GCSE reform – so many options but which one is right?

11 September 2012

Today (11 September) sees the first of a series of roundtables we've organised on the various proposals for GCSE reform. In light of the recent GCSE furore these, now timely, events will provide a real opportunity to discuss and put forward teachers’, businesses’, students’ and parents’ views on the future of the GCSE.

As part of the discussions, we've invited former OCR chief executive Dr Ron McLone (in post 1985 to 2004) to produce an alternative proposal to the reforms suggested by the Secretary of State for Education and the Education Select Committee. His recommendation is the adoption of a two-phase education system – the first reflecting the objective of a ‘good general education’ by age 14 and the second, a four-year programme focusing specifically on individual interests, capabilities and ambitions for life beyond compulsory education. As a consequence Key Stage tests, GCSE and AS examinations would go, with alternative forms of assessment being proposed.

Simon Lebus, Group Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment, which operates and manages the three exam boards of the University of Cambridge, said: “We want to ensure that plans to reform our education system are positive and enhance learning.

“The constant tweaking of exams – for instance the move from linear GCSEs to modular and back again within the space of one Parliamentary term – shows the need to establish a sustainable long-term framework for reform. We hope the findings of our series of roundtables will enable policy makers to make valid and informed choices based on sound evidence.”

Those present at the September roundtables will be given the chance to dissect current proposals for reform as well as the opportunity to share their ideas and/or alternative proposals for secondary education. The roundtable findings will be shared at all three of the main political party conferences with the final report submitted to Government and published this autumn.

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