ATL comment on plans to replace GCSEs with O-levels
21 June 2012
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
"It sounds like Michael Gove is making a joke in poor taste at the expense of pupils and teachers. Quite who is supposed to benefit from a return to new look O-levels and CSEs and a two tier exam system? Where is the evidence that this will be an improvement?
"We want all children to be challenged, achieve their potential and gain the skills they need to progress in education and get jobs, so support good quality exams. But once again Mr Gove is ignoring less academic children and neglecting vocational qualifications which provide pupils with important skills for employment and life after education.
"We question whether Michael Gove really has children's best interests at heart, or whether his eyes are firmly fixed on test scores for their own sake to push the UK higher up the international education league tables.
"It is fascinating to hear Michael Gove, the arch proponent of competition, objecting to the way competition has worked between exam boards. What contortions will he have to perform to square reducing competition here with his plans to introduce more competition into the rest of education? There is a discussion to be had about the way exam boards operate, but there could be a huge danger in having only one exam board which dictates what all children in England learn and is subject to the whims of whoever is Secretary of State for Education.
"Teachers are heartily sick of constant ill-informed government interference and change for the sake of change and regardless of any evidence to show it would work."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.