Heads worried by GCSEs axe

Andrew Jordon (left) and Mark Tiling
Andrew Jordon (left) and Mark Tiling

HEADTEACHERS say new qualifications that are set to replace GCSEs will make it harder for town students.

The Government has announced that the new English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBacc) will replace the GCSE from September 2015.

It will see students taking tough end-of-year exams that will replace module exams and there will be a reduced reliance on coursework.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email the newsdesk or telephone the newsdesk on (01429) 239380. Have your say in today’s vote

Education secretary Michael Gove announced the changes yesterday, which will also involve one exam board for each subject to prevent competition between boards to deliver tests which are easier to pass.

Mr Gove said the qualifications will be more rigorous, but will “ensure the majority of children can flourish and achieve their full potential”.

But headteachers in Hartlepool say that sitting of one exam at the end of two years hard work will make the process a lot more difficult than it is under the current system.

Colin Reid, headteacher at St Hild’s C of E Secondary School, in King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, said: “I can understand why the Government wants to have one exam board for each subject in terms of gaining consistency.

“What I can’t understand is the movement to a more academic type examination process whereby students will sit a final exam at the end of two years.

“It gives an advantage to the students who cruise through two years and cram at the end, which is what we have tried to move away from.”

Andrew Jordon, headteacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in Hartlepool, said it is too early to pass judgement on the changes, but said the new system will be more difficult for students and will require the school to “radically look at the way they deliver literacy skills”.

Mark Tilling, headteacher at High Tunstall College of Science, in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, said he thinks the Government wanted to change the examination process from the start ,but said the school will work to whatever system is in place.

Government ministers called for change after a slight fall in GCSE results this year.

The results were overshadowed by the English GCSE furore which saw claims thousands of students throughout the UK were undermarked.

The teaching of English, maths and science EBaccs will begin in September 2012, with the first pupils receiving the new qualification in 2017.

Subjects including history, geography and languages will then follow.

Mr Gove and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the EBacc will become a “near-universal qualification”.

The plans will also involve schools deferring the exams for a year or two for students who they do not think are ready to sit them at 16.