Let's end the misery of GCSE

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I have long thought that there is little chance of a serious focus in secondary schools on environmental / climate issues that we all know need to be tackled whilst schools are so exam-focused in years 9 to 11.   If the GCSEs did not exist, there would be enormous scope for real-world educational activities as opposed to examination-focused ones.  The gain would surely be enormous – the loss nugatory.
Given the publicity this week from prominent organisations (a Times leader, for example) saying that GCSEs are utterly anachronistic, this would be a good time to make this case to government, even though change-averse civil servants (and others with an interest) would not be keen, and there will always be at least 65 reasons not to do anything too radical – or anything at all.  See: *
I’m told that the UK is the only developed economy with two sets of of school-leaving exams, but don’t know if that is correct.  Of course, just to write down "two sets of of school-leaving exams” shows the absurdity of the position we are in.
I've suggested "An end to GCSE" be added as a 7th key goal for Teach the Future.  Fingers crossed ...
*  The Times this morning has a letter on this from Barnaby Lenon, the new Prof of Education at Buckingham.  He writes:
"It is very hard to motivate pupils, especially teenage boys, if there is no high-stakes exam at the end of the course.  Will a 16-year-old boy commit his French vocab to memory if there is no penalty for failing to do so?  Yet committing useful knowledge to the long-term memory is a fundamental purpose of education.  Exams do stress pupils, that is one of their virtues."

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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