I have long believed that the GCSE examination needed a vigorous overhaul and so it comes as no surprise that Mr Gove, that font of all educational wisdom, knowledge and hands-on experience, has opted to replace GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate qualification.Indeed, it’s just possible (but highly unlikely, I suspect!) that you might have previously read my blog of January 2011 when the government first launched its “latest education initiative (English Baccalaureate)”.
As I feared, this will initially be in three core subject areas - English, Maths and Sciences… and be extended later to include History, Geography and Languages.
This is what I wrote on the subject 20 months ago:
“My fear is that schools will feel the need to focus on the more traditional subjects and I really don’t think that a narrow academic course is appropriate for ALL students. There will no doubt be a tendency for schools to feel that they should be promoting a curriculum to improve a school’s league table standing rather than adopting a system that would benefit all students – including the less academic.
It would appear that, in the Government’s eyes, Physical Education, Art, Music, Technology, Drama, Dance, Philosophy+Belief and the like are very much second division subjects (continuing the league table jargon!)”.
As a former architect (and you HAVE to be a VERY gifted academic all-rounder to even stand a chance of becoming an architect, if I say so myself!), the government’s criteria is frankly insulting - clearly art and technology don’t count these days! Schools will now inevitably see sport, music, drama, dance, art, technology etc as secondary subjects.
Was it really only last month that our beloved prime minister was telling us that pupils should be "doing as much sport in schools as possible" and that "as well as the facilities and the money, what we really need is a change in culture in our schools and in society that says sport is good, competitive sport is good, schools games are good"?
In my blog of January 2011, I suggested that a caller on a radio phone-in had a number of salient points for consideration by Mr Gove on the new English Baccalaureate – click here, it’s definitely worth a listen.
The caller said: "Children go to school to work out who they are and what they want to study…. My guess is that this just reflects your own personal, narrow experience of education... I'd just ignore your silly English Baccalaureate."
I stand by what I said then.