GCSE shake-up ‘smacks of gimmickry’, head says

Geoff Barton - Head of King Edward VI School
Geoff Barton - Head of King Edward VI School
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A leading headteacher says a major shake-up of GCSEs ‘smacks of gimmickry’.

Geoff Barton, of King Edward VI School, says the package of reforms including grading exams numerically from eight to one rather than A* to G ‘feels like a solution to a problem that only exists in the mind of the Secretary of State (Michael Gove)’.

He backed some changes such as scrapping modular and controlled assessments, which will see exams held at the end of two years.

However, he pointed to a report released this week by a parliamentary select committee about last year’s GCSE grading debacle, which advised ministers to ‘think carefully about the cumulative impact and risks’ of reform. Mr Barton said: “The risk is it all smacks of gimmickry. No-one will thank him (Michael Gove) for introducing very fast paced reform which might have to be dismantled in the future.”

He added that teachers have ‘quite a lot on their educational plate’ with numerous changes such as a new national curriculum.

Education minister Elizabeth Truss said the current system ‘is not delivering’.