EDITOR’S COMMENT: GCSEs are out, the tougher Baccalaureate is in - but what does it mean for your child?

LISTEN carefully, people of Derbyshire, as I will say this only once, and when you are finished reading it, I want you to close the newspaper and try to recall every word herein.

And if your child or grandchild started secondary school this year, YOU should listen extra carefully as your bundle of pride and joy will be the first to come up against this Government’s tough new test-based education regime.

Gone are GCSEs, and in comes the far more rigorous and unforgiving European-style Baccalaureate examination system.

Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove rolled out the plans this week whilst discrediting the GCSE system of education as antiquated and irrelevant in the modern world.

Right, OK. So what if my child started school LAST year? Are they going to be spewed out of school at 16 years old with certificates that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on? Surely there was a better way of shelving the old in favour of the new?

What concerns me most about all this was confirmed when I asked - via the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook page - for a guest columnist to come forward and write about any subject they feel passionate about. Up stepped Rebekah Barnett, a university graduate who by her own admission does not have a photographic memory.

She asks, what of the children who don’t thrive on exam pressure; who don’t have unlimited powers of memory recall; who can produce the most detailed and scintillating coursework in the comfort of the library or their bedroom, but not in an exam? Will they be consigned to the dunces’ corner? Will they have the opportunity to attend university pulled from under them?

There are many unanswered questions that I think parents in and around Chesterfield will be anxious to put to teachers and headteachers.

I cannot pretend to have all or even any of the answers, but like thousands of you, I want somebody who does know why GCSEs are now no longer relevant to tell me why.

So how about it headteachers? Can you enlighten a very anxious public?

by James Mitchinson


EMAIL THE EDITOR: james.mitchinson@jpress.co.uk