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Jill Kirby: Michael Gove is right to change course

Kirby-JillWas it the curse of Clegg, the EU, Whitehall intransigence or the advice of the Education Select Committee, or all of these, that forced Michael Gove's climbdown on E-bacc certificates? Whatever the reason, I believe the Education Secretary is right to accept that these certificates would be a “reform too far.” Indeed, I said as much last September, arguing that it's unwise and unnecessary to introduce this confusingly-named new qualification.

The steps Mr Gove has already put in place to make GCSEs more academically robust,  overhauling the curriculum content and cutting out retakes and coursework, will go a long way to restoring confidence in the exam; there is no need to scrap them. Especially since the E-bacc certificate idea was already neutered by the LibDems, who had insisted that it must be an exam for all, rather than targeted at the more academic.

So I'm glad Mr Gove has decided that this particular game is no longer worth the candle. I remain hopeful that he will instead adopt the approach I advocated at the same time: extending the use of  International GCSEs, already being offered alongside GCSEs in many independent and some state-maintained schools. As an internationally recognised qualification offering greater rigour for more academically-inclined children, the IGSCE offers all that the E-bacc would have achieved, without tearing down the existing system.


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