WIGAN teachers have welcomed a dramatic examination climb-down by the Education Secretary.
Michael Gove confirmed in the Commons he was shelving his controversial plans to replace some GCSEs with new English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs), beginning with English, maths and science in 2015 with further subjects to follow.
The borough’s National Union of Teachers branch said today that EBCs were simply a step back towards the old O-level exam system, accusing the education chief of being keen to label children as failures.
It also accuses the government of refusing to recognise the hard work of teachers and pupils as a factor in exam pass rate improvements, which sent out mixed messages by both promoting excellence and yet criticising exams as being too easy.
Secretary Max Atkins said: “Parents and carers know how hard their children have worked for their GCSEs. It is the sheer hard work and determination on the part of teachers, parents, carers and the pupils themselves that has got them more fantastic results.
“He was proposing going back to a blatantly two-tier system, where pupils deemed not clever enough to get EBacc Certificates would have received a ‘record of achievement’ which would have been seen to be of far less worth by employers and colleges.
“Telling pupils ‘you are not clever enough’ would have disillusioned thousands of Wigan pupils.”
Wigan MP and Shadow Children’s Minister Lisa Nandy said that the announcement that the Secretary of State was abandoning his new qualification was good news for the borough’s children.
She said: “The EBC was opposed by teachers, businesses and education experts because it would have forced young people to study a narrow outdated curriculum, that turned the clock back to the 1950s and did not prepare them for modern life or for work.
“This shows the damage that can be done when policy is drawn up carelessly without proper consultation.
“We have offered to work with Gove to develop more rigour in the exam system, with an emphasis on maths, English and communication skills, and ensure that all children benefit, not just a few.”