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  • What is the English Baccalaureate Certificate

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.

Read Michael Gove's statement to the House of Commons in full and have your say

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.

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