Can Tomlinson replace GCSEs?

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

 Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders [ @RealGeoffBarton ] thinks so.  What follows is the beginning of his article in the TES late last year:

"In Bristol this week, at the annual conference of the Girls’ Schools Association, headteacher Rose Hardy used some vivid imagery to describe GCSEs. Here’s what she said: 'I think many heads would say that in 30 years’ time, maybe sooner, we’ll look back and say what we’re doing now with young people is the equivalent of what the Victorians did – building their school rooms with windows so high up pupils couldn’t look out, and putting them in dunce caps'.

The report of the debate about GCSEs led to an editorial in The Times under the headline: Tested to Destruction. The newspaper said that these troubled exams no longer served a useful purpose: 'Scrapping GCSEs would free up time that could be spent working towards richer qualifications at 18. At present it encourages schools to teach pupils to tick boxes rather than to educate them imaginatively.'

It’s good that the leaders of some of our longest established independent schools are leading the drive for qualification reform. It’s good that one of our oldest newspapers is doing the same.  After all, as I’ve written before, an examination designed in and for a different era, is looking increasingly irrelevant. As technology takes on so much of the heavy lifting in other parts of our lives, surely the days of sports halls being filled with old school desks, armies of invigilators, and exam storerooms akin to Fort Knox is an anachronism. ... "

Just so; as I may already have argued.  Imagine the time that will be released for education and learning once all that revision and examining has gone.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response