Gove in 'humiliating' GCSE U-turn

Halstead Gazette: Michael Gove will make a statement in the House of Commons on GCSE reform Michael Gove will make a statement in the House of Commons on GCSE reform

Michael Gove has been forced into a "humiliating climbdown" over his plans to axe GCSEs, Labour said.

The Education Secretary's flagship plan to ditch the exams and replace them with new English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) in core academic subjects is said to have been abandoned following widespread opposition and pressure from within the coalition from the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Gove will set out alternative proposals to reform GCSEs, which are taken by hundreds of thousands of teenagers every year.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said Mr Gove should have listened to warnings that the scheme would not work.

"This is a humiliating climbdown from Michael Gove," he said. "It shows why he should have listened to business leaders, head teachers and experts in the first place and not come up with a plan on the back of an envelope."

He added: "Pupils and parents need certainty now. Michael Gove must now make clear whether he will abandon his narrow, out-of-date plans altogether or merely try to delay them."

Mr Gove originally wanted to introduce EBCs in England in English, maths, science, foreign languages, history and geography. Each of the core subjects would have been handed to a single examination board - a move he argued was essential to prevent boards "dumbing down" standards to attract more schools.

The proposals, announced in September, drew criticism and concern from MPs across the political spectrum, as well as exams regulator Ofqual and teachers and head teachers' unions.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he did not like the original plan, which he described as "a two-tier system where you tell one set of kids you are not bright enough to proceed".

"I didn't like that, I've always wanted an approach to exam reform and qualification reform and curriculum reform that is ambitious for higher standards, and I'm totally at one with Michael Gove on this. We need to do as well as the best countries around the world do," he said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in.

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