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O-levels to replace GCSEs in school system shake-up

Posted on Thursday, 21 June by

Education secretary, Michael Gove, has put forward plans to scrap GCSE exams by 2014 in a move by the government to hasten their school reform policy and improve the teaching of core subjects.

Students across England will sit GCSEs for the last time in English, maths, physics, chemistry and biology in 2015, making way for more traditional exams reminiscent on the old format of O-levels the following year.

Modular GCSEs have already been scrapped by the education secretary and his education white paper last November signalled a big shake-up of the exams was on the cards.

However, the leaked documents of the Tories’ plans to scrap the current system and to revive O-levels will be seen as one of the government’s boldest reforms to date – the education department currently refuses to comment.

Early ambitions suggest though, Gove wants a return to the more traditional way of teaching a subject for two years and then requiring pupils to sit exams at the end of the course.

He believes it is important to extend to all schools the freedom enjoyed by academies and free schools. There will also be one exam board for each subject. This means that schools will not be able to sign up for exam boards seen as easier.

When the Tories abolished O-levels and introduced GCSEs they said standards would rise. Now they say they’ve fallen. Could the same happen all over again?

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Lewis Scrafton
22. Co-founder and editor of SQ Magazine. Studying at University of Sussex. Interned at MATTER and published in The Guardian.

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