Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw opposes radical reform

 

The Ofsted chief inspector is against radical reforms that would see less able pupils sit simpler qualifications or take papers later on, it was reported today.

Instead, the government should ensure that existing GCSEs are stretching for all students, according to Sir Michael Wilshaw,

In an interview with the Financial Times, he indicated that he is in favour of a single exam system for all teenagers.

"The examination system that we have has got to be ruthless and stretching all pupils," he said.

He told the newspaper that it is possible to do this "within the existing system."

His comments are at odds with proposals being considered by the government to overhaul England's exams.

Under plans leaked last month, GCSEs would be scrapped with pupils sitting "explicitly harder" O-level style exams in traditional academic subjects such as English, maths, history, modern languages and science.

It was suggested that less able pupils would take easier old-style CSE qualifications.

Education Secretary Michael Gove later said that he would like to see all students sit the O-level style exams at some point in their school career, with some taking them later than at age 16.

Asked directly by the Financial Times if he would support either of these proposals, Sir Michael said that he did not.

He appeared to suggest that pupils should be able to take an exam again if they did not get a good grade the first time.

"If a youngster gets a D or an E, we say that youngster is going to be very closely tracked.

"Come back and do it again... a good school... tracks the youngster through until they do achieve," he said.

Proposals to bring back O-level and CSE style exams were met with a wave of protest from teaching unions and education experts, as well as exposing deep divisions within the coalition.

Lib Dem sources suggested that they were "very, very hostile" to something that would create a two-tier system.

In a speech last month, Mr Gove then appeared to suggest that pupils could sit exams at different stages.

He said that over the next decade, he wants to see at least 80% of young people on course to get good passes in English, maths and science in rigorous exams.

"I think one of the most debilitating things in our entire education system has been the idea that you make judgments early in a child's career about what they're fit for," he said.

"And I think one of the things we need to do is to make sure that hopefully by the age of 16, but if not at 16 then at 17 or 18, that a child is equipped with the level of qualifications to make those choices themselves."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We will be announcing our plans for exam reform in due course.

"But the current system already means that a large proportion of pupils take a version of the GCSE which means they are barred from getting anything higher than a C grade. We urgently need to raise standards for all pupils."

"GCSE is simply not up to that job anymore - as this month's report from the Commons Education Select Committee proved."

PA

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Network Manager - Oldham area - Up to £30,000

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

Teacher of special needs required for Burton on Trent

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Exciting Opportunity, Rand...

Behaviour Support Assistant

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Behaviour Support Worker Th...

Youth Worker / Teaching Assistant - Nottingham

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are looki...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment