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‘Pupils and schools not at fault for GCSE exam blunder’

George Green's head teacher Kenny Frederick George Green's head teacher Kenny Frederick

Thursday, January 31, 2013
12:02 PM

Headteacher of George Green’s School Kenny Frederick

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Secondary school league tables will be published this week and at the heart of these statistics will be last summer’s appalling GCSE fiasco, in which 50,000 students in England and Wales did not get the grades they should have received.

At the same time, the outcome of the judicial review into the GCSE fiasco will be published. We don’t know if the review will result in an order for the regrading of these exams, but we can only hope as that is what is fair and just.

Tower Hamlets schools have been badly affected by this exam blunder and this will be reflected in the league tables.

This is unfair because neither the young people nor the schools are at fault. It was and is outside our control.

Readers may have heard talk of a new examination and curriculum being proposed for secondary schools.

The secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, is proposing the creation of an English baccalaureate (EBC).

If this is introduced, it will consist of five subjects – English, maths, science, either history or geography, and a modern foreign language. The EBC will be required by students wanting to go to university. There will be no coursework and students will sit a single three-hour examination at the end of two years.

There will be no module exams. Students are expected to attain a B grade to gain the EBC certificate.

All other subjects will be treated as less important, but students will (probably) be able to take a GCSE exam.

If this happens, young people will have a very narrow curriculum that will only be accessible to our most able students.

There are no plans for less-able pupils and those with special educational needs.

Headteachers and teachers generally are not at all happy with the proposals. Indeed, a lot of organisations, particularly those supporting the creative and performing arts and sport, are up in arms as these subjects are being squeezed out.

We are hoping that Mr Gove will listen to the groundswell of opposition from so many people. Parents need to keep an eye out for what is happening as it could have a detrimental effect on their children in the near future.

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