Latest Public Sector News

09.09.13

More time needed for new GCSE exams

The new O-level style GCSEs will not be ready for implementation by 2015, according to exams watchdog Ofqual. 

Education secretary Michael Gove had wanted to introduce the new exams, and more challenging A-levels, in 2015.

Ofqual will work on the new English and maths GCSEs, hoping to have the subjects ready to teach in September 2015. But science, history and geography will be delayed until 2016.More time would also be needed for A-levels, Ofqual said.

In a letter to the education secretary, published on the Ofqual website, chief executive Glenys Stacey wrote: “It is clear that the amount of work needed on GCSEs, including the development of strengthened regulatory arrangements, means we cannot be confident that new, high-quality GCSEs in all subjects could be ready in good time for first teaching from 2015.”

Gove replied: “We must replace the modular GCSE treadmill with exams that encourage the skills universities and employers want, such as essay writing and mathematical problem-solving.

“That is why I wanted new GCSEs in core academic subjects to be in place for teaching from 2015. However, I accept that much more rigorous regulatory demands should be put in place and that Ofqual needs more time to develop them.”

Christine Blower, head of the NUT, said: “It was always a ridiculous idea of Michael Gove's that such massive changes to the examination system could be carried out so quickly. This delay will now enable the content and structure to be considered in greater detail.”

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