Nick Clegg has joined forces with Michael Gove and supported the education secretary’s plan for a radical overhaul of the UK’s exam system, a bid to replace GCSEs after the next general election in 2015.
The duo will line-up alongside each other early this week as they officially launch the scheme, a surprise given Nick Clegg’s vocal objections to Gove’s education plans, which leaked to the public in June of this summer.
Gove had originally aimed to replace the current GCSE with an old style ‘O-Level’ qualification, in which the most able pupils sat rigorous O-Level exams, and the less academic sat the easier CSE qualification. Clegg opposed this “two-tier education system” and said it would send millions of children immediately on to the “scrapheap”.
Since then, the two have been locked in intense discussions, and appear to have reached a compromise. Latest reports say that there will now be no two-tier exam system, with the new style of exam being sat by all pupils.
The new system will also be introduced in the autumn of 2015, which is one year later than was originally expected. This delay should allow more schools to appropriately deal with the changes and give candidates the best opportunity to take the new exams successfully.
However, changes that remain include the scrapping of modular testing, which means pupils will no longer be able to sit exams unit by unit, and the scrapping of all but one exam board.
The bright side? If Labour win the next general election, these plans will more than likely be scrapped before they ever have a chance to come into effect.