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The Secretary of State for Education today made a statement in the House of Commons outlining proposed reforms to GCSEs in which he acknowledged that his original proposal for a single exam board for each subject (the EBC) was a “bridge too far” and “one reform too many”.
Read the full statement here and the letters to and from the English regulator, Ofqual.
Today’s announcement means that there is still a large GCSE reform programme in place in which we will continue to play a full role, prepared, as always, to deliver research-led, rigorous and fair qualifications. The freedom for assessment experts and teaching professionals to design world-class qualifications, with minimal bureaucratic interference, must remain in place. This freedom allowed us to undertake extensive research, consultation and design to the highest international standards in relation to EBCs. The new GCSE reform landscape could benefit from this if the right approach is taken by Government and the regulator.
We also caution that GCSE reform needs to be carefully orchestrated in terms of how it interlinks and feeds through to A Level reform, both in terms of content, implementation and timing.
The capacity to adapt to change is essential in education. We believe all children should have a broad, balanced education. Individuals need to have a balance of skills, knowledge and experiences. They should have access to both vocational and academic study, and qualifications need to be comprehensible to students and teachers, employers and learning providers. Our experience of developing and delivering educational assessment both in the UK and 170 countries worldwide will help to deliver whatever reforms come our way.