Voice: the union for education professionals has said Michael Gove’s future as Education Secretary will be questioned after he dropped plans for English Baccalaureate Certificates.
Mr Gove made a statement in the Commons today confirming that he will abandon plans to scrap GCSEs in key subjects in England and replace them with the EBacc.
“The exam regulator Ofqual – which has done such a great job in recent months upholding standards – was clear that there were significant risks in trying to both strengthen qualifications and end competition in a large part of the exams market,” he said.
“So I have decided not to make the best the enemy of the good.
“And I will not proceed with plans to have a single exam board offering a new exam in each academic subject – instead we will concentrate on reforming existing GCSEs along the lines we put forward in September.”
Voice General Secretary Deborah Lawson said: “This is astonishing but welcome news.
“On Tuesday evening, Michael Gove was praising and promoting the EBacc in a speech to the Social Market Foundations. On Thursday morning, we learn that he will scrap the idea.
“This raises serious questions about his judgement and his future as Education Secretary.
“In that address, Mr Gove made headlines for dismissing aspects of the curriculum as ‘vapid happy talk’. Now it seems that the speech itself will remembered for being just that.
“This U-turn is a triumph for democratic accountability and a lesson for Mr Gove. In future, instead of rushing ahead regardless, following his own agenda, the Education Secretary must learn to listen, take advice from the profession, consider carefully and undertake genuine consultations.
“Describing a narrow range of subjects as a ‘Baccalaureate’ devalued both the important subjects that would have been excluded and the more challenging and wider-ranging International Baccalaureate.
“Pupils, parents and employers should welcome this too as it removes some uncertainty from the future value of GCSEs, which had seemed condemned to second class status.
“We hope that there will now be a national debate and genuine consultation, not only on the future of GCSEs and proposals for the National Curriculum, but on the whole 14-19 system of education.
“As compulsory education or training is extended to 17 and then 18, we should be discussing whether there is a need for exams at 16 at all.”
Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg told the Commons:
“The best thing would be if the Education Secretary went back to the drawing board.
“But today, we have another back of the envelope plan.
“Bringing in a new national curriculum. After the last one which his expert advisers said was 'fatally flawed'. He needs to understand that you can't do politics in the old way anymore.
“Not lecture people from on high and expect them to simply accept what's coming to them. Education is too important for short term thinking.
“Most children only get one chance at their GCSEs. Their future is too important to be subjected to the usual party politicking and parliamentary game-playing.