HEADTEACHERS across Stafford say they have major concerns about plans to overhaul GCSE exams
Neil Finlay, headteacher of Walton High School, said most heads applauded certain aspects of the Government’s plans to revamp the qualifications.
But he said there were worrying developments within the proposed reforms.
Speaking on behalf of headteachers from a number of schools, including Weston Road, Stafford Sports College and Blessed William Howard, Mr Finlay said there were serious concerns that these proposals risked a situation where a significant proportion of pupils would leave formal education without any qualifications whatsoever to reflect their abilities.
A shake-up of the exam system, unveiled by Education Secretary Michael Gove, will mean a single end-of-course exam and one exam board for core subjects. Pupils beginning secondary school this year will take the first new exams - in English, maths and sciences - in 2017.
Mr Finlay said: “The transition to written exams at the end of courses disadvantages pupils with learning disabilities who in the present system can still demonstrate their understanding. We also have concerns about any idea of limiting grades to a certain proportion of candidates in any one year which will potentially see students from one year to the next achieving different grades for work of the same standard.
“It is difficult to argue against the notion that the system as it exists now is in need of improvement. Even though teaching gets progressively stronger, year after year of grade inflation and well publicised concerns about the proliferation of examination boards only serve to undermine public confidence in our examination system. However, we hope that the Government genuinely wants to engage in a proper consultation exercise because the risk to a generation of school leavers of getting this wrong is massive.”
Meanwhile, Staffordshire’s education chief County Councillor Liz Staples said it was important there was consistency across all subjects.
She added: “Although I welcome the changes in principle, I will be interested to see how they can be implemented and how they will work in practice in schools across Staffordshire.”