Camden teachers union calls on Michael Gove to resign after GCSE U-turn

Michael Gove announced the plans to retain GCSEs today. Picture: PA/Chris Ison.

Michael Gove announced the plans to retain GCSEs today. Picture: PA/Chris Ison. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Camden teachers union has called on education secretary Michael Gove to resign after he announced he was going back on plans to scrap GCSEs in favour of new qualifications.

The government decision to retain GCSEs in key subjects instead of replacing them with English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBC) was announced by Mr Gove in the House of Commons earlier today.

It follows a groundswell of opposition to the proposals, originally announced in September, from MPs, teachers and exam regulator Ofqual.

The government had planned to scrap GCSEs in maths and English and replace them with EBCs, with other subjects to follow.

During his Commons speech, Mr Gove admitted the EBC plans were “a bridge too far” but insisted the government would be “reforming existing GCSEs”.

Reacting to Mr Gove’s announcement, Andrew Baisley, Camden’s NUT’s branch secretary, said: “Because he had alienated the whole of education, ultimately he had to back down.

“I’ve lost total confidence in the man, he needs to go and I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that.”

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The Department for Education (DfE) had planned to introduce EBCs as a more rigorous replacement for GCSEs in 2015, with the first EBC exams taking place in 2017.

This decision has been reversed but the government will continue to use the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure.

The EBacc measures how many pupils pass five academic subjects at GCSE - English, maths, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography - and is used as an indicator of school performance by the government in league tables.

The EBacc has also received widespread opposition from the teaching sector, which fears the performance measure narrows the curriculum by neglecting important fields, such as technology and the arts.

Mr Baisley said: “I’m delighted that he (Michael Gove) has listened to people in education for the first time in his career as a minister so let’s hope he does a lot more of it.”

But he conceded changes to secondary education were required, adding: “I think exam reforms are needed and I think a lot of people recognise that. It’s a big question.”