MP says exam reform plan would take country back to the 1950s

MP Julie Hilling has accused Education Minister Michael Gove of being “old fashioned” and taking the country back to the 1950s as the fall-out over his plans to overhaul GCSEs rages on.

The Commons Education Select Committee, made up of a cross-party group of MPs, has published a damning report into the plans to axe GCSEs in favour of the English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) in English, maths and science.

The reforms have been criticised by local headteachers, including the head of Bolton School Boys’ Division, which is one of the country top schools.

Now Bolton West MP Ms Hilling has voiced her concerns over the reforms where there will be a single end-of-course exam and limited subjects will form part of the EBCs leading to fears the remaining GCSEs will be discredited.

A Statement of Achievement, which was described as having the potential to become a “badge of failure”, would be introduced for lower attaining pupils.

Ms Hilling said: “The Government’s proposals for the English Baccalaureate fail young people in a number of ways.

“Firstly some people will leave school simply with a certificate of achievement rather than any qualifications which takes us back to the days before GCSEs.

“Secondly, Mr Gove has a very old fashioned view of education and has excluded the subjects that are critical to our future competitiveness like computer science, design and technology, construction and engineering which will divert pupils away from these crucial qualifications.

“Thirdly, understanding and ability in a subject will simply be tested in a three-hour exam which so often measures memory rather than depth of knowledge.

Finally, it will discredit GCSEs that are not changed.

“Already major manufacturers are looking to other countries to recruit graduate engineers because we are not producing enough and I absolutely agree with my local headteacher who contacted me after the changes were first announced to say he went to bed in 2012 and woke up in 1956.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:04am Mon 4 Feb 13

PDY says...

Does anybody seriously believe that employers looking at a string of GCSE certificates, which clearly indicate that the owner has achieved very little in the way of academic success, are convinced otherwise. The ECB, which will concentrate on what any serious parent considers to be "the core subjects, will strenghten our childrens grasp of three subjects which form the basis of all other elements of their acedemic work. Far too many of our kids are walking out of school with a pile of certificates, yet are unable to write decent sentences with proper punctuation and spelling, or do simple mathematical calculations in their head. You simply will not be able to do computer science, design and technology or engineering without a good standard of English, maths and science. The current GCSE system puts too much value on quantity and not enough on quality. That is exactly Mr Goves point.
Ms Hilling's final point about a final examination is nonsense. To pass any examination, which is correctly set, requires an in depth knowledge of the subject not simply a good memory. Perhaps she can explain the difference between good memory and good understanding??? One is a direct result of the other.
Does anybody seriously believe that employers looking at a string of GCSE certificates, which clearly indicate that the owner has achieved very little in the way of academic success, are convinced otherwise. The ECB, which will concentrate on what any serious parent considers to be "the core subjects, will strenghten our childrens grasp of three subjects which form the basis of all other elements of their acedemic work. Far too many of our kids are walking out of school with a pile of certificates, yet are unable to write decent sentences with proper punctuation and spelling, or do simple mathematical calculations in their head. You simply will not be able to do computer science, design and technology or engineering without a good standard of English, maths and science. The current GCSE system puts too much value on quantity and not enough on quality. That is exactly Mr Goves point. Ms Hilling's final point about a final examination is nonsense. To pass any examination, which is correctly set, requires an in depth knowledge of the subject not simply a good memory. Perhaps she can explain the difference between good memory and good understanding??? One is a direct result of the other. PDY
  • Score: 0

11:47am Mon 4 Feb 13

berushka says...

PDY wrote:
Does anybody seriously believe that employers looking at a string of GCSE certificates, which clearly indicate that the owner has achieved very little in the way of academic success, are convinced otherwise. The ECB, which will concentrate on what any serious parent considers to be "the core subjects, will strenghten our childrens grasp of three subjects which form the basis of all other elements of their acedemic work. Far too many of our kids are walking out of school with a pile of certificates, yet are unable to write decent sentences with proper punctuation and spelling, or do simple mathematical calculations in their head. You simply will not be able to do computer science, design and technology or engineering without a good standard of English, maths and science. The current GCSE system puts too much value on quantity and not enough on quality. That is exactly Mr Goves point.
Ms Hilling's final point about a final examination is nonsense. To pass any examination, which is correctly set, requires an in depth knowledge of the subject not simply a good memory. Perhaps she can explain the difference between good memory and good understanding??? One is a direct result of the other.
I am afraid she probably cannot, after all, she does vote Labour! Her whole argument, and that of those with similar views, is misguided and mis-informed. The GCE system aims at handing out as many passes as possible, with only a marginal knowledge of any one subject. Jack of all trades but master of none, springs to mind.
[quote][p][bold]PDY[/bold] wrote: Does anybody seriously believe that employers looking at a string of GCSE certificates, which clearly indicate that the owner has achieved very little in the way of academic success, are convinced otherwise. The ECB, which will concentrate on what any serious parent considers to be "the core subjects, will strenghten our childrens grasp of three subjects which form the basis of all other elements of their acedemic work. Far too many of our kids are walking out of school with a pile of certificates, yet are unable to write decent sentences with proper punctuation and spelling, or do simple mathematical calculations in their head. You simply will not be able to do computer science, design and technology or engineering without a good standard of English, maths and science. The current GCSE system puts too much value on quantity and not enough on quality. That is exactly Mr Goves point. Ms Hilling's final point about a final examination is nonsense. To pass any examination, which is correctly set, requires an in depth knowledge of the subject not simply a good memory. Perhaps she can explain the difference between good memory and good understanding??? One is a direct result of the other.[/p][/quote]I am afraid she probably cannot, after all, she does vote Labour! Her whole argument, and that of those with similar views, is misguided and mis-informed. The GCE system aims at handing out as many passes as possible, with only a marginal knowledge of any one subject. Jack of all trades but master of none, springs to mind. berushka
  • Score: -1

1:02pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Sparkiedog1 says...

I agree I have 2 sons who are now left school but not that long ago..
I was told by the English teacher at their high school they attended
" They don't need to be able to spell and punctuate correctly as long as when I read it I can get the general meaning "

Some education that is !! welcome back the 1950s education standards
I am just sorry my sons are too old to feel its benifits
I got fed up of chasing teachers about my sons education or lack of it..to be fobbed off with "He's a boy he will catch up next year" or "He is next years teachers problem not mine now "
My Son was Dyslexic and Dysphraxic and needed support of which he got little or none except " if you pay for extra clesses it will help "
Its time our system got a major overhaul and teachers who are not in th eproffession for the right reasons give up their nice salary and plush holidays for someone who is willing to educate our kids
I agree I have 2 sons who are now left school but not that long ago.. I was told by the English teacher at their high school they attended " They don't need to be able to spell and punctuate correctly as long as when I read it I can get the general meaning " Some education that is !! welcome back the 1950s education standards I am just sorry my sons are too old to feel its benifits I got fed up of chasing teachers about my sons education or lack of it..to be fobbed off with "He's a boy he will catch up next year" or "He is next years teachers problem not mine now " My Son was Dyslexic and Dysphraxic and needed support of which he got little or none except " if you pay for extra clesses it will help " Its time our system got a major overhaul and teachers who are not in th eproffession for the right reasons give up their nice salary and plush holidays for someone who is willing to educate our kids Sparkiedog1
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Mon 4 Feb 13

steveG says...

A return to the 1950's would,it seems,be far preferable to most people than carrying on with the shameful educational standards of the past few years.
A return to the 1950's would,it seems,be far preferable to most people than carrying on with the shameful educational standards of the past few years. steveG
  • Score: -1

8:58pm Mon 4 Feb 13

dougie kay says...

The education system of the 50's. was an era when teaching was a respected profession . a time when knowledge was gained from books, using your brain and memory .education enforced with discipline . The only thing you pressed at school .in that era.was your luck . No such thing as calculators and P.C access , just a blackboard for the teacher and exercise books for pupils.and god help you if you made a mess in said book but in the end 95% of the pupils could read and write spell and have a pretty good knowledge of maths
The education system of the 50's. was an era when teaching was a respected profession . a time when knowledge was gained from books, using your brain and memory .education enforced with discipline . The only thing you pressed at school .in that era.was your luck . No such thing as calculators and P.C access , just a blackboard for the teacher and exercise books for pupils.and god help you if you made a mess in said book but in the end 95% of the pupils could read and write spell and have a pretty good knowledge of maths dougie kay
  • Score: -1

9:22am Tue 5 Feb 13

berushka says...

My daughter is just nine years old, but already she does most of her school work using a school-provided Ipad, and then brings it home to play one of the many games her teacher has downloaded for them to play when they are bored at school! Ask her any question about any subject, and up it pops on her search engine. At the end of this expensive education, she will talk away with a fine bunch of certificates proving she knows it all! What ever happened to teachers covered in chalk, pupils sat around the family dining table, diligently doing their homework, and making sure not only where the answers right, but that the presentation and layout where also neat and tidy? I still keep in touch with many of my teachers, over forty years after leaving school; how many of todays' kids even know their teacher's name?
My daughter is just nine years old, but already she does most of her school work using a school-provided Ipad, and then brings it home to play one of the many games her teacher has downloaded for them to play when they are bored at school! Ask her any question about any subject, and up it pops on her search engine. At the end of this expensive education, she will talk away with a fine bunch of certificates proving she knows it all! What ever happened to teachers covered in chalk, pupils sat around the family dining table, diligently doing their homework, and making sure not only where the answers right, but that the presentation and layout where also neat and tidy? I still keep in touch with many of my teachers, over forty years after leaving school; how many of todays' kids even know their teacher's name? berushka
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Hulton Park says...

berushka wrote:
My daughter is just nine years old, but already she does most of her school work using a school-provided Ipad, and then brings it home to play one of the many games her teacher has downloaded for them to play when they are bored at school! Ask her any question about any subject, and up it pops on her search engine. At the end of this expensive education, she will talk away with a fine bunch of certificates proving she knows it all! What ever happened to teachers covered in chalk, pupils sat around the family dining table, diligently doing their homework, and making sure not only where the answers right, but that the presentation and layout where also neat and tidy? I still keep in touch with many of my teachers, over forty years after leaving school; how many of todays' kids even know their teacher's name?
Crikey, your old teachers must be cracking on if you are still in touch with them over forty years after leaving school. For starters, that makes you at least 55!

Assuming they taught you for just your very last year, none of them can be younger than 76.
[quote][p][bold]berushka[/bold] wrote: My daughter is just nine years old, but already she does most of her school work using a school-provided Ipad, and then brings it home to play one of the many games her teacher has downloaded for them to play when they are bored at school! Ask her any question about any subject, and up it pops on her search engine. At the end of this expensive education, she will talk away with a fine bunch of certificates proving she knows it all! What ever happened to teachers covered in chalk, pupils sat around the family dining table, diligently doing their homework, and making sure not only where the answers right, but that the presentation and layout where also neat and tidy? I still keep in touch with many of my teachers, over forty years after leaving school; how many of todays' kids even know their teacher's name?[/p][/quote]Crikey, your old teachers must be cracking on if you are still in touch with them over forty years after leaving school. For starters, that makes you at least 55! Assuming they taught you for just your very last year, none of them can be younger than 76. Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

5:48pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Hulton Park says...

Hulton Park wrote:
berushka wrote: My daughter is just nine years old, but already she does most of her school work using a school-provided Ipad, and then brings it home to play one of the many games her teacher has downloaded for them to play when they are bored at school! Ask her any question about any subject, and up it pops on her search engine. At the end of this expensive education, she will talk away with a fine bunch of certificates proving she knows it all! What ever happened to teachers covered in chalk, pupils sat around the family dining table, diligently doing their homework, and making sure not only where the answers right, but that the presentation and layout where also neat and tidy? I still keep in touch with many of my teachers, over forty years after leaving school; how many of todays' kids even know their teacher's name?
Crikey, your old teachers must be cracking on if you are still in touch with them over forty years after leaving school. For starters, that makes you at least 55! Assuming they taught you for just your very last year, none of them can be younger than 76.
Correction: 56 and 77. I forgot about the raising of the school leaving age in 1968!
[quote][p][bold]Hulton Park[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]berushka[/bold] wrote: My daughter is just nine years old, but already she does most of her school work using a school-provided Ipad, and then brings it home to play one of the many games her teacher has downloaded for them to play when they are bored at school! Ask her any question about any subject, and up it pops on her search engine. At the end of this expensive education, she will talk away with a fine bunch of certificates proving she knows it all! What ever happened to teachers covered in chalk, pupils sat around the family dining table, diligently doing their homework, and making sure not only where the answers right, but that the presentation and layout where also neat and tidy? I still keep in touch with many of my teachers, over forty years after leaving school; how many of todays' kids even know their teacher's name?[/p][/quote]Crikey, your old teachers must be cracking on if you are still in touch with them over forty years after leaving school. For starters, that makes you at least 55! Assuming they taught you for just your very last year, none of them can be younger than 76.[/p][/quote]Correction: 56 and 77. I forgot about the raising of the school leaving age in 1968! Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree