HEAD teachers in Burton and South Derbyshire have welcomed the Government’s u-turn over a controversial examination shake-up.
On Thursday, education secretary Michael Gove, made a spectacular climb-down over plans to replace GCSEs with the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2015.
The EBacc system aimed to give students a sterner test and focus on traditional subjects like English, maths, science and history.
Students who obtained the best results in core subjects would receive an EBacc certificate.
But the plans had come in for scathing criticism from some education bosses and teachers who voiced concerned about those pupils who didn’t make the grade.
Tracy Rees, head teacher at Paulet High School, in Violet Way, Burton, said Mr Gove had ‘made a very sensible decision’ in shelving the plans.
She said: “He seems to finally have listened to well informed advice from those who really do know something about what goes on in schools – teachers.
“It is far more sensible to fully evaluate the system we have got rather than replace it with a system that would only allow the most able to achieve.
“Mr Gove needs to spend time in our schools and observe the fantastic teaching and learning that takes place.
“He might be surprised by how bright, hardworking and well-educated most teenagers are.”
Mr Gove has now said GCSEs would be reformed, with more focus on end of year exams and less internal assessment.
The u-turn was also backed by Sylvia Thomas, head teacher at the Granville Sports College, in Woodville, who said she was ‘relieved’ at the news.
She said: “We are quite relived because it will give a longer lead in time to whatever changes they do make.
“Preparing for something radically for 2015 would not have given us much time to prepare.
“There was no detail at all so no-one knew what it was going to look like.
“We know what our pupils need and will do whatever we must do to help them.”
Miss Thomas added that pupils who aspired to go to university would be encouraged to study a language.
She said: “They don’t have to take one but for those who do have an aspiration to go on to further education we think it is a good idea.
“We have a really diverse uptake and we want to retain that.
But the NASUWT teachers’ union criticised the Government’s educational policies.
Chris Keates, the union’s general secretary, said: “The English Baccalaureate Certificates was always a distraction.
“The certificates may have gone but the English Baccalaureate remains as a measure in the performance league tables.
“While this Government’s education policies remain in place, ruining the life chances for children and young people and robbing them of their rights and entitlements, there is little cause for celebration.”