The Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has dismissed Michael Gove’s plans to reintroduce a two-tier examination system, saying he favours the single tier system.
The Financial Times reports (£):
Mr Gove’s aides have suggested that children who expected to get D grades or below at GCSE could be put in for a separate set of simpler exams.
Alternatively, they have suggested, pupils could delay sitting them for a year. Asked directly, Sir Michael said that he did not support these proposals.
Sir Michael, who leads Ofsted, the education inspectorate, supports the single exam system for all pupils.
Wilshaw told the FT that further education was the wrong time to try and solve problems within the education system:
“You put your money where you know it’s going to work best. You don’t wait till 16 when you know it’s almost impossible to do something about it.”
“We need to think about taking money away from that sector, where it’s often too late, and putting it into the early years to get the right people in. That’s my view.”
“You put your best teachers in infants, best teachers in reception, your best teachers in the nurseries, you know? That’s what you’ve got to do.”
As Left Foot Forward previously reported, the FT’s Christopher Cook already highlighted how Gove’s plans for exam reform could affect social mobility:
“The most significant issues around this idea are related to social mobility: the CSE [the easier alternative to the new O-level proposed by Gove] will tend to be an exam for poorer children.
“This matters: one would expect it to lower aspirations among children put onto the CSE track – which would presumably happen at the age of 14. If a child gets moved onto the scheme who otherwise would be aiming for a C at GCSE, they may just stop trying.”
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg MP has responded:
“Even Michael Gove’s hand-picked exam chief opposes his plans for a return to a two tier exam system.
“No-one wants to see children divided at fourteen again with some left on the scrapheap. While GCSEs may need reform, Labour agrees with Sir Michael Wilshaw that this can be done within the existing system.”
• Non-academies do just as well as academies 3 Apr 2012
Will Michael Gove take on the overwhelming advice and opinion from the experts and renege on his unpopular plans to reform?