Commenting on the new design details of GCSEs in England, announced today by Ofqual, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“It is legitimate for any Government to keep the qualifications system under review and, where necessary, develop proposals to reform it to ensure continued fitness for purpose.

“However, it is reasonable to expect governments to ensure that their proposals for reform are based on evidence, are developed in partnership with all relevant stakeholders and seek to work in the best interests of all pupils. Unfortunately, this Government’s qualifications agenda continues to fail even these basic tests.

“These changes are being rushed through at breakneck speed, driven on by a political imperative, rather than the needs of pupils.

“Particularly worrying is that there is no time to pilot of any of these proposals to test their effectiveness or their impact on student attainment.

“This approach also risks imposing on schools a qualifications system that could create massive bureaucratic and workload burdens that distract teachers and school leaders from their core responsibilities for teaching and leading learning. This could have profoundly negative consequences for students.

“The Government has tried consistently to portray GCSEs as broken qualifications. The fact is, however, that the GCSE has proved itself to be a robust and reliable qualification which is highly valued by pupils, parents and employers.

“Ofqual is the independent regulator and its job should be to highlight these legitimate concerns to ministers, rather than trying to mould a flawed set of proposals into a workable system.”

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