Hartlepool head fears GCSE reform

St Hilds headteacher Colin Reid
St Hilds headteacher Colin Reid

A HARTLEPOOL headteacher fears a major shake-up of GCSEs will result in less students going on to study at college and university.

Education secretary Michael Gove plans to radically overhaul the current system, scrapping coursework and introducing a grading system of one to eight instead of A*-G.

He has also proposed plans to change the curriculum in core subjects as part of the reform.

But Colin Reid, headteacher of St Hild’s CE School, in King Oswy Drive, slammed the proposed changes describing the overhaul as a step in the wrong direction.

Mr Reid said: “To scrap coursework and for the students to work towards an end-of-course, which will often be just one, exam in my opinion is a step backwards.

“We spend a lot of time and effort making sure that our students are rewarded throughout the course rather than working towards one final paper.

“There are different skills involved in completing coursework and sitting an exam and those skills compliment each other.

“To lose some of those skills by just sitting a final exam, I really don’t think that’s the way forward.”

Mr Gove initially announced the Government would replace GCSEs with English Baccalaureate Certificates but was forced to axe those plans earlier this year.

He also controversially criticised education in East Durham - despite the fact he has never visited any schools or colleges in the area.

Mr Reid added: “He is becoming quite well known for his general sweeping statements and to be honest I get rather bemused and angered by them.

“Throughout the school life of our students we try to encourage them to move on with their studies when they are finished at school but I believe these changes will deter students from moving on to post-16 education.”

Mark Tilling, headteacher at High Tunstall College of Science, in the town, added: “It does feel like there is too much change in one go but we are here to teach the students and make sure they reach their potential. Whatever the national agenda, we will continue to do that.”