Gove wants to scrap GCSEs in exams shake-up


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The Independent Online

The biggest reform of the school examination system in a generation will be unveiled tomorrow, with the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, scrapping GCSEs and replacing them with a tougher, more rigorous exam based along old O-level lines.

The plans are likely to include getting rid of modular assessment, reintroducing three-hour exams at the end of two years of study and limiting the number of top grades awarded.

However, Mr Gove is under fire today from Lord (Kenneth) Baker one of his Conservative predecessors as Education Secretary for failing to be radical enough. He believes there is no need for a national exam at 16 as most young people now stay on in education or training until 18.

Instead, he believes pupils should be tested at 14 to help guide them on the subject choices they must then make.

"It's vital that schools and colleges provide education which develops practical skills and personal qualities as well as subject knowledge," Lord Baker said. "This has to include opportunities to learn by doing."

Under Mr Gove's proposals, the Government would replace the current, two-tier GCSE exam with a more academically rigorous exam.

There would be a three-hour exam at the end of the course – and pupils would no longer be able to take resits of each module to bump up their grades. In future, they will resit the entire exam or nothing. There will also be no more modules or continuous assessment of pupils.

Pupils are set to start studying for the new qualification from September 2015 – after the next general election – as part of a deal said to have been agreed with the Liberal Democrats.