Michael Gove told exam reforms must be delayed to ensure quality

New syllabus will not be taught in A-level maths and most GCSE subjects by September 2015

Education Editor

Delays to controversial reforms to GCSEs and A-levels have been forced upon Education Secretary Michael Gove by the exams regulator Ofqual as they are not be ready to be introduced.

The new exams were intended to be brought in to schools in September 2015, but new A-levels in maths and further maths will be put back and introduced a year later, while at GCSE level only the core subjects English and maths will stick to the original timetable.

Under Mr Gove’s reforms, there will be a radical shift of emphasis to the exam syllabuses. He is scrapping almost all coursework and concentrating instead on a one-off end-of-syllabus exam – as was the case in the past.

But in a letter to Mr Gove, Glenys Stacey, chief executive of Ofqual, said that a review of A-level syllabus content had shown that more “fundamental work” needed to be done on maths and further maths to meet his criteria for the new exams.

She warned: “We cannot be confident new high quality GCSEs in all subjects could be ready in good time for first teaching in 2015.”

Although she said that top priority would be given to introducing English language, English literature and maths on time, she indicated that the timetable would still have to be kept under review.

In his reply, Mr Gove accepted the need to delay maths and further maths at A-level because of the importance attached to getting the exams right.

“On the GCSEs we both agree that existing GCSEs are inadequate and that reformed qualifications should be introduced at the earliest opportunity,” he added.

“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’s why I want new GCSEs in core academic subjects in place for teaching for 2015.”

However, he was prepared to allow a delay in other subjects because it was “right to prioritise the availability of world-class qualifications in the subjects”.

Critics of the current system have claimed it is too easy to cheat in coursework by getting parents or the internet to answer questions. There have also been accusations that some teachers bump up marks to ensure a good ranking for their school in league tables.

However, exam boards are worried that students will be studying a mixture of syllabuses – with the GCSEs in all but English and maths not preparing pupils for the new-style A-levels.

A source close to Mr Gove said: “We have to balance the urgency of fixing exams against the danger of repeating past mistakes.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Administrator - Buckinghamshire - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine