GCSE Reforms rejected in Wales

After the decision of the Welsh government to rebuff the proposed changes to GCSE exams in England there is a big chance that a schism forms between the English and Welsh educational systems.

While Wales is going to continue in the same way as now, in England GCSE will be replaced by the English Baccalaureate for subjects such as English and Maths.

There is a special system of examinations in Scotland and a review is to be carried out in Northern Ireland.

Jeff Cuthbert, the Deputy Minister of Skills said: “We will retain GCSEs and A-levels. Where necessary we will strengthen and amend these, but ultimately we have confidence in these well-established qualifications, which are recognised around the world.”

He also mentioned he wanted “best for students” in Wales no matter if this meant “diverging from England and the rest of the UK”.

As it was said new GCSEs in English Language, Welsh First Language and Maths will be offered alongside a “revised, more rigorous” Welsh Baccalaureate.

Head teachers in Wales welcomed the decision of their government. In the words of Gareth Jones from the Welsh branch of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) English universities had been taking Scottish students for years.

Another thing that Welsh government refused to accept were the changes to the A-level system in England recently announced by Michael Gove.

The spokesperson of the Department for Education said he cared about the Welsh education system.

“We are solely concerned with doing what is best for English students. That is why we are transforming the education system to raise standards in this country to prepare pupils to compete in a global jobs market.”

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GCSE Exam Grade Boundaries – Case To Be Investigated

The GCSE results this summer are thought to have been downgraded, and because of that reason many head teachers and local authorities have threatened to take legal actions in order to clarify the case.

Earlier this month the results from this year`s GCSEs have been released and it turned out that the requirements to achieve a certain grade were higher than the previous years, and even in exams taken as recently as January. Because of these changes many students who expected for example C grade, got D. Of course the preparation of the students is of highest importance, however this year for the first time the the proportion of GCSEs resulting in A-C grades fell, causing many students , who would have achieved higher grades according to the previous requirements, could now miss college or six-form places.

Local authorities claim that this situation may include a case of discrimination, as it mainly affects students from the ethnic minorities or poor backgrounds.

The The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) is also one of the organisations, which oppose the changes. General Secretary Michael Hobby suggested the change had been made as a result of “unsubstantiated concerns” that the pass rate for GCSEs taken in January had been too high, in an open letter to education secretary Michael Gove.

Gove replayed to the questions that he had never put any pressure on Ofqual to change the grade boundaries.

Ofqual thoroughly understands the concerns of all teachers, parents and councils and they are now ready to start investigating the case. However, on the other hand NAHT said they believe an investigation conducted only by Ofqual will not be sufficient and might be even subjective, as by the investigation they are required to find out their own failings.

Meanwhile, Michael Gove is at the centre of another outcry today after pulling the funding for a free school in Bradford without warning, days before it was set to open its doors.