Some reasons why I think the GCSE reforms are an awful idea

Lets start with a good look at their advocate, the Secretary Of State for Education

  • He has now tried four times to reform GCSEs. Not only does this make me question his vision and whether he knows what he’s doing, it also makes me question whether he’s just making huge changes for the sake of making an impact rather than because he thinks that it’s going to improve the system.
  • Four different national teaching associations/unions have previously passed votes of no confidence in his policies
  • He attended a private college before studying English at Oxford and becoming a journalist prior to his political career, meaning that he has next to no idea of how modern day state education works and has no experience working in or even training in education. He is possibly the most out of touch person who could have been chosen to be in charge in education on a national level.
  • He has a history of cocking things up * and having no idea about the things that he says it’s important for every student to know *

Now let’s look at the actual reforms

  • Switching from grading in letters to grading in numbers is pointless and irrelevant to the functions of grading. It literally could not matter less.
  • There are no more modules, meaning that education is stepping back to the days of O-levels where students need to remember two years of learning for one exam. Don’t have good recall memory? Well there are no qualifications for you.
  • He’s getting rid of re-sits. Ill on the day of the exam and can’t focus? Misread a big mark question? Can’t sleep the night before due to the nerves associated with having no second chance to get this exam down? Well there are no qualifications for you.
  • Coursework is being scrapped and the new exams are all going to be essay based so if you’re not the type of person who can sit down and write three pages about a subject under a strict time limit rather than working at a more consistent pace over a longer period of time then there are no qualifications for you. (It’s almost as if Michael Gove, somebody who studied English to degree level, is reforming the whole of education to match the methods of learning/exam that he was good at as a kid. But no that can’t be it, that would be far too exclusionary. I’m sure he’s got some better reasoning, even if he hasn’t stated it)
  • History will be based more on British History than it has been in the past, which is just what we need with students growing up in a world with much more rapid globalisation than ever before.
  • When these subjects are being taught there will still be courses who’s specification and structure hasn’t been reformed, causing a mis-match which will make things even more difficult for students than the changes are doing already.
  • Wales and Scotland are considering keeping the old system, potentially making education uneven across the British Isles and adding even more credibility to the point of view that these reforms are a bad idea.
  • The reforms will de-value the qualifications that people, like my brother, who are currently sitting GCSE’s are working as hard as they can to get.