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Gove bins plans for single exam board

Michael Gove has abandoned the government's plans to introduce a single exam board for each subject.
In a letter to Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacy, published today, the education secretary wrote that he was "persuaded... that we should not move to a single Awarding Organisation offering each subject suite at this time". But he added that the policy remained under review.
The plan is thought to have fallen foul of European public procurement rules.
The move is one of a number of changes to the government's curriculum reform plans, which Gove unveiled this morning.
The proposal to replace GCSEs with English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) by 2014 has been shelved. But the government will still reform GCSEs to make them more rigorous, with the first new qualifications reading for teaching in 2015. 
This will mean scrapping the current division between foundation and higher tier papers – although Gove added that 'extension papers' could be offered for more able pupils.
The government is also amending the way in which league tables are compiled, and scrapping the traditional ‘five good GCSEs’ measure. Under the new system, schools will be measured against average pupil attainment, as well as the number of pupils achieving high standards in English and Maths.
Moves to slim down the National Curriculum will still go ahead.
Today's announcements has received a mixed response from the sector. 
Neil Carberry, the CBI's director for skills, said it was "sensible that the government takes the time to get exam reforms right". 
Graham Stuart MP, chair of the education select committee, which had been critical of the earlier drafts of the plans, meanwhile, welcomed Gove's willingness to listen, adding: "If the previous government had been willing to do this, we could have avoided the issues we had around the diploma."
Chris Keates, general secretay of the NASUWT teaching union was less impressed, however, saying that the statement "raise[d] more unanswered questions", and that the changes made today were "marginal".
She added that the reforms "put the final nail into the coffin of Margaret Thatcher's legacy of National Curriculum entitlement".
The controversial ToryEducation twitter feed, thought to be manned by a member of Gove's team, today argued that the core of the government’s reforms would still go ahead, and that "what matters is the facts on the ground".
It added: "#winning".


Posted on: 07/02/2013

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