Rush to replace GCSEs with English Baccalaureate Certificates is not in children's best interests
17 September 2012
"O-levels were abolished 25 years ago for a very good reason: they just tested memory and essay writing, which are not crucial skills for the majority of jobs or life today.
"ATL, and a growing group of others, believe that we no longer need an exam at the age of 16 because few youngsters leave education and training then. However, if England does have an exam at 16, it should be suitable for almost everyone and assess the wide range of skills, knowledge and abilities needed in today's world, including communication and interpersonal skills, creativity and initiative.
"We want everyone in England to be well educated. The days of an exam system for an elite should be over.
"Of course any exams need to be rigorous, but there are strong arguments for using a range of methods of assessment and some subjects are not best tested by a three hour written exam.
"We have concerns about moving to one exam board per subject because it risks losing innovation in exams and making exams even more expensive for schools.
"It is essential that Michael Gove sets out what will happen to GCSEs before 2015 so that children taking exams before then are not disadvantaged by his changes when they apply for university, jobs and apprenticeships in the future."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 160,000 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.