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News - 6 September 2013

New tougher GCSEs to be delayed a year

Education Secretary Michael Gove’s plans to revamp England's exams system are being delayed by a year because of concerns by the exams watchdog, Ofqual, who said it could not be confident "high-quality GCSEs" or new A-levels in maths and modern languages would be ready so soon.

The education secretary has been clear he is in a hurry to change the exams system, describing the current GCSEs as "not fit for purpose".  But teaching unions, head teachers, examiners and elite private school leaders have expressed concerns about the pace of change to the system.

In a letter to Mr Gove, just published on the Ofqual website, chief regulator 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."

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“Ofqual says it will focus on the new GCSEs in English literature, language and maths - the subjects with which there are the "biggest concerns" - and hopes to have these ready for teaching in September 2015, while science, history and geography will be delayed until 2016.”

Mr Gove wrote back to Ofqual saying : "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.”

He also admitted that more time was needed to get it right

Christine Blower, head of the NUT, said:
"This delay will now enable the content and structure to be considered in greater detail."
She added: "It is useful for Ofqual to prioritise English and maths specifications as the first syllabuses to go into schools and colleges, but all the new qualifications should be trialled and evaluated before being introduced."


If you need any help and advice with Free School or Academy Schools, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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