All the key facts about the replacement for GCSEs
GCSEs are dead. The government has announced plans to replace the existing GCSE examination system with a new set of exams, called English Baccalaureate Certificates.
The UK Education Secretary, Michael Gove, explained the changes in the House of Commons, saying that “the GCSE was conceived - and designed - for a different age and a different world.”
He said the changes are needed to ensure UK pupils receive an education that can compete with the best in the world, as well as tackling thorny, headline-making issues such as grade inflation.
So, how will things change?
- There will be no more controlled assessment and coursework in core subjects (although it might continue in subjects such as art and drama). Instead, pupils will be tested in a single exam at the end of their two-year course.
- Each subject exam will be set by a single exam board. The exams regulator Ofqual will select the best paper from all exam board and set that test across the whole of England.
- There will be no more module-based subjects, which Gove said “encourage bite-size learning and spoon-feeding, teaching to the test and gaming of the system.”
- No more two-tier division of exams (foundation and higher tiers) which “condemn thousands of students to courses which place a cap on aspiration”
- Success in English, maths, the sciences, a humanities subject and a language will mean the student has the full English Baccalaureate.
- There will be "special provision” for students who need more help, with some likely to spend three or four years on the English Baccalaureate course.
- The new system will be implemented in 2015, with English, maths and science papers introduced initially and other subjects to follow.
- The changes will happen only in England. There are currently no plans to replace GCSEs in Wales or Northern Ireland.