On 7 June 2011 we hosted a debate at the British Library (London) about whether the age at which children take GCSEs should be lowered to 14 as well as the pros and cons of a routed system. We believe that recent discussions in the media and elsewhere about whether the age at which children take GCSEs should be lowered to 14 avoids the real discussion about what is being tested, why, and what kind of education should follow.
Nearly 100 people attended the event, with a further 1000 watching online. Participants explored issues such as: Should there be a national examination at 14 rather than 16? What would be the implications for what a student does next? Should this be the starting point for students to take courses leading them in different directions? And should these different directions allow students to opt for different ‘routes’ in different types of institutions – academic, technical or vocational?
Presenters included: Tim Oates, Group Director – Assessment Research & Development, Cambridge Assessment; Professor Geoff Hayward, University of Leeds; Professor Ken Spours, Head of Continuing and Professional Education, Institute of Education, University of London. Panellists included: Dr Hilary Steedman, Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), London School of Economics and Political Science; Dr Matt Grist, Senior Researcher, Demos; and Christopher Morecroft, President, Association of Colleges. Special guest Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, also shared his views with the audience.
View the podcasts from this event.