms in two decades, it was revealed today. The news was broken in the London Evening Standard in an article jointly written by Michael Gove and Nick Clegg. This is from the paper’s education correspondent…
The tough new system will see retakes scrapped, coursework reduced and a tough new end-of-year exam introduced. The first teenagers will leave school with “English Baccalaureate Certificates” rather than GCSEs in 2017.
The move mirrors similar qualifications in European and Asian countries, where all children sit exams named baccalaureates.
Education Secretary Michael Gove and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the sweeping reforms.
Writing jointly in the Evening Standard today, Mr Gove and Mr Clegg say: “We need a new set of exams for students at the age of 16 — qualifications which are more rigorous overall and more stretching for the able but which also ensure the overwhelming majority of children can flourish and achieve
their full potential.”
In an attack on teaching unions and the Labour Left, Mr Clegg and Mr Gove add: “Together we can overcome those forces that have held our children back — the entrenched establishment voices who have become the enemies of promise.”
Exam boards will be asked to prepare new tests in English, maths, the sciences, history, geography and languages. The new qualifications in these core subjects will be called English Baccalaureate Certificates and students who pass them will be given a full English Baccalaureate.
Students who schools believe would struggle to pass these exams at the age of 16 will be given the chance to take them at the age of 17 or 18. Teachers will also be expected to produce a detailed record of the achievement of these students in each curriculum area at the age of 16. Teaching of the new English, maths and science certificates will begin in 2015.
It is the biggest change since GCSEs were introduced in 1986.