Oct 24 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
HEADTEACHERS from schools throughout West Lancashire have condemned recent government reforms of GCSEs in an open letter to the Advertiser.
They argue that for the past 20 years GCSE English has included an assessment of speaking and listening, but from summer 2014 these will no longer count towards the qualification.
The eight heads state this assessment policy has been “changed on the hoof, immediately and with no consultation.” despite speaking and listening being key communication skills.
Changes to the policy of early GCSE entry were also made by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, in September.
Until now, if pupils were entered more than once for a GCSE exam in maths or English it was their best result that counted in the school league tables.
However now it will be their first attempt that counts, although the pupil will still be able to count their own best attempt as their final result.
The heads state: “All of us want to give our students the best chance of success and we all value early entry as a strategy to do so.
“By making this change, Michael Gove is saying that pupils should only be entered early if they are guaranteed a pass.
“Basically he is making headteachers choose between what is in the pupils’ best interests and what is in the interests of the league tables.
“Mr Gove, you have shown yourself to be a Secretary of State for Education who believes that more children failing exams is a good thing, who believes that the heads and staff working in schools are cheats, despite many of us devoting our entire working lives to bettering children’s life chances,
“Someone who, with no consultation or evidence that it will bring about any improvement, imposes changes mid-course on hundreds of thousands of students.”
The letter is signed by John Doyle, Ormskirk School; Catherine Edens, Burscough Priory Science College; James Harris, Glenburn Sports College; Tim Farr, Lathom High School; Chris Horrocks, St Bede’s RC High School; Jonathan Smart, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic High School; Kathryn Barton, Upholland High School and Lesley Gwinnett, Tarleton Academy.