Atherton MP accuses Education Minister of living in the past

First published in North West

EDUCATION Minister Michael Gove has been accused by Atherton MP Julie Hilling 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.

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.”

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